polycro poncho

Posted by: scratchtp

polycro poncho - 06/11/16 11:22 AM

So after thinking more about my relatively heavy no so breathable rain jacket, I had been thinking about replacing it with a poncho. I was going to order some polycro anyway to replace some tyvek groundsheets I have had for a while, and was wondering if polycro would be durable enough to make a poncho out of? Anyone have experience with the durability of polycro for something like clothing? It seems if it is durable enough for a groundcloth it should work (if not bushwhacking). How would it compare to the durability of something like the dri ducks/O2 rainwear material?

I was thinking of just cutting a rectangular piece, slight drape in the back to cover my backpack, and putting some stick on velcro on the sides so that I could batten down the hatches if it gets really windy. Any thoughts? I also was wondering if anyone had advice on how to add a hood, I was thinking of just cutting a weird arc of fabric and taping it on with double sided tape, but not sure if this would be adequate or if the seam would leak too much...

I'm hoping this would be something to use mostly in emergencies, when the rain is too bad/cold/windy to just hike through the weather. Looking at weights people have quoted for policer I am thinking it would be less than 4oz in the end.
Posted by: bluefish

Re: polycro poncho - 06/11/16 01:58 PM

Scratch, I think your calculations are very accurate. The Polycro footprint I use is 100"x 52" and weighs 3.5 oz.s. Add a hood and some velcro tabs and it would weigh just about 4. I draped it over myself and a backpack, and I would use the dimension I have for a poncho. It will also compress to the size of a tennis ball.
I think it would cut, but it does not tear easily by any means. I'm very interested in making some for my wife and I. We carry at least 2 lbs. in rain gear usually, this would reduce it back to a 1/2 lb. I would not trust it on extended periods of rain and high winds on a long trip, but for occasional rain (even hard rains) on a 4-5 day venture I think it would work. Thanks for the great idea. I'm testing some adhesives on it and have found an 8" dia. hole was sufficient for the head opening. I'll post more as I progress, as I hope you will.

One thing I forgot to add: The largest detraction from poncho use for us, was my wife took a bad fall on a rocky downhill when her footing was obscured by the poncho billowing out. The Polycro being clear would allow at least some view of the footing immediately beneath you. I'm also going to make them shorter in the front, as I'm not so interested in keeping my lower legs dry.
Posted by: scratchtp

Re: polycro poncho - 06/11/16 06:02 PM

I'll have to wait to do any real work on it until I get the polycro, but that should be sometime this week. I was actually just looking at z-packs poncho, and it looks like they actually taper it at the ends, and have the center longer (42" at the center to 28" at the ends). It make sense to me, as it would give you more material at the shoulders to cover your arms a little bit, but leave less to flap around below that. Ill probably start out cutting it large and seeing how much I want to trim it.

I generally only go out on max 5 day trips these days, (hopefully that will change in the future) so it's not a huge deal as long as it last that long. I would prefer it to be non disposable somehow, but I guess that's the same issue with much of the UL, cheap, rain gear.

The point about not obscuring your feet is a good one, I didn't even think about that happening. I hope everyone was okay!

Once I get the polycro and supplies I'll put up some photos of what I end up with.
Posted by: bluefish

Re: polycro poncho - 06/12/16 08:08 AM

What we used were poncho/tarps, so they stay rectangular to work as a shelter. The tapering sounds like a good idea.
Posted by: Franco

Re: polycro poncho - 06/25/16 08:03 PM

No direct experience but Polycryo might be a bit lacking in abrasion resistance as a poncho .
Still it is a relatively cheap experiment but I would test it well before using it on hikes.
Posted by: bluefish

Re: polycro poncho - 06/25/16 08:34 PM

I did some rudimentary tear testing and it didn't fare well. Good as a ground cloth, but I don't think I'll be using it for a poncho.
Posted by: scratchtp

Re: polycro poncho - 06/26/16 07:10 PM

Re Franco, I take it that polycryo is the proper spelling? For some reason I thought I had seen it as polycro, but I'm not sure where.

Bluefish, what sort of testing did you do out of curiosity? I did a few tests, with mixed results. Just attempting to tear it by hand it seemed to fare well, mainly stretching instead of actually breaking, unless I applied a lot of force. I didn't have any branches super easily accessible, so I ran a pen across a part of it stretched tight to simulate a branch getting caught on it. There it didn't fare as well. The first several times nothing seemed to happen, however when the pen finally did puncture it, it tore a nice half foot long hole, which of course easily widened with any force. I suppose that's where ripstop fabric has some advantages...

I'm not sure where that leaves it. Maybe a stupid light idea. Getting caught on branches is always a possibility, but many of the trails I hike are relatively well maintained, at least as far as branches on the trail... I also don't tend to do a lot of bushwhacking at this point.

I might go ahead and finish my poncho, since I'm half done with it, but I will probably only use it for weekend trips where the chance of rain is pretty slim (on the other hand, that covers a lot of my trips right now).

I'll put up some photos of the poncho when it's done for any who are curious.

If anyone has any experience with driducks and the like, I'm still curious how their durability compares to polycryo, since that seems to be the common criticism of those options.
Posted by: Franco

Re: polycro poncho - 06/26/16 07:30 PM

"Re Franco, I take it that polycryo is the proper spelling? For some reason I thought I had seen it as polycro, but I'm not sure where."

As far as I know it is a GossamerGear made up brand name to describe the type of window insulation material they use for groundsheets.
Two Greek words
Poly : much or multi
Cryo : frost /ice cold. Cryo is the Latin version of Kryo .

possibly the most misspelled brand name along with the Thermarest (Therm-a-rest) variants, like Thermorest.

BTW, not that the above is important or going to make Great Britain great ...
Posted by: bluefish

Re: polycro poncho - 06/29/16 03:59 PM

That's interesting. It has "cross linked polyefin" in it's full moniker but not a thing about freezing or cold, other than it's used as insulation. If it was named for a marketing purpose, you would have thought it'd be polythermo. It's heat shrink after all, seems very counter intuitive to label it something that has to do with freezing.
I found it has an initial resistance to puncture, but once it did, it tore with little resistance. I also found it very hard to glue or tape.

Posted by: Franco

Re: polycro poncho - 06/30/16 10:50 PM

My guess is that it was just a name that sounded good at GG.
It is in fact harder than many realise to come up with a name that fits and yet hasn't been used.
Henry Shires named the Contrail after the white line you see behind a plane in the sky, sometime the only man made thing you see on the trail.
Yet some unkind people thought it stood for Condensation Trail
(the ProTrail is a play on words with Contrail...)
Posted by: aimless

Re: polycro poncho - 07/01/16 03:01 PM

To be fair, the term contrail in regard to the trace left in the sky behind a jet engine was coined from abbreviating the term "condensation trail". Just as a cloud is condensed water vapor, so is a jet's contrail.
Posted by: Franco

Re: polycro poncho - 07/04/16 06:39 PM

yes , it was a bit of self mockery...