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  1. #1
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    Default Rain Gear or Poncho?

    I'm trying to decide if I should stay with my nylon rip-stop poncho or switch to a jacket and paints for my SOBO. To me they are both a pain in the but. Any opinions as to witch setup to go with? I have a nice Army gortex rain jacket that takes a liner, but it's heavy. If I go with rain rear will frog toggs hold up the hole AT?

  2. #2
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    My personal and strong preference is a poncho. Don't forget to keep some guy line or other cord around to tie it around your waist if the wind gets out of hand.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  3. #3
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    Poncho is more versatile, but can be unruly. If you go the jacket route, I would suggest looking at rain kilts as an option instead of pants.

    Iíve been debating the same thing. A poncho will cover your pack as well as you, provides better ventilation, and can be used as a makeshift tarp on the go if you want to stop for a break. But, they can be difficult to manage and in colder weather donít provide the heat retention of pants and jacket.


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  4. #4
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    I would go with the rain jacket. You can put it on as a wind break or a warmth layer. It makes a better pillow than the poncho. Besides, You look funny sitting in the local "wash and suds" with nothing on but the poncho.

  5. #5
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I use a Frogg Toggs jacket. I don't care how long it lasts - I can replace it for $20 at Walmart. I use a cover for my pack. And yes, I'm one of those weirdos that carries an umbrella all the time - I wouldn't think of hitting the trail without it. I've never worn the good rain pants I bought years ago, so now they stay home, but I'd still pack them for New Hampshire and Maine, or for February/March if starting a NOBO thru hike.

    With this setup, I've been reasonably comfortable in some unreasonably nasty weather. I am going to try a kilt this summer, but I suspect it might go the way of the rain pants.

  6. #6
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    Ill be taking a poncho. It came with the twnt a fellow wb'er gifted me.

  7. #7
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    I’m using a milspec poncho, which I also use as a ground sheet, and like for the versatility. I hate the fact that it’s 1.5lbs, and am looking at the ZPacks and Luke’s Ultralight as other options. Which poncho are you using?
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  8. #8

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    A good jacket has the added benefit of being a wind blocker and can also warm you up if you wear periodically when hiking, reducing need to carry a puffy if temps aren't that cold.
    Marmot precious jacket can be found relatively cheap, not as light as other choices but I'm sure much lighter than your Army jacket.
    Don't need rain pants, fast drying running shorts will do the trick. If you really want something look into a rain kilt


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  9. #9
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    I am switching between a Fox poncho (9oz) and my Army gortex (2-3lbs?) for now. the gortex has to go. It's to heavy and hot, even with pits unzipped in 20deg. weather with out the liner. I like the poncho but it's just so much of a pain with a pack.

  10. #10

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    Very much open to personal preferences, but mine is to use a poncho when its warm and rain jacket and pants when its cold.
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  11. #11
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    While all my rain jackets failed miserabely, I switched to poncho and chaps and am happy with this.
    The extra bonus', like, being an emergency shelter, and protecting the pack, are very welcome too.

  12. #12
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    If it's cold, you'll really benefit from the protection from exposure a full rain suit supplies. If it's warm, you're going to get wet anyway from rain or sweat so wear whatever you want.

  13. #13
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    I curse ponchos.

  14. #14

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    The trail in New England is often overgrown and a poncho is prone to snagging on branches and brush sticking out into the trail. Above tree line a poncho turns into a sail. Yes, there are ways to deal with this, but it's a pain. Since I hike in VT/NH/ME a lot, the jacket is my default rain gear.

    Ponchos do have their place. I find them most useful in the summer when you usually just need protection from a passing T-storm. So for me, it's jacket in the spring and fall, poncho for the summer. If it has to be just one or the other the whole way, I'd go with the jacket.
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  15. #15

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    Probably the most frustrating gear choice of all. If the temps are in the low 40's or lower, you might want jacket and pants, frog togs are fine, and cheap if they need replaced. Once issue with ponchos in colder weather is that most of them don't go much further than your elbow. Any long sleeve shirt that extends below it will get rained on and the wetness will creep up your arm. It can chill you pretty quickly. I switched from a rain suit to a poncho too early and had a mild hypothermic experience. Bought some frog togs at the next outfitter.

    For warmer temps a poncho usually does fine. I never had to deal with heavy rain/wind above tree line in NH or ME, so I can't recommend either for that. I have never used a Packa, but they look like they are a pretty good combination.

    Like I said, there is no great solution for this one.

  16. #16
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    Sure it depends a lot on the specific circumstances, and ends up being a personal choice.

    Regarding the sleeves, most of the time I button-up the sides of the pocho, hiding my arms inside, maybe stucking the hands in the trousers pockets for additional warmth.
    Usually when its raining here in the Alps the temps drop a lot and I apprecciate any additional warmth.

    I own two Ponchos, one straight-flat rectangular shaped with a hood in the center, and one more body-shaped sack with a hump for the pack.
    The one with the hump I can use Packa-style, throwing the Poncho off and on as changing weather demands.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    The trail in New England is often overgrown and a poncho is prone to snagging on branches and brush sticking out into the trail. . . Since I hike in VT/NH/ME a lot, the jacket is my default rain gear.
    Ponchos do have their place. I find them most useful in the summer when you usually just need protection from a passing T-storm. So for me, it's jacket in the spring and fall, poncho for the summer. If it has to be just one or the other the whole way, I'd go with the jacket.
    This all makes so much sense, except that I've done quite a bit of full on bushwhacking while wearing my Sea-to-summit ultrasil poncho and I would think it would snag a bunch, but it doesn't!! The darn thing slides right off the brush and branches I'm pushing through without even getting shredded, which it the other thing I would think it would do when bushwhacking.

    As for winter vs. summer, I use a wind shirt to cut the wind which is much lighter than a raincoat and breaths much better. But, most importantly, the winter is when getting sweaty is the biggest problem and thus where the poncho becomes most important in keeping me adequately dry in those cold and wet conditions just above and below freezing. When it's well below freezing, I have no need of rain-gear of any kind because everything is dry. I just need outer layers that shed snow . . . like a wind shirt and NOT a raincoat under which I will build up excess moisture even if it is "breathable".

    Nelson & Phil with ponchos on skis.jpg
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  18. #18
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    I like jacket and umbrella. Wind sucks for an umbrella obviously, but it makes standing around waiting for a shower to pass more tolerable, you can use it to cover your pack if you are setting up or taking down, and sometimes comes in handy as a sun shade. In the summer when walking through on and off showers an umbrella can't be beat, I think.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bumpy View Post
    I like jacket and umbrella. . .
    Umbrellas also provide a dry space under which to look at a map or cell phone or GPS, or build a fire or eat some food.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  20. #20

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    I sweat bad.. makes no difference putting on rain gear..

    Just cut up an old tarp for a skirt and part ground sheet.
    If I have time, with the rest... i might make a bag cover.

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