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Do I need a pack rain cover if I have a poncho?

2020 Camino Guides

serenalms

Member
Camino(s) past & future
October 2013
My backpack did not come with a rain cover, but I'm planning on getting an Altus Poncho. Do I need to get a rain cover for my backpack as well? I'd prefer not to have to carry the extra weight, but I don't want to regret not having it.
 

christer1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
none (yet)
Fwiw, i am going with poncho and no rain cover although I will test it out and may change my mind before I start:)


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Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
The Altus poncho will cover and protect your pack, no problem. Though putting the damn thing on without assistance is challenging, especially in a sudden squall. I had assumed all packs came with built-ins these days and thought that those heavy duty jobs sold as extras were for hard-core rainforest trips & such. I learn a little everyday on this forum.

I usually walk with an umbrella, though I carry an Altus for when the weather is coming sideways, so for me the pack cover is useful in that it sheds the run-off from the 'brolly.
 

muzzal

Member
Hi

A pack cover is largely redundant if you have a poncho with sleeves like the Altus (I have a Raidlight which is the same basic design). However, do note that if you need to take the pack off for an extended period when it is raining, say to pitch a tent, it will get wet.

For extra rain protection, many people use a pack liner such as a garbage bag, which weighs next to nothing and can double as a carry bag at your destination. Also, some like to use waterproof "packing cells" (Ziploc bags are cheap and light weight) which aside from extra rain protection, makes packing and unpacking simpler.

Yes, trying to don the Altus especially in windy conditions is difficult IF it's put on like a jacket, one arm at a time, as the pack gets in the way. However, there is a very simple, sure-fire way that works every time for me - I store it folded with the zip mostly done up and when I need it, I just pull it over my head like putting on a sweater. I tend to scrunch it up from the bottom and put my arms in the sleeves first; once it's over my head, it's quite easy to pull it down over the pack. This technique works even if your pack sticks out a bit, but best practice first in front of a mirror. By the way, if it's blowing a gale, face INTO the wind otherwise the coat may invert like a blown umbrella!

Like most of this design, my Raidlight is quite voluminous so I can pull my arms out of my sleeves under the coat to access the pack waistbelt pockets and drink bottle pockets without unzipping the coat.

Hope these tips help!
 

rickster

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012), LePuy (2013), Coastal Portuguese( 2013), Norte (Fall 2014)
The pack cover is so light, I take both. If it looks like rain or if it starts to drizzle, I just put on the pack cover and 9/10 times this keeps my pack dry if a sudden storm comes up or if it is just a very light rain. My altus is reserved for heavier steady rain, because I usually get very hot wearing it and it is a last, but frequently used. resort for keeping me dry.
 

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