How many use a poncho for their rain gear and shelter

Discussion in 'Shelter' started by FlapjackE, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. FlapjackE

    FlapjackE Tinder Gatherer

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    Trying to get an idea how many people on here are what I like to call "poncho advocates". I personally am one, being from the Pacific "North-wet". I've tried all manner of rain gear, from goretex, to new fangled lightweight space age waterproof/breathable gear. In my experience, with the amount of rain we see up here on the left coast, all of it is about as effective as a cotton T shirt. My experience has been that nothing is as waterproof as good ol fashioned rubber.

    In comes the poncho. Typically rubberized and highly waterproof, yet not plagued by breathability issues because of its open, man-dress design. And the best part is, it will also cover your pack and any gear you happen to carry on your body. Then there's the multi-use factor.

    When I was in the military I spent many a comfy night in a poncho hooch, in numerous configurations. When it was dry you could use it as a ranger roll (folded in half with a poncho liner/blanket, then laid on the ground to act as a ground cloth/top sheet)

    Because of my love for ponchos, I'm in the process of a DIY project where I'm making a poncho from the ground up with my typical uses in mind, adding a stove jack into it so it can also be used with a packable stove in a hooch configuration (stoves like the lite outdoors, ti goat, or Kifaru smith cylinder stove)

    I'm a mountain hunter and typically hunt from a base camp, but like to be prepared to stay out wherever I may find myself when the sun comes down. Carrying everything you need to be comfy while scrambling around steep mountains chasing elk all day is just not a reality. So because if that I typically only carry the basic essentials for survival, as in: "the bare minimum to not die". Because of this a poncho set up for me is perfect. It's rain gear if I get caught in some foul weather, and a shelter if I need to stay out. I'm thinking with a stove jack and an ultralight stove it could be the "comfort factor" I've been missing.

    Sorry for the novel I just wrote, just looking for opinions, ideas, anecdotes, etc
     
  2. Ranger99

    Ranger99 Tracker

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    jmho- once you step into the realm of stoves, you might as well
    go ahead and get a miner's tent or small wall tent to utilize the
    heat properly and get the benefit of humping the weight of the
    stove, and being able to properly use it to cook, keeping it
    stoked, the extra weight and bulk of the pipe, spark arrestor, etc.
    i like the ability to roll up the poncho/liner into a small roll and
    being able to roll it out and use it as is for a quick bedroll/ shelter.
    past that there are other products better suited to the job
     
  3. FlapjackE

    FlapjackE Tinder Gatherer

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    While I agree with that assessment generally, the Kifaru cylinder stove with pipe weighs in at 1 lb, 6.4 oz.

    In a poncho hooch you definitely lose some heat retention and whatnot, but it would sure add a lot of comfort to a hooch in an unexpected night out. At a little over 1 lb, and the small package that stove folds up into, it's not much added weight
     
  4. justinspicher

    justinspicher Scout

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    My GoLite poncho is always with me on any of my outings. In this picture I'm using for an overnight trip during work. It rained for about four hours at night and I slept soundly and stayed nice and dry. IMG_1071.JPG
     
  5. FlapjackE

    FlapjackE Tinder Gatherer

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    Looks like you work forest fires? Any job that had me in the woods would be a dream job.

    But that would be a perfect example of why I'm a poncho advocate. You have to carry minimal gear because of what you are doing in the woods. Unlike someone going backpacking or "camping" or bushcrafting, where you're whole reason for being out there is to camp/set up camp. You're doing a physically demanding job that already requires you to carry other equipment, so carrying a whole comfy overnight setup is out of the question. This is where a poncho makes percent sense. You're already loaded down with gear that isn't generally helpful for overnight survival/comfort, so carrying a typical backpacking/bushcrafting load is not an option.
     
  6. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    I always carry my German Army poncho same as the USGI poncho only heavier at 2 lbs.2 oz. because of tough rubberized fabric and better grommets/tie straps. In warm months it doubles as a sun/rain tarp for an unplanned over night or rainy day camp and in cool season/winter can be used as a worn poncho emergency shelter with palmer furnace (candle lantern) under for an uncomfortable/sleepless but survivable day or overnight. It's also my canoeing and fishing raingear
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  7. FlapjackE

    FlapjackE Tinder Gatherer

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    The particular setup I'm thinking about where an ultralight stove would be nice is where one corner of the poncho is tied to a tree about waist high. Then one side corner and the opposing end is staked out. This makes a sort of half teepee, diamond sort of shape where the tree acts to close the end opening. So then the opposing side corner is left unstaked for your door. It's my favorite setup and I think a stove could work in that. Especially if the poncho is a bit oversized.
     
  8. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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  9. Todd1hd

    Todd1hd Supporter Supporter

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    The only issue I have ever had using a poncho as all in one raingear and shelter is if you happen to pull into camp in a downpour you can't set your shelter up if you are wearing it and if you take it off to set it up as your shelter you get soaked. I use and like a poncho when I hike, bike, canoe, or backpack, but as raingear only and usually use a tarp for shelter.
     
  10. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    This is definitely an acquired skill... In the Army, I learned to do it using 4x18" bungi cords, one in each corner... you hook them up to bushes while still wearing it, first finding a stick about 3'-4' long to use as a "center pole" up inside the hood, with a C-ration can, MRE bag, or bandana over the end to prevent it tearing though. If no stick was available, your ruck would work well enough. When the rain let up, you'd tie the hood off properly and string it up to an overhead branch/bent-over sapling to create enough room underneath.
     
  11. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I carry a silnylon poncho. 5x8 at 10oz.
    It does multiple tasks, packs, and carries well.

    I do have a Kifaru Paratarp
    It packs only slightly bigger. Think 16oz can vs 12oz can.
    There is a bunch more room, sealed better against drafts, and weighing only a few (2-3) oz more. With that I do need to cut two branches for poles and carry pegs. I do not feel like cutting 12 or so stakes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  12. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce Supporter Supporter

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    I have a silnylon poncho, but I've never slept under it.
    I have used it as a rain shelter a couple of time, sitting under it to wait out a storm.
    I like a poncho for the air flow while wearing it, but I don't often walk trails, and it's thick around here. So I tend to get frustrated when it snags and tangles. But I would imagine a with a heavy rubberized poncho that would be less of an issue.

    I don't know if it's a valid concern, but I would like to wear it in my canoe. But I don't if I'm paddling rapids or fast current. It just seems like it would be damn scary to end up swimming with one on. Although I suppose a baggy rain suit would be only slightly less scary.

    So I guess I'm in the "ponchos are just ok" camp.
    Mine is handy to carry, but I don't really wanna have to use it. It's sort of better than a rain suit, not as nice a tarp. But the easy to carry part wins out in the end. I don't think I would be willing to carry a full blown rubberized version though. But I've never tried, so......
    And a planned overnight it's just to small, if a real rain occurs, and too damn many mosquitoes most of the summer.
     
  13. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've had my USGI and my BCUSA ponchos out in some pretty thick brush, and they both shed brush pretty well without hanging up too badly, unless it's prickly stuff like greenbriar or raspberries.
     
  14. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    My BCUSA poncho is my woods raingear and my emergency raingear in my edc bag.

    I haven't slept under it yet, I'm a hammock guy and I use a tarp for that. I do plan on using it for a few of my Bushclass outings.
     
  15. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I'll add that most people (including myself) are fair weather campers.
    With that being said a poncho is the way to go to reduce weight and bulk.

    When fair weather camping you really do not need a shelter. If needed though a poncho can reduce bulk and weight. Making it lighter and you more apt to carry some sort of protection on clear days rather than dismissing it.

    When clear weather camping most people only spend time in their shelter when sleeping.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  16. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    a poncho/tarp can greatly reduce weight/volume as a combo shelter/rain gear; if I know it's going to be crappy weather I choose a different shelter and different rain gear, but I've survived several nights of intermittent rain w/ the poncho/tarp- I almost always combine the poncho/tarp with a lightweight bivy

    it's something that I would encourage anyone who gets one to familiarize yourself thoroughly with in the backyard in regards to pitching options

    ponchotarp.jpg
     
  17. justinspicher

    justinspicher Scout

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    This one is big enough for four people to sleep under. It's built by Kammok and designed to go over a hammock. Worked pretty well, collapses and stuffs into a sack about the size of a peewee football. IMG_1072.JPG
     
  18. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    How does that work as a poncho? do the sides fold up on themselves? and is the head hole on the far side where we can't see it?
     
  19. akbound

    akbound Guide

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    Over 20+ years in Infantry I spent many hours at night with nothing more than a poncho sitting in holes, winter, spring, summer and fall, in all kinds of conditions. I became very familiar with them! :3: When there was time, and conditions warranted we could set-up camp and shelter half/poncho hooches would go up and sleeping gear would come out. But ponchos were nearly always carried and used as rain gear, shelters, and additional layering in cold weather if that was all that was at hand.

    So I like, carry and still use a poncho for it's amazing versatility! :)
     
  20. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Supporter Supporter

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    Haven't tried a poncho as a primary option but I bet it could make a great option to my day-pack. Might even be a good option for light and fast overnight trips.
     
  21. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    I got use to using a poncho working on boats, especially during the winter and adverse weather conditions ,easy to store and to deploy and hide in as well .
    In Search and rescue it was a part of my gear I never left with out.
    Mine is an old WWII or later but tough as nails .
    Also have a few liners too, sill intact .
     
  22. windowman100

    windowman100 Scout

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    I keep Gi poncho in my go bag. It's a good way to keep you and your gear dry. Haven't slept under it, but it would sure do a great job if that's all you had.
     
  23. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I just got a BCUSA poncho and it would work as a minimal shelter if need be. It'll go out with me for sure but I wouldn't want to have to use it as my primary shelter. Not that I don't think it would do an excellent job but it's just right on the edge of being too small for my comfort level. A slightly larger tarp, say 7X10 used with the poncho and a Woobie would be more my style.
    That being said, I will be experimenting with a few different pitches and some overnighters just to familiarize myself with its capabilities.
    This is a really interesting thread. I'll keep my eye on it.
     
  24. justinspicher

    justinspicher Scout

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    As a poncho it won't work, there's no hole for your head. Now that I re-read the post, it doesn't belong here.
     
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  25. Moe M.

    Moe M. Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I usually carry a MEST in my day bag for temporary shelter from sun and unexpected rain storms, but if the weather look iffy for rain I'll swap out my MEST with a BCUSA poncho that I can use as a rain cover or a tarp, both a invaluable pieces of kit in my opinion.
     
  26. reppans

    reppans Scout

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    I use a Gatewood Cape, which is more of a floorless mid tent that doubles as a rain poncho/cape. I actually EDC it (sans inner NetTent) 2/3rds of the year since it triples as a [vapor barrier] 'down vest.'

    On a minimalist bike tour
     
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  27. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    ^ a buddy of mine used a Gatewood this year on the Bob Marshall Open- neat little shelter :)
     
  28. bosque bob

    bosque bob Scout

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    Like others, I was introduced to the poncho in the military. Used one a lot then and still do. Maybe the most versatile bit of kit going when folks get creative. A good poncho combined with a favorite walking staff is a camp on the go if necessary.
     
  29. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks for the reminder on the Gatewood cape, ordered one with the serenity net tent this morning. So you use the cape as a makeshift wind shirt over your fluffy down layer? If so that would be perfect as I can take the hooded wind-shirt out of my EDC bag. Thinking the Gatewood with net tent will be a good replacement for my Tarptent contrail and the gatewood has much more value vs weight due to the poncho design. Then there is the double wall concept to eliminate / reduce condensation, have you had issues with condensation either when wearing as a poncho or set up as tent in a humid environment? I know all ponchos build heat and moisture but I am hopeful the double zipper helps reduce moister build up.
     
  30. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Bushmaster

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    nifty thread ...
     
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  31. reppans

    reppans Scout

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    As a poncho I need to belt the rear to contain all the extra fabric, but the front hangs open/loose and occasionally billowing/fanning the front moves the air to reduce the inner humidity - but as rain/wind 'clothing,' make no mistake, it is a compromise garment for the weight/bulk savings. For cold insulation I stuff the poncho into a shell or wind shirt (waist drawcord tightened) around my torso - the silnylon is rather springy and will 'loft' in to a sort of emergency down vest. Doesn't breath of course, but when I'm cold sweat is not really an issue for me - anyways, it's no worse than the vapor barrier concept.

    Yeah, the double wall works well when condensation is an issue, arguably better than a regular tent as you can vary the pitch heights of both fly and inner tent creating more space between the two layers, and more air flow/circulation. But to be honest, my favorite thing is the floorless pryamid design - the interior is freely modular between a double-walled tent and a giant vestibule. For example in the rain - setup/takedown inner nest under cover of the fly, fold back footprint for large cooking area, dig a latrine for morning #2, and leave your boots while on inside. It even makes unique doorless bug barrier - I now realize fixed floors/doors are better at keep me out, than the bugs out.
     
  32. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    depends on trip and conditions
    poncho is ok in some scenerios but its a compromise of weight/bulk/protection
    a dedicated rain suit is much better , but heavier and bulkier to carry
    poncho will leave your pants/socks soaking wet which adds to discomfort on a trip
    i have a poncho, 3/4 rain jacket , and full rain suit, use all 3 depending on the trip, each have their pro's and cons
     
  33. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks for the input, slept in the Gatewood Cape last weekend. Not bad but there was no rain. I like the size of the shelter and expect that there will be compromises with both uses. Still thinking due to the size / weight of this set up it will be a no brainer in the EDC pack. Best shelter is the one you have on hand as far as I am concerned.
     
  34. Gruntinhusaybah

    Gruntinhusaybah Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    That's a great shelter right there!

    Easiest way I've found to deal with this particular problem is to buy one of the $.99 guys at target, the gas station, wherever. They are perfect to wear as you set up camp and when nature eventually calls in the middle of the night while it's pouring rain.
     
  35. danpass

    danpass Tracker

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    I once slept under one of those thick, rubberized, Vietnam era ones, strung out at the four corners with a stick pushing up the hood lol.

    Boy Scout camp. I seem to remember the weather that day and night being mild, no rain.

    I have a Sea to Summit Nylon Tarp poncho that I've used only once, as a poncho. I tried to pitch it in the backyard one time and quickly discovered how narrow that 54in width can be lol.
     
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  36. longhunter

    longhunter Northman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I do as well I carry, wear and when needed shelter under my Old Grouch large poncho. It has never let me down.

    In deed !!
     
  37. Lazy J

    Lazy J Tracker

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    Always carry the poncho as my rain cover, as has already been said nothing beats it for covering you and your pack in humid conditions. I don't use it as my primary shelter but I carry four tent pegs and cordage specifically to set it up if needed.
     
  38. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    After seeing mention of the Gatewwood Cape I did some further investigation and ended up ordering it and the NetTent. I was looking for a replacement for my Marmot Eos 1 as the coating on the fly was breaking down and was offgassing a putrid vomit like smell, as well as getting sticky, too.
    The Six Moons setup looks like it will be a nice lighter weight alternative plus being multiuse.
     
  39. Bridgetdaddy

    Bridgetdaddy Guide

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    I love my military style poncho. I have slept MANY moons under it dry and happy.
     

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