BWCA Poncho when paddling in rain? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
      Poncho when paddling in rain?     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

Blackdogyak
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
11/26/2021 05:02AM  
I have had a couple of expensive rain jackets that have completely failed. (Wetted out) and application of NikWax DWR dies not work. I am not wasting my money on this high tech junk any more. I like your buy gear that I can use for many, many years.

So I'm considering a waxed canvas poncho. Does anyone have experience with how a poncho works while paddling in rain? Because your arms are out and up, do they just get completely wet? I like the idea that a poncho can extend down to cover my knees.

Thanks in advance for any advice or opinions.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
11/26/2021 06:32AM  
No experience with a waxed canvas poncho but I have a silnylon poncho that I use quite a bit and yeah your arms get wet but that's one of the tradeoffs. It hasn't really bothered me that much honestly.

I'm with you on the expensive "waterproof breathable" stuff. Whole lot of marketing. Most expensive and least useful layers I have. Tried arterix, mountain hardware, marmot and others and I'm pretty well convinced at this point they're made to be sold not used.
 
11/26/2021 10:21AM  
I hate ponchos. They blow around in the wind and snag stuff when portaging.
The water drips down your sleeve.
When buying a coat and pants make sure it says water proof. Water resistant is a code word for it leaks. After buying it put the stuff on and go stand in the shower to make sure it doesn’t leak. I’ve had good luck with north face and eddy bower rain clothes.
 
11/26/2021 11:08AM  
Captn Tony: "I hate ponchos. They blow around in the wind and snag stuff when portaging.
The water drips down your sleeve.
When buying a coat and pants make sure it says water proof. Water resistant is a code word for it leaks. After buying it put the out the stuff on and go stand in the shower to make sure it doesn’t leak. I’ve had good luck with north face and eddy bower rain clothes."


Problem is even with the expensive 3 layer "waterproof" stuff they're dependent on the DWR treatment to remain breathable. Do some bushwhacking in heavy brush and there goes you DWR and the water starts to wet out the outer layer and there goes your breathability and you overheat and wet out on the inside from sweat and end up soaked anyways. That's been my experience. They work fine if you baby them and aren't very active, but that isn't me. :)

I gravitate more towards the heavier PVC stuff nowadays if I can afford the weight. Cheaper, more durable, and easier to dry. There's a reason commercial fisherman like it so much.
 
billconner
distinguished member(8139)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/26/2021 11:52AM  
I have been warned of the effect of a poncho if you dump. Not easy to get free. I have been pleased with an REI brand gifted raincoat. Don't bother with pants - just wear quick dry.
 
EddyTurn
distinguished member (167)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/26/2021 12:32PM  
It all comes to what tradeoff one prefers to suffer. From my own experience and what I read: anything with good ventilation will fail in heavy rain and anything properly waterproof will get you drenched with sweat in warm weather. Personally, I'd rather wear heavy duty goretex jacket with armpit zippers. Light jackets will not survive serious rain, neither serious portaging. And definitely pants in shoulder season.
 
andym
distinguished member(5204)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/26/2021 03:44PM  
My wife wears a cagoule which has arms for better paddling and can go down to her knees or snapped up to jacket length. The ones she wears are inexpensive waterproof nylon or plastic and have kept her dry on really bad days. But they don’t breathe and that works for her.

For me, I need something that breathes and have had good luck with expensive rain gear. I think the eVent stuff is very good. But I sweat a lot if I wear something that doesn’t breathe. So I really need it.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
11/26/2021 10:19PM  
As I see it, a poncho is probably the worst piece of gear that anyone could bring on a canoe trip. Many of the reasons why have been previously stated. One could possibly argue that a poncho could work "ok" in camp, but in a canoe, they'd be worthless, if not dangerous. And if a piece of gear as important as rain gear doesn't work universally where I'm going to be, then it surely isn't going in my pack.

A rain suit - both jacket AND pants - can be the most important gear you bring. Besides the obvious benefit of staying dry in a rain storm, it can be worn in the canoe, in camp and on the trail. When one is in the canoe, a jacket alone won't keep your legs dry, and with the bottom half of your body soaking wet, you're going to be cold or even run the risk of getting hypothermia in the wrong conditions. It's not always 80 degrees in canoe country.

And if you're carrying a rain suit, it's available for you to wear as a last outer layer for warmth, whether it's raining or not. Having your rain gear as a wind breaker can make a big difference when you have fleece and/or other layers underneath. (This was mid-June and it wasn't raining.)

How much do rain pants weigh? How much space to they take in the pack? Both answers are "very little". Bring 'em. You might not need them every trip, but when you do, you'll be happy to have them.

I realize this whole dissertation doesn't help you with a solution to the breathability (or lack thereof) of rain gear, but a full rain suit (jacket and pants) is still infinitely better than a poncho in the backcountry.
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2963)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/27/2021 01:44PM  
Blackdogyak, test the poncho's practicality this winter. Everywhere you go (inclement weather dependant).
 
mgraber
distinguished member(1277)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/28/2021 11:38AM  
Jackfish sums it up well. Poncho = bad idea. Good rain gear can save your life and is absolutely, positively one of the top several pieces of gear you can invest in. Dry means warm and just try swimming with a poncho. Anyone who disputes this has just been lucky.

When it rains for five days and nights straight with temperatures between 39 and 53 in July ultimately raining over 6 inches (I lived this), you will thank us for the advice. That is a promise!
 
11/28/2021 03:12PM  
I'm with Jackfish, pack a good quality jacket and pants. If you're working hard enough to sweat it out, remove the shell until you're done and change into something dry before putting the rain gear back on.

I find goretex top and bottoms to be very effective for use around camp and when out fishing, I used Paclite layups and sometimes get wet spots from abrasion (knees/ass) and dripping inside cuffs but all in all I can live with that if the rest of me stays dry in cool temps.

Even on a dry day this material can help keep you warm in a cutting wind.
 
Moonpath
distinguished member (326)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/04/2021 09:16AM  
I agree that good rain gear is essential. I use a variety of brands and have found in constant heavy rain they can all wet out eventually.

My solution, if you can afford it, is bring two rain jackets. After one wets out, put on the dry one. This will keep you relatively comfortable. I find that my rain pants do not wet out as badly so I only bring one.

Most of the time when rain gets heavy and I am away from camp, say fishing, I bring a small lightweight nylon tarp. We pull over and set it up and sit under it during the heaviest rain. This also serves as a windbreak and takes the pressure off your rain jacket.

Never have used ponchos but I agree they are not a real good option. I have tried waxed canvas, ie., filson rain gear but it is heavy hard to dry, and still can wet out.
 
amhacker22
distinguished member(1169)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/04/2021 07:01PM  
I went through a whole journey trying to find a waxed canvas poncho a few years ago. I finally found one, and it was just too heavy to justify taking along. It’s still in its original box unused if you’re interested in it.

I have a lightweight poncho I use that is a couple of steps above a garbage bag, but it’s still better/more comfortable than any rain gear I’ve used.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14081)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
12/04/2021 08:35PM  
A poncho in camp might be ok, but your legs will get wet. A poncho on the water is not a good idea. If there is any wind that poncho will be like a kite. And if you dump your canoe a poncho could kill you if it gets up around your head. Get a good set of rain gear.
 
HowardSprague
distinguished member(3209)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/05/2021 11:21AM  
What Jackfish said, exactly.
 
12/05/2021 01:28PM  
Blackdogyak,
It doesn’t seem many think much of your poncho idea - waxed canvas or otherwise. I have had some jackets DWR wear off and others that just finally gave in and wetted out due to excessive rain. I had a 20 days trip this September with a lot of rain, and I didn’t think my aging and mediocre rain jacket was up to it. When I got home there was a Thread about rain jackets
that caught my attention. One member made a compelling recommendation for Helly Hansen’s Impertech, which is a non-breathable material but seems to be a fair amount lighter than standard rubbery-coated jackets. They are not all that expensive (about $85), so I got one thinking it might work well in colder weather when I am likely to sweat a bit less and extended rain is possible. I went up one from my normal size in hopes that it would ventilate better with my movements. I did see a couple reviews that suggested there may be flaking issues starting somewhere around 5 years, but at that price point I’m fine with that. It seems to have been bone dry since I got mine, but I look forward to evaluating it in the spring. I will not give up on breathable membranes for some trips. It’s another option for you to consider.
 
12/05/2021 02:44PM  
I have never considered a poncho as I am very satisfied with my Arc Teryx "high tech junk." If it is warm out, there is no reason in my mind to don any rain shell while paddling as it will only lead to sweating, and I do not see that as a failure on the part of my gear-it is a common sense failure on my part.
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(775)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/05/2021 04:00PM  
Best investment I ever made was a high end pair of Gore-tex rain jacket and pants from Cabela's. Over $100 for each, but have lasted me for over 15 years. I have worn them in pouring rain and never gotten wet underneath. The jacket has the option for a zip-in Polartec liner, which I have.
 
OCDave
distinguished member(618)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/05/2021 07:59PM  
Blackdogyak: "I have had a couple of expensive rain jackets that have completely failed. (Wetted out) and application of NikWax DWR dies not work. I am not wasting my money on this high tech junk any more. I like your buy gear that I can use for many, many years.

So I'm considering a waxed canvas poncho. Does anyone have experience with how a poncho works while paddling in rain? Because your arms are out and up, do they just get completely wet? I like the idea that a poncho can extend down to cover my knees.

Thanks in advance for any advice or opinions."


"Expensive" doesn't always equate to quality. Stick with rain jacket +/- rain pants and spend you energy finding something of higher quality.

I have a EMS GoreTex jacket that I have worn for 25 years. It needs a renew to the DWR finish but, it still performs spectacularly keeping me warm and dry in the worst of weather.

If you insist on going the Poncho route, why Waxed cotton? You wouldn't need "breathable" as the Poncho design will let in plenty of air (and a fair amount of water) to keep your core from over-heating. Poke a hole through a tarp and give it a go.

Good Luck
 
Blackdogyak
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
12/14/2021 10:31AM  
Thanks to all of you for the practical advice. You've probably saved me a lot of frustration.
 
12/15/2021 09:21PM  
I never liked the poncho marching in the rain for Uncle Sam and wouldn't take one to the BWCA.

Temperature dictates rain gear. With warm temps, quick dry pants and top work fine. I wet foot anyway and often get wet above my knees at portages. Running tights and top under the pants and shell can handle cool and chilly with a good rain jacket when needed. Really cold and waders and dry jacket have kept me toasty and dry when temps hovered around 35 - 40 on a late April trip.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next