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  1. #1
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    Default What is the Best Poncho available?

    I am leaving on the 8th of March from Springer and was wondering what is the best poncho available for the thru hike? I am under the impression from what I've read on Whiteblaze that the best option in a heavy down pour on the trail is to just pull over under some trees if possible and squat down under a poncho until it all blows over. Any opinions?

  2. #2
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Well in my opinion there is no such thing as "the best" on anything. It depends on your hiking style and what you want the gear to do. Personally I could not see sitting under a poncho waiting for the rain to let up. I can remember days where that could mean hours sitting there.

    For me the best option is not a poncho but a packa and rain pants. Keep walking in the rain.
    Last edited by SGT Rock; 02-28-2009 at 15:45.
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    In the summer here in the southern apps, I like to use a poncho and the pullover-until-it-stops technique since most rain comes in short, intense showers. But starting as early as you are, I think I'd use a Packa like Sarge, or a conventional rain jacket for those all day, cold rains. Good luck on your upcoming adventure!

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    I have a Sea-to-Summit Poncho/Tarp dealie. When it starts raining in the NC Apps in the summer, I know that means that it is a short, but heavy burst. I pull my camp chair from my pack during the pre-dump calm (you know, that time when it is too still and quiet but the air smells of rain) and plop down on it, off the trail. I pull my pack under the extensive poncho fabric (because if you are sitting there is a lot of extra) and having now become a blue-pyramid-with-a-face will watch the storm or will pull out a book and read in my lap by looking down the poncho's neck hole.

    This was all to say: Sea-to-Summit makes a good product. Though in a pinch I've also used a camo army surplus GI poncho, too. Though the latter is much heavier.

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    I have tried a few, they all seemed to be more trouble then what they were worth. i found it better to put on shorts, flip flops and just hike.

    Sea-to-Summit would be one of the nicer ones if you want to go that route.

  6. #6
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    I use a gortex poncho, but I don't stop. I continue to hike. I like the poncho because it's versatile. The first one I had was long enough to cover my pack, or you could snap it up when you didn't need the extra lentgh.

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    I bought one on Campmoor. If you want you can spend a lot of money for one. My attitude was why use a gold hammer to drive in a nail?
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  8. #8

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    Here's the best design I've seen, especially if you want to use the poncho as an "A-frame" tarp. The ridgeline is catenary cut for less flapping in wind, and the hood is a unique design which is more waterproof than the traditional poncho with a round hood hole (I have one which Mountain Laurel Designs made for me to my specs, but mine is a flat tarp which is 9.5x5 feet with the round hood hole).
    http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com...a2140439335a92
    In a heavy downpour you can tuck the back corners of your poncho up under your pack belt and run like crazy for shelter. In wind it's best if you have a strap, bungee cord or rope to tie around your waist to minimize flapping. If your poncho is custom made, you can have extra snaps put on the sides to keep rain from blowing in the sides. Talk to Ron at Mountain Laurel Designs. He can make you EXACTLY what you need. Next poncho for me will probably be a small catenary spinnaker tarp (like his grace 1.5) with a hood sewn into the ridgeline. My poncho is a bit too narrow, though I like the 9.5 ft. length.
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    Registered User 2Questions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Rock
    For me the best option is not a poncho but a packa and rain pants. Keep walking in the rain.
    Well said. Walking in the rain can be fun when you can manage where your getting wet. The Packa helps that alot.

    http://www.thepacka.com/
    Last edited by HikerRanky; 03-01-2009 at 08:41.

  10. #10
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    Campmor has an outstanding and affordable poncho that will not only cover you, but also your backpack. It costs around $30.00, while the packa is over $100.00 (at least that is what their webpage suggests). Also, a ponco has many uses outside of just rain protection and the Campmor is very lightweight. I like to carry the Campmor poncho with me and especially if the weather is mild-cold and rain is expected.
    "I told my Ma's and Pa's I was coming to them mountains and they acted as if they was gutshot. Ma, I sez's, them mountains is the marrow of the world and by God, I was right". Del Gue

  11. #11
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    If you're a hammock hanger, the Driducks poncho with the JRB mods is a pretty nice piece of dual-use gear.

  12. #12
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    I bought the sea to summit poncho that covers your backpack under it. I added beltloops onto it so it wouldn't fly up when the wind was blowing.

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    Let's not forget the Gatewood Cape, also. Got it for Christmas and just finished seam sealing it today. Can't wait to try it out in warmer weather.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daddytwosticks View Post
    Let's not forget the Gatewood Cape, also. Got it for Christmas and just finished seam sealing it today. Can't wait to try it out in warmer weather.
    the cape works good - i was out this morning and afternoon in sleet and I liked it as well as my packa.

    juma

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    A couple of things to consider about ponchos.

    If you are on a bald or above treeline and it is very windy, the poncho will be flapping crazily. You'll need to secure it some way as Tinker mentioned. Also, it is near impossible (it is very difficult) to put it on while exposed as such until you find something to block the wind.

    If you are climbing a steep incline, you'll be stepping on the front of the poncho. So, again, you'll need to secure it some way.

    See you on the trail,
    mt squid

  16. #16
    Registered User GGS2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SGT Rock View Post
    ... Keep walking in the rain.
    Good move. I use a poncho for ventilation, and I still get wet. I have an old one which works like a packa. It has snaps up and down the sides to close it during wind, and it's long in the leg. Needs a belt to keep the flapping down in wind.

    Only problem is PUDs in the rain on a clay slope. That just sucks. We have a bunch of steep trails on clay slopes up here and I always end up on my butt, covered in ooze. And soaked through.

    Last word: It rains, you get wet. Live with it. Worst season for this is Spring/Fall with temps near freezing. That's when you have to take shelter, or wear real rain gear and go slow, or wear wool and dry out in camp.

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