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Umbrella or Rain Poncho?

Hello. I would like opinions on which is better to travel with in England - an umbrella or rain poncho. We will be touring London, Cotswolds, and Lakes District. Thank you for your input

Posted by
8293 posts

What time of year? At any rate, whichever one you leave at home you can always replace in England.

Posted by
3428 posts

I'd go with option 3- light , unlined windbreaker type, hooded jacket. The ponchos are usually a type of plastic that doesn't 'breathe' and could be very uncomfortable. Also, they seldom fold back up into the small size they were originally, and you need to wait until they are fully dry to pack them away- or risk mold. The one plus they have is that they are large enough to cover you and a backpack type day bag or even a backpack style carry-on.

Umbrellas are ok, except when the wind blows. They are also heavy- even the smaller travel type.

Posted by
2933 posts

Another vote for a lightweight waterproof hooded jacket. Preferably yellow, so you will be more visible to drivers in London in the rain.

Posted by
1245 posts

If you don't like to wear a hooded jacket...bring a foldable hat that has a chin tie...remember you may have too much sun also! Also I found a semi water resistant head scarf handy in a really windy location. A small collapsing umbrella can come in handy in a Summer downpour.

Posted by
5780 posts

In the Lake District, neither umbrellas nor ponchos work well in a rain storm including wind, I.e. afternoon thunderstorms. During a maximum precipitation event in the fells, rain jacket with hood and rain pants provide maximum protection against wind driven rain. That said, count on getting wet.

Posted by
724 posts

I like to travel with a light rain/wind jacket and a small travel umbrella. I think an umbrella helps keep you dry. I also bring rain pants but rarely use them.

Posted by
10344 posts

In Paris last month two small travel umbrellas (one for each) worked well.
With a poncho, in a good rain, your socks, shoes, and pants will get wet. That's ok at home but if you're out all day, it gets old pretty fast.

Posted by
5669 posts

Yet another vote for the jacket. You want your hands free for reading maps, guidebooks and taking pictures. The poncho just doesn't seem to be effective. I took one years ago and ended up buying a new jacket in Cumbria as I was getting wet with the poncho....

Posted by
5780 posts

...hands free for reading maps....

If you plan on walking the fells, a waterproof map case is essential in a rain storm. That or waterproof Ordinance Survey maps.
http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/about/news/2012/ordnance-survey-extends-its-range-of-weatherproof-maps.html
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The national mapping agency of Great Britain is extending its range of
all-weather, plastic coated maps following high demand from consumers
and trade.

Must be a reason why waterproof maps are in demand.

Posted by
8293 posts

Oooh, walking the fells in a rainstorm ..... Everybody's dream.

Posted by
5669 posts

Actually, having a waterproof map of London, Edinburgh etc. is very handy as it can withstand the frequent soft rains as well as more rigorous drenchings which thankfully are less often! And if you aren't willing to walk in the rain in Scotland and England, you'll be spending way too much time waiting for the rain to stop! Unless, of course, you get lucky and there is a heat wave.

Posted by
85 posts

I've also found that taking plenty of ziploc bags helps. I can put my entire daybag in a zip lock bag and zip it up except for the straps. I do the same for my camera bag. Even though they are water resistant without the plastic bags, when you go to open them, the water gets inside.

Posted by
5780 posts

Ziploc bags are an economical rain protection tool. I use the slidelock version. A deluxe alternative is the light weight backpack dry sacks that are really waterproof similar to whitewater rafting dry sacks but intended to be protected by your pack. The bags are light weight thin not needing to withstand abrasive conditions. For example:
http://m.rei.com/product/777725/sea-to-summit-ultra-sil-dry-sack

I bought my backpacking dry sack looking for a pack cover for my day pack in advance of a walking tour. My pack straps attached to my bag high such that the cover don't secure tightly. Salesperson showed me the dry sack and it worked perfectly in heavy wind and rain.

Posted by
796 posts

The English use umbrellas and umbrellas are stylish. Rain ponchos can be a better choice when out hiking with umbrellas for being in the city.