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Poncho vs "rain suit" in May/June?


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
:?: Hi all

I will be walking the Camino Frances from mid-May to late June. I am debating taking a poncho instead of rain-proof jacket and pants.

The poncho is the lightest and most easily put on when needed and covers the pack as well and I would prefer it instead of the alternative. But . . .

Will the poncho just blow around in the wind and be ineffective in heavy rain? Can anyone with experience of the weather in May/June comment on windiness of rain events. If that makes any sense! Gentle drizzle with no wind is no big deal with a poncho, but rain accompanied by wind as weather fronts move through is another thing!

But the "rain suit' could also double as a windproof layer when (if) required, saving having to pack a wind-proof top, so that is an argument in favour of the rain suit"



Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I took a $4 poncho and a heavy duty waterproof jacket on the VDLP last may/june and promptly lost the poncho and used the jacket for 1 afternoon in 42 days. On reflection the jacket was a mistake as although it was a good quality one the weight was noticable.
For the rainy afternoon I retired to a bar and had a coffee until it passed-you don't have to walk in the rain. This year I'm walking from Le Puy in late june so will only take a poncho-I suppose it's a gamble but I hate carrying stuff I don't use


Active Member
I had 9 days of almost non stop rain, including a tornado on OCebreiro last year ! :cry:

I do not know of any jacket and pants that will protect you without turning into an oven in a short time. I had a "breathable" Columbia jacket ($$$) and it did not do a good waterproofing job. It was ok for colder weather. :roll:

My cousin, traveling with me, had a gortex base poncho and HE was ok in that weather. With the bottom opening of the poncho he was confortable while I was as wet as a frog (which I am according to Brits...) :)

So, if I ever walk in that part of Spain again I will invest in a good poncho, not the kind that rips to pieces just by looking at it. :idea:


Hooded poncho without a doubt - it can be wet but hot so in a coat/suit you are baked. Even when it is cold a poncho is great (and covers your pack too!). Let the legs get wet - who cares?
I went over the pass Napoleon two days after it opened in March, thick snow up there (and an Eagle, close - superb!) and had to get off the path every now and then where it was high as blocked by snow.

Then it rained and then it snowed and it was windy at times - and stunningly cold. I wore a poncho with sleeves but never used the sleeves, kept my arms in. For some reason, once I got down off that mountain it never rained again - and a poncho is so light. Boots got wet but then, boots would get wet wouldn't they!

Only my personal opinion of course.

You can buy good cheap ones from a Decathlon in France.
Hello, just a quick tip: the poncho I bought doubled as a groundsheet - this meant that when I put it on it needed fastening up both sides using poppers. The problem was that as soon as a strong wind came up it would blow open. If you buy a poncho that needs fastening at the sides, make sure to keep a belt or bit of string handy. And if it looks like a rainy day, don't wear heavy cotton trousers. :)

I brought a lightweight gore-tex suit, a Norwegian brand called Norrona. I will never bring a poncho. I walked in it in all of Galicia, and I was never damp inside. It was perfect. I had rain every day for almost 14 days, and a lot of wind, and I felt sorry for soaking wet people struggling with their poncho. And of course, it was wind proof when you needed it.

Of course you have to bring an additional cover for your backpack. But, if you use lightweight for that too, it should not be the weight of this solution stopping you.

Good luck, and buen camino !

Liv :D


Liv ..... Poncho from Decathlon - 12 euros. Waterproof Gretex two piece suit by Norrono - 1,000 euros.
Bit out of my league really.
What Liv is probably using is a Goretex pac-lite jacket - UK price about £170 (I used a similar one from Haglofs) - and I use it as a very light (250g) in case of rain jacket the rest of the year

My hope is that waterproof trousers are less necessary - quick-drying polyester trousers should be fine in all but the heaviest and lengthy rain spells
is 4$ poncho made out of plastic or 40$ poncho Nylon/PVC fabric with taped waterproof seams. Covered front zippered. Kangaroo pocket double as self storage bag. Drawstring hood. Complete with nylon carry pouch.
im walking end march/april should i spend the 40or4 or even better get one once there??


Yes, and to be fair, when it comes down to it we all have to wear what we feel best in. My budget is necessarily very low (my boots cost me 35 euros three years ago and I'm still using them) which biases me somewhat.
I also have a dislike of being swaddled so do prefer the open freshness of the poncho. May be a hangover from cycling days - a cape was always preferred over suits. Also, we should remember that we can give away (or post home) what we don't need and buy (or be given) what we next need so all is well.

Interesting discussion on rainwear but no-one has yet told me where I can buy a poncho with a hump in the back to take my rucksack. When I first walked the Camino Frances I was envious of those who had such ponchos. These pilgrims were Dutch and Brazilian. There were no side openings to let the rain in. I have failed to find such ponchos so mine is long on the front and short at the back.
This forum is very useful.

o camino ingles

I would like to suggest that anyone interested in walking the "English Route" should begin their pilgrimage in A Coruna the traditional starting place in Spain for those who arrived in Galicia by boat. Visit the beautiful church of Santiago and maybe (check opening times) the Pilgrim Office nearby. La Coruna is well worth a visit. The garden with a memorial to Sir John Moore is only one of many interesting places. It is less than 100km to Santiago but you can walk to Hospital de Bruma and go by bus (from the main road not far away) to El Ferrol or to La Coruna and thence to Ferrol. From there or from Neda you can follow that branch of the camino via Hospital de Bruma again. It seems a pity to miss so much of interest on such a short camino! The walk out of La Coruna is dull at first so better to go by bus to El Campo supermarket and walk from there.
At Santiago church, on the church wall in Neda and on the refugio in H. de Bruma please see the granite memorial stones unveiled by me and my husband in Holy Year 2004 and pray for us!
It is a great route so "buen camino",

Br. David said:
Liv ..... Poncho from Decathlon - 12 euros. Waterproof Gretex two piece suit by Norrono - 1,000 euros.
Bit out of my league really.
Mine, too, of course....
Though even in Norway I havn't seen this paclite at that cost.....

Spursfan is right, and I didn't buy the jacket and trousers only to use on the camino. I walk in the countryside every day, so to speak, so of course the rain-set come in handy both before and after the camino. Especially in the colder, but Galicia-like weather in the south west of Norway.

Anyway, you can get all the good advice on equipment you like, but everyone has to deside for themself what works for them. There is good and bad about everything here as for all other things in life.
And expensive is not necessarily best. What matters is that at the end of the day, whether you are cold or warm, wet or dry, you find your bed and experiance the beautiful camino-spirit amongst fellow pilgrims. Enjoy that, and don't make a big deal of what to wear or bring. That is my best camino advice.

Buen camino to all, and I can't wait until May comes and I will be on the road once more....

Liv :D
Oh, isn't obsessing about equipment fun! I love it! I've now walked the Camino Frances four times, and each time I changed my rain gear a bit. For me the best choice was to bring a sturdy rain poncho and rain pants. I also brought a very lightweight jacket that I usually used for warmth over my fleece, but it was rainproof as well and I wore it for post-walking town explorations in the rain.

I found that the poncho without rainpants combination got my bottom half way too wet. And just having a rain suit without the poncho meant that I had to put on the backpack cover when it rained.

So, on my last Camino I hit the jackpot. The poncho plus pants is (again in my humble opinion only) much easier than rain jacket plus rain pants plus backpack cover, and as others have pointed out the poncho doubles as a sitting spot when the ground is damp. For me, it's worth the weight (I also bring gaiters, which did a great job of keeping rain out of my boots) because I've usually had a couple of days of multi-hour rain walks.
Hallo all

I used a waterproof jacket and a cover for my backpack. So far so good. When it rained, i was protected well. But somehow water entered my backpack and also the straps of the backpack soaked in water like a sponge.

My partner had a lightweight but strong poncho from decathlon and she never had any problem

For my next camino in March, I am going to use a poncho, if it rains.

BTW, the poncho is not breathable, but I dont think thats a problem given the fact that it is a open poncho.

YOU can look at any army Surplus!
iv just got a poncho it for backpaking it came to 18.95
i ask the guy at the store how good it was. this is what he gave for an awnser

(i had one on in vietnam it rained 40day none stop it was all i had to keep me dry i even used it in the jungle as a tent!) :lol


I purchased a U.S. Army poncho last summer that does the job quite well for me. It is very light weight, hooded and has a series of snaps along the side that allow me to secure the edges of the poncho or let them flap.

An added advantage is that is can double as a ground cloth or tarp. It even has cording attached to allow you to snap two ponchos into a makeshift tent.

The only "disadvantage" I see with it (that I don't find a problem) is that it comes in ACU digital pattern camouflage. Looks good close up, but considerably reduces your visibility when walking along roads. A few strips of reflective material can remedy that.

A rainsuit in late spring/early summer will simply turn into a bakeoven.


Agree with that Rob.

Actually, I went into a ex army camouflage clothing shop but couldn't see anything I liked .....

All very interesting but I nobody is telling me where to buy a poncho with a hump and no side openings. Two Dutch pilgrims ( on Camino Frances 1998) said theirs came from a factory they visited in Holland.

Thank you I will visit Decathlon. My old poncho has served on many different caminos during the last nine years but we hope to walk a few more...." before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green".


The Decathlon ones are okay and no problem with pack underneath. They have elasticated sleeves but I found it easier not to use them. They are blue, not expensive or heavy. Only problem is that I am quite a large chap and their largest could have been a few inches longer in the sleeves - most likelt why I didn't use them!.
They can be seen on line. And you can find out where their shops are. Where are you starting from? There are a few in Spain - Logrono has one for certain.
If you look at the photos in my profile you will see me wearing one - with Roncesvalles monastery 4k below - what a great hard day that was


Just found out how to do that - click on photo album, scroll to bottom and click on personal photo albums, choose Br. David - and there it is

Thank you. Saw the photos, very good, but saw no hump. Walking from Nurenberg to Konstanz in May on Jacobusweg and in Spain but not sure which route...Portuguese or Primitivo, Deo volens. Need time to work as hospitaliera in Miraz (Caminos del Norte) too. There are not enough summer months in the year!

I got this one in a sale.


it does have a much longer back than front but did flap about a bit on a wet, windy beach in Northumberland and the side studs came undone. So I am going to sew Velcro down the sides so it keeps together.

Advantage of ponchos are they are very quick to put on if you have a sudden downpour. I think I will follow 'peregrina's example, poncho plus overtrusers but also keep a very light water/windproof jacket handy for 'post-walking town explorations in the rain'. This may turn out to be overkill - I'll find out.


New Member

All very interesting but I nobody is telling me where to buy a poncho with a hump and no side openings. Two Dutch pilgrims ( on Camino Frances 1998) said theirs came from a factory they visited in Holland.
I start my first Camino on the 25th May 2018. I will be bringing the VAUDE Hiking Backpack Poncho that I bought from Amazon. It has room for the backpack.


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances(Sept 2018)

Interesting discussion on rainwear but no-one has yet told me where I can buy a poncho with a hump in the back to take my rucksack. When I first walked the Camino Frances I was envious of those who had such ponchos. These pilgrims were Dutch and Brazilian. There were no side openings to let the rain in. I have failed to find such ponchos so mine is long on the front and short at the back.
This forum is very useful.


The Ponchos with the hump on the back for your pack can be bought on Amazon and at most outdoor gear stores.

A great alternative to the rain suit/poncho debate is poncho ( with the hump) that snaps up or zips up like a jacket. It is longer so your legs are covered and doesn't flap around in the wind. The hump part usually has a pouch or snaps so you can use it without a pack too.
Camino(s) past & future
Past 2016:Sarria - Santiago
Past 2018:Central CP & Finist-Muxia-SdC
Future 2020:Via Francigena
Hi all, In July / August we are walking the Caminho Portuguese Central then Senda Litoral. After this to Finisterre, Muxia and back to Santiago. Our question is should we only worry about a pack cover should it rain or should we bring a poncho with a hump? I know it is grams but they add up so if we need to add grams we want to make sure we need it. Unfortunately we leave Aus in winter so we will also have a jacket and some winter clothing so I need some advice wisdom. Thanks is advance Connie and Adriano


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Camino(s) past & future
Been there, done that. Keep coming back.
Most likely addicted.
A few tips on wearing a poncho of the greatcoat type (front zipper and sleeves).

  • I put mine on like a cape - sling it from the side around my back and pack. Takes a little bit of practice, but is quickly learned (took me about five minutes, I think). Do yourself the favor of doing the training before you need to use the poncho.
  • Hoods work much better with a (baseball)cap or visor worn underneath, as the peak/visor makes the floppy front flap of the hood manageable.
  • Unless in a head wind, leave the zipper open for ventilation. If you use a Ferrino Trekker, then it really would benefit from an extra strip of Velcro glued on in front, with the top of the new strip midway between the two existing top strips, enabling you to leave the top strip open for better ventilation.
  • If you carry something on your pack straps (a camera pouch, your extra socks, an inflated plastic bag, anything that sticks out), that will keep the raiment away from your chest, and vastly improve ventilation.
  • If the wind allows it, leave the zipper (partially) open and use only the Velcro strips.
  • Combine it with gaiters or rain legs to keep the rain away from your lower legs and from your footwear. Or, if your footwear is not waterproof, bow to the inevitable, and zip of your lower legs to keep them dry.
As for rain jackets and pack covers, read this: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/raincoat-poncho.3183/post-63235 - which matches my own experience pretty well.

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