This is for the non-ultralight hikers who carry 5+ days of food in big packs.
Tired of ponchos that don’t cover you and your pack? Do you sweat too much to “enjoy” normal rain coats and pants? Do you want a way to waterproof your down garments while sitting in camp on a wet day? If so, then this is for you!
Foreword: I needed something that would allow me to wear my down Stoikurt Serape, down sleeves, and down hood on the rainy days. A rain coat w/ hood that would allow the down to fluff would be tremendous! And, rain pants big enough to accommodate the lower ends of the serape would have to be gigantic!
Foreword 2: When more sweat was pouring out of the sleeves of my (well ventilated) Thunderledge shell than rain water over the sleeve on a recent hike, I knew something had to change.
Foreword 3: A poncho with a rear length long enough to cover a big pack would be useless without the pack, because you would be forever tripping on the fabric dragging the ground.
Basic solution: Cut out a rectangle in the rear of a poncho and sew in a pack cover. And, for me at least, the width of store bought ponchos doesn’t fully cover the arms all the way to the wrists.
The pictures below (with a very ugly model) show my solution and the diagrams should be self explanatory.
The pack cover assembly on this poncho is too big. I used a less than stuffed pack for sizing the cover and swagged an allowance for day 1 of a 7 day trip. If I had to do it again, this assembly would be smaller. For folk hiking during hunting season, the pack cover could be made of blaze orange. You need to measure the length of YOUR pack from the bottom of the hip belt to the top of the shoulder strap attachment for the cutout. Other measurements should be self explanatory.
This hood is sized large enough to allow a down hood to fluff. You could reduce the volume by changing the rear curve to accommodate a smaller wool / synthetic cap. Don’t mess with the length along the bottom that attaches to the poncho body! This length x2 has to equal the circumference of the head hole.
Strategically placed finger loops hold the arms over the down sleeves. 1” strips of velcro are used to create a cuff around the wrists. (re the 2nd pix: In real life on the trail, the down sleeves will be pulled up tighter, and the down serape would be belted around the waist. You can just barely see the finger loops. Just wish I could make the model more handsome....) Finger loops, tie outs, and roll ups are held in place with zig zag stitches on the hems.
I used “belts” of fabric for the roll ups. (French seam a 2.5” x 36” piece of fabric. Cut off desired lengths for the ties, insert raw ends into the tube, then a simple stitch to hold the frazzle inside the tube. See Roll up insert diagram, minus the roll up, for how to make a French seam. )
The roll ups allow you to use the poncho as a pack cover without deploying it over your body. The trick for the roll ups is they have to “transit” the fabric, i.e. they have to appear on both the inside and the outside of the poncho. It doesn't show well in the picture, but after tying the body with the roll ups, I roll the new “tube” under the taut shock cord so that you have a clean profile. (The yellow cords hold up the pack straps for this photo op so you can see the poncho is hidden under the shock cord.)
8.0 ounces. Packs to the size of a softball.
aka, in AT trail registers, SWEAT – Slowly Walking, Enjoying the AT (while perspiring PROFUSELY!)
ps – I looked long and hard at the Packa, but decided, mainly based on my aka, that I really need more ventilation for the spring / fall hikes I do.
pps – I really like my DriDuck poncho, but it is just too small for what I need. I came close to buying a 2nd one just for the fabric. You could make mods on the first (cutout the pack cover hole, add a 9x20” rectangle piece to each side to make the “arms” longer, make a pack cover). But that would be heavier and bulkier than this sil version.