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

manoll

Peregrina 2013
Past OR future Camino
2022
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.
For many years I had a Marmot rain jacket that I was fond of and about 4 years ago my husband - who loves to get lighter and lighter gear for more pleasant backpacking experiences, bought me a RAB Meridian Rain Jacket. This is the most efficient and lightweight jacket I've ever had and having been in a couple of rain storms it has never let me down:)


Ultreïa!
 
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Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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Frances 2015;
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For many years I had a Marmot rain jacket that I was fond of and about 4 years ago my husband - who loves to get lighter and lighter gear for more pleasant backpacking experiences, bought me a RAB Meridian Rain Jacket. This is the most efficient and lightweight jacket I've ever had and having been in a couple of rain storms it has never let me down:)


Ultreïa!
At $265 the Meridian had better keep you dry.😬
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
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.
:) I am not arguing your choice, that is a matter of preference which is an inarguable point.

I do disagree about your general assessment of poncho use in windy conditions. Converting from rain jackets a decade ago, I have used ponchos in stormy conditions quite successfully, even on the PCT and Colorado Trail thru hikes and on three Caminos in blustery fall weather.

I do not disagree that many have echoed your comments, but there are at least as many who have reported that with the proper technique, windy weather is not much of a factor.

Basically, the Altus and Packa hybrids are essentially overgrown rain jackets and are quite popular amongst many.

I do agree about the tarp multi-task thingy. In addition to those things you mentioned:
  • A sun shelter, it can be rigged up to provide you shade in hot climates.
  • 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.
 

JanelMcB

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2018)
The Packa worked well for me. Lightweight rain jacket with a large pouch on the back to cover your pack. Put on/take off without removing your pack.
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Eons ago when I gave up on ponchos I bought a polyurethane coated nylon rain suit. The pants were overall style (like the picture but looser). The advantage was ventilation; there was no drawstring or belt to cut off circulation.
8396_SNB_FR-01.jpeg

For those who wish to wear rain pants or rain skirts you may want to modify what you have already to suspend it with a loose waist. Using suspenders (US) or braces (UK) will be very inconvenient but if you figure out a way to hang them from a belt or your torso's rain gear the on and off will be a lot easier.

I think our backpacking days may be over but if I was younger I think I would be using a poncho/jacket hybrid like the Altus combined with rain chaps for the colder, wetter, windier hikes.
k_1132145_bk-01.jpeg
 
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Kalimera

New Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Oct/Nov 2021
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 am on the Camino @ Portomarin with an Altus. Love it!!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Past OR future Camino
2018
I remember when I worked in a backpacking store and Marmot was a new company. Their claim to fame was their articulated sleeves (you could reach any direction and the sleeves wouldn't pull back and the jacket wouldn't lift) and well-designed hoods, that gave great protection, comfort and allowed visibility better than any others. I'm sure the company has been sold at least a couple of times since then. The last rain jacket I had was a Marmot Precip model and the hood was outrageously badly designed. If you try to tighten it at all, it slips down over your field of vision and not even wearing a brimmed hat seems to help.

I like the *idea* of the Altus, but when I've seen them in stores, they seem bulky and heavy. Is there a model that isn't?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I like the *idea* of the Altus, but when I've seen them in stores, they seem bulky and heavy. Is there a model that isn't?
One of the reasons why I love my Parcho! Lighter weight than the Altus.
 
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peregrino_tom

Member
Past OR future Camino
.
I know, I know, 112 posts already about poncho/rain-coats, what more could I possibly add??
It occurred to me while out in wet weather on the hills on Sunday...
If you have the option to try on your rain-coat before you buy, check that when you have a pack underneath that you have enough room to get your arms out of (and back into) the sleeves, so they can move freely underneath the rain-coat. This can be incredibly useful in persistent rain for getting things in and out of pockets, adjusting straps etc, all in the dry without having to lift the hem of the coat.
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
check that when you have a pack underneath that you have enough room to get your arms out of (and back into) the sleeves, so they can move freely underneath the rain-coat. This can be incredibly useful in persistent rain [...]
Hi,
Easy with the Parcho.
More difficult with most other ones.
 

Julia Mumford

Adventure Geek
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Camino Ingles (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.
I’ve just returned from the Camino Pyrenees and I used the long sleeve 3FUL Gear Pomcho from AliExpress. No zip, but it is extremely lightweight, has long arms, peaked hood, and a belt so it doesn’t flap around. I’m prepping for the PCT so weight was a factor for me. I have walked the Camino lots of times and part of my staple kit is an umbrella (both rain and sun). I only use the poncho if it’s raining hard.
Froggtoggs are light jackets but they don’t breathe very well. I find I’m soaking wet inside from sweat when I wear my Froggtoggs (it’s a good wind jacket though!)

Hope that helps.

Happy Hiking 🥾- Julia from the UK 🇬🇧
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Froggtoggs are light jackets but they don’t breathe very well. I find I’m soaking wet inside from sweat when I wear my Froggtoggs (it’s a good wind jacket though!)

Frogg Toggs is a brand name which does include rain jackets, pants, ponchos, waders, etc. The Frogg Toggs poncho is made of a moderately breathable fabric. It increases the ability to reduce sweat condensation along with the ventilating and air flow characteristics of a poncho which is worn over a backpack.

I used one during my through hikes of the PCT and the Colorado Trail.
 

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
Froggtoggs are light jackets but they don’t breathe very well. I find I’m soaking wet inside from sweat when I wear my Froggtoggs
I have never felt condensation from my Frogg Togg rain jacket, which is one of the things I was really happy about. However I do not walk in the heat of summer; not sure what month you wore yours.
 

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