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Questions about Jackets vs. Poncho

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Re: Questions about Jackets vs. Poncho

Postby balance » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:07 am

Greetings oldranger

The reason I use a Goretex rain jacket (Northface) is simple: It does a lot more than just keep off rain. When camp is set and I'm walking around exploring, or if I stay up to watch the stars, the jacket provides protection from wind and cold. That's a very useful benefit that an open poncho doesn't provide.

You've probably gotten pretty skilled with using a poncho in the rain, so that works for you. It's not so easy for everyone to utilize a poncho effectively. When I do have to hike in the rain, I try to slow my pace way down to avoid sweating as much as possible. I use the pit zips and am careful to regulate my temperature with a minimum amount of clothes on top. I've been able to keep moving, at a pretty slow pace, and stay fairly dry through some very steady rain. That's the compromise and adjustments which I make to use a jacket.

Note: I've been looking at the Patagonia M10 for a year now (awesome backpacking jacket), but am too cheap to spend the $$$ while my old Northface gear still works fine. If you would like to give me $379 for some useful advice, I will buy an M10 and provide you with a gear review that could help with your decision. I'm just a helpful person, I guess.

Incidentally, you're lucky to have a wife who is so adventurous and likes the outdoors.

Peace.



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Re: Questions about Jackets vs. Poncho

Postby oldranger » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:53 am

Balance

you are correct in that it takes some skill/experience to use a poncho in the way I use one and it is one of the things I can't teach Kathy (nor can I get her to shorten her trekking poles enough to maximize her most efficient use). Yes I am lucky to find a woman that enjoys the outdoors. But she refuses to go off trail any more (complains about a few scars she has acquired following me). Consequently I am stuck going solo or stuck with markskor who provides the least of the evils I fear when including others on an extended trip.

As for me going slower to avoid condensation on the inside of a Gortex type jacket, that won't work as I am already so slow that I need a calendar to figure out my arrival time for a day's hike!

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Questions about Jackets vs. Poncho

Postby balance » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:31 pm

"Slow but steady wins the race."

Hey, we're not clocking the fastest times, but we're still in the game. Thankful for that.

Peace
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Re: Questions about Jackets vs. Poncho

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:24 am

Wind can play havoc with a poncho. I do not use a poncho because most of my time is spent at high altitudes, above timber, where it can be very windy. I also consider my rain jacket a warmth layer and wind layer.

A poncho is a great piece of gear, for a lot of conditions. I remember that the PNW is not know for windy conditions and drizzle. It can also be used for a shelter, although I presume your wife is not interested in sleeping under a poncho. The poncho also makes a good little cook-shelter so you do not have to cook inside the tent if it is raining.

My experience is that all rain gear fails under heavy continuous rainy conditions. Trying to stay completely dry is a lost cause. The goal is to stay warm, not necessarily dry. My method for north California coast hiking in the winter (up to several inches of rain a day) is to use my leaky old rain gear as a "wetsuit" for hiking and then have a set of warm layers for sleeping and camp. In colder than coastal conditions I use a fleece layer (or light-weight wool) under the rain gear and wring it out every night- stash it in a plastic bag in the vestibule; in warmer coastal conditions I am pretty naked under the rain gear. In very humid conditions I use a lot of gallon size zip-lock bags because anything not stored in a waterproof place absorbs moisture. Putting on cold wet clothing to start the day is challenging, but you quickly warm up when walking.

This summer we ran across a couple from New Zealand hiking the High Route. Their rain gear was hefty, somewhat loose fitting and long- came down to below their knees. This is basically a "cagoul (sp?)" which is a cross between a poncho and rain jacket and was very popular pre-70's before the invention of GorTex. They said they stayed dry even in continuous downpours, as is typical of New Zealand. They said rain pants did not work because not enough ventilation. They were amazed that we had "such flimsy" raingear.
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Re: Questions about Jackets vs. Poncho

Postby KathyW » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:58 am

I used to carry a hard shell rain jacket and pants, but I found that the pants were better just kept for snow trips when I might want to glissade or to keep out the winter wind. I'm now carrying the jacket and a poncho most often for backpacking. I like the combination of the jacket and the poncho. The poncho is great because I don't have to put electronics away and don't have as much worry about my pack getting wet (although I always put key items like my sleeping bag and fleece clothing in plastic bags in my pack). The downside of the poncho is that it is really only suitable for trail hiking. That's another reason for taking the jacket too - then I have protection for my core even when I can't wear the poncho.
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