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  1. #1

    Default Poncho + Umbrella = Trying Something New/ Stepping Out of the Box

    I have been a rain jacket and suck it up year round hiker. No matter the season, I begrudgingly put on my soon to be sweated out rain garment and keep on. Typically moments after putting it on I begin to feel the creep. The creep on sweat and moisture in the arms of the jacket. I also feet all of that rain that I am protecting my torso from, running down the back between my body and my pack and soaking up in the back of my britches. I hear the swashing of the hood which is completely handicapping me from seeing my surroundings, masking the sounds and has me in blinders. Indefinitely, I am still wet, and I have now gone into sensory overload from this terrible trash bag feeling. So here is my new trial as we have spoken about in another thread: I am embracing the poncho for the first time ever. I have literally NEVER put a poncho on once in my life. I have picked up the frogg togg poncho which proves itself to fit over a small pack, and as I mentioned over there its 10 bucks. I will couple this with a gossamer gear umbrella for head and shoulders. I will begin testing this immediately and will use it for 3 seasons, sticking to goretex pants and jacket/ boots for winter. I have high hopes for a breathable, airy protective alternative to the nightmarish sweatbag jacket...I will update as testing allows!
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  2. #2
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    Good call. Have fun with it. Don't forget to bring some string to tie the poncho around your waist if and when the wind picks up.

    For what it's worth, the Frogg Toggs poncho, if I recall, is a pretty short one. Longer ponchos offer quite a bit more protection and flexibility in use.

    You may also find the umbrella with poncho is a bit awkward and redundant. I often find a rain hat with poncho makes for a great combination as it defeats that whole hood noise and visibility issue with less bulk and complexity.

    Good luck. Keep us informed on your progress.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  3. #3
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    At $20 a pop, I'm going to follow you down that road. I've carried an umbrella for years. I'm going to try cutting the front off the poncho, and wear it more like a cape. The cape will keep the pack covered, and prevent the rain from going down my back. The umbrella keeps my front and head and shoulders dry just fine. I know it's hard to picture, and who knows if it'll work, but back to point 1 - it's $20 a pop.

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    Don't forget about a rain skirt as a possible addition to your list of options.
    Rain skirt + umbrella might be a good combo.

  5. #5
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    Don't forget about a rain skirt as a possible addition to your list of options.
    Rain skirt + umbrella might be a good combo.
    That's what I use now when too warm for anything else. Even then, that skirt can get pretty toasty.

    Looks great with heels, though.

  6. #6

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    A typical backpacking poncho gets HOT too---because your pack's harness system encapsulates the thing tight to your torso just like a rain jacket. And there's usually so much extra fabric with a poncho that to me it's just wasted material. And of course your arms get immediately wet with a poncho.

    The only reason I carry a rain jacket is to stay alive when moving in terrible conditions---and NOT TO STAY DRY. It's only purpose is to keep my core temps warm (even tho wet) in 35F rainstorms or when moving over warmth layers at 10F.

  7. #7
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    Maybe the overall conditions are much different here in the Alps, than on the AT, but still here is my setup:

    The only reasonable rain protection when hiking I found so far is a Poncho that that nicely covers the pack too, and chaps to keep the lower parts dry.
    I could not do without the chaps, there is no use in a poncho alone that leaves the whole body from midriff down to the boots unprotected.
    Same with wearing the pack atop the poncho - this would not work for me.
    It took me some time to figure out the simple solution: A poncho that has a "lump" in the back stretching over the pack. A poncho thats big enough to cover the whole upper body and down to the knees.
    A poncho that has some buttons added to close the sides forming kind of sleeves, and more buttons to shorten the front part if necessary.
    Add the chaps to this and it makes the best setup for me. I prefer chaps over rain trousers for better ventilation and lower costs.

  8. #8
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    Just to add another of my opinion:
    An umbrella and a small/short poncho used together would not complement each other, but both have the same shortcomings, i.e. leaving the mid and lower parts unprotected.
    I have hiked with an umbrella for some years and found it a marginal protection against rain at best.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    I am embracing the poncho for the first time ever. I have literally NEVER put a poncho on once in my life. I have picked up the frogg togg poncho which proves itself to fit over a small pack, and as I mentioned over there its 10 bucks. I will couple this with a gossamer gear umbrella for head and shoulders.
    I'll follow your progress with great interest as I've decided something similar. My Frog Toggs poncho, never yet worn, has been modified by slitting it up the front, jacket style, and adding Kamsnaps, essentially making it into a cape with a hood. Ventilation should be fantastic, maybe too fantastic. On the BMT I wore my rain jacket like that, with the jacket just tied around my neck and draped over the pack, leaving me with the umbrella to keep the rain off my head and front torso. It worked well, though not in a truly windy, driving rain. I'm afraid the poncho may be too voluminous, especially in windy conditions but nobody knows until they try, so...

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    At $20 a pop, I'm going to follow you down that road. I've carried an umbrella for years. I'm going to try cutting the front off the poncho, and wear it more like a cape. The cape will keep the pack covered, and prevent the rain from going down my back. The umbrella keeps my front and head and shoulders dry just fine. I know it's hard to picture, and who knows if it'll work, but back to point 1 - it's $20 a pop.
    I am curious about this concept. Countless hours spent holed up out of long duration rain events eventually lead to "how can I do rain better" ideas, second only to where half-grams of weight can be saved through toothbrush handle removal and other strategies.

    My question, with the front of the garment cut away I would think wind becomes the problem with a cape-like rain cover that if tied down will billow like a sail or flap uncontrollably, unless its lashed down to the pack or body somehow so it stays in place. Though "dry" can mean a lot of things, I've not ever been truly dry in an all day rain or mist due to the humidity issue, even when I have modified gear to allow higher airflow for drying. I will be interested to see how this turns out regardless of success or failure.

  11. #11
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    years past i used a packa poncho pack cover combo.it was silnylon and i soaked that thing out so bad even my pack was wet.
    the rain skirt was a game changer for me, no more soaked butt crack. but it makes it hard to step over stuff. this year im trying an umbrella to go with the skirt we'll see how that goes. for the frogg toggs hey for 20 bucks buy 2 and modify it to your liking

  12. #12

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    We bought the $60 Gossamer Gear umbrellas, probably the best there is... after reading accounts of hiking the difficult Te Araroa long-distance trail in New Zealand (where it can rain for days). It's probably overkill for most gentle rain conditions on the East Coast. But I've been in a few storms where it would have been quite welcome. So much smarter than having rain drip all over you...

  13. #13

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    I really like my Snugpack Enhanced Patrol Poncho but it's not for everybody;especially tall people.I'm short and couple it with a Vertice Zpacks kilt and gaiters and it works fine although the arms could be a bit longer.Adequate air circulation under it as it goes over the pack.I do carry a shock cord in the front pocket in case of windy conditions.
    Several reviews are on You Tube.At 13 oz it's lighter than military type ponchos and so much more effective than the lightweight silnylon poncho I tried first.

  14. #14
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    I am curious about this concept. Countless hours spent holed up out of long duration rain events eventually lead to "how can I do rain better" ideas, second only to where half-grams of weight can be saved through toothbrush handle removal and other strategies.

    My question, with the front of the garment cut away I would think wind becomes the problem with a cape-like rain cover that if tied down will billow like a sail or flap uncontrollably, unless its lashed down to the pack or body somehow so it stays in place. Though "dry" can mean a lot of things, I've not ever been truly dry in an all day rain or mist due to the humidity issue, even when I have modified gear to allow higher airflow for drying. I will be interested to see how this turns out regardless of success or failure.
    I'll be sure to take pictures, and maybe a video! With my luck, it will never rain on my hikes again, so I'll never be able to test this out. Already hasn't rained here in a month.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jigsaw View Post
    years past i used a packa poncho pack cover combo.it was silnylon and i soaked that thing out so bad even my pack was wet.
    the rain skirt was a game changer for me, no more soaked butt crack. but it makes it hard to step over stuff. this year im trying an umbrella to go with the skirt we'll see how that goes. for the frogg toggs hey for 20 bucks buy 2 and modify it to your liking
    Most women's skirts have a back vent/slit if the skirt is narrow. Impossible to climb stairs in a narrow skirt without the vent. Stepping over logs, and climbing up boulder fields would require a higher vent, or a fuller skirt. Since modesty isn't the objective, you could even get by with something more like an apron, either as pictured, or a short one tied around the waist - which could be shifted around to wherever the prevailing wind is coming from. And if you're making your own apron, you could design it for 360 degree coverage, or 180, or anything in between. You could put it on a drawstring, where you just shove extra fabric to the side for ventilation.


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    The more I think about it, I like the idea of the taller apron paired with a cape. All the heat generated around the torso can escape without exposing it to rain, or soaking you in sweat.

  17. #17
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    If I remember correctly you're doing Stratton to Katahdin. A poncho is going to obscure where you're putting your feet on steep climbs and descents. Umbrellas don't work all that great either, even if you fasten it to your pack, since your view upwards gets obscured and the umbrella is constantly hitting side brush. I bought but have not used yet a Lightheart gear pack cover/semi-poncho. It's called a hoodie pack cover. I may take it on the Colorado Trail if I take my mariposa; if I take the HMG pack I probably will go with the umbrella/skirt combo and rain jacket and pants for cold and wind.


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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    I'll be sure to take pictures, and maybe a video! With my luck, it will never rain on my hikes again, so I'll never be able to test this out. Already hasn't rained here in a month.
    I ran into that trying to test a 3L jacket last year. Nothing but a few light showers on trail all year. When it would start raining at home I'd quick throw on the jacket and a pack to get some testing in
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  19. #19
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    Interesting discussion. I'm all for encouraging exploration of new creative solutions to old problems.
    That being said, I'm reading some creative ideas and/or concerns and associated solutions regarding the use of ponchos that seem to be coming from a place of inexperience. For instance, why open a slit in the front of a poncho for ventilation when a poncho already ventilates quite well without it (unless you're tipi wearing it under his backpack?).

    Growing up and living in the Pacific Northwest with endless drizzling cold rain for months out of every year I've spent quite of bit of time exploring raingear and how to make it work, as many other people on this site have also done.

    Regarding ponchos:
    - Hands down, my favorite raingear for hiking and backpacking. NOT for climbing.
    - Worn tied around your waste (I use a guyline for this purpose) a poncho works quite well even in pretty heavy winds.
    - Without winds, a poncho doesn't vent well enough when tied around your waste, do don't tie it when it's not windy.
    - I use ponchos that are long enough to reach my knees or below to keep me dry except lower legs and lower arms. I have no use for shorter ponchos.
    - As noted above, rain chaps are a fantastic poncho add-on as they keep your lower legs dry, vent better than pants, go on and off easier than pants, weigh less than pants, and are super easy to make. In warm weather, I just let my legs get wet. In cold weather, chaps are handy.
    - Ponchos rock for hiking in all day rain as they keep your pack dry and give you a portable tent to eat, open your pack, view navigation tools under, etc., all by just pulling your head down through the head hole and doing whatever under the poncho.
    - Ponchos (if long enough) can double as highly functional ultra-light shelters. (So 8 oz for raingear and shelter - darn good!)

    Ponchos suck for climbing as they cover your feet and your view of the ground at your feet. And, when stepping up you can step on them when taking really big steps. And, for technical climbing they are a dangerous non-starter with risk of getting caught up in your equipment etc.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  20. #20
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    ^^ this. Went thru 3 toggs ponchos (wally world). After whites I only used when hunkered or moving slowly. Climbing doesn't work.

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