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Poncho recommendations?

Old 08-19-19, 08:59 PM
  #1  
stevage
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Poncho recommendations?

I recently lost my waterproof poncho, which I loved. I found it kept the lower half of me much drier than using a jacket, and I could actually ride in the city in jeans etc during minor showers, and stay pretty dry. But mostly I miss it for long rides where I could stay really comfortable even after hours of moderate rain.

I've been trying to find a replacement, but haven't really found anything that I'm confident will meet my needs.

What I would like:
- lightweight (unlike British-style ponchos which seem to be heavy and trying to keep you warm as well as dry)
- light coloured (or even high vis)
- big (I want to be able to wrap it over the ends of my drop bars, and also to be able to sit on the end of it)
- function over form (a lot of them seem to be trying to be stylish, which is not my concern)

I'm ambivalent about a hood (I didn't use mine much, and if I wasn't using it, it would tend to collect water). Also ambivalent about sleeves - I think they would make it more practical off the bike, but at the expense of cold, wet hands on the bike.

The Exped ponchos look decent but the only review I found was terrible!

Any recommendations? Not very price sensitive.
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Old 08-20-19, 04:56 AM
  #2  
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I'd be curious about people's experience with ponchos. I always just dismissed ponchos without much thought, figuring that they would be a hassle if riding much over 10 or 12 mph or riding into a wind even at lower speeds. Am I wrong about that? What combined bike/wind speed does it become a problem if it does at all? How about cross winds?

The pictures always show riders riding in a very upright posture are they cut so they also work for someone who rides in a much more aggressive posture?

You mentioned not using the hood. I have always been inclined to not use hoods on my MTB riding/racing even in winter all weather riding. I got in the habit of using a swim cap for whitewater kayaking in cold weather and that carried over to other cold weather sports in wet weather for me. The thing is that without using a hood it is nice to have a collar that can be cinched snug so cold water doesn't run down your neck. I don't guess there is enough demand that anyone will sell a poncho with a cinch-able collar though. OTOH, it wouldn't be too hard to convert a tarp into a poncho.

I wonder about the actual weight Amazon lists it at 8.8 ounces and Exped at 340g (11.99 ounces).

I am pretty weight conscious when it comes to gear so it would have to be either a really needed item or maybe used as a shelter tarp and a poncho. I typically tour when/where rain isn't too likely to be an all day every day thing so usually it is a matter of toughing out a day or a few hours here or there. I don't find toughing out some rain in 50F+ weather to be that bad with my current gear. I guess if I got 40F, high winds, and hard rain I'd be in trouble trying to ride with what I typically have along, but I'd hole up for the day if that happened unexpectedly. I might use a poncho if I were to tour in a really rainy place where daily all day rain was a given.

In the past I have generally used "rain gear" that essentially functioned as a windproof barrier to keep the chill off. The assumption being that I'd be wet either way either with rain or sweat. After all I am usually dripping wet on a dry day when riding. I have a range of pants/jacket(windshirt) combos that range from 5 ounces to close to a pound and usually take something at the lower end of the scale.
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Old 08-20-19, 07:47 AM
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I have a rain cape by Cleverhood. It's called a Cleverlite ($80). It's lightweight (180g or 6.3 oz.), covers my drop bars and I can sit on it. I bought it more for commuting to work than touring. It certainly could be used for touring, but I'll probably still take a rain jacket that can double as a jacket for warmth as well. I would say it generally works well for light rain. Windy, hard rain, stormy maybe not so well.
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Old 08-20-19, 08:32 AM
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I used a rain poncho extensively for touring but that was almost 40 years ago when I rode from Finland to Spain on a 5 month tour. It worked great in all sorts of weather and wind. There was no, ahem, gore tex back then so you used coated nylon. At least with a bike poncho you had good air circulation and could sweat properly. I had wool tights which kept my legs warm. Oh yeah I saw a lot of rain. It rained right around 30 days straight when touring through Sweden (the locals told me it was one of the worst summers on record).

Exped makes 2 rain ponchos (one is ultralight),

Daypack & Bike Poncho | Exped USA

I have no experience with this but their mattresses are first class.

J and G makes a rain cape which is very reasonably priced,

Rain Capes from People Who Really Know Rain Capes!

I agree with post 3 though that one advantage of a rain jacket is that it is a fine outer layer when the temp drops.

Last edited by bikemig; 08-20-19 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 08-20-19, 08:58 AM
  #5  
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A poncho is now my default rain gear (along with booties). Like the OP, I wrap the ends around the bars and it keeps my lower half dry as well as venting humidity. Unfortunately I rarely take pictures of myself riding with a poncho. I lucked out and found a nylon one from IKEA. Light and cheap yet well made.
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Old 08-20-19, 10:42 AM
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I like my heavy British poncho. I have a carradice Duxback rain poncho (Super) which is about 1kg.

As for poncho problems, I have had only one going down hill at about 30mph I was hit by a hard gust that pushed me over two lanes on the road. I slow down to 15-20 and had no more gust problems. That evening I looked up the weather which said 20-30mph wind gusts.

When wind is 10 mph or higher I tie the waistband and put loops over my thumb and wrist instead of loosely attached to my handlebars by the brakes.
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Old 08-20-19, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I'd be curious about people's experience with ponchos. I always just dismissed ponchos without much thought, figuring that they would be a hassle if riding much over 10 or 12 mph or riding into a wind even at lower speeds. Am I wrong about that? What combined bike/wind speed does it become a problem if it does at all? How about cross winds?
Hard to say. Yes, you probably feel the wind a bit more with a poncho, but it's never come close to "I'd rather not be using a poncho". If you're riding in rain, and strong wind, you're probably not having a great time no matter what

If you're thinking that the poncho is flapping around, well, no. I tuck it all down so it forms a pretty solid shape.

The pictures always show riders riding in a very upright posture are they cut so they also work for someone who rides in a much more aggressive posture?
Don't know about "aggressive" but I usually ride on the hoods. Works ok on the drops too. The only situation where the poncho isn't great is mountain biking, because you're getting on and off the saddle all the time, so you lose the "tuck".
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Old 08-21-19, 07:46 PM
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Another vote for the poncho, especially when used with fenders. I've spent whole rainy days mostly comfortable and dry with that combination. In fact, I spent a couple of hours in a park in France installing fenders on my Batavus (in the rain) so that my poncho would keep me dry all over and not let me get soaked from below. I started out with an olive drab Boy Scout unit, fairly lightish, but when that one began falling apart I got a plastic Stearns brand one from W mart and that also worked. I've been meaning to trim the backside to reduce flappage; I would cut the square shaped back into a U and probably rig a belt glued to the inside of the back so it stays close in. Just hang the front over the brake levers and your handlebar bag.

I also have a Burley rain cape that is nice but is cut a little close to be completely comfortable.

I do not use the poncho's hood when riding, relying instead on a waterproof helmet cover that is less likely to obstruct peripheral vision.

Last edited by thumpism; 08-21-19 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 08-24-19, 04:19 PM
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thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-24-19, 08:05 PM
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Check out sea to summit. I have an ultralight poncho from them I really like
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Old 08-24-19, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by stevage View Post
Any recommendations?
https://www.carradice.co.uk/products...-cape-one-size

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/jackets/...-cape/?geoc=US
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Old 08-25-19, 05:34 AM
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Dear Aussi poncho loser ;-)
total aside, but do you still own and use the Tricross? Seems to me that there was stuff you needed to replace a few years ago, shifters or crankset or something. We've briefly chatted about them before, mine is a 2010 and you know, I hadnt been on it much over the last few years, but overhauled it completely last summer and switched the brake levers to my preferred "right=front brake" setup.
You know, after all these years, I still really love riding this bike.
A real fun all rounder that certainly preceded the whole "gravel fad" given they can take pretty wide tires and as you and I know, are just as competent going down a paved descent at 80kph or goofing around on a trail.

good luck with finding a replacement poncho. I can't stand the things, memories of using one 40 years ago and the whole "sail" effect put me off for life.
cheers from the other Colonies
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Old 09-12-19, 02:06 PM
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Rain-capes rock for biking in wet weather. They replace jacket, rain pants and gloves, and it goes on and off in a few seconds.
I have worn them for years. I made a couple of them out of Sunbrella fabric, and posted a blog post about it here
I like the sturdy fabric I use; it promotes air flow and doesn’t flap.
When using a cape, you do need fenders, and any lights or accessories that are on the handlebars will be covered up.
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Old 09-12-19, 02:20 PM
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My poncho is probably heavy. And I only use it when it gets colder. If it's warm or hot, I'd rather be wet. It has allowed me to ride when I would sweat in a rain coat but freeze without something.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 09-12-19, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
... I got in the habit of using a swim cap for whitewater kayaking in cold weather and that carried over to other cold weather sports in wet weather for me. The thing is that without using a hood it is nice to have a collar that can be cinched snug so cold water doesn't run down your neck. ....
I wear a rain jacket (Marmot Precip) and not a poncho. I try to sit out the real downpours instead of riding through them, but do ride on the slow soaking drizzly kinds of days when I get very little water down my neck with a rain jacket and a rain cover over my helmet. And there is a visor on my helmet so the cover that extends over the visor helps reduce the amount of rain on my face and glasses as long as the headwind is not too strong. I think the rain cover on the helmet helps keep the rain off my neck, thus less likely to run down inside my collar.

The collar gets loosened when the rain lets up, gets tighter when the rain gets heavier. There is a hood on the jacket, but have never worn a hood while on the bike, only in the campsite.

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