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Poncho design
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Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
Poncho design on 12/22/2005 14:04:33 MST Print View

I'm having Ron Bell make me a poncho, and need some input on a design alteration I'm thinking of asking him to make. I never use my poncho as a tarp, and as a result the snaps are useless to me (I've never unsnapped them on any poncho I've owned.) So, I'm thinking of having him simply leave an arm opening from the shoulder to where the first set of snaps would be, then simply sew it shut from there on. It seems like it would save him some work, and would possibly save half an ounce or ounce by eliminating the hem and snaps. It would certainly make the side more waterproof - but I'm worried that it would reduce ventilation. (Also note: this is replacing an ID Silponcho, so I've always had a waistcord cinched more or less tightly around my waist.) If you're having trouble picturing the end result, think "Orson Welles Caguole."

Rather than look foolish to Ron by asking him directly, I decided to look foolish to everyone at once - kind of cut-out-the-middleman approach. (Actually, I didn't know if he'd ever had anyone else request this, so before I did I wanted to collect some opinions as to whether it was a good idea.)

I'd really like your input - and remember, I never have and never will use my poncho as a shelter.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Sancho Poncho on 12/22/2005 14:10:09 MST Print View

Early or late Orson Welles? :-)>

It does sound like you are limiting your ventilation options, but as you say, you never unsnap the sides of your existing poncho...
Speaking of cagoules---an ancient one, I once had, allowed for raising the hem via snaps for conditions such as bushwacking or other situations where long, loose clothing would get in the way. Equally applicable to a poncho.

Ron Bell, by the way, is a great guy to deal with and often will come up with solutions that you might not think of. He also reads posts on this board so you may not have cut out the middleman afterall.


Edited by kdesign on 12/22/2005 14:42:05 MST.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Poncho design on 12/22/2005 14:38:13 MST Print View

I just looked up the mountain laurel designs poncho.

thanks Glenn for posting something about it, I had never seen it before and your post inspired me to look at it. it is the exact design I have been looking for. I had been thinking about modifying my oware cat tarp to be a poncho, while pondering this idea I thought up a similar hood design to Ron's. I am glad I can now have a catenary cut poncho tarp without ruining a perfectly good tarp.

an Glenn, your idea sounds good, but the MLD ponchos are kind of expensive. you could probably borrow a sewing machine from someone and modify your ID poncho based on your idea.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Poncho design on 12/22/2005 19:24:20 MST Print View

Consider dropping the hood in favor of a drawstring collar with a spindrift. You would need a brimmed hat, but would avoid the tunnel vision and clammy feel of a hood. The drawstring is set high enough to tighten the body of the poncho when used as a tarp and the spindrift collar - nothing more than another 6 to 8 inches of fabric - flops over to shed the rain.

It's much easier to install this kind of collar than a hood. You'll need a piece of spinnaker fabric 39 inches long and 12 inches wide, a large drawing compass that will hold a chalk pencil a bunch of pins and a drawstring.

Figure out where you want the collar and use the compass to draw two concentric circles: 12 inches and 11 1/4 inches in diameter. Do NOT cut the circle out yet. Mark the stitch lines for the drawstring 7 inches and 8 1/2 inches from what will be the bottom of the collar. Stitch two button holes at the center of the collar (19 1/2 inches from each edge) between the two stitch lines. Do not stitch the casing yet. Working on the outside of the tarp, pin the collar with the bottom edge against the smaller of the two circles you drew earlier and the pins pointing toward the center starting on the 12" (larger) circle. Start the pinning job at the center of the collar, below the two button holes, and work around the circle. When you get to the ends of the collar, the ends should overlap about 1/2 inch each. Start at the center again and stitch around the collar in each direction until you get to where the ends overlap. Stop immediately at the overlap. Pull all the pins and check everything to make sure it's right. Then stitch the ends of the collar together with the raw edges to the inside and finish with a lapped seam. NOW, you can cut the circle out 1/4 inch inside of the raw edge of the collar. Roll the newly cut edge over the raw edge of the collar, pin and stitch. You can take this a step further by folding this seam up against the collar, but it will not be a neat fit. If the fabric has some stretch you can get everything to lie reasonably flat. Make the casing by folding the collar to the inside until the stitch lines for the casing match, and stitch the casing. Cut the button holes and install the drawstring and cord lock. Slather Silnet or Duco Marine Silicone sealant on the seams and you are done.

Edited by vickrhines on 12/22/2005 22:01:49 MST.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
RE: Poncho design on 12/27/2005 12:38:33 MST Print View

I think if you try using a large trash bag and cut out a hole for the head and arms will offer a more realistic view if you would loose some ventalation.
I believe it would leave you feeling a bit more clammy as the ventalation is reduced. However, as you pointed out, it would be more water resistant. Only you can weigh the pro's and con's for yourself.
Myself, also somewhat in the shape of Orson Welles, I like the Oware poncho tarp.

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
Thanks, all on 12/28/2005 05:25:10 MST Print View

Thanks for your insight - I can now approach Ron more intelligently. I particularly liked Mike's idea of trying a garbage bag first to see how much ventilation is lost. (Like you, Mike, my problem will be finding the proper-sized garbage bag! My next ultralight addition may be to replace my current waistline.)

I'm starting to lean a little bit against the idea, since it could reduce the ventilation. I'd also forgotten that, a couple of times, I've undone the bottom snap to climb some of the steeper inclines that are all too common in the East. (We don't have the space for a lot of switchbacks. We just go up and over whatever's there. This means that a 500 foot elevation gain per mile of trail may be 35 feet in the first 100 feet of linear trail, 100 feet in the next 500 feet, etc.) The ability to get a little higher leg lift room is sometimes important.

Thanks again for your help, and Happy New Year to all.