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#282215 - 09/23/16 06:03 PM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: unimogbert]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1384
Indeed the Sea to Summit poncho is expensive: the Ultra-Sil NanoTarp Poncho is nearly $100 on Amazon --

https://www.amazon.com/Sea-to-Summit-Ult...2C63CJF3B9QSDR8

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#282216 - 09/23/16 06:37 PM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1111
Loc: Alaska
I'm not a big fan of ponchos, but I really like tarps. It seems to me that people are attracted to ponchos because they appear (in theory) to be a multi-use item, which can serve as both raingear and shelter.

Regarding ponchos as rain gear, I find that in the terrain and conditions I often operate in they don't really work very well. In particular, they are very poor in windy weather. Also, as hikermor notes, they don't work well in brush, or any sort of rough terrain. I flat will not rely on a poncho as my primary weather protection. A proper weather resistant jacket, cut roomy enough to wear over insulation is a vastly superior choice, in my opinion. Add rain pants for very wet weather.

For shelter, as unimogbert found out, most ponchos are too small to rig very well. One could make a bigger poncho, but that would make it even more of a hassle as rain gear, at least in the wind. One could put two ponchos together as Montanaro suggests, but that requires carrying even more stuff.

A small, light weight tarp makes a much better shelter, in my opinion. Lots of option in how you rig it. If two of you are together, you can put one tarp under as a ground cloth, and rig one over you as a shelter.

EDIT: I should add that I mostly carry the tarp only for SAR missions. Besides emergency shelter, a tarp can be rigged in various ways to serve as a litter, or as a toboggan to drag an injured person on the snow.

For casual day hiking, I don't generally carry the tarp. Instead I always have a SOL Emergency Bivy stashed in the bottom of my pack. It only $17, weighs 3.8 oz (108 gram), and takes up a tiny volume in my pack. It, together with proper clothing, will get me through the night.

That's my view, for whatever it's worth. As always, others may have different opinions and find other solutions.



Edited by AKSAR (09/23/16 07:06 PM)
Edit Reason: more explanation
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#282228 - 09/24/16 09:23 AM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: unimogbert]
quick_joey_small Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 489
Loc: UK
I used poncho shelters for years but have changed to a tarp which is a bit bigger and means i have more chance of finding comfortable ground between 2 trees. But it still means I have to lower it to keep dry if the rain is coming down at an angle.

The DD Hammocks tarp comes in different sizes. The 3x3 metre one is big enough to make a centre pole tent.
I'll be getting one soon. Everything I've bought from them has been very good so far.

https://youtu.be/yMAtpWQdVbY

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#282229 - 09/24/16 01:52 PM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: unimogbert]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1404
Loc: North Carolina
You find what works for you, and you use it. As to the point of the original post, practice what you plan to use. In my opinion, you need to be able to set up you shelter in the dark and in bad weather, with your fingers numb from the cold. The real difficulty for most people is tying the knots and figuring out how to set one up in a variety of situations. Practice, practice, practice. Whatever you use, be able to use it well.

Many new materials allow tarps to be much lighter and to pack smaller. You can find reasonably priced tarps that pack small and provide you a more substantial shelter. I think that a good size tarp will make a better shelter than a poncho, if you have one.

Sil nylon is expensive, but packs small and is light. You can go to a hardware store and get tyvek or other materials and make an improvised tarp for little money. You can get a good sized sheet of plastic and do the same thing. Shelter from the elements is a critical survival skill and if you plan to go out, you need to have something that you know how to use.

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#282230 - 09/24/16 03:47 PM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: Montanero]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4914
Loc: SOCAL
As examples of the tarp Montanero mentions, check the price of the 8 x 10 Sil/Nylon Ultralight Tarp at $99.99, weighing all of 13 ounces, versus 8 x 10 urethane coated taffeta nylon tarp at $44.99, weighing 22.5 ounces.

The ultralight tarp lighter, but is it light enough to justify twice the price and does silicone impregnated ripstop nylon make a better shelter than urethane coated taffeta nylon? It's a trade-off of cost and performance -- but how you measure performance? The ultralight hiker may measure performance by weight alone. Another hiker in PNW may measure performance by how well the tarp keeps him dry. Another hiker may decide they're both too expensive.

Me? I bought one of the smaller Sil/Nylon Ultralight Tarps to store in my GHB -- it packs really small and weighs 9 ounces. I also bought a larger urethane coated nylon tarp to actually use, bigger and heavier but I don't carry it. (paracord is your friend)

CampMor nylon tarps

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#282234 - 09/24/16 07:36 PM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: Russ]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6582
Loc: southern Cal
Fortunately our thoughtful, considerate retail establishments have set a well stocked table for tarp afficionados. Just look at the selection from REI - from $5 to $300 (reduced from $400) and this doesn't include some of the more specialized,exotic products available elsewhere.


www.rei.com/search.html?q=tarps&pagesize=90&ir=q%3Atarps&page=1


Can't get this link to work but go to their site and you will see the selection.

When all is said and done, a nice overhanging rock shelter or similar is equal or better to anything you can bring with you, whatever the weight or cost.
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#282237 - 09/24/16 08:04 PM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: AKSAR]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3599
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: AKSAR
For casual day hiking, I don't generally carry the tarp. Instead I always have a SOL Emergency Bivy stashed in the bottom of my pack. It only $17, weighs 3.8 oz (108 gram), and takes up a tiny volume in my pack. It, together with proper clothing, will get me through the night.


I've got one of those AMK SOL Emergency bivvy's in my day hike pack too, along with a 2 person Heat Sheets blanket and a ripstop poncho. The SOLs are in a ziplock bag in the bottom of my pack along with a big black garbage bag. The poncho stays in the top rear of the pack for easy access, along with a hank of paracord, for just in case I need to get out of the weather quickly.

Clothing is our first shelter. Dedicated wet/cold wear and a change of clothes is a must when the forecast and season dictates. Dress for the worst and hope for the best. wink
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#282242 - 09/25/16 06:26 PM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: Bingley]
voyaginator Offline
Stranger

Registered: 04/21/16
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By: Bingley

I need to add a poncho to my kit. What criteria should I be looking for other than a sheet of waterproof plastic? Can anyone point me to a few good links?


Yes, not all poncho are equal, and practice makes perfect smirk
Always kept in my bag a small plastic poncho, until one day had to go through a sudden big storm. So, decided to make a criteria list, and got the Snugpak Patrol Poncho The criterial list included:
1) 100% waterproof (of course)
2) easy to carry and have on-hand in case the storm is sudden
3) large enough to cover the backpack and also let the water drips below knees
4) adjustable hood
5) can be used as a temporary bivvi
6) front pocket
Oh! and of course, not too expensive cool

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#282243 - 09/25/16 07:31 PM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: unimogbert]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 2946
Loc: USA
My raingear of choice has been hardshell jackets. My packs tend to be waterproof so I'm less likely to need to cover them. A hardshell doesn't work for a bivvy but I have used them many times as the wind-and-water-proof outer layer that let my insulation layers work, down to Real Darn Cold.

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#282246 - 09/26/16 01:58 PM Re: Poncho shelter practice [Re: Montanero]
Tom_L Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Originally Posted By: Montanero
You find what works for you, and you use it. As to the point of the original post, practice what you plan to use. In my opinion, you need to be able to set up you shelter in the dark and in bad weather, with your fingers numb from the cold. The real difficulty for most people is tying the knots and figuring out how to set one up in a variety of situations. Practice, practice, practice. Whatever you use, be able to use it well.


Well said, spoken from experience. Couldn't agree more.

Personally, I like both tarps and ponchos. But when hiking solo I will always pick a poncho over a small tarp. It's basically the same thing but can be worn on one's person whereas a tarp is less versatile in that department.

I don't find a poncho all that cumbersome even in heavy brush. Tie it around your waist to keep it from getting caught in the branches and it will do just fine. Rain jackets generally fit more snugly but very few are as durable as a good military poncho. None can be used to make a rain shelter that will keep you dry in a hard downpour.

Anyone looking for a good military poncho should give the Bundeswehr/German army pattern a try. it's very generously sized (about 80" in length!) and is provided with a couple of sturdy waist straps. This is what I've used for the last 15 years and I can't recommend it enough. It's also part of my BOB and one of the very few items of gear that I'd ever leave behind before going on a long trek.

http://www.surplusandoutdoors.com/poncho-german-bundeswehr-bw-military-321528.html

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