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Mountain poncho/Packa
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Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Mountain poncho/Packa on 03/10/2010 08:09:12 MST Print View

Has anyone made either the mountain poncho using Roger Caffin's article on this site, or some similar hip-length, pack-covering poncho like the commercial Packa?

What hints or modifications would you suggest?

What about using Velcro/Omnitape as the fasteners instead of snaps?

Do you like it better than either a breathable or non-breathable rain jacket?

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Mountain Poncho/Packa on 03/10/2010 09:28:31 MST Print View

Hi Andy, I've been using a garment like this for a while. I just ordered an eVent Packa, though I haven't really been able to use it much yet. IMO this type of design is the most functional rainwear garment available for backpackers.

Maybe the easiest way to make one is to use the Parcho kit from Quest. This is zippered, rather than using snaps, and includes everything needed for construction. I like a two way zipper, although I can see how snaps/velcro would lend nice functionality. If you build one, here are a few tips:

Make sure it's nice and long. I like the bottom hem to be just above my knees; it eliminates the need for rain pants in a majority of situations, especially if worn with tall gaiters.

Make sure it has plenty of girth. Remember this is going to fit over your pack harness, so without a pack on, it's pretty big and shapeless. You want plenty of space across the chest and under the arms for air movement, and also to allow easy ingress/egress while wearing your pack. Space in the chest also allows the carry of a camera case on your chest or waist, another favorite feature of this design.

Use some cheap fabric and play around with the hood pattern and dimensions. For me, this is the trickiest part of making a jacket, and it's make or break; if the hood doesn't fit well, it really compromises a jacket's functionality IMO. Just make a few mock-ups, paying attention to the height of the back (you don't want it pulling/binding around to back neck seam) and the coverage over your forehead (you want a brim long enough to keep rain off your face). Try using the "nevasnag" from thru-hiker to line your hood brim; I've never used it but have heard it's the stuff for stiffening brims.

Good luck! People are really struck by these when the see it in use; you'll get lots of questions on the trail.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: RE: Mountain Poncho/Packa on 03/10/2010 18:23:40 MST Print View

+1 on Scott's tips.


Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: RE: Mountain Poncho/Packa on 03/12/2010 10:34:14 MST Print View

Scott, thanks! The tips are much appreciated!

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Mountain poncho/Packa" on 03/12/2010 11:23:16 MST Print View


Please post a link to that eVent packa. I'm too "tailoristically challenged" to undertake such a MYOG project.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: eVent Packa on 03/12/2010 12:23:40 MST Print View

Hi Bob,

The eVent Packa was/is a special purchase by Eddie Hinnant at Cedar Tree. It's not on his website, so I would email him to see if some are still available.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
the packa on 03/14/2010 21:50:32 MDT Print View

I, too, am a big fan of the packa. It is very convenient to be able to put on and then remove your rain gear without having to remove one's pack. Its length makes it a nice warming layer to wear in camp. Under arm vents and a waterproof zipper are nice features. The zipper and its cover prevent cold drafts in a wind blown rain.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: RE: eVent Packa on 03/14/2010 21:58:13 MDT Print View

He does still have some eVent Packas, in small and medium only. I just ordered one today.

Eddie is back on the trail tomorrow, but I believe his wife will be checking the Packa email and filling orders.