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Looking for a decent poncho/tarp
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Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Looking for a decent poncho/tarp on 03/02/2014 09:45:07 MST Print View

I am looking for a decent poncho/tarp. It doesn't have to be the lightest thing as I would prefer something that is more durable and cheaper. What should I be looking at? The Golite one or Sea to Summit?

Kenda Willey
Re: Looking for decent poncho/tarp on 03/02/2014 09:52:46 MST Print View

From what I read and hear, the Golite can be used as a shelter in a pinch. Are you looking for a multi-use poncho? If so, have you looked at the Gatewood Cape? Judging by reviews (I don't have one yet, but I want one!), it serves as a good little shelter in addition to covering you and your pack well. Of course, it's light but expensive--and I'm getting swept away with my own poncho wishes. For a cheaper one, the RedLedge poncho was, and maybe still is, on sale at rei/rei outlet.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
poncho on 03/02/2014 11:21:16 MST Print View

The golite tarp Is 15d and it's fragile imo. I rippeed atieout just setting it up.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Looking for a decent poncho/tarp on 03/02/2014 12:51:07 MST Print View

I love my Gatewood Cape, but at 6'1", I wish it was longer. IIRC, Brett, you are a good bit taller than me, correct? I wouldn't recommend it in that case, although I recall one mid 6's guy on this site using one. All I can say is he must have pitched it high!

The Golite is too short, IMO.

Don't know about the S2S.

Equinox makes a long and a regular version - check those out.

Good luck!

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Equinox ponchos on 03/02/2014 17:54:06 MST Print View

I have the Equinox Terrapin Ultralite Poncho / Shelter:
with the extension to go over a backpack (58x104 inches). I'm 6'2" and it fits well, except the face opening is just barely big enough – I wear a size 7-7/8 hat. It's been tough enough on the few occasions I've used, it, but I haven't done any bushwhacking with it. $70, about 10 ounces in silnylon.

Same poncho in regular nylon is the Equinox Terrapin Nylon Poncho:
with the extension it's 58x104 inches, no weight listed, $40.

-- Rex

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Looking for a decent poncho/tarp on 03/02/2014 18:05:32 MST Print View

As a shelter or just a poncho? The GoLite is good as a poncho. IMHO, the Sea to Summit is overpriced. I think any backpacker poncho is weak as a shelter unless you have a bivy. A poncho can be fine for an emergency day hike backup shelter, but I carry an AMK space blanket style bivy to go with.

Definitely get one with a long back side so it covers your pack and your upper legs.

Some light cord with a toggle used as a belt makes a poncho easier to manage in wind and brush.

+1 on the Gatewood is you want to use it as a regular shelter and the cape design gives better rain coverage too.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
more on 03/02/2014 19:04:45 MST Print View

as both shelter and rainwear. doesn't have to be long as I can put it with a trash bag rain skirt and use that also as part of the shelter along with a double heetsheets to use as a somewhat bivy. I don't think the Gatewood capes fit me and i really don't bring anything to support it with. I don't really use it to cover my pack and instead just you a trash bag inside my pack to keep the contents dry.

Jason McSpadden
(JBMcSr1) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
decent poncho/tarp on 03/02/2014 19:24:10 MST Print View


I've used a Mountain Laurel Designs Pro Poncho for about 6 years. I like it because it is a great poncho, good hood, and is quite stylish when worn with a bungee belt. It is also a great tarp because it is long, with a catenary cut that is wider at one end than the other for a tight pitch and lighter weight. I think it is a bit pricey but one can be found here on Gear Swap. I think Will Reitveldt did a review on it too.

Edited by JBMcSr1 on 03/02/2014 19:25:00 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: more on 03/02/2014 19:51:15 MST Print View

Brett, it sounds like you don't grasp the use of a poncho or you don't really want one.

If you don't have a way to support a Gatewood, how are you going to use a poncho as a shelter?

If a regular poncho would fit, why wouldn't a Gatewood?

A well sized poncho would normally cover about the same lower level as a rain shirt.

To get the ventilation and easy on/off of a poncho, it should go on top of your pack. Wearing one under your pack is really kind of a mess.

Edited by dwambaugh on 03/02/2014 23:25:20 MST.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
okay on 03/02/2014 21:43:20 MST Print View

Usually when I use the cheap Coleman poncho/tarp I have I stake down one long side and if it stats to rain I flip over the other side on top of me and stake up one corner. My is usually above my head and that lifts it off me a bit or my shoulder wil when I side sleep. my rain skirt is slit down the back some and goes down about to my ankles.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
MLD Simple on 03/02/2014 21:48:54 MST Print View

I have the MLD simple silnylon poncho tarp, and it's great. Has been great as both raingear and shelter, though usually only the former. I think MLD is doing a cuben fiber version now, would be my pick. Half the weight and 2.5 times the cost though. I think mine, a medium sized, weighs 6.5-7.0 oz.MLDponcho

Edited by bcutlerj on 03/02/2014 21:52:56 MST.

Emmanuel Romo
(emman714) - F

Locale: Southern California
Pomcho Tarp on 03/03/2014 00:02:43 MST Print View

MLD ProPoncho- modified Lean-ToOn Caramba Lookout

Edited by emman714 on 03/03/2014 00:04:04 MST.

Troy Childs
(tchilds) - F
poncho tarps not for everywhere on 03/03/2014 06:30:41 MST Print View

Since all ponchos breath, all ponchos rip in the wrong conditions, and all ponchos don't really work as less than a compromise....

I gave up on them and just carry a cuben tarp and a dri duck jacket for the same weight and better coverage than a poncho tarp. This was my solution to my need for both even though I realize this isn't the answer you're asking for it is the correct one.

If you absolutely need a poncho tarp the only best time to use it is as a wind break since the areas that don't shred them basically don't rain either.

Yes my driduck jacket has a lot of patches I'll probably get a frogtog next time which will put me at 14 ounces total for shelter and rain gear but more durable.

Edited by tchilds on 03/03/2014 06:36:08 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: poncho tarps not for everywhere on 03/03/2014 07:23:38 MST Print View

"Since all ponchos breath, all ponchos rip in the wrong conditions, and all ponchos don't really work as less than a compromise...."

Silnylon ponchos aren't any different than any other silnylon tarp and tougher than a DriDucks, with more rain coverage. The only breathability is due to the open sides. The weakness as a shelter is the small size, making a bivy necessary. That's where the Gatewood steps in.

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
+1 Gatewood on 03/03/2014 07:30:08 MST Print View

I have used my gatewood as my sole shelter for almost 4 years. The thing is bomb proof. It's been in all conditions and I have never been compromised - including during all night wind and rain storms. It works fine as a poncho though I've never needed it for that. It acts as emergency rain gear in my kit. I prefer it to other like tarps because the head piece acts as an incredible vent in shelter mode. I've rarely had any condensation problems in my gatewood due to superior venting.

The only chance I'd ever replace my gatewood? If SMD made a cuben gatewood. I'm 6' and have plenty of room in shelter mode and it fits me perfect in poncho mode.

Edited by jleeb on 03/03/2014 07:35:28 MST.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Gatewood support on 03/03/2014 07:55:35 MST Print View

Brett, I wonder if you could use a sturdy stick to support the Gatewood if you don't use trekking poles? There might be a little bit of whittling involved of course. What do you Gatewood users think?

Edited by AndyF on 03/03/2014 07:56:08 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Gatewood support on 03/03/2014 08:24:21 MST Print View

Why not? Carry a Swiss Army knife with a saw option and a peice of line the length you want as your measuring tape. Keep an eye out for the last half mile before camp and you'll be ready when you arrive.

Like I said, you'll need supports with any tarp shelter or poncho anyway and the Gatewood needs only one.

The aluminum pole option for the Gatewood is 3oz and the carbon fiber version is 1.8 oz. Not much!

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Gatewood on 03/03/2014 09:00:28 MST Print View

I think I talked to Ron a few years ago and at the time he did not think the Gatewood Cape could be used well with my 6'5" self.

Like I said I have been using a cheap PVC Coleman poncho/tarp and just draping it across myself with the corners along one long side 'staked in'. I have my trash bag rain skirt above my knees and it goes past my feet.

My XXL DriDucks weigh about 6.6oz and my XXL Golite Tumalo jacket about 11.4oz. I mainly just use the DriDucks to layer over my insulation layer in colder temps for rain and wind.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Gatewood on 03/03/2014 11:01:23 MST Print View

Ahh, you're too all for the Gatewood. Ron should make an XL version.

I've thought about a poncho that has folding sides and ends to get up to a better shelter size, with the folded sides nearly reaching my neck and the ends folding up enough that my toes wouldn't hook the edge. You would have two layers of cloth over your shoulders and up to four layers in the front and back. It would need an array of snaps and/or Velcro to keep it all tidy. I've also though about a poncho with a mating tarp, or the ability to mate two ponchos for a larger shelter, like the old WWII shelter halves. The whole advantage to the poncho shelter is getting the multiple use weight value. I'm okay with them as rain gear, but they are just too small for a shelter when the weather gets stinky unless you have a good bivy.

Are you looking for light, cheap or all the above? I take it you don't want to carry poles either. What is your weight target and budget?

The drape thing sounds passable for a light summer shower, but I wouldn't go there for a good shelter. I've flipped a ground sheet over me when cowboy camping and it started to rain in the middle of the night. It was weak.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
cheap and durable on 03/04/2014 07:16:39 MST Print View

I think I asked him if he ever would make an XL version but the answer in the negative.

Mostly this tarp/poncho will be used for the summer time, short trips and urban hiking/camping. I do have a Moment and will be using that into the future for long slogs.

I am mostly looking for more cheap and durable. Something to really try out rather than the cheap and thin PVC ones. Preferably something that is PU nylon. I would like to keep it to around 12oz and $30 if possible.