Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Gonna make Bilgy Parchos

I have ordered kits to make Bilgy Parchos for me and The Man. We don't believe that a poncho can serve as both a shelter and rain gear unless it's near 100% certain you won't need to use it for rain gear. This is because if you are using a poncho as a shelter, you probably want to leave all the tie-downs attached so it's easier to set up at night. Otherwise, you'll be stuck standing there in the rain removing them in the morning and reattaching them at night.

A Parcho is a cross between a rain poncho and a rain jacket. It's basically a jacket with a big bulbout for your pack. It is loose and ugly like a rain poncho so you don't get to hot and sweaty.

We may like them or not. I kind of favor umbrellas and cursing the rain. But The Man usually uses a rain poncho. The Parcho may be an improvement for both of us. We'll see. At any rate, it's another project for me.


  1. On the Gatewood Cape you don't remove any of the tie outs. There are a couple of snaps on either side to snap everything up. Some people use light weight carabiners.

    I've read about people who were able to set it up while still wearing it. Billy Goat says he can break it down and put it on without leaving it.

    I've been thinking about posting a review of the Gatewood Cape and the Serenity Net I used on my last hike. It rained some but I don't know if enough to be able to post a good review. But so far I really love it. Too me it's perfect.

    The net doesn't touch the walls of the cape at all, making it a true double wall shelter.

    I used just the net most of the time. It's so small you can set it up on the trail. It also has loops to hang it if you are at a shelter or a motel room. Making it good for world travel.

    I also brought a drop stopper rain jacket, an umbrella, and a trash bag rain skirt.

    In Washington I met people only hiking with the Gatewood cape and no other rain gear and they got pretty wet and miserable. One guy spent 3 days in the Summit Inn till someone gave him a rain coat and a bible. Another guy ripped off the garbage bags out of the bathroom in Stehikin to supplement his Cape.

    Good luck on your project. I ordered some scissors, pins and thread so I should be able to start a project of my own. I'm thinking of converting my Marmot Helium into a quilt. I was all gung ho when I ordered the scissors but now I'm thinking I might just return it to REI because I think I got a defective bag.

  2. I like the gatewood cape. I think I'm too short to use it as rain gear, though. I'm only 5'3" on a good day.

    The Man had this idea while watching The Amazing Race that since we live in a wealthy enclave it's possible there may be some people with racing yachts and perhaps they may have some cuben fiber sails that they need to discard. Usually those racers will get new sails before a race rather than try to race with damaged or worn sails. It could be a way to get some cuben fiber pretty cheap. I'm sure he'll never get around to it, but I thought I'd keep my eye open.

  3. I think you could rig it so you could wear it. You bunch up the extra and and snap it up, caribiner it up, or tie it up. You sort of have to figure it all out for your self when using Six moon Design tents.

    I was thinking of making cuben fiber food bags to replace ziplocks. Cuben fiber is supposed to be lined with PET plastic which is food safe.

  4. What kind of fabric are you going to use to make the Parcho if you don't find some cuben fiber?

  5. I bought the kit from Quest Outfitters. It's silnylon. I haven't started it yet. I'm a little nervous about sewing silnylon.

    The Man was thinking about finding some used cuben fiber to make a tarp. We actually looked down at the harbor the other day but we didn't see anywhere that sails might be made. We don't know where the rich folks get their racing yacht sails made.

  6. I'd like to learn how to work with cuben fiber because after 10 years of sleeping under sil-nylon, I have finally admitted to myself that its not water proof and every time it rains really hard I'm going to be wet.

    Joe at sells cuben fiber but he says you have to work with it in a certain direction to keep it from ripping.

    I have actually took the big expensive step of ordering one of his tarps.

    I would really like a cuben fiber Gatewood Cape. Maybe I'll be able to figure out how to build my own some day.

  7. That sounds like an interesting project. I have heard that you can tape cuben fiber instead of sewing it.