Latest version of my perfect poncho/tarp shelter

mcseal2

WKR
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
2,667
I've talked about this on various other threads, but thought I'd make one dedicated to the new version. I read we all pack our fears, and I don't disagree. The items I won't compromise on have become a fixed blade knife, metal container (Vargo titanium BOT), and a poncho or tarp. I am always looking to carry less and lighter things that are more multi-purpose. On some trips like my Alaska hunts I carry a good rain jacket and pants plus a tarp. Sometimes even when packing breathable rain gear I'll use the poncho or a tarp to protect the rain gear while holed up waiting out a hard rain. Most other times I can get by with less, especially if I watch the weather forecast. I want something for weather protection but don't need a lot of weight and bulk, especially on a planned day hunt with the possibility of an overnight.

I've used a bunch of ponchos over the years including the old military poncho, Frog Toggs, MyTrailCo, and Onewind. They always worked as ponchos, but I wanted more room to use them as a shelter. I also have tarps I carry when planning to use a tarp for shelter from Kifaru, SeekOutside, Hyperlite, and others. The Kifaru Sheep Tarp used in the cave configuration became my minimum shelter I actually felt like I got good protection from. I like to be able to get fully under cover with my pack as a pillow, and the 6 sections of Thermarest Z lite pad I carry to sit on glassing under my core. By using one trekking pole under the front center of the tarp, staking the back to the ground to protect from wind, and using both the tie out points to elevate the tarp off my head and feet using my glassing tripod and 2nd trekking pole, I could make a decent shelter from just what I was carrying.

For this season I bought a Wilderness Innovations Poncho Survival Shelter SuperUL in XL size. Its 108"x56". For reference the Kifaru Sheep tarp is 112"x60". It makes a very similar shelter to the Sheep Tarp, but with the added benefit of being a poncho. It's a bit long for doing a lot of hiking in poncho form on me at 5'11", but I really like the extra length when using it as a shelter. I can rig it up to ride higher over me and my pack if needed for poncho use also.

I had a local tent shop add a couple extra tie out points like the Sheep Tarp has to elevate the ends for more room in shelter form. I then seam sealed the tabs they added from the top, and put a couple silnylon repair patches on the bottom side for extra protection from drips. I got a couple small carabiners and ranger bands to attach the lines to the extra tie out points to add a bit of stretch and reduce stress.

With my modifications the poncho itself is now 10.8oz, all the lines, carabiners, and ranger bands are 1.9oz, and the stakes with their bag are 4.1oz. This may not even count as ultralight in today's world of super lightweight dyneema shelters, but just over a pound for a combination of emergency shelter and rain gear still works for me.
 
OP
mcseal2

mcseal2

WKR
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
2,667
I keep the 3 nite ize cord lines, 2 ranger bands, and 2 carabiners in a small ziplock. The poncho itself is in a bag from a north face stormbreak 2 footprint. The 8 Ruta Locura stakes are in a Pathfinder dyneema bag. All the weights earlier included those bags. I like to have them stored that way for protection and organization inside the bag the poncho came with. Last pic is with a normal can of spray paint for size reference.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_5061.jpeg
    IMG_5061.jpeg
    391.4 KB · Views: 43
  • IMG_5062.jpeg
    IMG_5062.jpeg
    450.5 KB · Views: 44
  • IMG_5063.jpeg
    IMG_5063.jpeg
    379.1 KB · Views: 45
OP
mcseal2

mcseal2

WKR
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
2,667
sheep tarp set up the same way.

If you aren’t moving during rain it can be draped around like a poncho for pretty good protection too.

I’d probably prefer the sheep tarp for just a shelter. Both are good quality, just no modifications needed for the sheep tarp.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_3028.jpeg
    IMG_3028.jpeg
    684.4 KB · Views: 74
  • IMG_3025.jpeg
    IMG_3025.jpeg
    694 KB · Views: 71

wilbur007

FNG
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
32
I appreciate that you took the time to share this. I run outdoor ed trips in conjunction with my high school science classes and I always have a few extra poncho tarps with me. (Stuff a cold kid into a hooded poncho liner with a poncho over top, and they'll warm up.) The easiest one to obtain in Canada is the Arcturus poncho but I've had my eye on the Wilderness Innovations gear for a while. I'm 6'2" and their extra long sizing is appealing. Looks like you could spend a fairly comfortable night under your setup.
 
OP
mcseal2

mcseal2

WKR
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
2,667
Thanks. I’m 5’11” as I said, and I can stretch out fully under it. It is big enough to be comfortable in for a night just fine.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2015
Messages
5,782
Very cool. Have been a fan of the poncho concept since my .mil days.

I have a gatewood cape, a mountain laurel poncho tarp and a dyneema one In my rotation. I have long since retired my old GI versions Due to weight.

of the three I run, the gate wood is the best shelter, more of a wearable minimalist tent. The MLD is great in poncho mode and works well as a shelter. The dyneema is only OK in either role, but it weighs so little, there is no reason not to pack it.
 

schwaf

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
160
This looks great. I carry a poncho and tarp as well and always considered something that could function as both. Would you please provide some photos of the specific mods you added? It'd be nice if it came stock like that from the brand. I carry a terra hiker poncho in blaze orange. I figure in an emergency I'd like to have something super visible, bright, and large so it's more functional even outside of inclement weather. Like you said, we pack our fears right? It might be worth reaching out to the brand and see if it's something they would consider adding. I'd definitely pick one up.
 
OP
mcseal2

mcseal2

WKR
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
2,667
The only mod was the nylon loops sewn in to elevate the ends. One pic shows them from above pretty well.

I just pitched it one day and pulled on various spots until I decided where I wanted each of them. I then marked the spots with a black sharpie and went to the tent shop next trip to town. They added the loops to the top side and a patch to re-enforce things and sew into to the bottom side.

Once they were sewn in I put Gear Aid silnylon repair patches on the bottom side with some extra Geat Aid seam grip sil to help seal them. I then treated the top side of the nylon loop and stitching with the same stuff to waterproof it. It added a few ounces all together, about 11oz to 16oz for the whole set-up, but is worth it to me.

Thats all I did except the small carabiners and ranger bands on the lines. I don’t know that they are necessary but the extra stretch won’t hurt I figure.
 

Read1t48

WKR
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
512
Location
Oregon
Perry, from WI makes good stuff.
I’ve heard his lead time have gotten quite long but the quality appears to be excellent.

@mcseal2 … if you have ran the Gatewood Cape, do you prefer the WI poncho shelter?
What do you think about the hammock configuration if you’ve tried it?
 
OP
mcseal2

mcseal2

WKR
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
2,667
I have not used the gatewood or the hammock part of the poncho. I’m a side sleeper and never liked hammocks for more than a nap.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
573
Has anyone seen any new products in this niche? Looking for a 1.1oz silnylon/silpoly tarp around 66”x 108ish in camo. Still seems like no manufacture is making quite what I’d like.
 

IBen

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
231
Has anyone seen any new products in this niche? Looking for a 1.1oz silnylon/silpoly tarp around 66”x 108ish in camo. Still seems like no manufacture is making quite what I’d like.
Try dutchwaregear.com their xenon fabric is silpoly with 4000mm hh which is higher than nomal silpoly around 1200-2000 hh
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Messages
4,788
Location
Colorado
I feel like I am pretty lucky to have obtained a GoLite Poncho. It is light and can be used as a poncho or as a shelter. It has all the loops to make it into a shelter, basically an A frame or used as a poncho. When i need to use it as a shelter, it has extra material that gets unfolded to add length. I have never seen another one of these but I do think it is something that could be duplicated pretty easily by any of the current shelter manufacturers.
 

ohoopee

WKR
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
683
I too always have a poncho tarp that is always in my pack. I have
a cuben fiber one on all of my multi day Appalachian trips. Ill use
it to keep firewood or my clothes "drier" when hanging from a line after
a day on a Mountain stream. My Go Lite's stay in a vehicle for
truck camping. It's not as important for me on my NM trips but
a must have for me in the Smokeys. I will also throw it on on my
hike out if its pouring rain (my Zpacks has a smaller dimensions
and I dont get the coverage over me and pack that the MLD provides).

The sil-nylon poncho's were really perfect in size and use. Im 60 and
I switched to Cuben for weight savings about 5 years ago. The hood
on the Zpacks has been repaired at the seams several times from frequent
packing and unpacking.
 

ohoopee

WKR
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
683
I feel like I am pretty lucky to have obtained a GoLite Poncho. It is light and can be used as a poncho or as a shelter. It has all the loops to make it into a shelter, basically an A frame or used as a poncho. When i need to use it as a shelter, it has extra material that gets unfolded to add length. I have never seen another one of these but I do think it is something that could be duplicated pretty easily by any of the current shelter manufacturers.
I believe the Mytrail co. poncho tarp is very similar if not the same as the Golites.
I seem to remember Mytrailco had some of the same staff/owner as Golite
after the former stopped operations. I have a vague recollection of looking at
the Mytrail co several years ago.
 
OP
mcseal2

mcseal2

WKR
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
2,667
I have the MyTrailCo poncho. It’s nice, but a little small as a shelter in my opinion. The extra 6” of length on this new one makes a difference.
 

Beendare

WKR
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
8,129
Location
Corripe cervisiam
This is timely.
I was thinking about sewing one of these up.

Im thinking I would start by maxing out the sheep tarp idea, then pop a hood in there.

I don’t picture myself walking a lot in a poncho…thats a PITA….so maybe just the tarp….not sure
 
Top