Red Ledge Storm Backpacker Poncho
Functional and durable for hiking in the rain with a large pack. I think it beats a rain jacket and pants overall, in that it keeps the wearer dry down to the knee, AND keeps the pack dry, INCLUDING the shoulder straps, and isn't too "sweaty."
- Reasonably priced
- Keeps pack dry
- Fits over large pack
- Keep front of thighs dry
- Not too sweaty
- Slight difficulty getting it on over pack without a buddy to help
- Slight (but not unpleasant) rubbery smell
- An extra snap or two on the sides would make it darn near perfect.
- Does not cover leg below knee
- Does not permit much use of hands and arms
Construction, Function, Fit, Comfort, and Adjustablity:
This is a one-size garment. I am 5'8" and about 160 lbs. It fits me very nicely. A taller or stouter person would be less well-covered, and a shorter person might find it excessively long, especially without a pack on.
The poncho is wide enough to cover the arms down to about the elbow with arms extended. It is roomy enough to keep the arms inside while walking.
I particularly like that the neck opening is large enough to easily get it over the head, and it has a cinch cord to tighten it around the wearer's face (or neck, if you leave the hood down, which I sometimes do when wearing a hat with a full brim).
There are two snaps on each side on the back (about a foot longer than the front, to cover the pack) and one on each side on the front; so there is some adjustability in which snaps the wearer chooses to mate. An extra snap on each side, for tighter closing, would be nice. (I suppose if I really cared that much, though, I could install them.)
There is a strap with velcro at the back of the hood to adjust its size.
There is a small loop of webbing at each corner, allowing the poncho to be used as a tarp
Water Resistance: Absolutely waterproof. The shell is nylon backed with white polyuthrane (the tag says so). Water beads up off the outer shell, though. There is only one seam, inside the hood; it is taped.
Breathability, Temperature, etc.: The material is waterproof, but as it's open at the bottom, and along the sides, it's relatively well ventilated. It fits well over other garments in colder weather, and is a reasonably effective shell, stopping the wind (and obviously the wet).
Abrasion & Durability: I have had it for several years, and it shows no wear. It has not been babied—it's carried rolled up on top of a pack or in an open pocket, and certainly has gotten caught on rocks and trees, and has frequently been sat on, both while being worn and as a ground cloth. I am genuinely surprised that it has not snagged, and the inner coating has not cracked, peeled, or otherwise degraded.
Conditions: I have used this poncho hiking and camping on the Eastern Seaboard (mostly New York) for about 20 nights per year (probably about 1/3 to 1/2 of those days were rainy). I have also occasionally used it to provide extra wind-blocking coverage in a hammock.
I have used this poncho for more than five years. It has held up perfectly, and shows no significant wear. It is well-suited to normal backpacking, especially with a large pack. The only drawbacks I see in comparison to a rain jacket and pants are that the wearer's lower legs are not protected, and that if your hands and arms are out, they get wet, but quite frankly, if it's raining hard, I generally don't go scrambling up slick wet rocks.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: about $20
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Historic Range: $16.73-$319.95
Reviewers Paid: $20.00
52 x 92 in
Waterproof 1,500mm PU (polyurethane) coating
Nylon taffeta with WR finish