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  1. #1
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    Default Poncho vs Rainjacket / Pack Cover

    So I'm curious who would recommend one over the other for a long trail/thru hike. Preferably someone who has experience with both. But pros vs cons for each. I am looking for a like weight but versatile option... i feel the poncho is a more versatile option. What do you all think?

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  2. #2
    In the shadows AfterParty's Avatar
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    I am a poncho guy. It also closes off one end of my tarp. Acts as a pack cover and liner. Snugpack patrol ponchos have a hoodie pocket and sleeves I like mine
    Hiking the AT is “pointless.” What life is not “pointless”? Is it not pointless to work paycheck to paycheck just to conform?.....I want to make my life less ordinary. AWOL

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    Yeah I like the concept of also being able to use it as a ground cover or sit pad etc... and I feel it would keep the pack dryer in one less step then a pack cover. What is your poncho made of and how much does it weigh?

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    Poncho here also. And like above I can use mine to close off the end of my tarp. Pack covers do not work the rain gets in between your back and the pack. You'll sweat a little less with a poncho too. I made mine from silnylon about 7 ozs I believe.

  5. #5

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    For hiking in the rain, unless it's a very exposed and windy trail, I prefer the Packa combo poncho and pack cover (google if not familiar), with chaps or a rain skirt for legs. Has best ventilation IMO. Only issue with the Packa is when its raining and you have to get the pack off for some reason (like a bathroom break, layer change, setting up camp) you have to take the packa off and put it back on, which can get you pretty wet if its raining hard. Best feature of Packa is [1] no rain down your back and [2] ability to put on and off while walking without stopping to remove pack.
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  6. #6

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    After hiking in pouring rain a few weeks ago and my gear getting damp (had a pack cover), I'm considering a DIY poncho. I've tried a pre-made poncho but it was too large and cumbersome.

    JJ, do you have written instructions for yours or did you wing it?

  7. #7
    In the shadows AfterParty's Avatar
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    Mine the snugpak patrol poncho weighs 12 oz and fits different then most traditional ponchos. The sides are sewn and seam sealed and it has arms. I couldn't find its material its not ripstop no grid pattern. The sleeves have elastic at the wrists. It works great for my style.
    Hiking the AT is “pointless.” What life is not “pointless”? Is it not pointless to work paycheck to paycheck just to conform?.....I want to make my life less ordinary. AWOL

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    Well, rain jacket and pants are a more complete coverage and an additional warmth layer if it's cold out (and it doesn't have to be very cold rain to suck the heat out of you) but they are bulkier, heavier, don't cvoer your back pack, and much more expensive. I use a sil-nylon poncho when I'm not worried about cold weather - otherwise I use a rain suit. Also, a poncho doesn't work well if you actually have to go through brush - it just gets caught on everything.

  9. #9

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    Hot weather: poncho. Cold weather: rain jacket.

  10. #10
    Registered User MikekiM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    ...JJ, do you have written instructions for yours or did you wing it?
    +1 on this..

    I have a ton of material.. would love to make a decent poncho
    _______________________________________
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mPalozzola01 View Post
    So I'm curious who would recommend one over the other for a long trail/thru hike. Preferably someone who has experience with both. But pros vs cons for each. I am looking for a like weight but versatile option... i feel the poncho is a more versatile option. What do you all think?

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    this is like the question of which shoes.

    It really differs person to person.

    Ive tried a few ponchos. I really wanted to like them.

    Ive used some bad rain jackets.

    Currently a rain jacket and kilt/skirt.

    You need to find what works for you.

    Ive a friend who just wears shorts even in CMT sleet storms.

    Some people water proof their pants from the knees down.

    Try the alternatives for a few few days of rain hiking each until you hit what works for you.

    There are really cheap ponchos. Costco has really cheap rain jackets.

    Sometimes cheap is lighter and better.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayne View Post
    Well, rain jacket and pants are a more complete coverage and an additional warmth layer if it's cold out (and it doesn't have to be very cold rain to suck the heat out of you) but they are bulkier, heavier, don't cvoer your back pack, and much more expensive. I use a sil-nylon poncho when I'm not worried about cold weather - otherwise I use a rain suit. Also, a poncho doesn't work well if you actually have to go through brush - it just gets caught on everything.
    This sums it up for me. My rain jacket and pants are survival gear to prevent hypothermia when backpacking in a cold rain---and cold rains happen from May thru September. My rain jacket is not meant to cover my pack---I carry a pack cover for this.

  13. #13

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    My problem with a poncho is I need another person to help me get it over my pack properly. Doing that by yourself is difficult and if it's windy out good luck! Ponchos also don't do well in exposed, windy areas or where the trail is overgrown. Which is a lot of the AT. I really hate hiking with a poncho. If you want to stop and get something out of your pack, it's a real pain in the butt.

    But in the summer, I carry a poncho in addition to my rain jacket. During the summer you don't usually hike in the rain all day. The threat is thunderstorms which usually blow by in reasonably short order. Having the poncho to hunker under until the storm blows over is really nice.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  14. #14
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    I've used them both, when I had one i wished I had the other, each has it's pros and cons. A poncho will cover your pack to keep it dry, it's easy to regulate body temperature by opening the poncho up to let air in or closing it to keep the air out, it's a PITA hiking up steep areas when you step on the poncho, it makes a crappie (not the fish) layer, I even used mine as a shelter when I didn't want to set the tent up...BTW, got a little wet when it started raining in the middle of the night. A lightweight shell is a great layer for when it's windy and cold, and it's comfortable....bottom line is they're both okay, I use the shell if it's cold and the poncho in warmer weather. As for the pack cover...forget it, get you a compactor trash bag and a pack that repels water.

  15. #15

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    I converted to a poncho after using rain jacket for years and years. Much more versatile than a jacket/pant combo and less sweaty, if it's not clinched down.

  16. #16

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    I use a Sea-to-Summit Ultrasil poncho. It weighs in about 8 oz. It is my rain-gear, my summer shelter, my ground cloth, my pack cover, my portable tent for eating lunch (or navigating) in the rain, my extra tarp for filling in around another tarp pitched in extreme conditions, my table cloth, my gear mat . . . hmm what else . . .

    In disagreement a couple of posts up-thread, I have done quite of bit of bushwhacking with my poncho, expecting it to get damaged and to interfere with my movement, and instead I found it quite effective at both keeping me dry in soaking wet brush and not snagging on things . . . and this was often in western Oregon coastal forests with dense underbrush. Maybe bushwhacking issues are highly material dependent instead of a basic problem with poncho design. That being said, yes, a rain suit is easier to bushwhack in, mostly because you can see your feet better, but is still worked okay with a poncho.

    As for getting backpacks on and off, one of the great beauties about using a poncho for me is the ability to take my pack on and off in the rain while keeping both myself and my gear completely dry under it.

    And, for what it's worth, I don't have a problem putting my poncho on while walking and wearing my backpack. Others I hike with sometimes do. I think it depends on how your bag is packed (i.e. crap tied onto the outside of the pack interferes with sliding the poncho on) and also on how flexible your arms and shoulders are. I find it a complete non-issue.

    Lastly, in windy conditions, a piece of line tied around your waist as a poncho belt enables pretty high functionality in pretty windy conditions, no, not hurricane winds, but pretty windy ridge-lines none the less.

    I would say, because of their phenomenal versatility, poncho skills are well worth a significant effort to perfect, so that if it can work for you, you figure out how to make it happen.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  17. #17

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    Others I hike with sometimes do. I think it depends on how your bag is packed (i.e. crap tied onto the outside of the pack interferes with sliding the poncho on) and also on how flexible your arms and shoulders are. I find it a complete non-issue.


    Totally agree — directly proportional to pack size and how much stuff is on the outside.

    I have a Zpacks poncho and keep the left side zipped and stow the poncho itself in the left side pocket. It can be deployed within seconds without removing the pack, and then removed and stowed again very quickly. Nice when there are on and off showers all day long.

  18. #18

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    Pack liner vs. pack cover? Or both?!

  19. #19
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    packliner, and water resistant pack, and rainjacket

    and umbrella

    works great

    no need to wear hood, or zip up jacket all way, leave pit zips wide open, stay cooler
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  20. #20
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    +1 for the Packa. Easy and effective.

    OkeefenokeeJoe

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