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Raincoat or poncho?

2020 Camino Guides

rapunzelle

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances (2013) frances (2014) via de la plata (2015)(2016) Frances(2018)
Hey all - we are planning to start the C Frances on May 25th - July 2nd. We know the weather should be ok - but after reading a lot of threads, I’m still confused as to which one to take. I know everyone will have their preference on either a raincoat or poncho is better - but I was wondering those who took booth and have walked at that time of the year - which one would you suggest?

many thanks everyone!
Rick
I would prefer a poncho but I have tried two different ponchos and both of them leaked through the material and I was soaked . Altus brands.
Any comments on this Would be appreciated .
 

Andy Luscombe

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2016
I have taken both on different caminos. Raincoat is heavier but more comfortable. You also have to carry a rucksack cover. Poncho is lighter but not breathable so sweaty and smelly. Try them both before you go.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
I have taken both on different caminos. Raincoat is heavier but more comfortable. You also have to carry a rucksack cover. Poncho is lighter but not breathable so sweaty and smelly. Try them both before you go.
A poncho can become sweaty, but that also happens for some folks using waterproof/breathable rain-gear. A lot of factors are involved with regard to how one uses a poncho that can affect condensation levels. Some of those factors involve human error in use, and are correctable. Other things are just part-n-parcel of all rain-gear when you enclose the human body inside barrier materials while undergoing high levels of activity, :)

Ponchos are breathable by the airflow that they have and create. Airspace is created by the poncho being over the backpack and open at the neck, bottom and arms. One can shut down one or more of those openings and increase the levels of condensation.

Additionally, there are ponchos now which are made from Waterproof/Breathable fabrics (wp/b). So not only do these ponchos share the same thru-the-fabric limited 'breathabilty', but they retain the airflow advantages as well. An inexpensive ($15.00 usd) example of this is the Frogg Toggs Ultralight.

I used to use a zPacks 4 ounce poncho that is a wonderful bit of rain-gear. I still have it, but I find myself more often including the Frogg Toggs poncho when I head into the mountains, and on the last Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May 2017
Packa.
Goes on pack like a pack cover but arms hood and tail tuck inside. Then when the rain comes you can quickly pull out arms, etc. no stopping and fighting the wind to get traditional poncho on. thepacka.com
I used one April - June 2017. It rained, snowed, blew and was hot. Springtime is unpredictable.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Packa.
Goes on pack like a pack cover but arms hood and tail tuck inside. Then when the rain comes you can quickly pull out arms, etc. no stopping and fighting the wind to get traditional poncho on. thepacka.com
I used one April - June 2017. It rained, snowed, blew and was hot. Springtime is unpredictable.
Right now on the Packa website they have a great deal on some mislabeled Packas. Only $57 plus shipping.

 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Packa.
Goes on pack like a pack cover but arms hood and tail tuck inside. Then when the rain comes you can quickly pull out arms, etc. no stopping and fighting the wind to get traditional poncho on. thepacka.com
I used one April - June 2017. It rained, snowed, blew and was hot. Springtime is unpredictable.
If used properly, a poncho is fine in the wind. I never have to fight with mine even in sideways blowing rain. The packa is a fine hybrid garment, and people like using it, but I find them to be a heavier alternative, and less multi-functional when compared to a poncho :)
 

jltheobald

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Hey all - we are planning to start the C Frances on May 25th - July 2nd. We know the weather should be ok - but after reading a lot of threads, I’m still confused as to which one to take. I know everyone will have their preference on either a raincoat or poncho is better - but I was wondering those who took booth and have walked at that time of the year - which one would you suggest?

many thanks everyone!
Rick
We found the Altus to work extremely well for both of us for the reasons already discussed, although there was one day last fall where it rained from dawn to dark and we were pretty much soaked. There were several rainy days, but that was the only one where everything seemed to just give up and soak through. We also had very light (140gm) windbreakers that we found to be invaluable as well. There was one resulting concern in that our lowest temperatures were around 8-10C (40ish F) and I had a down vest and a down sweater. I didn't need the warmth while walking but starting thinking what if I did if it were 5-10 degrees colder and rainy. As a result, I have added a synthetic fabric sweater for next time. None of the fabrics insulate when wet, but the synthetic fabrics at least dry faster.

In thinking about rain pants: My shoes are not waterproof so my feet get wet in the rain which, other than chilly, is no big deal. Rain pants won't help that. The poncho covers everything but the bottom 8-10 inches of my pants which dry quickly. As a result, I doubt I'll consider rain pants in the future. Gaiters fall into the same consideration as I'm not sure what they protect is worth the weight.

Umbrellas are an intriguing idea. I've seen several through-walkers on the Arizona Trail using them, but only one on the Camino.
 

Pipmahoe

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2018
Central Portuguese April 2019 8 weeks post hip replacement!
My experiences, walking the Francés during June/July I brought a rain jacket and a rain cover for my rucksack. When it rained it’s a bit of a fuss getting your pack off to get your jacket and cover your pack. Then the jacket acted like a sauna as it was hot, the rain dribbled down off the jacket on to my legs, also rain can get down your back between you and the pack! Last year we walked a bit of the Portugués, again brought my jacket, we met up with a lovely American couple who became our Portugues CaminoFamily, they had ponchos when it rained it was so simple, they just threw it over themselves, and they didn’t need to carry the pack cover. This year we’re walking part of the Norte and we’re investing in ponchos 😄 My sister takes a jacket and a small umbrella which stops the rain going down her back!
Bon Camino 😄👣
 

West Coaster

Zoomer
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May-June 2015
Hey all - we are planning to start the C Frances on May 25th - July 2nd. We know the weather should be ok - but after reading a lot of threads, I’m still confused as to which one to take. I know everyone will have their preference on either a raincoat or poncho is better - but I was wondering those who took booth and have walked at that time of the year - which one would you suggest?

many thanks everyone!
Rick
Couple of things to consider. If you buy a poncho, it will be put away along side your sleeping bag when you're back home. If you have a waterproof jacket, you have something you can wear often. Ponchos can be a bit of a problem getting on.
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Frances, 1wk, Jan 2017
Altus Poncho with Shorts and gaiters over the shoes. You stay dry through any downpour.

Kathy
 

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