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Old 04-20-07, 11:08 AM   #1
Shiznaz
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Rain gear vs. poncho

I am starting a tour in the Pacific Northwest on June 1st. I expect a lot of rain, but my current rain gear won't even keep me dry on the way to work. I was just about to pull the trigger on either this MEC Hydrocycle Jacket this Showers Pass Double Century Jacket, and then some rain pants to go with them.

But then I thought about how the jackets are expensive and probably sweaty, will only really be worn while its raining. I probably would barely use the rain pants at all. When its not raining they are useless and do not have a secondary use.

Then I saw a silnylon poncho and became intrigued. They come in all shapes, sizes, prices and materials. They are fully waterproof and have what I assume would be superior ventilation, despite the fabric. They can also be stretched out to use as tarps. This is attractive to me because I have a bright orange tent, so if I bought a digital camoflage poncho I could throw it on the side of the tent facing towards the road, or cover my bike with it to keep the rain off or hide it. I'd basically be an invisible cyclist on the road wearing it though!

I have no idea what it is like to ride in a poncho however. Will it turn me into a huge sail, given the fact that I will be right on the coast most of the time? Will it cover my thighs? I figure a poncho is probably long enough that I could leave the rain pants at home. Once I'm back from tour and commuting in the city theres no way I'd wear a poncho so a jacket may be a better long term investment (and ponchos being cheap enough for me to write off).

Any poncho wearers here want to chime in and convert me?
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Old 04-20-07, 11:25 AM   #2
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Bike ponchos are better than regular ponchos. They have an extra long tail, which you sit on. They have loops in front for your thumbs. These 2 features makes them blow around less, though they are still a pain in windy conditions. Without anchoring the front and sitting on the back a poncho will definitely blow wildly about. The hood usually has transparent sides, so you have side vision. I like mine because I sweat like a pig in other raingear, so even though the poncho has wind difficulties it comes out better for me. With fenders and a bike poncho the rider and bike both stay pretty clean and dry. Your backpack or messenger bag even stays dry since it's underneath the poncho.
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Old 04-20-07, 11:43 AM   #3
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I bring a rainjacket, and a digicamo poncho setup for use as a tarp, campsite concealment and hiding the bike. I would NOT ride in a standard poncho! get a lightweight raincoat. a lot of people get good results from reasonably inexpensive raincoats.
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Old 04-20-07, 12:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
I bring a rainjacket, and a digicamo poncho setup for use as a tarp, campsite concealment and hiding the bike. I would NOT ride in a standard poncho! get a lightweight raincoat. a lot of people get good results from reasonably inexpensive raincoats.
What kind is that Beke? Looks cool and pretty excellent camo. On the first two thumbnails, I looked at them really quick and was thinking to myself, "Why is he posting pictures of the forest?"
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Old 04-20-07, 12:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiznaz
I am starting a tour in the Pacific Northwest on June 1st. I expect a lot of rain
I used a poncho quite a bit at one point. They have their pros and cons. In serious rain you usually get wet. They aren't so great in wind. They tend to get in the way a lot.

I'm sure there are variations on the theme, and that some are better than others in certain conditions.

***
I spoke with someone who does a lot of his riding and commuting in the rain (in the Northwest (Seattle)). He tried various systems, and what he ended up doing, and liked best, was using those thick, almost fleece-like cycling outfits (tights) made by Sugoi. They have a windbreaker fabric in front, and let the back breathe.

He said that the other systems just didn't work very well, and this one solved a lot of problems for him.

Last edited by Niles H.; 04-20-07 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 04-21-07, 07:27 AM   #6
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Alekhine, I think mine is are basic "mil-spec plus" brand, quasi military issue, digital camo poncho. available at army-navy surplus stores. Federal Army Navy Surplus store in seattle has an efficient on-line store, if you needed order one.

www.gr8gear.com

I wouldn't be riding in it except in an emergency. But for campsite and tent concealment, oh yeah.
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Old 04-22-07, 08:07 PM   #7
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I tried a poncho after seeing how popular they are in Vietnam (where most people get around on a scooter/motorbike or on a bicycle).

I'm not so keen on them. They don't stop water from underneath (wheels, road, side-blown rain) and don't cope with the wind well.

I used a Vietnamese vinyl poncho for a while and it was handy for short showers (really quick to throw over everything) but in the end I went back to rainjacket +/- rainpants (or just thermals). My favourite is made of Epic material and is very breathable, waterproof enough and keeps me warmer and dryer than the goretex, PU-proofed nylon and DWR Pertex tops I have tried.
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Old 04-23-07, 01:26 AM   #8
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Ponchos stink in wind. Bike riding always includes wind. Ergo, ponchos stink for bike riding.
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