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Reassure me about my poncho
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L. T.
(Guinness1759) - F
Reassure me about my poncho on 07/26/2007 06:35:21 MDT Print View

I am heading out West soon. I had planned to use a Silponcho and Spinnchaps instead of my usual raingear (ID Event jacket, Precip pants). However, as zero hour arrives I find myself leaning towards the coat/pants combo. Should I just embrace the gear change and use the poncho?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Reassure me about my poncho on 07/26/2007 07:12:14 MDT Print View

On this trip take your event jacket for insurance in addition to your poncho/spinchaps. This will ease your "anxieties". Think of it as gear testing with backup in case of a problem.

What are you using for a shelter?

Edited by jshann on 07/26/2007 07:13:23 MDT.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Reassure me about my poncho on 07/26/2007 07:16:56 MDT Print View


I am not sure where in the West you are hiking. I hike in REI Sahara pants in Colorado. I have not worn rain pants for 3 season hiking in a decade.

I am a LW/UL hiker. I know how to go SUL, but prefer LW/UL. I carry both a DriDucks Jacket and a poncho. A jacket is is more convenient for breaks and around camp. The poncho is part of the shelter system.

The chaps are not needed with Sahara pants.

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
Re: Re: Reassure me about my poncho on 07/26/2007 09:07:41 MDT Print View


Thanks for your experience. I'm facing a similar question now, heading into the wind rivers next week and debating over taking wp/b pants. (I aspire to a base weight of 5 points, but it's unlikely I'll make it.)

When you say that chaps aren't needed with sahara pants, do you mean:

1. The pants dry quickly.

2. The pants repel water for a while and then dry quickly.

3. You don't often get rain, so a risk of occassional wet legs is worth the weight saving.

In my case, rain is forecast for my entire time in the Wind Rivers.

If your reason for leaving rain paints behind was #3, would you take rain pants on a trip where rain was expected?

Thanks in advance for your views.


Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Re: Reassure me about my poncho on 07/26/2007 09:53:28 MDT Print View

i have used raingear/ catenary cut tarp, as well as poncho/tarp combinations in alomst all conditions possible, rain, snow, wind, ect.

I feel confident because of my experience in using either system. but there are a couple of things to consider.

with raingear/ tarp, you are going to need a pack liner to keep your gear dry, and deal with the fact that your pack will get wet, and probably gain weight in water. It is nice to be able to go out of your tarp at night, and set up your tarp with protection from the rain. but i often prefer a poncho tarp. because of a variety of reasons... less gear you need to deal with, less weight to carry, it provides weather protection for your pack, it has a ton more pitching options than a cat tarp. but when i first started using a poncho, i had a few hesitations like... having to stay under my tarp after i pitch it beacuse i dont have any other rain protection, having to set up/ break camp in the rain.

but in the end, i have learned ways to deal with the obvious problems of a poncho tarp, and often times prefer it.
comfort and confidence in a poncho tarp system comes mostlyy with experience.

as far as leg protection, I usually dont wear rainpants, weather i am using a poncho or rain jacket. i wear short running shorts, and just let my legs get wet, or wear a thin quick drying windpant.

i only pack the rain pants if i am in the winter or fall seasons, because of the temperature, so i dont ave to worry about hypothermia.

in the summer i have neve had a problem wwithout rain pants. another reason i prefer the poncho, it goes below the waist, and in most rains, my legs hardley get wet at all.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Reassure me about my poncho on 07/26/2007 10:03:12 MDT Print View


Pants do not get very wet from rain when you wear a poncho. Pants generally get wet from bashing through wet weeds and understory. In the Rockies it is generally possible to avoid the weeds and brush. We seldom get dew. Even bushwhacking here I generally can avoid the "wet to the waist weed walks".

I do not carry rain pants even when rain is forecast. Do carry enough clothes to get dry and stay warm down to freezing.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Poncho, maybe no spinnchaps on 07/26/2007 11:13:39 MDT Print View

I used a poncho and spinnchaps on a recent wet trip (80 miles, got back Sunday). Or rather I happily used the poncho and mostly didn't bother with the spinnchaps. When I was moving, the spinnchaps made me warm enough that it was the classic case of choosing between getting wet-from-the-outside or wet-from-the-inside. After the first use, I subsequently just converted my pants to shorts and went bare legged. What I could have used was something like an eVent gaitor, as I quickly found that goretex socks aren't proof against the volume of water delivered by continuously bashing through wet brush --- they seemed to wet my feet from the top (ankles) down. I expect that even with gaitors, though, my feet would have gotten soaked given that my shoes are aimed at drying out quickly and not at being water resistant.

I think the spinnchaps are useful for use in camp or for colder conditions, but for potentially wet summer trips I'm not sure I'll bother in future.

The poncho worked great, better than a rain coat, with the caveat that I used the shock cord that came with the spinnchaps to wrap around my waist and keep the poncho fabric a bit in check --- trade-off in less ventilation, but perhaps more likely to keep fabric in check and staying in place where you want it. It was a pleasure to walk through soaking brush up to my shoulders and stay dry down to my ~knees.

Brian Lewis

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Poncho Knowledge on 07/26/2007 11:53:07 MDT Print View

I don't know how other people view the situation, but I am amazed at Ryan Faulkner. For such a young chap, he has incredible experience, knowledge, and just plain smarts. I think R. Jordan should make R. Faulkner a staff member, in order to secure and expand his contributions to BPL. But then, I've been drinking heavily today.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Reassure me about my poncho on 07/26/2007 14:20:02 MDT Print View

If you are bringing wind shirt/pants, I would go ahead and leave the other rain clothes behind. The combination seems like a good match. The nice thing about wind clothes is that they provide some rain protection and a fair amount of bug protection. Depending on where and when you go, bugs may be a bigger concern. For example, if I was hiking in the Pacific Northwest mountains, I would bring minimal rain gear but full bug protection. If I went out to the coast, I would bring more comfortable rain gear (you can get a lot of foggy days by the coast).

L. T.
(Guinness1759) - F
Re: Reassure me about my poncho on 07/26/2007 18:45:44 MDT Print View

Thank you for all of the great advice. I expect both bugs and rain. I don't plan to use the poncho as a shelter but did buy some micro cordage to use around my waist to stop the poncho from flapping.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Reassure me about my poncho on 07/26/2007 20:29:30 MDT Print View

Lyndell, I encourage you to try the poncho if you have not yet. However if you are expecting bugs make sure one clothing layer covers you head to foot without any gaps; that could be your wind layer. My experiences with a poncho in summer in the NW, around Ft.Lewis WA were difficult, with swarms of large mosquitoes penetrating every opening in clothing. A poncho would not be a complete solution. Where you are going could be different of course.
What are you doing for sun protection? For me, a wind jacket doubles as sun protection also because it is cool enough to breathe.
Montbell makes an UL windjacket and pants; 5 ounces for the SET.