View Full Version : Poncho Tarp?

10-29-2018, 22:20
I have been using frog toggs rain wear but my current set is starting to get tattered so I am deciding if I should get another set.

Frogg toggs are always hot for me at least down to low 40's. Have not had the opportunity to wear them in colder rain. They do provide good wind protection so that is a plus I have been using them along with one or 2 long sleeve shirts when windy and stay warm.

so would a tarp poncho provide as good of wind protection and rain protection? Can you button them down enough to stay warm in cold wet wind? I think in warmer conditions they would provide better ventilation than frog toggs.

I also like the idea of a spare tarp you could easily set up for cooking on warmer day when you don't need to wear it.

Would they be good at replacing my frogg toggs and provide other benefits?

What would you recommend? if you like them instead of a rain jacket?

PS I am big guy, but only 5-10 if that affects how they would work. Size XL in the Frogg Toggs.

Time Zone
10-29-2018, 22:52
I would think a poncho tarp would be good in warmer rain due to venting. Some people caution that wind can make them fly about and therefore are useless, but it's pretty easy to create a little strap to go around your waist and make it like a tunic. You might even be able to clip the corners (bottom of the "dress") to keep them even more battened down. Yet they should still vent well, comparatively. And it covers your pack - even better than a pack cover, since water won't wick down the straps.

Colder rain than low 40s is pretty darn cold for being out in rain. Frogg Toggs would work well in cold rain? I've heard they're fairly flimsy and might be shredded on overgrown trails. I have a good rain jacket, but no "hardshell" rain pants.

10-30-2018, 03:33
Ponchos are horrible for rain in wind but it helps if you can tuck it around you. After a very miserable wet two hours in the Winds I went the other direction and bought a rain suit. As someone who suffers from the cold very easily I was almost hypothermic after 2 hours....had the group, and myself, a little worried. Ponchos are great for light showers in warmer temperatures but they aren't great for extended cold rain. Even with a rain suit I will continue to carry a poncho as my dogs can fit under it, it adds extra protection for me and keeps my pack covered. It might be overkill for some but I'd rather carry that extra 5oz.

10-30-2018, 08:01
I use a cagoule. It’s like a loooong jacket that’s quite loose. Because it’s loose, it’s cooler, but because it’s got the jacket shape, it doesn’t blow around in the wind.

10-30-2018, 09:58
Are some of the wind issues a result of lightweight fabrics?

Perhaps something between ultralight silnylon and heavy USGI poncho?

Leo L.
10-30-2018, 10:48
I have two Exped ponchos, one is plein square with a slit&hood in the center and buttons all around and some more buttons to be able to shorten the front end for going steep uphill. Fabric is light, but not superlight. Love this poncho, but it does fit over a small to medium pack only.
The other poncho is superlight and has a big hump tailored in so it would fit over a big pack. Can't use this Poncho as a tarp that easy, maybe as a leanto-style single person shelter it would fit. Fabric is very thin and I'm always afraid it would tear and break it I step on it.
Both ponchos are just perfect for hiking in rain (given you add rain chaps or trousers). Its my preferred rain protection for hiking.
You can always tie down the poncho around the waist and button together front&back in the inseam.
Only in heavy wind it would fail.

10-30-2018, 11:16
I just bought a Snug Pak patrol poncho to replace my Marmot Precip rain jacket, Rain kilt, ground cloth and pack cover. reduced my pack weight by over 5 ounces. Haven't been out with it yet, but have tried it on while wearing my pack. I didn't think it was difficult to get on. I found that the rain jacket was one of my least used piece of gear and didn't really serve a second purpose. It was too warm to walk in and I prefer my down jacket when I stop.

The Poncho seems fairly robust. Planning to get out in a couple weeks to test it out.

Leo L.
10-30-2018, 11:33
One thing to add:
After having used the 2nd poncho several times, I discovered that I can use it a bit Packa-style: When the rain ceases, I pull the front part over my head and store it in the gap between pack and shoulders. When the rain picks up again, its easy&simple to pull the front piece over my head and into place again.
This baiscally solved one of the biggest problems I found when hiking here around, where rain typically is on&off all day, so you never know if the next drizzle will be worth putting on the full rain gear.
Much easier with the poncho than with a rain jacket.

10-30-2018, 14:29
… to replace my Marmot Precip rain jacket, Rain kilt, ground cloth and pack cover.

This was what I was thinking of, but I am thinking of being out early on the AT where it can rain all day and be cold so staying warm is very important even if you are wet. So maybe need to keep some sort of jacket/pants early in the year and switch to poncho later in warmer weather.

10-30-2018, 15:50
I much prefer a poncho in warmer weather: I think it's lighter and more versatile. In a light rain you can open the sides and let it breath a bit more and in an on-again/off-again rain I can quickly throw it back over my pack like a cape and pull it back down as necessary. It's also a more multi-functional piece of gear in bad weather.

That being said, dryness is a myth on the AT in an extended rain. When it rains for 4 or 5 days straight you're going to get soaked one way or another. Rain gear just keeps the cold water off of you so you don't get hypothermia.

10-30-2018, 19:54
I use ponchos as my raingear almost exclusively (except when doing lots of high-angle climbing type stuff). I have a closet full of both inexpensive and high-end raingear that I've collected over the years and rarely use.

I use my poncho as my raingear of choice all year round.


If it's windy, tie it around your waist. If it's cold, put on some insulating layers. Ponchos don't do a good job of keeping your lower arms and legs dry, so you may occasionally want sleeves and/or leggings/chaps to cover those exposed areas for extended cold wet excursions.

My poncho is my go-to summer shelter and my year-round raingear and emergency shelter. I primarily use my current version of the green poncho you see in the above picture, which is the Sea To Summit Ultrasil poncho-tarp. Super crazy light. Shockingly durraby in that I've done a surprisingly significant amount of bushwhacking in it with not apparent damage as it seems to slide off of all the brambles and branches instead of snagging.

As of tomorrow, my so will be finishing the PCT. I gave him my S2S poncho about half way through his trip to replace his tent and failing Frogg-Toggs equivalent rain jacket. As he got into Washington, he had me sent his tent back to him and his Marmot Precip Jacket as the rains hit pretty hard and his arms were getting cold. After getting his care package, he was thrilled to have a tent to sleep and pack up in again during the extended rains, but his rain jacket was a complete disaster. He finished the hike, in cold rain carrying his rain jacket in his pack and using the poncho as raingear.

From comments on this site, it is obvious that ponchos aren't for everyone. But, for many of us, they are, by far, the best imperfect compromise available. I love my ponchos!

10-30-2018, 20:35
Which S2S Ultra Sil ponho tarp is that. is it the nano, or regular nylon tarp?

10-30-2018, 23:00
Every time I decide to give using a poncho one more try I end up regretting that decision. They just don't work for me or I can't get them to work for me. Either way I give up. For the summer when you just need to hide under one for the duration of a thunderstorm, fine. But for the spring and fall rainy season, I do much better with a real rain jacket.

10-31-2018, 20:37
Anyone have a good solution to wet forearms when using a poncho?

10-31-2018, 21:04
Anyone have a good solution to wet forearms when using a poncho?

Good Question. I was thinking about this. I could probably cut off the sleeves of my old frogg togg jacket and perhaps add some elastic at the top. The cuff already has elastic..

I used to use bread bags or newspaper bags to keep my hands warm in the rain until I bought some event mittens. I suspect they might work to if you could add an elastic band. I would think someone may sell something, but I did not locate anything in a google search.

10-31-2018, 21:09
The Snug Pak patrol poncho has sleeves, even has thumb loops.

10-31-2018, 21:27
Anyone have a good solution to wet forearms when using a poncho?
Cut off your FroggTogg sleeves and slide the cuff up over your upper arm and let the wrist part be open.
Cut the sleeves off one of those cheap Tyvek suits and do the same.
Elastic at the wrists and the upper arm make for a sweaty sleeve unless it is somehow breathable. You could probably also connect a string or ribbon to the top of a pair of cut off sleeves and let the string go over your shoulders between the tops of the sleeves to hold them up (like little kids' mittens) so they would vent upward and keep the elastic on your wrist?

Or, just let your lower arms get wet and cold. That's what I do most of the time and it works out just fine . . . most of the time.

11-02-2018, 10:12
I use a regular tarp a lot for shelter and having full rain gear is insurance if the weather is particularly sidewise. Gear forms a system which you are thinking about considering your thoughts on having a supplemental shelter and your raingear as a wind barrier. Your idea is to trade out wind protection for the extra shelter. Spring and fall that might become an issue for you.

Consider a wind shirt perhaps. I am a fan of these. I like them for end of the day hiking periods when the temperature drops and the wind picks up. Some have water repellent, although not the same level in general as regular rain gear. Maybe that and rain chaps would work although I've never used chaps. Depends on how much heat you generate while hiking.

Time Zone
11-02-2018, 13:08
Which S2S Ultra Sil ponho tarp is that. is it the nano, or regular nylon tarp?
I am pretty sure that:

If it's ultra sil, it is by definition the Nano. The nylon one isn't called ultra sil, nor made with silicone. It's PU-coated.


11-02-2018, 17:27
I am pretty sure that:

If it's ultra sil, it is by definition the Nano. The nylon one isn't called ultra sil, nor made with silicone. It's PU-coated.


Thanks, that's what I figured out. Wishful thinking it might be the lower priced one. You link was helpful as I did not notice there were 2 nanos. A poncho one and a tarp poncho one. thanks for the link or might have ordered the non-tarp one by accident.

11-02-2018, 22:16
Which S2S Ultra Sil ponho tarp is that. is it the nano, or regular nylon tarp?
This one. (https://seatosummitusa.com/collections/camping-tarps-shelters/products/ultra-sil-nano-tarp-poncho) Yeah, it looks like they're calling it the Ultra-Sil Nano Tarp Poncho now. Yes, it is kinda stupid expensive. But it also rocks, at least for me. You could always get the less expensive urethane coated nylon one. It would work just as well, but weigh a bit more and maybe bit a bit less slippery when bushwhacking?

Leo L.
11-03-2018, 04:46
Both my Exped ponchos are Silnylon, and one issue I have is, when wet it takes forever to really dry completely. I shake it out but only manage the water pearls all over the silicon surface to become smaller and smaller, but I never can shake them off completely. Back from a rainy hike I hang the poncho in my office for two days until ist ready to be stored away for good.

With regards to cold arms, I can button-up the side slit of the poncho by this keeping the arms and hands completely inside. As long as the shirt/jacket sleeves are still reasonably dry (which is difficult to impossible for a longer rain period, unfortunately) its easy to keep the hands warm, as long as there is sufficient body heat at all.