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Rain Poncho

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Rain Poncho
May 23, 2018 01:48PM
I was wondering if anyone has had experience using a rain poncho in place of a rain jacket & pack cover (I'll still carry my rain pants)? Most of my Sierra trips are in late summer/early fall where big storms aren't a huge issue, but those pesky afternoon storms are.
I'm leaning against the cheap plastic disposable ones (just not durable enough). I have seen decent reviews on this one Terra Hiker Rain Poncho
I know in windy conditions, they aren't ideal, but since most afternoon storms pass by quickly, I think I can live with that.
I'm not going to use it for a ground cloth, or any other multi-use options. The ultra lightweight ones are just too expensive.
Is there any reason I should stick with the rain jacket/pack cover?
Thanks for any insight anyone may have.
avatar Re: Rain Poncho
May 23, 2018 02:40PM
I use a rain poncho (a "cape" actually, the Six Moon Designs Gatewood, it's basically a poncho with arm holes). It can allow more ventilation than a rain jacket typically can, and it saves the weight of a pack cover. For a place like the Sierra where storms are often brief I think it works well (but would not be the best choice for a place like the Olympics). It can be billowy, if too much I just tie a length of guy line around my waist to tame it a bit, but even so it can get caught on branches and such.

I'll add that I also use a trekking umbrella, and that with a water resistant wind shirt usually handles brief or light rain.

I'm not familiar with the one you're looking at, looking at the online description there are two things I would be concerned with:
  • It does not have a front zipper to allow you to regulate ventilation (mine has a 2-way that I can unzip from the neck down and/or the bottom up), so you could get hot and clammy from the inside.
  • Hood fit is hard to gauge from a photo. It's clear that there's no built-in bill, you want to be able to cinch the hood comfortably around your face while wearing a billed cap underneath to help keep the rain off your face.
Having said that...it's cheap, it gets 4.4 stars on Amazon with only 4% giving 1 star, you can't go too wrong giving it a try. If it doesn't work out for backpacking you can always keep it in your vehicle for just-in-case situations.

- Billy Joel
Re: Rain Poncho
May 23, 2018 03:52PM
Much like Frogg Toggs - light and disposable. Respectfully, not a big fan of rain-hiking under these cheapo-type ponchos...too soon makes me clammy.
IMHO, just from past experience now, looks like it would work OK as a rain shield around camp - fishing, but if worn w/ a backpack hiking, (BTW, a bit heavy - 9 oz) - for something that will work once (...maybe twice) before failure.
Cheap enough though...still I would not rely or take along on any extended Sierra treks.
Re: Rain Poncho
May 23, 2018 04:01PM
Thanks for the info JR.
I have an umbrella as well (more for sun protection), I started using it last year and love it!

I like the idea of having something I can throw over me and my pack and keep going.

I'll probably go with the less expensive non-plastic type for the first trip and see how it goes. Like you said, worst case, I have a spare poncho.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/23/2018 04:02PM by hulkman75.
Re: Rain Poncho
May 30, 2018 04:19PM
I used a poncho a few times, but enough “light” forecast storms had winds strong enough to beat me up with flapping bits of material, poor coverage and tedious. A light plastic poncho was shredded during one hike locally (Friend was wearing) won’t do myself.

Loved my O2 rainwear jacket, like Frog Toggs, but lighter. Frog Toggs are great, if a bit bulky.

But now umbrella, OR Helium II rain jacket and pants and Etowah gear bright orange pack cover, REI event mitts. Combination works for all day rain or mix and match for lighter conditions. I’ll switch to an event jacket (and sometimes pants) for known hard exertion with all day wet/snow in forecast. No matter what weather is like, that insanely bright pack cover goes with each of us.

We were involved in a rescue op last summer and we put my pack cover on a tree on the granite slope. Helped those in heli pinpoint our location right away. Not into the stealth colors for safety gear!

Have fun and be smart out there!
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