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Poncho quandry — Altus, Frogg Toggs, Vaude, or something else?

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
This poncho from Amazon has a full zip front, is pretty lightweight and inexpensive. You can also return it for free if it's not for you.

If you sew, I highly recommend making a "Parcho." You can buy a lot with everything you need from Quest Outfitters, though I recommend a different zipper that opens from either the bottom or the top.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

The Frogg Toggs covers both me and my backpack quite nicely. :) It is also made from a type of 'breathable' material which, while not highly breathable as new laminated breathable fabrics, does add to staying drier from condensation build up.

I use it with a rain kilt for my legs if the rain is too chilly. There is nothing I am aware of that has this combination of being lightweight (8 ounces), low cost (under $20 dollars), yet remarkably durable.

Keep in mind that I now am preferring the Frogg Toggs poncho over my zPacks cuben fiber poncho which only weighs 2.8 ounces. Jill really likes hers as well. :)
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I have 2 Altus ponchos, one of the very long with arms and zip and one shorter and lighter also with arms and zip. I think the lightest is a bit thinner, but I used it this summer in rain for a mountain walk of 6 hours and did not get wet. I love the Altus because of the ziplock and the arms, easy to put on without help, when it stop raining for a while unlock the zip, take out your arms and tie them around your waist still covering your backpack. I tried a couple of those without arms earlier and they were more complicated.
I always bring raingear as well, jacket, trousera and gaiters.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?
My son has used a Frogg Togg poncho on 1000 miles of the AT in a rainy Spring, and on the Caminos when needed. They do not have a hump and are not super long, but they do the job quite nicely. He has rain pants but never uses them, preferring to wear wicking shorts. A piece of bungee type cording works well as a "belt" if needed if extremely windy.
I use the Frogg Togg rain jacket and occasionally have worn the matching rainpants.
Frogg Toggs are our favorites. We've never been wet and you can't beat the price point and weight.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I gave up on ponchos years ago and I don't have any reasonable recent experience with them but I remember this thread on the Ikea poncho.

I know people use the Ikea poncho on the Camino, but the design really isn't optimal, especially if you want to use poles.
It's not open at all on the sides - there are slits on the sides to poke your arms out, but your arms would get pretty wet if you used poles.
It is pretty lightweight though. I have one that I keep in the car for emergencies.
Screenshot_20211021-150429_Firefox.jpg
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I know people use the Ikea poncho on the Camino, but the design really isn't optimal, especially if you want to use poles.
It's not open at all on the sides - there are slots on the sides to poke your arms out, but your arms would get pretty wet if you used poles.
It is pretty lightweight though. I have one that I keep in the car for emergencies.
View attachment 111716
I also had an Ikea poncho and found it to be unuseable for the Camino. Yep, the arm slots are the biggest problem, especially if you use hiking poles; wet arms and water would trickle inside. It was very pretty though in a black/white check.😅...Ive since donated it to my local resale shop.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I have use a variety of rain gear and never found one foolproof. Some breathe and others turn a hot rainy day in Spain into a sauna. To me the protection of you backpack with something that is impermeable is much more important than your personal protection from rain.
 
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Helen1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
London to Santiago (2014)
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Camino Portugues (2016)
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Not cheap but I like this one: https://www.exped.com/usa/en/product-category/ponchos/pack-poncho-ul-m-mossgreen It's light and has kept me dry through a couple of thunderstorms. However, it has zero warmth, and it doesn't open at the front. Great for keeping you dry in the pouring rain, but it doesn't really work as an extra layer and it's a bit of a faff/lot of material to pull on for a bit of drizzle
 
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For me these are all non-negotiable in a poncho: arms, length, ability to cover my pack, and a front opening. The Altus has them all.

@peregrina2000, why not get your hands on a recent iteration of the Altus and see what you think? If it really is unacceptable you can always return it.

Or see if you can find an older one languishing on a rack somewhere. One thought would be to write a few small shops along the camino Frances like Caminoteca in Pamplona or the Boutique du Pelerin in SJPP to see if they have some old stock? They could ship it to you easily enough.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
Ditto on the philosophy of prioritizing keeping your gear in your pack dry versus keeping yourself dry. Especially during the summer. That being said I carried a poncho on only one Camino and it worked okay. An inexpensive frogg toggs brand, about $6. It covered my pack nicely. Very, very lightweight as well. Downside is versatility. Not practical to wear about the town and such after you finish walking and is task specific. A rain jacket can also double as a cool weather jacket and is good for layering as well. I'm an advocate of gear being multi tasking.
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
I've used all kinds of cheap ponchos in the past (Ikea, supermarket brands, Decathlon one...) They all did their job, more or less.


A few years ago I bought a "Wäfo Kraxenponcho" (german brand) and absolutely love that one. It has arm sleeves and extra room for even a giant backpack, but no front opening. It's available in different sizes. I've got the classic version (non-breathable).

It's very sturdy and definitely waterproof. Not cheap, sadly, and not ultralight (500g) but good quality. If the weather is really bad I use it combined with rain trousers or gaiters and a hat. That is of course not necessary for a light summer rain, but really nice on days when it's constantly cold and wet.


For cleaning a poncho, I treat it the same way as a tent. I'd never wash it. If needed, just gently soak/clean it with luke warm water and then hang it out to dry. Higher temperature, soap and detergents can ruin the waterproof coating of the fabric and the seam tapes.
 
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peregrino_tom

Member
Past OR future Camino
.
Hi Laurie
If your Decathlon poncho works in every respect other than the peeling seamguards, why not give it some repair/maintenance time? That's what winters are for... non?
Be thrifty like our grandparents and be an upcycler like the young'uns!
Someone gave me a Decathlon poncho (with sleeves and a zip down the front) on my first camino, more than 10,000km and 13 years ago. It gets regular maintenance and still works as brilliantly as when it was first given to me.
For the seams I tend to use Silnet (but there are plenty of other brands out there), and, because that is quite thick, dilute it a little with white spirit and paint it on the seams with a small artist's brush. That way you can get into the nooks and crannies. I've done that about every 4 years.
Each winter I also respray the outside with a standard waterproofer that you'd use for a gortex jacket, like Nikwax, Fabsil or Grainger.
Recently as the natural waterproofing qualities thin out, I also dab on a full rubberised waterproofer (that you'd use to re-seal a tent groundsheet) to key areas like the cuffs and zip shield. In the UK we have Gear Aid's 'Seam Grip TF'.
I don't put the rubberiser on the whole thing, because that would prevent the material breathing - and then you'd end up with something like the original Altus and its amazing sauna effect...
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
My German camiga swears by her Vaude poncho, which is plenty big and long and works, though it is a lot heavier than mine. I have had Altuses/Alti from 2010 and managed to get my hands on one of the first ultralight ones, which is my all time favourite but seems to have disappeared! So for this year I took my Ferrino Hiker, without the front zip but also importantly without the silver foil, which is basically a Pilgrim Boil-in-the-bag. The Ferrino worked well as long as my pack didn't have anything sticking out of it to catch the poncho, then it would get difficult to get it on by myself. The trick with non-zipper front ones is often to get in first and lift the pack in after you, then put it on inside. The non-elasticated sleeves helped a lot with the airflow though and it is pretty light too.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I still have one of the old style Altus (when they still had velcro cuffs). It is all those things people like about the Altus - easy to pull on and off as it hangs off the backpack, easy to ventilate with the two way zip, long enough to cover me to below the knees, covers the backpack and no drips. What I don't like is the weight. And of course it is not breathable.

I'm thinking of buying a new Altus to get something lighter. I'm also tempted to try the Froggs Toggs poncho with a kilt.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
May I offer up, tongue in cheek as usual, the Norwegian Jergan:

226212.jpg


Poncho, tarp, sleeping/bivvy bag . . . it even comes with a bright orange "rescue me" flag and a belt so you can kilt up the skirt. For those worried about wet arms you also get a set of waterproof "Armings" included (think those oversleeves beloved of clerks in old Wild West movies)

416957&width=172&height=200&zwidth=172&zheight=200&x=86&y=100.jpg


No? I thought not ;)
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I know people use the Ikea poncho on the Camino, but the design really isn't optimal, especially if you want to use poles.
It's not open at all on the sides - there are slits on the sides to poke your arms out, but your arms would get pretty wet if you used poles.
It is pretty lightweight though. I have one that I keep in the car for emergencies.
View attachment 111716
So, I don’t use rain pants nor waterproof shoes, nor gaiters. The weather/temperatures on the Caminos are not extreme enough IMO to warrant them.
If you are staying in private accommodations in late October-March,for sure,you will have sufficient heating to dry out your clothes and shoes.

Have used Frog Toggs jacket and pants in the Fall - Sweat profusely…would not use again.

Merrill Jacket in March in heavy rain got completely soaked.

LLBean rain jacket woked better than the Merrill and length-was longer. Stayed dryer much longer….but eventually some rain got in.

IKEA Poncho see https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/ikea-ponchos.65349/

Check out response number 28. Actually, we just used a piece of chord to make a belt, putting the chord though the pockets slits. It is a poncho, so more airy than a jacket. As with most ponchos if you keep your arms out, you will get your arms soaked. We actually make the chord loose enough so that we can keep our poles inside, but we are not speedster and it might not work for you. I am 5’9” tall. It covers my backpack and me to just below the knees. That is sufficient. I also bring those thin plastic garbage bags from home. Or, you can save a few from the supermarkets when you buy produce in Spain and then use them over dry socks if there is torrential rain. Not sure what the price tag is now, but it is relatively cheap. I am sure there are more waterproof ponchos but the IKEA keeps my upper body dry without the additional material to drag along.
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
(Oh btw I have seen the new yellow Altus in the flesh so to speak, and if you - like me - thought that a nice lively yellow would brighten up your rainy day and make you more visible, beware it really is a dull mustard and not very cheery or bright at all.)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks to everyone for all of the responses. One thing that people really haven’t commented on, except for @davebugg, is the material used to make the different ponchos. My old Altus has a much “silkier” feel than the Decathlon, which feels almost plastic-y. I assume that they are all waterproof, but would the type of material make a difference in how clammy or sweaty you get when wearing it for a long time?

Altus is made out of Poliamidad Ripstop. Not sure what that is.

Sea to Summit is made out of Lightweight polyurethane-coated 70-denier nylon.

Frog Toggs uses a breathable fabric
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Altus is made out of Poliamidad Ripstop. Not sure what that is.

Sea to Summit is made out of Lightweight polyurethane-coated 70-denier nylon.

Frog Toggs uses a breathable fabric
The Polimidad ripstop appears to be just a ripstop fabric made with a branded type of nylon (Polyester?) It would have to be coated with something or extremely tightly woven or both to be water-proof/resistant.

This page from a German firm says that they make a ripstop fabric and coat it with polyurethane. The Altus poncho you are interested in may have a different coating though. [Edit: No. The second link says the composition is Polyester Ripstop 20D/RS/PU and the PU must indicate polyurethane.]



Polyurethane treated fabrics will not breath at all and you will get inside condensation unless you vent it well.

Frog Toggs uses a layered fabric with the center layer being tightly woven to allow air and water vapor to pass but not allow water droplets in. GoreTex works like this but this fabric is a different technology. (GoreTex uses a sheet of a micro-porus chemical that is branded as Teflon elsewhere.)

 
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alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Listed in my signature
I bought a Frogg Togg’s and modified it. I split open the front and added a waterproof zipper, sewed up the sides a little narrower (it’s enormously wide!) which created sleeves, and used the excess material from the sides to add a little to the sleeves so it came down to my wrists and added a strip along the back to make it longer when wearing the pack. Then I used some sealant on the seams I made.

It took a Little effort as I was working alone and it’s hard to model and take measurements at the same time but it wasn’t difficult and I’m happy with the result. Significantly lighter than my original Altus!
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I bought a Frogg Togg’s and modified it. I split open the front and added a waterproof zipper, sewed up the sides a little narrower (it’s enormously wide!) which created sleeves, and used the excess material from the sides to add a little to the sleeves so it came down to my wrists and added a strip along the back to make it longer when wearing the pack. Then I used some sealant on the seams I made.

It took a Little effort as I was working alone and it’s hard to model and take measurements at the same time but it wasn’t difficult and I’m happy with the result. Significantly lighter than my original Altus!
You and @trecile should go into the poncho making business. And maybe @Magwood would add a British branch.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Past OR future Camino
yes...
Sorry I'm coming late to the party. I did love my Vaude poncho. It kept me dry in many a storm! I have two as they first one was so long I looked like half a pantomime horse in it. For the VdlP I bought a smaller size and it was much better.

However after walking the VdlP I decided to lighten my pack and my poncho was one of the things to go. My husband had bought and walked in a Marmot Precip and he loved it. So for a few years I had one of these and I was very happy.

The Christmas before COVID I had a Rab Kinetic from Father Christmas. I have been a little doubtful about it's waterproofness but I wore it on our recent camino and we had a solid day of rain and I stayed very dry and I never felt overly sweaty either. I love the hood and the way the fabric stretches and it isn't noisy like my Precip... so I'm very happy that I made the switch.

I make sure my pack has a cover and all my pack contents are in drysacks so I've never had a problem with gear getting wet. I'm definitely a convert to jackets... so sadly my two vaude ponchos have sat in a drawer for several years.
 
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I have 2 Altus ponchos, one of the very long with arms and zip and one shorter and lighter also with arms and zip. I think the lightest is a bit thinner, but I used it this summer in rain for a mountain walk of 6 hours and did not get wet. I love the Altus because of the ziplock and the arms, easy to put on without help, when it stop raining for a while unlock the zip, take out your arms and tie them around your waist still covering your backpack. I tried a couple of those without arms earlier and they were more complicated.
I always bring raingear as well, jacket, trousera and gaiters.
I just checked out the Altus and I am ordering 1 for sure. Thank you for making me aware of product. Looks like the prefect camino rain gear. Now I'm hoping for rain to try it out😂
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
I have always used a poncho that I have bought in the past from spanish agriculture stores. They have cost about 10 euros. I bought my last one in 2017 from a store on the Invierno in O Barco de Valdeorras. See photo
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it?
Unfortunately I didn't, @peregrina2000 . And we can't get it in Australia, as far as I know.
In 2018, I saw an Altus in SJPdP, and nearly bought it. I should have!
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Re: sweat/condensation :: So much depends on the actual weather. Mostly hot and dry, with only occasional, rather brief showers? An ultralight rain jacket, brimmed hat, and pack cover will work. Cooler fall weather with a few rainy days? Poncho with sleeves (not in combination with the brimmed hat, which will just funnel rain down your back). Late fall or winter, with some truly miserable weather? Good rain jacket/pants combo.

Personally, I started with the Sea to Summit poncho, but found it too difficult to don when walking solo. I like my Ferrino Trekker for walking in cooler, wetter spring weather. But mostly I walk in the drier fall, with just a light jacket and hat. If it's going to be wetter than that, I stay over another night.
 

Amused212

Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
I use Frogg Toggs AND, if needed, a light weight rain jacket. My pack also has a built in rain cover. There is no perfect poncho for the Camino. The pack ponchos cover the pack without being short in back but without a pack, around town, they are just weird. I am short so even if the poncho and pack combo causes a rise in back it is not a big deal. In a heavy rain my legs might get wet but I don't use rain pants - too hot. For walking/hiking my pants are quick dry and getting wet generally isn't an issue though if it were really cold it probably would be. Frogg Toggs don't have a zipper but when I've had to put it on in a hurry I'd rather not fuss with a zipper, just pull it on. The rain jacket under the poncho gives me the warmth needed for my core and the jacket can be worn just for warmth without the poncho. And there is the option of the jacket plus the pack cover. Bottomline, I go with options and layers.
 
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Jodean

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22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I just checked out the Altus and I am ordering 1 for sure. Thank you for making me aware of product. Looks like the prefect camino rain gear. Now I'm hoping for rain to try it out😂
Where are you ordering from? I live in the US and the shipping is almost as much as the poncho, but I may just bite the bullet. For those starting in SJPP, I believe that caminoteca sells them in Pamplona and will hold one for you if you order and pay for it.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
For those starting in SJPP, I believe that caminoteca sells them in Pamplona and will hold one for you if you order and pay for it.
For those starting in SJPdP, the Boutique du Pèlerin in the rue de la Citadelle, just down from the Pilgrims Office, may also have the Altus.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
For those starting in SJPdP, the Boutique du Pèlerin in the rue de la Citadelle, just down from the Pilgrims Office, may also have the Altus.
We had the same thought at the same time, AJ. Yes, they do. (Not sure but I think they and Direction Compostelle are the same owners.)
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
If your Decathlon poncho works in every respect other than the peeling seamguards, why not give it some repair/maintenance time?
Good advice, but I have decided that I really don’t like the material it’s made of. Seems like it’s more of a plastic. I have no idea if it contributes to the sweating, but I do think that I started to sweat more quickly in my Decathlon than in the Altus.

I don't put the rubberiser on the whole thing, because that would prevent the material breathing -
But I thought these ponchos were not breathable.

Truth of the matter is that I know that I am going to sweat inside the poncho, but I agree with @biarritzdon that the most important thing is keeping my backpack and my fanny pack dry, and the poncho with a front zipper is the way that works for me.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
So to go back to the very beginning...have you decided against an Altus because of someone's bad reviews, or because of not being able to get one easily? Or both?

To me they're ideal - sleeves, pack coverage, front zip, breathability. So I'd be looking for a work-around. Why not order direct from Altus online and have them deliver to you via a second party in Spain or Portugal?

Here's the pertinent webpage:
 

Meggins

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - One complete St.J.P.P to Santiago plus twice more for 500km each time.
We had the same thought at the same time, AJ. Yes, they do. (Not sure but I think they and Direction Compostelle are the same owners.)
This is a great store in StJ. especially if you have forgotten something! I have variously bought a hat (Imagine that! forgettinng my hat!) poles, T-shirt etc. and as stated almost scross the street from th office!!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
So to go back to the very beginning...have you decided against an Altus because of someone's bad reviews, or because of not being able to get one easily? Or both?
Good idea, back to the beginning. I think I have decided that Altus is the best of a bunch of not optimal choices. I really found that the zipper in front helped to reduce sweating a lot.

I can get it on sale at Deporvillage.net and with the $30 US shipping, the total is $76, which is only about $8 more than the cost of buying it from Altus.

So I am close to a decision, I guess!
 
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peregrino_tom

Member
Past OR future Camino
.
I think I have decided that Altus is the best of a bunch of not optimal choices. I really found that the zipper in front helped to reduce sweating a lot.

I can get it on sale at Deporvillage.net and with the $30 US shipping, the total is $76, which is only about $8 more than the cost of buying it from Altus.
Well if you get a new one and you like it (even half as much as I am besotted by mine) then all the longer term maintenance tips still apply.
PS materials really do vary in breathability. I thought that the Gatewood Cape was a neat idea - so you have a poncho and a shelter in one. But the Gatewood is tent material - silnylon. It gets hot and wet - and clingy - in no time! urrrgggghhh
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances/SJPP '15,'16,'18,'19,('20)
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
I am on Camino now and have been using the newer Altus. I have previously used the one with the reflective lining on 7 previous Camino’s. I have been happy with the new one without the reflective lining. The only real difference I see if the lining and elastic for the cuffs. For those of you not familiar with the Altus, people refer to it as a poncho but it really is a long raincoat with sleeves, a zipper and a hump for the backpack and you don’t need rain pants with it. For me it is perfect for the Camino.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
This does look amazingly ingenuous! Have you tried it out? Pretty expensive if it is not going to really keep you dry. I love the innovation though.
No, I haven't tried it myself as I made my own "parcho." (see my post above) But I walked with a couple who had Packas, and they loved them.
 
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In 2012, I emailed Boutique du Pèlerin in St. Jean to ask if they had Altus' in stock. I was able to reserve and pay for it when I arrived. I like the Altus but have had problems with condensation on the inside depending on the day's temperature and time of year I've walked. I need a new one - the seams are wearing on mine. One of it's most valuable uses is as a ground cover for rest / lunch stops when there are no benches around :)
 

Priscilla NC

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
I also have used the Marmot Precip on both Caminos I walked beginning in early/mid April. I have debated between rain jacket and poncho and I think I would still use this jacket. So many mornings it was chilly enough to wear as my outer layer. Not sure I'd do that with a poncho. And it has kept me completely dry in rain, sleet, and snow.

My second Camino I also put on a ZPack rain quilt that weighed nothing. The Precip jacket ends right below my hips. The combination of the 2 kept me fully dry in some really bad weather.

May you find exactly what will work best for you!
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Aside from it's main function, ponchos are also multi-taskers
  • A shelter lean-to. (A bit of cord and trekking poles make it even more independent in setting up.)
  • A sun shelter, it can be rigged up to provide you shade in hot climates.
  • Ground cloth: Under a tent, or a survival shelter, a poncho can protect you from the damp ground. If you are in a cold damp climate, this can help you stay warm.
  • Wind Break: While a poncho without the liner does not have much insulating qualities, you will be warmer if you wrap up in the poncho in windy weather, this will help protect you from wind chill.
  • Privacy -- great emergency privacy screen when needing to do a 'nature break' and natural coverage of bushes or tall grass is scarce. It also works when needing to change pants or shorts.
  • Sit pad when taking a break and sitting surfaces are damp or dirty.
  • Mattress cover.
  • Can make an emergency backpack or carryall.
  • Windshell to add a bit of extra warmth to layers. Great for cool, early mornings when you need something that can be quickly removed after you have warmed up from walking.
😁😁:cool:
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
This does look amazingly ingenuous! Have you tried it out? Pretty expensive if it is not going to really keep you dry. I love the innovation though.

Thought is is quite expensive? Wonder if @davebugg might have the opportunity to review the 3rd breathable model of The Packa?
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
For those using a poncho, this minor modification will make walking in windy conditions a 'breeze'. Plus, it is quick to implement when needed.

---------------------------------

This is one very easy method IF you want a tie-off that stays attached to the poncho between uses.

Materials:

Two lengths of cord ( I prefer a 1.2 mm Dyneema tent cord) REI, Amazon, Zpacks, etc


1578777850164.png




Tape or self adhesive fabric to reinforce a small hole. (Tenacious Tape is great for this application)


1578777550705.png



With the poncho on, find your waist.

At the back edge of the poncho, on both your right and left sides, place a mark. If needed, have a helper make the mark. I just reach back an grab the edge myself.

With the poncho removed, at each mark, take a piece of of Tenacious Tape (duct tape, etc.), about 2" in length or a bit longer, and wrap the tape so that it goes over the top and bottom sides of the edge and then extends at least 3/4" from the edge of the poncho.

Next, make a tiny incision in the material through the tape. Keep the incision at least 1/2 from the edge of the poncho. Option: For those who wish to do so, you can attach a grommet

The amount of cord for each side of the poncho will depend on how much girth one has. You need two (2) lengths of cord. . one for each side of the poncho. Thread a length of cord through the incisions you made and tie it off using a square knot.

You will now have two thin, dangling lengths of cord hanging from the waist height of your poncho.

When needed due to wind, grab each length of cord, bringing them to the front of your poncho. Tie the ends together like a shoelace.

You can apply as little or as much tension as you wish, but do not over-tighten, as this will stress the poncho fabric unnecessarily. Now you can button up as much or as little of the sides of the poncho as you wish, adjusting for desired airflow.

When not needed, gather up the dangly cord into a bundle (do this for each side) like an extension cord. You will not notice it as you walk, but it is easily released if needed. I use a twist tie that is kept attached to each cord.

It takes all of 5 minutes to add the modification, and seconds to deploy when the weather calls for it.

If you would rather carry a separate cord or rope or bungee to use as a belt around the poncho, those work too. Of course you need to make sure it is easily reached if you decide you need it.
 
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thetimman

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Inglés, March 2018
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
We used frogg toggs (jacket and pants) and kept dry despite deluges of rain. Highly recommend. They can make you quite warm as they don’t breathe, so plan accordingly. If you use them, you need a pack cover, works just fine

one piece of advice, a baseball cap under the hood of the frogg toggs keeps the hood from impacting your field of vision
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Have you considered a Packa? It's the cleverest design I've seen.

The Packa! I hadn’t even thought of them. Wow has that business changed. On my very first camino, in 2000, my walking partner ordered directly from the man who made these in his home/garage/workshop. She had a lot of interaction with him about sizing, and the clear impression was that he was making them one by one. Her pack arrived reeking of smoke. :D It looks like he has sold it to a company or has otherwise ramped up the business and that they offer quite a few options. She very much liked the armpit zippers. The main problem for her was that sometimes there would be a non-trivial puddle of water that had collected in the pack cover part of the poncho. That won’t happen with the Altus or others like it because the back of the poncho is less carefully formed to the shape of the backpack.

Doing a search with Packa brings up a lot of interesting poncho threads, which I have now spent way too much time on.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
I used to have Altus Altus light, loved front opening.
Now I use Sea to Summit nanosil, it is soooo light. Packs down to nothing. I love it. Perfect for summer. It does not open at front, but I am used to that now.
When I hike in New Zealand, where it can get cold and rainy, I use a lightweight knee-length gotten jacket, big enough to wear wool and downjacket under and I have needed that.
 
Last edited:
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
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Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
If you use them, you need a pack cover, works just fine
I use the Frogg Togg rain jacket so use a pack cover in rain, but as I have said on past threads, I use a sturdy white trash COMPACTOR bag to line my pack inside so no rain can penetrate. I fold the top over and clip it so I have no need of dry bags, instead preferring to use small mesh laundry bags.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
This poncho from Amazon has a full zip front, is pretty lightweight and inexpensive. You can also return it for free if it's not for you.

If you sew, I highly recommend making a "Parcho." You can buy a lot with everything you need from Quest Outfitters, though I recommend a different zipper that opens from either the bottom or the top.
Ooh, if I hadn't recently bought a poncho, I may well have tried this. I like the fact that there is a large choice of colours.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
Can I ask which of the decathlon ponchos you used, was it their cheapest? I think they have four levels of use and I've just bought the heavier duty one. Although it is the most expensive there, it is not expensive compared to some of the others. I'm hoping it will be sufficiently waterproof
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have a general concern (although I am unsure) if a rain jacket or poncho is considered to be "heavy duty" and/or expensive that it would also weigh more, make you sweat more, and possibly be overkill, especially on a summer Camino.🤔
Thoughts anyone?
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
If you sew, I highly recommend making a "Parcho." You can buy a lot with everything you need from Quest Outfitters, though I recommend a different zipper that opens from either the bottom or the top.
Hi,

Same recommendation for the Parcho. I have sewn one for me and one for my wife. Both of us are really happy with it :

- half the weight of the Ferrino Trekker we used before : less weight in the pack, and less sticky when worn.

- "batman" sleeves with lot of space, i.e. more natural ventilation, without armpit zippers

- fully waterproof (silnylon)

- you get a pattern you can adjust to your preferences : overall length (can shelter a Macabi skirt :)) sleeves...

Silnylon is not really easy to sew (slips like a wet soap bar...). But you can manage with a basic sewing machine and a bit of patience.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Can I ask which of the decathlon ponchos you used, was it their cheapest? I think they have four levels of use and I've just bought the heavier duty one. Although it is the most expensive there, it is not expensive compared to some of the others. I'm hoping it will be sufficiently waterproof
Hi, @Sue127

It was about 30 euros, and looks like an Altus knockoff. I don’t think the waterproofing is an issue, at least that has never been my problem with ponchos. It has always been the sweating inside. I THINK, though my memory is unlikely to be precise, that I sweat more inside the Decathlon than the Altus. But my Altus was the “original” Altus and not the current Atmospheric model.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
Hi, @Sue127

It was about 30 euros, and looks like an Altus knockoff. I don’t think the waterproofing is an issue, at least that has never been my problem with ponchos. It has always been the sweating inside. I THINK, though my memory is unlikely to be precise, that I sweat more inside the Decathlon than the Altus. But my Altus was the “original” Altus and not the current Atmospheric model.
Thanks @peregrina2000. Mine has the arm zips so I'm hoping that will keep me cooler. Winters coming, so plenty of time to try it out.
 

Mark316

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2020
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
It’s all a compromise. Ponchos work well if rain isn’t accompanied by wind. With wind in the mix your going to get wet as the poncho blows around. If it’s warm rain, no big deal. If it’s cold and wet it sucks.

My wife and I carry Mammut jackets and REI pants…both lightweight and Gortex. Both work well in the rain and this setup also helps my wife stay warm on early morning winter hikes as it tends to keep the heat in.

There may be nothing worse than walking on a cold rainy day and getting wet. We carry a little extra weight to alleviate that threat. We also carry nothing made out of cotton, but that’s a different subject.

So, I have no problem with ponchos, used them in the past and if my only choice was to purchase a poncho, I’d probably get the biggest one I could find that doesn’t drag on the ground.
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
It’s all a compromise. Ponchos work well if rain isn’t accompanied by wind. With wind in the mix your going to get wet as the poncho blows around. If it’s warm rain, no big deal. If it’s cold and wet it sucks.
In fact, Altus, Ferrino Trekker, Parcho and the like are not basic ponchos (a square and a hood) but raincoats, which do not flip around in the wind.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
In fact, Altus, Ferrino Trekker, Parcho and the like are not basic ponchos (a square and a hood) but raincoats, which do not flip around in the wind.
Exactly. They are really oversized raincoats that will accommodate a backpack under them.
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
Like an earlier poster suggested, try the Bluefield poncho available from Amazon. It is less expensive than the Althus. At least 3 people I know have used it under very wet conditions and had no complaints. It has a front zipper, long sleeves, a hood with a clear visor, and space for the backpack - very similar to the Altus, which I have. My Altus is from 2015 and is beginning to show its age - like the snaps that secure the pack section when not in use breaking off. I would consider the Bluefield as a replacement. I have read so many positive reviews of Frogg Toggs, but I have yet to find a store where I can actually see and try them.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I have the inexpensive poncho from Amazon that I mentioned above. I bought it to use on rainy walks around town, but here's what it looks like with my 36 liter backpack under it. For reference, I'm 5' 8" tall. I think that it would be fine for warmer weather Caminos.
On my kitchen scale it weights 9.8 ounces in its zippered stuff sack.


20211022_130922.jpg
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I love using an umbrella, but it's not really going to keep you or your pack very dry in heavy rain.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
For those using a poncho, this minor modification will make walking in windy conditions a 'breeze'. Plus, it is quick to implement when needed.

---------------------------------

This is one very easy method IF you want a tie-off that stays attached to the poncho between uses.

Materials:

Two lengths of cord ( I prefer a 1.2 mm Dyneema tent cord) REI, Amazon, Zpacks, etc


1578777850164.png




Tape or self adhesive fabric to reinforce a small hole. (Tenacious Tape is great for this application)


1578777550705.png



With the poncho on, find your waist.

At the back edge of the poncho, on both your right and left sides, place a mark. If needed, have a helper make the mark. I just reach back an grab the edge myself.

With the poncho removed, at each mark, take a piece of of Tenacious Tape (duct tape, etc.), about 2" in length or a bit longer, and wrap the tape so that it goes over the top and bottom sides of the edge and then extends at least 3/4" from the edge of the poncho.

Next, make a tiny incision in the material through the tape. Keep the incision at least 1/2 from the edge of the poncho. Option: For those who wish to do so, you can attach a grommet

The amount of cord for each side of the poncho will depend on how much girth one has. You need two (2) lengths of cord. . one for each side of the poncho. Thread a length of cord through the incisions you made and tie it off using a square knot.

You will now have two thin, dangling lengths of cord hanging from the waist height of your poncho.

When needed due to wind, grab each length of cord, bringing them to the front of your poncho. Tie the ends together like a shoelace.

You can apply as little or as much tension as you wish, but do not over-tighten, as this will stress the poncho fabric unnecessarily. Now you can button up as much or as little of the sides of the poncho as you wish, adjusting for desired airflow.

When not needed, gather up the dangly cord into a bundle (do this for each side) like an extension cord. You will not notice it as you walk, but it is easily released if needed. I use a twist tie that is kept attached to each cord.

It takes all of 5 minutes to add the modification, and seconds to deploy when the weather calls for it.

See what you think of this way of tying a knot, Dave.

You can tighten or loosen it, it's easy to tie if you think of & and easy to untie too.

tying a drawstring
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
It’s all a compromise. Ponchos work well if rain isn’t accompanied by wind. With wind in the mix your going to get wet as the poncho blows around. If it’s warm rain, no big deal. If it’s cold and wet it sucks.
Unsecured, that could be an issue, but that really is more of an issue of technique in the use of the poncho than of the poncho itself. Using the poncho on thru hikes (PCT and Colorado Trail) and on the Camino during very windy storms, it worked fine. Outside of Helly Hansen style rain gear, I have found wind driven rains can be problematic for rain jackets as well. Not to mention backpacks depending on a cover.
 
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Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
If you sew, I highly recommend making a "Parcho." You can buy a lot with everything you need from Quest Outfitters, though I recommend a different zipper that opens from either the bottom or the top.
A great suggestion. I had read about this some time ago, but couldn't find supplies in Australia. And the freight to Australia is as much if not more than the kit ...
For those using a poncho, this minor modification will make walking in windy conditions a 'breeze'. Plus, it is quick to implement when needed.
Thanks a million for this, @davebugg !! I have a copy of an earlier post you wrote, and that's the solution we currently use.
The other alternative: A multitasking, warm weather, rain and sun protection.
Yes, they can be clipped to a shoulder harness rather easily. They deploy quickly, too.
We bought a Euroschirm umbrella, but more for sun protection than for rain, as my darling, who used to have golden hair in her youth, has a fair skin. She used it in 2018, and we measured a 2°C drop in temperature under the umbrella. She loves her umbrella!
You can order them from Spain but it will cost nearly $50 in freight…
We're so far away from everything... :D
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
We stopped at a Dollar store when it started raining and abought 2 ponchos for 3 euro each....
 

jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Oh, I'm happy to read that some others use umbrellas. I stopped using my poncho (Altus) some years ago - it functioned just as it should have, but I found it all a bit cumbersome. But I do appreciate that's a personal preference - what works for one doesn't work for another. The umbrella is a relatively new addition for us - about 5 years ago. We have small, v lightweight but strong umbrellas tucked in our packs. They don't get used often - but when they do we are v grateful. We sometimes take a couple of those transparent $2 ponchos in our backpacks in case of needing another layer or losing umbrella - they are in a tiny package, weigh virtually nothing and can be used a few times before disposal. Have rarely been used but good to have as an insurance layer.

So, in wet weather - we use raincover for packs, waterproof jacket - and trusty umbrella. Never rain pants. I don't mind if my legs / pants get wet. If I'm needing poles at the same time, I can happily walk one pole in one hand and umbrella in the other. If I need two poles at the time, I can tuck the umbrella handle in to the chest strap of my backpack. That said, this has rarely been necessary.

Three things I really like about the umbrella 1) it keeps the face, neck and shoulder area relatively dry - and 2) good for 'the evening' if we are tootling around town in the rain and 3) for shade as @AJGuillaume says.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I bought my first Altus in the sport shop below the stairs in Sarria I guess in 2007, having tried one without opening for some weeks. As a solo walker I needed help to put on the poncho, but the Altus solved that problem. It was read, and on the Via de la Plata in 2011, I really felt I was in the view from some of male or female cows after Camparra, so when I later found a lighter one in another colour in the sportshop in Santiago, I did not hesitate. I have not used the red one since then, so I could give it to anybody not afraid of oxes.
 
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Tiger 48

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2014 Frances. 2017 to be Norte
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
I used the Altus. The cost was worth it and 7 years later it will go with me on more Caminos!
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)

cbacino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
I threw away my poncho (too clunky, still got wet underneath) after a few hundred miles on the Appalachian Trail (lots of spring rain there) and bought a backpacking umbrella. Use releasable zip ties to attach it to your pack for hands-free use. Frogg Togg top for chill and wind. Use a trash compactor bag (heavy thickness) to line the inside of pack; everything stays 100% dry. Pack covers do not work during extended rains. Umbrella also covers the pack. I’ve used this configuration for more than 5000 miles. I wore rain pants to hike once - just got wet from the inside, sweating.
 
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Cicada

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances St Jean -Santiago April -June 2017
Portugues September 2018
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
We bought Altus in April 2017 from SJPDP only need them a few times.Apart from the colour (red) which was the only ones available they worked very well and kept us dry. We took them on the Portuguese the following year in September and didn't need them once. A year or so ago we took them out for an airing and noticed that the waterproof inside "coating" on both ponchos was coming off. Tried them out in a heavy downpour and got soaked. Not sure what we'll use next camino if we get to do one that is !
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
I bought my first Altus in the sport shop below the stairs in Sarria I guess in 2007, having tried one without opening for some weeks. As a solo walker I needed help to put on the poncho, but the Altus solved that problem. It was read, and on the Via de la Plata in 2011, I really felt I was in the view from some of male or female cows after Camparra, so when I later found a lighter one in another colour in the sportshop in Santiago, I did not hesitate. I have not used the red one since then, so I could give it to anybody not afraid of oxes.
You need not have worried about the colour. Like me, cattle are colourblind!

A bull's vision is very similar to the vision of a human with red-cone colour blindness, known as protanopia. To them, a red garment would look yellowish-gray.

It is motion of the matador's red cape that enrages a bull, and not the colour. That's why on windy days the matador's assistants wet the edged of his cape and touch it to the sand to weigh it down so that the breeze doesn't cause the cape to flutter.

On the other hand, going alone into a field with a loose bull in it is probably only advisable if your name is Usain Bolt. Better to go in with a friend - you don't have to worry about running faster than the bull, just faster than your friend 🏃‍♂️ . .🏃‍♀️ . . . . .🐂
 

pjacobi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015, St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
2016, Burgos to Ponferrada
2017, Ponferrada to Atlantic Ocean
Whatever you use for gear, don't wait until you get to Spain to try it out.

Train in the rain with your gear and get to know the strength and weakness. Improve your rain gear and try it out again on the next rain day,


-Paul
 

Juno

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino French Way (2012 - 2014)
SJPDP - Sahagun (June 2015)
Sahagun - Muxia (June 2016)
I have 2 Altus ponchos, one of the very long with arms and zip and one shorter and lighter also with arms and zip. I think the lightest is a bit thinner, but I used it this summer in rain for a mountain walk of 6 hours and did not get wet. I love the Altus because of the ziplock and the arms, easy to put on without help, when it stop raining for a while unlock the zip, take out your arms and tie them around your waist still covering your backpack. I tried a couple of those without arms earlier and they were more complicated.
I always bring raingear as well, jacket, trousera and gaiters.
I too have the Altus poncho which I had shipped from Spain. It does all of the above which is useful. However the first time I wore it I thought it had a leak as it was wet inside, until I realised it was condensation. I wouldn’t be without it though as it is lightweight and as ranther says can be left on and tied back. The other thing I thought was, if I ever got stuck up a hill with poor visibility, it’s so big that I could use it as an emergency tent. You do need gaiters too as a poncho can drip into your shoes haha. ;)
 

Ricardo Moretti

Camino Frances x 2: Apr./May 2018 & Apr./May 2019
Past OR future Camino
Two Camino Frances:
April-May 2018
April-May 2019
On my last camino, I used the Decathlon rain poncho that I bought in Lisbon. It was cheap, and you get what you pay for. After washing it, the taping is all coming off. So back to square one.

Most of the recent forum discussion focuses on the debate between poncho and rain jackets. I did see some poncho opinions but not as many as I had hoped.

I always used to wear an Altus (RIP), but the new Altus Atmorpheric has gotten some less than stellar reviews, and at least one good Spanish outdoor store, Barrabés, no longer sells the Altus. AJ, did you buy it? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poncho-altus-atmospheric-s3.66482/

@davebugg recommends Frogg Toggs, but it is very short. I guess it would go well with rain pants? It doesn’t look like it has a “hump” for the backpack, so that must make it very short in the back, no?

I see that @LesBrass went with Vaude and seems happy. But as @Anniesantiago commented in the Vaude thread, the fact that it doesn’t zip down front is a huge disadvantage IMO. I can get Vaude here in the US. I can’t get Altus here, but I can have it shipped from Spain and the cost for Altus poncho & shipping is about what the Vaude would cost.

I once had a Ferrino Trekker, but it has a metallic lining inside and just putting it on made me start to sweat. Someone explained that the metallic lining is to prevent hypothermia, so it may be a fine winter poncho, but not for me and the camino.

Sea to Summit is highly rated but also has no front opening.

I have a few months to obsess, so I would love some feedback.
I, personally do not recommend a poncho simply because it is not ideal in all weather conditions, especially in windy conditions because ponchos are terrible in windy conditions. A large rain jacket fitting over your backpack is ideal since it allows room to breath since it is bigger than just a simple jacket, can be unzipped to allow some air to come in when hot outside, protects your gear, and is a good wind breaker. I would bring large overfitting rain pants with that when travelling in the shoulder season months (March, April, August, September, November) because the rain and wind can be quite strong making it colder. The rain pants will help keep you warm and dry....but they do make you sweat more. Having said that the breathable materials like Goretex is not worth the extra money in my experienced opinion.

On my first Camino, I started with a poncho but found the wind to cause problems and it was not sufficient to keep me dry or warm when the weather was cold. I ended up purchasing rain pants and a rain jacket a third of the Way to Santiago. The poncho's advantage is that it is easier to put on and take off, is lighter and allows more ventilation. This makes it more ideal for the hot Summer, later Spring and early Fall months. But in very windy or cold conditions, the poncho isn't great. To reiterate, a big rain jacket fitting over your backpack is large enough to allow some ventilation, can be opened partially to allow some air to enter and basically covers most of your body. And it can be somewhat easy to put on and take off with some practice. Be careful as some companies are advertising the rain jackets as raincoats and some as ponchos. and some use all these terms interchangeably. For example, A third of the Way into the Camino Frances, I purchased the Altus Poncho which is really a rain-overcoat that is made large so that it fits over your backpack. Ponchos do not have zippers and sleeves in general and do not generally go down past your knee.

Retelling this story brings me to the crux of the matter, try your gear before using it long distance.
 
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NomadJMJ

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances May 2017
I highly recommend the Packa http://www.thepacka.com/
Used one in spring of 2017 on Frances. Easy on & off by yourself, especially when the thunderstorms would roll in, one after another. One day I walked thru 7 storms. Packa on & off, on & off.
It is still in good shape with 3 or 4 times a year of use. I also used gaiters which kept most water out of my boots. When it rains hard it doesn't matter what you wear. You get wet. Buen Camino!
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
I, personally do not recommend a poncho simply because it is not ideal in all weather conditions, especially in windy conditions because ponchos are terrible in windy condition

It pretty much depends on the technique used for wearing it during windy conditions. A jacket left unzipped in windy conditions has that same problem.
 

Ricardo Moretti

Camino Frances x 2: Apr./May 2018 & Apr./May 2019
Past OR future Camino
Two Camino Frances:
April-May 2018
April-May 2019
It pretty much depends on the technique used for wearing it during windy conditions. A jacket left unzipped in windy conditions has that same problem.
Zip it Dave! lol...Kidding aside, a raincoat fitting over a backpack is the best foul weather gear that I prefer. In hot and humid conditions, a poncho is better but it simply does not do well in very windy conditions - there are countless threads and blogs in countless websites echoing this problem. Though an added benefit of a poncho is that it can be used as a tarp or a groundsheet - bonus for campers. However, if I was forced to choose between the two, the raincoat, one which fits over a backpack, is my go-to choice.
 

StellarB

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2015)
del Norte (2018)
I bought a Packa. It seems like a clever design, BUT the hood is so tiny you can't zip the front of the Packa all the way up without the closure covering your nose. (and I have a very small head). I wrote the designer/owner of Packa about it, and he basically said that the small hood is a feature, not a bug. Although I haven't had occasion to use it in the rain yet, you would definitely need to wear a brimmed cap to keep the rain from dripping right into your eyes because the hood has such a minimal brim. (Have I mentioned that I'm a member of the tiny head club?)

The Packa also takes some practice to use, but that's a manageable issue.
 
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LakeMcD

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 15' Portuguese 16' GR10/Norte/Primitivo 17' Chemin LePuy 18' Salvador/Prim/Kerry Way 19'
A few summers ago after we walked the Salvador/Primativo we walked the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. This was August and we had precipitation everyday, from heavy downpours to mist and wind. I bought a 13 oz (package says 12 oz) pancho from Decathlon prior to leaving Spain. Although a little heavy by my standards, I love that thing. My pack never got wet, my torso never got wet. I wore a rain skirt underneath and my legs above my knees never got wet. I was wearing my usual summer hikers that breathe marvelously (LaSportiva Wildcats), as you would expect water literally just flushed through them on trails that resembled small streams. Never had any problems with condensation thanks to the wind.

As low tech as that pancho was, it worked incredibly well and exceeded my expectations. If I can replace it with something lighter, it will certainly go with me on Spring or Fall Caminos. I like to tell people that we walked the Ring of Kerry in 9 days and my feet were wet for 10 days but my body never was :)

That trip also cured me from worrying too about wet feet, I didn't even get a blister.
 
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