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Rain Poncho - England, Scotland, Wales

I am travelling in the UK in mid-late May - early June.

I wanted to know if anyone has packed/used a rain poncho? I never have, just a rain jacket but I just saw an ad from Rick Steves about ponchos and wondered.

Is there efficient rain gear for both for rural (highlands) and urban use (London).

Posted by
4574 posts

Unless you get a heavy all encompasing military one that isn't going to leak or flap you to death in a heath wind...and absolutely need to totally cover a backpack full of expensive gear, don't do it!!
If I have money to spare, a full gortex rain suit works pretty much 4 seasons (Canadian talking). Leave off the rain pants for urban use and maybe add an umbrella.

Posted by
329 posts

I use the Jack Wolfskin JWP raincoat. Water proof. Very well designed and packs into a small ball. I don’t need an umbrella. It’s also a popular brand in Europe. Nice length to keep pants and bum dry. Goes over layers well too.

Posted by
2857 posts

I use a poncho on trips that I bought in Sorrento. It’s cute (some would say gaudy) red plaid, similar to the longer poncho in the RS store. It’s light, packs small, goes down to my knees to keep me dry. I sewed the side seams part way down so it won’t flap. Advantage of a poncho is that it can cover your purse and day pack to keep them dry too.
But if I were going somewhere cold, rainy and windy, I’d probably invest in a rain coat/jacket, either heavier than the poncho or large enough to go over layers of clothes. Can’t help you with brands since it seldom rains enough in Phoenix to wear a rain jacket.

Posted by
1119 posts

You need a proper jacket. A poncho is ok for somewhere warm with occasional showers. You could get some heavy rain and wind on your trip and it also could feel chilly so you need something more substantial.

Posted by
1302 posts

Is there efficient rain gear for both for rural (highlands) and urban
use (London).

Yep. A waterproof and wind proof jacket. Preferably breathable. It’s an area in which we’re still up there with the world leaders!

Although, not to be hypocritical, I have recently purchased a sort of ‘halfway house’ in the Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock which errs on the side of ‘jacket’, but has the ‘pull over’ properties of a poncho. Haven’t used it in anger yet, but the brand is good. The asking price may be a bit rich for your blood though and it might be a bit heavy duty for June (I’d have switched to one of my lighter jackets by then, personally - too much ‘boil in the bag’ if you get my drift!).

Ian

Posted by
1977 posts

Don't believe everything you see and read in the ads! Ponchos aren't commonly seen in the UK, which probably tells you they aren't much use! You are much better off with a rain proof jacket. Ian and Julie's advice for buying a breathable one is spot on - otherwise on a hot humid day, you can end up as wet inside as outside.

Posted by
3 posts

My friend and I bought rain ponchos for a trip to Ireland. It was windy and the ponchos turned into sails. 🤣 I would recommend rain coats instead.

Posted by
644 posts

We had 80mph winds while hiking the Quiraing last June. I don't think we would have survived with ponchos. Barely did with well fitting raingear.

Posted by
8520 posts

One can never go wrong with a good raincoat with hood. I do keep a cheap plastic disposal poncho at the bottom of my backpack for “emergency use” in a downpour when I need to keep backpack or purse from being drenched through. It is quite small and lightweight.

Posted by
1426 posts

In the wind a poncho is almost useless. If it's the inexpensive type the hood won't stay up and when you lift your arm to keep it up the rain will ride up your arms and your torso will be soaked. And if you are using it in London (I think in another thread you hoped to go to theaters) and pull a sodden poncho over your head you'll drench the remaining dry parts of your body (not to mention those around you).

Posted by
6823 posts

One can never go wrong with a good raincoat with hood. I do keep a cheap plastic disposal poncho at the bottom of my backpack for “emergency use” in a downpour when I need to keep backpack or purse from being drenched through. It is quite small and lightweight.

What Carol said. I also have a packable poncho that folds up quite small and I keep in my daypack for emergencies - I've had it for decades and rarely use it, but when I do need it, I'm glad I have it. That said, a raincoat or jacket will protect you better from all the elements.

Posted by
1302 posts

The Globe in London sells (or at least used to sell) cheapo ponchos for the groundlings in particular. Look for the packets marked “Let it rain potatoes” (Wm. Shakespeare). OK for rain in still conditions as an emergency measure or last resort.