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  1. #1
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    Default Rain Jacket vs Poncho

    Hey Guys,

    So I've got most of my gear for my 2013 thru-hike, but good rain gear is the one thing I'm missing. I was wondering what peoples opinions where on rain jacket vs poncho.

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    A rain jacket can make a decent wind shirt and add quite a bit of warmth. A poncho breathes better and can serve as a shelter or a supplement to a shelter. Neither does much to keep legs dry. With a poncho, I recommend getting one with tie out loops and snaps to close off to the side. A belt or rope can be nice to reduce flapping in the wind. A poncho can result in cold arms if trekking poles are used, so some sort of sleeves may be a good idea. I've been keeping tyvek sleeves in my kit lately. They're very light and only a couple bucks. I haven't used them yet though.

  3. #3

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    Either one works okay. Neither one works as well as I would like. Mostly I use a poncho, out of habit.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  4. #4
    Registered User Donde's Avatar
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    checkout the packa

  5. #5
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    I use a poncho in warmer weather, one that covers your pack as well so you don't need a pack cover, March-October. The benefit is weight savings, the ponch/tarp I have is an Equinox, weigs 9.6 oz. Winter time I use a Goretex Paclite jacket (16 oz) and will carry rain pants if it is really cold and wet, as much to keep the mud off me as to keep dry. The jacket is carried more as an additional layer than to keep me dry.

  6. #6

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    Poncho in warm weather - in wind, pull the back corners of your poncho up front and tuck them under your pack belt. This will prevent a lot of rain from getting blown in through the sides. You can also use a poncho as a groundsheet, but you risk poking holes in it which wouldn't help it shed rain .
    In cooler weather a rain jacket will keep you warmer. I used one earlier this week to hike in an all-day wet snow in Pa. By the end of the day the jacket had begun to soak up the rain (weak dwr from too much use) and it got very heavy. My next jacket will be a completely waterproof one with a lot of ventilation options. Jackets with membranes or "breathable" coatings don't deliver on performance vs. cost and weight.
    I had a particularly disappointing experience with Gore Pac-lite membrane. The stuff has so much polyurethane coating the inside of the membrane it hardly qualifies as breathable (LOTS of condensation with my limited cool weather use before I returned it). Try breathing through your fingers when they are held tightly together and you'll get an idea of what waterproof/breathable fabric and membrane technicians consider "breathable". Not worth it, imo.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

  7. #7

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    I hate ponchos. Thier such a pain to deal with. A jacket is so much easier and keeps you warmer in hypothermia weather like spring time 40 degree rain. If it's summer out, I've pretty much given up on wearing any rain shells. But then it's usually just a quick T-storm and your best just to hunker down with a tarp over your head for the duration. I use my tyvek ground cloth for that.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I hate ponchos. Thier such a pain to deal with. A jacket is so much easier and keeps you warmer in hypothermia weather like spring time 40 degree rain. If it's summer out, I've pretty much given up on wearing any rain shells. But then it's usually just a quick T-storm and your best just to hunker down with a tarp over your head for the duration. I use my tyvek ground cloth for that.
    Point well taken, and one I missed mentioning - in HOT weather it's better just to dress down to the minimum and get wet. Have a wind shell handy if a breeze kicks up and you'll have no trouble (unless you're on an exposed, extended ridgeline (such as the Franconia or Presidental ranges in NH).

    Your wet shorts, socks, and polyester shirt will dry quickly enough, probably with body heat, once you get out of the rain.

    Btw: Make sure that whatever you use to cover yourself in the rain doesn't have deer ticks on it (hey, it's possible ).
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

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    I also like to use a poncho in warmer weather. Jacket the rest of the year.

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    I'm a big fan of the Packa. I also won't deploy it (rather, I leave it in pack cover mode) unless it is a cold rain. Hiking in a warm rain, you will get wet from the inside out with any rain gear, breathable or not, in my experience. I'm willing to carry a Houdini windshirt along with the Packa, but that's the kind of heretic to ultralight orthodoxy that I am. :P

  11. #11
    Registered User Thunderbird's Avatar
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    Im a very tall backpacker. I am thinking of getting a poncho as I have rain gear already but jus want a poncho. I want to get one that is oversized, any sugestions. Brands and what you prefer.

  12. #12

    Default I like a rain jacket over a poncho

    I much prefer a breathable rain jacket. A rain jacket can add a great deal of warmth if necessary, or be a good windbreaker. It's handy to wear when doing laundry and flaps way less in the wind.

    If it's so warm that I'm getting sweated up, I'll usually just hike in the rain and get wet, or vent the rain jacket enough to stay cool.

  13. #13
    Registered User Old Boots's Avatar
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    Jacket over poncho. It provides a greater variety of protection from wind and cold than a poncho and is less difficult in very windy conditions. If it is warm why use any rain protection just get wet. It may bethe only bath you get for days.

  14. #14
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbird View Post
    Im a very tall backpacker. I am thinking of getting a poncho as I have rain gear already but jus want a poncho. I want to get one that is oversized, any sugestions. Brands and what you prefer.
    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___20275

    I have been well pleased with this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drybones View Post
    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___20275

    I have been well pleased with this one.
    The Golite is currently less expensive, weighs less, and is the same size.

    http://www.golite.com/Poncho-Tarp-P885.aspx

    I don't believe poncho tarps get much bigger. A custom poncho might be a good idea, especially if it's ever going to be used as a shelter.

    There's also the Gatewood Cape. I don't know if that will do a better job of sheltering a tall person.
    http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/tarps/GatewoodCape.html

    If staying dry while in tarp mode is your only concern, a couple of dodgers/vestibules might be good enough. AntigravityGear used to sell these.
    1250197799_15306.jpg

  16. #16

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    http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/1...59664855OKnpkD

    This is my Mountain Laurel Designs poncho which I bought a few years ago. I had him make it extra long. It's 5 feet by 9-1/2 feet. It has waaaaaay more tieouts than I could ever use, and he threw in a beak that snaps and velcroes to one of the sides, since he was moving from N.C. up to Maine and had material to get rid of or pay to ship. Ron is a good guy (interesting, too).
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

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    ^^

    That beak is a great idea.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
    http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/1...59664855OKnpkD

    This is my Mountain Laurel Designs poncho which I bought a few years ago. I had him make it extra long. It's 5 feet by 9-1/2 feet. It has waaaaaay more tieouts than I could ever use, and he threw in a beak that snaps and velcroes to one of the sides, since he was moving from N.C. up to Maine and had material to get rid of or pay to ship. Ron is a good guy (interesting, too).
    Tinker, looks like the photo is gone. If you could post it elsewhere I would love to take a look.

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