Thursday, March 05, 2009


I received a Golite poncho. I practiced setting it up as a tarp tent in the backyard. I have doubts I could stay dry and be comfortable at the same time. Here is a picture.

There's not a lot of room under there. The roof is very close to my body, even without a sleeping bag. I think I would constantly touch the roof and knock off any condensation onto myself. But I do have a bivy sack, so if I brought this poncho on a trip to use as shelter in the rain, I would also have to make sure I have the bivy. Fortunately it does not rain much where I live. You can usually believe the weather report when no rain is forecast. It's when rain is forecast that the weather report is hard to trust. Might rain, might not, or it might be the next Noah's flood.

As a little half-pyramid, the poncho makes a happy little home. This would provide me with shelter from the wind and privacy. Not much shelter from rain, however.

I will practice some more with the poncho if I can. Hopefully I can practice in real-world conditions. Not in the rain in my back yard but out on a real camping trip.

My Equinox 8x10 tarp is much more comfortable as a shelter. And it weighs close to the same as the poncho. When I hold each one in my hands I can barely tell the difference in weight. The poncho serves double-duty as rain gear, so that's its only benefit over the Equinox tarp. I think I could probably wear the Equinox tarp as a cape, though, in a pinch. If it rained that much, I might as well just set up the tarp and wait inside for the rain to stop.

Here's a picture of my Equinox palace. My back yard is a little too small to set it up. It's very cozy inside. I would not need a bivy sack inside this tarp. There's almost no way to get wet with so much space.

I am now faced with trying to decide what kind of sleeping/camping experience to have on the PCT this year. Neither of these two shelters provides any bug protection. My tent does. It's very comfortable. But last year I wanted to sleep in the open more and bugs prevented me from doing that, as did a desire for privacy.

Probably my best option is to take my tent for weather, privacy and bugs and my new bug bivy for bugs only and leave both these tarps at home. But I'm still trying to decide. There is a fun factor with the tarp that the tent does not provide.

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