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Ponchos vs rain clothes
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Nick E.
(trAletrasch) - F

Locale: PNW
Ponchos vs rain clothes on 03/31/2012 08:51:17 MDT Print View

Lets duke it out.
Why do you like your poncho? Why do you prefer rain jacket & pants? Do you simply hike under an umbrella?

I have been hiking in the rain,qearing shorts and a poncho and im getting tired of WET LEG SYNDROME.

I am considering some garbage bag rainchaps.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Ponchos vs rain clothes on 03/31/2012 09:15:35 MDT Print View

Poncho with rain pants. Try some unlined runner's pants from a thrift store for light rain and perfect for early morning dewy brush. They are about 6oz and can be worn for wind pants.

Long gaiters work for some. Chaps are certainly an option--- carry a sit pad or sheet for breaks with wet ground.

Tyvek chaps or pants would be interesting.

John Almond
(FLRider) - F

Locale: The Southeast
Poncho on 03/31/2012 10:57:18 MDT Print View

I prefer a GI poncho, despite its weight, for four reasons: one, it's almost indestructible (scrub oak and palmetto down here are harsh on DriDucks, and it helps with my third reason); two, it's cheap; three, it's a multi-purpose item (see below); and four, it is as well or better ventilated as any other gear I've tried.

It serves quadruple duty for me as rain gear (duh), pack cover, ground cloth for breaks and as a "porch" under my hammock, and it can be thrown over the windward end of my hex tarp for extreme weather protection.

Oh, and it comes in subdued colors for stealth camping.

Note, though, that I don't do a lot of long-term cool, wet hiking. It rarely rains below 50 degrees down here in FL. If I was to be out in 30s and 40s with cold rain and sleet, I'd probably want rain chaps or pants and a soft shell wind shirt to go with it.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Ponchos vs rain clothes on 03/31/2012 11:13:19 MDT Print View

So far, I prefer my myog silnylon poncho plus rain pants (and rain hat rather than hood) because I feel less confined and the air circulation is better, but it is not so great in high wind. I'll be starting soon on a Parcho; if that works well, I'll probably make some silnylon rain chaps to go with it. I will lose the multi-use potential of a poncho (now maybe I'm understanding some of why Marla is making her Parcho with snap or velcro sides more like a poncho) but I haven't really made use of that much.

Those Tyvek pants look pretty easy to convert to chaps.

Edited by dkramalc on 03/31/2012 11:22:53 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Ponchos vs rain clothes on 03/31/2012 12:24:11 MDT Print View

It doesn't seem like you have a problem with the poncho for the top of your body, so just fix the bottom. Those tyvek pants mentioned are dirt cheap, even with shipping fees. I have a few pairs of them. Unfortunately I haven't used them in the rain yet, but I've used them a few times while doing laundry, and they felt as breathable or more than a Dri Ducks jacket.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Ponchos vs rain clothes on 04/02/2012 12:10:37 MDT Print View

I have two parcho kits I haven't yet put together. I really wished I had taken the effort before this weekend's trip. Instead, I bought a vinyl poncho I picked up in a gas station. The thing lasted about 5 minutes. I was totally drenched and hypothermic. As I shivered uncontrollably for a few hours, I would have been perfectly happy to have a single-use item like a parcho in my pack, that's for sure. I went so far as to contact someone this morning to see if she could sew my parchos for me because I have doubts about my skills.

I like the idea of an item that covers both me and my pack all in one. Ponchos, besides the fragility of cheap ones, don't cover my arms well enough and they are too flappy and loose. I will usually try to tighten the rear part so that it doesn't fly free, but the whole wet arms thing is totally unsatisfactory. Ponchos also don't seem quite long enough to wear with chaps. I'd probably want a drawstring trashbag for a rain skirt to help them work with my chaps.

I've been most successful in rain wearing rain chaps and using an umbrella. The umbrella just isn't very helpful when the brush is thick and you have to push through.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Ponchos vs rain clothes on 04/02/2012 12:47:15 MDT Print View

Poncho is definitely the lightest option because the poncho tarp is duel function.

However, the issue that I have found is that if I am in camp and it is raining, I don't have any rain gear to leave my shelter, which made me carry a 1 oz disposable poncho just for venturing out for bathroom breaks, getting water, etc.

I used rain chaps and they worked fine with my poncho.

The other issue with the poncho was that I could not easily put in on and over my backpack by myself.

Lots of guy lines to attach and remove every day as I converted it from shelter to rain gear.

Just a lot of fiddle factor/fussing around that I did not care for and it provided less than 100% coverage from the rain....arm areas were open slots that could allow rain to blow in.

That said, I moved to a tiny cuben tarp and O2 Rain Gear that comes out to just 2-3 oz heavier than the poncho tarp that I had.

Downside is that I have a lot less tarp coverage, but my heavy MLD bivy sack has an eVent top to protect me.

Hope this helps.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Parka and pants on 04/02/2012 13:39:55 MDT Print View

I prefer either my Cabela's GTX Paclite parka or my REI Kimtah eVent parka and PacLite rain pants combo. The reason for this is mainly that the WPB parkas also serve as a wind shirt and hard shell over my Eddie Bauer Down Sweater for added warmth and protection from abrasion, more warmth than a poncho would provide.

The concept of "multi-purpose" gear/less weight is what I'm aiming for. Breathability with the eVent parka is fine - the PacLite parka is a bit less so but still OK if I keep a moderate pace and vent.

BUT... If I were to use a rain garment that bereathed like a poncho and still covered my packit would be an eVent PACKA.

Edited by Danepacker on 04/02/2012 15:41:03 MDT.

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
poncho v rain clothes on 04/02/2012 14:25:36 MDT Print View

Well now you got me to thinking.

Background - I use the Intergral Designs SIL Cape weighing 5.5 oz, it just covers my pack. I like it. I see plenty of rain, moderated winds, also carry a wind jacket, mix of easy and very tricky terrain, do not use a poncho as shelter and don't want to (no offense).

Your question got me to listing features or rain gear that may be important for the conditions I see; rain protection, condensation, draftiness, gale wind performance, walking ease, scrambling ease, chore ease, pack coverage, versatility, weight, elimination of other items and social acceptance. I weighted each of these as to importance (rain protection = 5, social acceptance = 1). Then I estimated each items score - for my use.

I thought to validate my own preference. The score: Poncho 128, jacket 128. Surprise!

For mountain hiking I think the jacket wins based on high wind potential and scrambling. Poncho wins if you consider expense.

I've logged several hundred miles in this poncho, been in 36F 45mph steady wind (Lake Superior). I batten down the poncho in wind, wear a wind coat underneath in cold windy conditions for some arm protection/warmth, have used it as a wind shelter for cooking, etc. I hate being clammy but am thinking of the times that I could't see my footfall in tricky wet terrain. Comfort. Safety. Weight. Crappy pack covers. Now what?

I've got constipation of the brain. You owe me a beer.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: poncho v rain clothes on 04/02/2012 14:44:02 MDT Print View

This is like discussing religion :)

Ponchos work best for me and are always dual use items; shelter or ground sheet. As a ground sheet, it provides rain protection if I need to leave my shelter or set-up/take down camp. As a shelter you can get wet if you need to get out into the elements. They breath (vent) better than any jacket I have used. They cover my pack, making a pack cover or liner unnecessary.

They are more susceptible to wind and can catch on shrubs and the like. They don't cover your lower legs.

So... after more than 40 years of jackets, pants and ponchos, I prefer a poncho.

However, don't ask me to change my religious beliefs. :)

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
poncho religion on 04/02/2012 15:05:56 MDT Print View

I speak from the one true House of Torrential Outpourings.

Nick belongs to a blasphemous off-shoot, Burning Skies.

I must try to be more accepting.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: poncho religion on 04/02/2012 15:16:51 MDT Print View

Our Mother in nature, hollowed be your precipitation.

Your rain will come, in meadows and in mountains.

Give us this day our ponchos, and forgive us our jackets, as we have forgiven those who made them.

And lead us not into GoreTex, but deliver us from moisture.

Nick E.
(trAletrasch) - F

Locale: PNW
Parcho on 04/03/2012 19:40:30 MDT Print View

Um, sorry but....WHATS A PARCHO:)??
DIY heftybag chaps;Cowboys suck.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Parcho on 04/04/2012 07:16:46 MDT Print View

A parcho and a packa are pretty much the same thing.

Nick E.
(trAletrasch) - F

Locale: PNW
do it to it, bilgy on 04/04/2012 08:18:28 MDT Print View

wow a parka is pretty sweet but it seems to eliminate the dual use aspect of a poncho.

all these issues with ponchos being too small could be solved if the standard size was 8x6 or 8x7! the pro poncho that Nick Gatel uses is kind of perfect.

i think i'm gonna sew a poncho this size, but put little velcro wrist loops (plush so they dont irritate skin) where one's arms come out. also a string between the legs that clips with a mitten clip would solve all high-wind issues.

and wouldnt using mitten clips on all your guylines take care of the slow breakdown time?

John Doe
(jessearl) - F
Rain gear is temperature dependent on 04/04/2012 11:17:22 MDT Print View

I'm in Florida and for the last four years or so my rain gear has been a Golite poncho. Before that it was a heavy, generic windbreaker or a surplus GI poncho.

I've only really been rained on once in recent memory and it was just a light drizzle at the start of the hike. It was May in Florida and so I figured that I'd get more wet from sweat while wearing the poncho than just enduring the rain.

I was fine.

Back in January I went skiing up in Virginia. It was in the 40's and started to rain hard just as soon as we got our skis on that afternoon. I was wearing a waterproof rain pants and jacket over jeans and a sweater. While going up the ski lift I was certainly happy to be wearing waterproof clothes. It was absolutely pouring rain.

I didn't care much about condensation from sweat at that point. I was just glad I was dry.

It all depends on the temperature

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: do it to it, bilgy on 04/04/2012 12:36:13 MDT Print View

You want dual use? I've got your dual use right here:

wearing z-rest and polycro

Polycro ground sheet and z-rest as make-shift warm outer-wear.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
do it to it, bilgy on 04/04/2012 12:42:06 MDT Print View



Edited by wandering_bob on 04/04/2012 12:45:54 MDT.