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Rain Poncho vs Packa

Missing Mike

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2016
Where I live today it is raining cats and dogs. I did my training hike almost 10 miles using a heavy plastic rain poncho. I noticed I got very sweaty under it but at the time is wasn't really raining much. Now it is coming down in buckets. So on the Camino should I keep with my simple heavy plastic rain poncho which covers my pack and most of me or get a packa. (http://www.thepacka.com/why-the-packa.html) Once again I weigh 107 so I have to keep the weight down.

Also, with it being in the 50's and 60's should the poncho be enough with layers of clothes and should I still have to worry so much about bed bugs?
 
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I have quickly read about the Packa on my tablet.

First impressions are of a useful product.

I also found the weight. My quick calculation is of around 450 grams.

I have with me a rain poncho that doubles as a groundsheet for a two person tent, so very roomy.

I carry it on my chest in a pouch that attaches to the shoulder straps of my pack. I have used it about five times and can now deploy without having to stop.

I can provide more information if you would like.
 

trecile

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Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I have quickly read about the Packa on my tablet.

First impressions are of a useful product.

I also found the weight. My quick calculation is of around 450 grams.

I have with me a rain poncho that doubles as a groundsheet for a two person tent, so very roomy.

I carry it on my chest in a pouch that attaches to the shoulder straps of my pack. I have used it about five times and can now deploy without having to stop.

I can provide more information if you would like.
Please tell us what your poncho is.
 
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kmrice

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
I noticed I got very sweaty under it but at the time is wasn't really raining much. . . So on the Camino should I keep with my simple heavy plastic rain poncho which covers my pack and most of me or get a packa.
One of the best things about the Packa is that it has huge "pit zips" down the sides which let a great deal of air in. I think you will find it less sweaty than a poncho. It also is lighter than a lot of ponchos, and, if weight really matters and money doesn't, they make a cuban fabric version which is super light. We've used Packas on three Caminos and love them.
 

Richard Ward

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016, 2017, 2018)
Madrid to Salvador to Primitivo (planned 2019)
Versions of this $15 Frogg Toggs Poncho (I first used a Dri Ducks one) are pretty popular on the Appalachian Trail http://www.froggtoggs.com/mens/mens...ponchos/frogg-toggsr-ultra-lite2a-poncho.html

The downside is that it does not pack very tightly, so if you have a small pack, that may be an issue; however, it is very wind and waterproof, so I can combine it with a wearable quilt to be comfortable down to -5 C or so. http://www.jacksrbetter.com/shop/sierra-stealth/

Another downside is that you can become a human kite in high winds unless you cinch it somehow around your waist. I always just dealt with the kite effect, but I have seen people use rope or a belt.
 

Don Stacy

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October/November 2015. The French Way. Goin back in September 2016
Thanks everyone!
I used standard waterproof/breathable jacket and pants last year. It didn't work too well in Galicia where it rains hard and for long durations. I was drenched in sweat on most of the rainy days as your jacket can't really breathe when it's locked down with shoulder straps/hip belt and chest strap. The inside also got wet as water wicked into the pack from the straps and from draining down my back where pack covers do not offer protection from the elements. I am going back in September of this year with a "Packa". It weighs 9.5 ounces.
 
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The inside also got wet as water wicked into the pack from the straps and from draining down my back where pack covers do not offer protection from the elements.
That is the problem with a rain suit (that, and getting in an out of it when the rain comes and goes). One camino the bottom of my pack cover became a small swimming pool, which then wicked up into the pack. ;)
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF '13; CF/Salvador/Ingles '16; Portugues '22
I have quickly read about the Packa on my tablet.

First impressions are of a useful product.

I also found the weight. My quick calculation is of around 450 grams.
Actually, they are a bit lighter than that, unless you're looking at the really heavy fabrics. My large Packa 10D is 223 grams. My son's medium Packa 20D is 270 grams.

Another downside is that you can become a human kite in high winds unless you cinch it somehow around your waist. I always just dealt with the kite effect, but I have seen people use rope or a belt.
One advantage of the Packa is that it is fairly resistant, but not impervious, to the human kite effect. In really, really stiff winds, a cord to tie at the waist is still helpful.
 

Richard Ward

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016, 2017, 2018)
Madrid to Salvador to Primitivo (planned 2019)
After looking at the Packa some more, on the Camino outside of winter, I think the Packa may be overkill. Poncho is $15, and Packa is at least $120+, and if you get a little wet on the Camino, you can dry off at night and usually run a load of laundry. My Poncho is also a backup ground sheet if I need to sleep under the stars, or could potentially could serve as a bivy or tarp shelter (about 6 feet x 5 feet). See my link above.

I think the Packa is a great idea for long distance wilderness hiking and high altitude peakbagging, where staying dry is very important; however, since a flat poncho with a head hole in the middle has multiple uses on the Camino, I think I would still bring it over the Packa even if they cost the same.
 
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Please tell us what your poncho is.

@trickle, hi.

It is from zPacks of Florida, USA. I have deployed it twice since my post above.

A major disadvantage, stemming from it's groundsheet origins, is it has openings for arms to go through but no sleeves. If the rain is too heavy I just keep my arms and hands "inside".

While based on a groundsheet there is a headcover set so the greater part of the poncho is at the back so as to cover the pack. Thus a separate pack cover is redundant.

As I store it in a pouch across my chest it can be extracted and put in place without having to stop and take the pack off.

The weight is 175 grams.

I chose it as I also wanted a tent for some other trips where suitable accommodation is not available.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
@trickle, hi.

It is from zPacks of Florida, USA. I have deployed it twice since my post above.

A major disadvantage, stemming from it's groundsheet origins, is it has openings for arms to go through but no sleeves. If the rain is too heavy I just keep my arms and hands "inside".

While based on a groundsheet there is a headcover set so the greater part of the poncho is at the back so as to cover the pack. Thus a separate pack cover is redundant.

As I store it in a pouch across my chest it can be extracted and put in place without having to stop and take the pack off.

The weight is 175 grams.

I chose it as I also wanted a tent for some other trips where suitable accommodation is not available.
Is this it? http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/groundsheet_poncho.shtml
Goodness, this lightweight stuff is spendy!
 
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CharlieChu

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5
I'll reach Santiago next week, via Via del la Plata/Camino Sanabrés. I used the Packa our 2nd and this 3rd camino. I love the Packa with its armpit zippers. It is not so much like a kite in high winds, though of course it flaps noisily. It breathes well, so I don't get too sweaty. It's costly but to me, it's worked better than more sweaty though somewhat breathable rain coats or rain suits. First observation: in a prolonged and heavy downpour you will get somewhat wet no matter what you wear. For us, the key factor has been temperature. If is 50F or above, being somewhat wet is not too bad for a few hours. When it is above 70F, being wet is no big deal, at times a relief from heat. When the temp gets closer to freezing, rain can be painful. So a camino in the summer needs less rain protection than in November or later. Also, because we suffered before from frozen hands, we now carry waterproof mitten shells. Our hands sweat a bit, but they stay warm and movable.

As for bedbugs, we have found them on 3 different caminos in different seasons. There is much variability in reaction. My wife rarely gets bit, has little reaction. I've been bit many times, and usually have a big reaction. Perhaps it depends on the Ph of the skin, or varieties in BP, two of our current theories. When I get bit, I take a locally available antihistamine to stop the itch, we wash all clothes, including hot dryer as soon as available, and we wrap our backpacks at night in plastic garbage bags, just in case they have gotten into those. It's a hassle, but we get it nder control quickly.
 

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