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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not short of warm clothes, although I am short of waterproof clothes. Most of my waterproof jackets are of that age that no matter how much waterproofing spray you apply they still let in.

Money was at a premium so I ordered a US Military surplus poncho. Mine is Olive Green rather than the black pictured below. I figure I can wear my warm clothes underneath and it will keep me dry and out of the wind. I like being able to wear a backpack under it as well.

I understand that they are good for more than just wearing and that they can be used as shelters and groundsheets etc.

Does anyone know of any guides to rigging these as basic shelters?
 

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You looking at me!
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From what ive read you can snap 2 together and make an A frame tent, or use it as a lean to.
This would work great in wet/damp enviroments but not so much in the cold.
 

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Great links, a poncho has so many uses. A rain catch, ground cloth, flotation device, shelter, sling seat, stretcher. The list goes on and on, great purchase.
 

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Watchin tha world go by
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Possibly tha best multi use item ever invented -- I carry two
 
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Numquam Succumbe
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When I worked at the Central Issue Facility, there were a lot of poncho's rendered inoperable due to a flaking or peeling of the waterproof outerlayer. Watch out for that!

I've never seen an olive green poncho, so maybe they made them different back in the day. Maybe there's no coating to flake off. :thumb:


Edit:

Oh... Right... Scotland!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
When I worked at the Central Issue Facility, there were a lot of poncho's rendered inoperable due to a flaking or peeling of the waterproof outerlayer. Watch out for that!

I've never seen an olive green poncho, so maybe they made them different back in the day. Maybe there's no coating to flake off. :thumb:


Edit:

Oh... Right... Scotland!
I believe it is US issue, I bought it from a bulk military surplus warehouse. It seems to be made of some sort of ripstop nylon which is light but looks like it should be pretty waterproof.. Not sure which branch of the US military it is from though.

It has 6 eyelets on it, 1 on each corner and one in the middle of two of the sides. It has poppers down each side for closing it to the wind and for attaching it to another poncho. It came with half a dozen bootlaces through all the eyes which I guess are to aid in constructing a shelter with it. It comes in a little pouch about A5 size which it neatly packs away into.

EDIT - I had another look at the website I bought it from and it says it is US-Made and "US-Style" so I guess that means that it is a copy of the current issue rather than genuine surplus. Still, looks good for the money.
 

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Possibly tha best multi use item ever invented -- I carry two
- a multitool and 550 paracord, I would probably agree with you :)

Unfortunatly I only have the cheap dodgy ponchos (2 of them), but I have a few really good rain coats, so I guess it evens out.
 

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"Always Be Prepared"
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When I worked at the Central Issue Facility, there were a lot of poncho's rendered inoperable due to a flaking or peeling of the waterproof outerlayer. Watch out for that!
++1 on this. Test it ASAP! -- I got burned on a couple ponchos just like you described, especially that you say they appear to be a thin ripstop nylon and they were "US style" and not official. These are chinese junk!! I even bought mine from an Army Surplus store. The first day I got it I walked out in the rain for less than a minute and I was soaked inside.
The truly waterproof ones are heavier and have an almost obvious impregnated coating on the outside.
Here's an example of an official/reliable product:
http://www.uscav.com/Productinfo.aspx?productID=7555&TabID=548
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
++1 on this. Test it ASAP! -- I got burned on a couple ponchos just like you described, especially that you say they appear to be a thin ripstop nylon and they were "US style" and not official. These are chinese junk!! I even bought mine from an Army Surplus store. The first day I got it I walked out in the rain for less than a minute and I was soaked inside.
The truly waterproof ones are heavier and have an almost obvious impregnated coating on the outside.
Here's an example of an official/reliable product:
http://www.uscav.com/Productinfo.aspx?productID=7555&TabID=548
The day before it arrived was the heaviest day of rain all year. It has not rained since :( As soon as it does I will give this thing a trial run and see how it goes.

If indeed it proves less waterproof than I had hoped for, the website I bought it from does do actual British Army surplus heavy rain ponchos for a reasonable price. This one could become my spare or groundsheet. We'll see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well thanks for the note of caution charlieb. Still no rain so I went for the ultimate acid test - I popped on my wellies and my poncho and stood under the shower for 10 minutes :thumb:. At the end there was a slight dampness getting through to the base of my neck, but other than that I was perfectly dry. It seems to have been getting through the seams on the back of the hood somehow.

Still I was going for 100% waterproofness, so I have ordered a genuine surplus British Army heavy gauge poncho. In the mean time I will dry and treat the ripstop one with waterproofing spray. All in all the "shower test" is quite demanding so I suspect it will keep me plenty dry until my surplus one arrives and will serve as a good backup. Aside from the hood there was no "soaking through" patches anywhere on the poncho - all of the water was beading.
 

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Wanderer
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While the poncho is a great utilitarian piece of gear, you need to be aware that because it's totally waterproof it collects and condenses moisture on the inside, too. When you wear it during periods of exertion, especially in high humidity, moisture will collect on the inside even without leaks, especially around points of closure, where air movement is stopped such as the neck and shoulders.
The very best ponchos are genuine surplus, the "military style" are cheap knock-offs and built to substandard specs. They may be waterproof, but will not last as long nor be as durable in heavy use.
 

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i have a usgi in OD, love it, i use it more as a tent than a rain jacket, many practical uses for it, on;y problem it is noisy, not the best for a hunt,
 

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Full loose Bozo
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Eveyone seems to overlook the poncho liner. The liner comes with strings that you can attach it to the poncho. When they are tied together they are very warm. I use the liner as a blanket on my bed. Both me and my wife love them. Living in the desert you dont need much warmth in the summertime. I also use it in my sleeping bag. I've used poncho liners since I got out of the Army in the early eighties.
 
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