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Rain Poncho as poncho/groundsheet/beak for cat tarp?
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Adam Frizzell
(adamf) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Rain Poncho as poncho/groundsheet/beak for cat tarp? on 10/18/2009 10:10:17 MDT Print View

Hi all,

I've been thinking up ideas to make my rain gear more utilitarian and multi-use, and I thought of trying to pick up a poncho that I could also use as a groudsheet (ditching my ~1oz. GG PolyCro) under my bivy or, also, as a beak to pitch to my cat tarp for hard rains.
Ultimately, I'd like to give up my rain jacket/pants for a poncho and rain wrap which would shed a whole handful of ounces and give my raingear more "jobs" to do instead of just sitting in my pack when it's not raining.
Is anybody doing something similar to this?
Right now, I'm looking at the AGG Poncho Villa and the ID SilNylon Cape.
Thanks for any advice you could offer.


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(Trooper) - F
Re: Rain Poncho as poncho/groundsheet/beak for cat tarp? on 10/18/2009 10:44:52 MDT Print View

When I was younger and camping frequently, I carried two military surplus ponchos that served as a ground cloth and a sleeping bag/ground barrier when coupled with a surplus poncho liner. If it rained one of the ponchos would revert to its original design. My hiking partner usually carried two ponchos as well, which provides for a decent shelter and sleeping gear. The coldest we could stand this in was 40F with a small fire.

Earlier this month, we tried the similar setup to get out of the rain quickly. We tired a poncho to some trees for a shelter and placed a second poncho underneath for a ground barrier. A third poncho covered the gear. I have replaced my GI surplus ponchos with the Sea to Summit silnylon because they were the lightest in stock when I needed them. I don't have any experience with the ones you mentioned.

For rain protection though, I don't like a poncho. They are cumbersome and awkward when doing much more than walking on level ground. The bottom line is that at least one poncho is essential to me, if not two of them--just not for what they were designed.

Edited by Trooper on 10/18/2009 10:46:09 MDT.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Rain Poncho as poncho/groundsheet/beak on 10/18/2009 11:43:57 MDT Print View

I use a Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape. I consider its primary purpose to be shelter; rain gear is secondary; anything else is tertiary.

That said, I would NEVER consider using my poncho-tarp as a ground cloth except in a dire emergency, and certainly not just to save one ounce. There are too many opportunities to punch holes in it that way.

When the rains come, I don't want any holes in my shelter or my rain gear.

Adam Frizzell
(adamf) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Rain Poncho as poncho/groundsheet/beak for cat tarp? on 10/18/2009 11:52:13 MDT Print View

Thanks AS/Bob,

Since I posted this, I've been thinking about this idea in practice. I think I came to the same conclusion as you Bob. Why would I make my rain gear serve dual use as the item that is most likely to get a hole in it (groundsheet)?? :-)
Yeah, let's consider this a brief relapse of good judgment.
That being said, I still think I could come up with a good way to use my rain wrap and a jacket to turn my tarp into an MLD Patrol style shelter. I'm going to keep messing with that.
Thanks again,

Erik Graf
(VanGo) - F

Locale: Southeast
+1 on the Gatewood Cape on 12/07/2009 13:23:51 MST Print View

The GC is sort of the reverse of your idea. I've used cheap painters drop clothes, Tyvek, and those cheap table clothes you get from the dollar store for your kids birthday party as a floor for my GC. They ALL get punctures, or sap, or rub marks on them. I'd say you would be taking a chance and a poncho break down.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
ground cover on 12/08/2009 07:11:27 MST Print View

I like Eric's ideas. I found that the thinest plastic ground covers work great when attached to the bottom of a tent floor (Warmlite actually recommends it), but when used alone it becomes difficult to unroll and flatten back out. A bit thicker cloth works better. The plastic drop cloths are quite durable.
Better, a bit heavier, but tougher would be a coated nylon. I use a piece just a bit wider and longer than my sleeping bag rather than enough for an entire floor. It is most useful when the ground is wet.
Two yards of nylon comes to about $12. It can be purchased at your local fabric store or from or (Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics),