Golite Poncho review.

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Golite Poncho review.

Post by Woods Walker » Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:22 am

Golite Poncho review.

Technical information:

http://www.golite.com/product/productde ... AC0207&s=1

“This roomy, ultra-lite poncho can be converted to an emergency shelter using built-in, tie down loops. So lite and small you can take it anywhere, it is ideal for emergency kits and for ultra-lite backpackers dedicated to shaving every last ounce from their packs. A favorite of Team GoLite fast-packers Andy Skurka and Demetri Coupounas, the Poncho/Tarp utilizes SilLite™ fabric for ultra-lite, waterproof durability, and features additional coverage in the back for protecting a backpack (snaps allow for folding up excess fabric when not in use).”

10 oz. | 280 g | $50.00
Fit: n/a | Available Sizes: 8 ft 8 in x 4 ft 10 in / 2.64 m x 1.47 m

The Golite poncho is a Sil nylon poncho. Packs down small and is very UL. I currently use this gear item in my 72-hour BOB and E&E. The factory stuff sack is made of mesh but is too small for fast field packing so often I use a larger stuff sack. The below photo has two Golite ponchos. One in factory stuff sack and the other inside a larger field sack. A canteen was used for scale.

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The Poncho has multiple tie-offs for pitching as a tarp. I prefer tie-offs to grommets.

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The poncho has Velcro and snaps for modification into various configurations. The user can snap it up or allow gaps for better ventilation.

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The Golite poncho has a standard hood with draw string. Nothing special but it does keep the rain off.

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One interesting aspect of this Poncho is the adjustable back length that can allow for a makeshift pack cover.

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The Poncho covers about 75% of the user. The upper sections of the arms can be exposed or protected. Just depends if you need to use your hands.

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Testing:

I have used this Poncho/tarp for both shelter and raingear. I view cold rain/snow mix as one of the more dangerous conditions that commonly confront people in the backcountry but is often underestimated. So I decided to wait for rain/snow mix with a temperature of 32-34 to do this review. Covered about 8 miles during the test.

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So what are the results? To no real surprise the bottoms of my paints and fronts of my sleeves got wet.

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My upper body and head remained dry. The open sides allowed for greater ventilation so condensations was not a big issue. The wet paints bottoms are always a bit of a downer but hardly live threatening. The poncho is both wind and water proof so it makes for a good windbreak.

Multi use functions:

This poncho like most has multi use applications. To be honest ponchos are the Jack of all trades but the master of none.

1. Rain gear and pack cover. Is this or any poncho the best possible raingear available? No. But ponchos are functional and with proper use can keep someone reasonably dry.

2. Gear storage area. A poncho offers extra storage area for gear outside of a shelter. It can be pitched as a storage tarp or simply draped over gear items.

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3. Ground cloth. This is something I tend not to do. These Ponchos cost between 40-50 dollars. However in a pinch it could be used for a ground cloth once rocks and sticks have been removed.

4. Water basin. This is one application that I have used in the past. The poncho is great for collecting rainwater or even dew for drinking or cleaning. To the best of my knowledge rainwater can be drank without filtering or boiling. So far this method has not resulted in any sickness. For best results set up the poncho so the water has a pocket to collect into. Even with drizzle a fair amount of water can be acquired in a reasonable amount of time.

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5. Shelter. The Golite poncho has multiple tie-offs for setting up as a tarp. Does the Golite poncho make for an ideal shelter? No but it is workable with proper pitching.

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There are other uses beyond those described in this review. It is the multi use of this or any poncho that makes it a valuable addition to any BOB.

Pros:

This poncho is very easy to pack. The silicon coating will last far longer than the urethane that is used in the USGI type ponchos. In theory it does not need to be seam sealed as the threads are designed to resist leaking just like with other Golite shelters. However I used Silnet just to be on the safe side. The construction is good but not fully up to the standards of some of the higher end offerings. The Golite is on the lower end of the price range for this type of poncho. It provides fairly good protection from the elements and like all ponchos is multi functional.

Cons:

Like most UL gear there is a trade off in durability. It sure feels well made and the material is strong but I would not want to run though a thorn patch with it. This does not mean the poncho can’t hold up though a storm. The length is just fine for a marginal tarp camp but I wish it was wider than 4 feet 10 inches. The hood works fine even with a hat but I wish the neck and hood was just a little bit bigger for blockheads like me. It is the bottom of the price range for Sil ponchos however is still expensive.

Other options:

There are other makers of Silnylon type ponchos. Here are some links.

The Equinox/Campmor Poncho.

http://www.campingsurvival.com/equlposh.html

http://campmor.stores.yahoo.net/20255.html

The ID poncho.

http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_ ... cfm?id=728

The MLD poncho.

http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/sh ... 7a41355439

Conclusion:

The Golite poncho like all gear items has both pros and cons. If you are looking to reduce your pack load with a nice multi function gear item than the Golite or other silnylon poncho/tarps are worth consideration.
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Post by geoff88 » Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:41 am

Great post, as usual, WW.

Have you tried waterproof gaiters like these?
http://www.gelert.com/products/Crag_RS_ ... proof.aspx

Thanks for the post and pictures.

Geoff

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Post by Gunny » Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:43 am

I love these posts.

I've always relied on a small packable rain jacket, there's no reason why I couldn't add this poncho to my kit.

Thanks WW :)

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Post by Jamie » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:01 am

Thanks for the great post WW!

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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by airballrad » Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:02 pm

Great post WW, as always. As I ease myself back into hiking I'll be using your posts as my shopping list. :D
Woods Walker wrote:The wet paints bottoms are always a bit of a downer but hardly live threatening.
Have you tried using gaiters to address this? I have a pair that I use to keep the snow out of my boots; I expect they'd work for this too...[/quote]

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Post by safariteam5 » Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:49 pm

Curse you WW! I picked up a MSS Bivy sack a while back based upon your post and it looks like I'll be spending some money again. Another excellent write-up. This sort of writing is exactly why I frequent this site.
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Post by Squirrley » Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:54 pm

safariteam5 wrote:This sort of writing is exactly why I frequent this site.

This sort of writing is exactly why I have to hide my wallet from myself when I frequent this site.
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Post by sporkticus » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:34 pm

Great review!

Woodswalker can really pitch a tarp/poncho/whatever. I'd love to see him walk through some of his setups.

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Post by Woods Walker » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:45 pm

Gunny.

I think you will be pleased with the Silnylon poncho. I have seen the Golite on sale for under 40 bucks. Often they can be had for 44. The Sage green works well in the woods though it seems to change colors when photographed. The ID should be considered if money is less of an issue. I don’t know about the Equinox poncho. I just can stand the blue.

Airballrad.

OR makes some gaiters much like the ones in your link. For my 72-hour BOB I add some British military waterproof trousers. They are 14oz and made to fit over my paints. They are waterproof however not Gortex like the ECWS. The ECWS is inside the INCH bag. When more money becomes available I may buy some breathable/waterproof hiking paints. Still the non breathable military paints worked well during my testing. It was not the wet lower bottom that was the big issue. I just got my paints wet crawling around to set up camp or taking a rest. The poncho/rain paints combo offers a total hard-shell for very little weight and pack size.
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Post by Dak Kovar » Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:01 pm

Thanks for the info WW. Another good one.
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Post by Biff » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:10 pm

...
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Post by toyotaman » Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:56 am

WW, quick question on the poncho tarp colors.

You had mentioned that the ID is a better choice if money is not an issue. I know that ID makes some of their tarps and ponchos in an Olive color.

Which poncho tarp do you think would blend better in the woods, the ID tarp in Olive or the GoLite tarp in sage green? I'm looking for a lighter weight alternative surplus poncho in woodland camo.

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Post by LittleTeapot » Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:18 pm

Great review. Very useful.

Thanks for your effort, Woods Walker.
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Post by Woods Walker » Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:07 am

toyotaman wrote:WW, quick question on the poncho tarp colors.

You had mentioned that the ID is a better choice if money is not an issue. I know that ID makes some of their tarps and ponchos in an Olive color.

Which poncho tarp do you think would blend better in the woods, the ID tarp in Olive or the GoLite tarp in sage green? I'm looking for a lighter weight alternative surplus poncho in woodland camo.
The Golite Sage green blends well but I would have to give the edge to ID's olive.
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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by Bster13 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:37 pm

Hello Woods Walker,

Thank you for the review (found it while googling this poncho), I have some questions if you don't mind resurrecting this thread. :p

Can you detail the guy out points a little more for me? I figure there are guy out points at all four corners, but are there guy out points in the middle of the length AND width of the poncho/tarp? Reason I ask, is that I prefer to pitch my tarps like this:

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...and I want to see if this poncho/tarp can be pitched this way.

Also, how do you rate the durability of those guy-outs? How is the sewing or glue at those points? (they look glued) I figure those guy-outs see the most stress and with this poncho/tarp being so light, I wonder about that over time.

Thanks!

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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by Bster13 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:47 pm

Actually looking at the picture on their website, I see guy-out points in the middle of both the length and width. Questions is durability of those guy-outs now for me. :)

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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:37 pm

Next time I have to use it (guessing this weekend) I will check the tie-offs numbers for you. They seem strong as they are loops. I got two on sale for 35 bucks so that was the main reason for the purchase over other makers. Thinking that ID may have higher quailty but this has held up to some good beatings.

Edit.

I added silnet over the sewing as this is standard practice to reinforce tie-offs and seams on all my shelters and tarps. Thinking that is what you are seeing. The shape is 4 foot 10 by 8.5 if I recall so you are limited to lean-to and A-frame pitches for practical use. More complex pitches often require larger than 5x8 tarps but have done other methods using these smaller tarps. Works great with a bivy sack or for an ER shelter but I prefer 8x10 or larger for pure tarp camping.
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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by joekaveh » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:44 pm

Awesome post. Im actually on the lookout for the "shelter" part of my BOB still. I want something light that can protect me from rain while I sleep underneath/inside it with a sleeping pad+sleeping bag.
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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:51 pm

I did get soaked during a very very very (stress very) bad T-storm a month ago on a trail using only the Golite. It was 8-mile trip and the storm flooded the path. My exposed paints bottoms wicked the water up to my mid section so for "I can't see 20 feet ahead rain" you will need rain paints or gators. There are limitations to a poncho only system. For moderate rain it works very well and will provide a reasonable ER shelter. I use one in my E&E, BOB and daypack.

I wish the hood and neck had extra room for block heads like me. I can get it over my head but must remove my hat and slide it over slowly. Once on I don't feel any restriction in the neck area so grateful for that.
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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by Bster13 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:03 am

Due to this review, I purchased the Golite and returned the Sea-to-Summit poncho/tarp. They are very similar in shape, construction weight, but the goLite is a little lighter as I measured (10oz vs. 12oz.) and a little cheaper.

Here are some shot to compare pack size:

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Thanks Woods Walker!

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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by Bster13 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:33 am

Thinking about this a bit more. If you are hiking in the summer during the rain, you use your poncho.........saweet, good rain protection.

....you come to setup camp for the night. No problem, u get a little wet while you take the poncho off and pitch it as a tarp real quick.

....then you're setting up your gear, sleeping pad, ground cloth, sleeping bag etc. while being dry under the tarp. Still all good.

....now it's time to go to the bathroom, brush your teeth far away from camp (so no beasites smell it) etc. anything you need to do that involves getting out from under the tarp while it is raining. What do you do for rain protection? You were just sitting under it! :o

Do u bring a lightweight rain shell as well (adding weight to your pack), do you tough it out and get your other layers (possibly insulating :o) layers wet?

I figure if it is the winter and it is snowing...no biggie, a little snow can be brushed off after you go brush your teeth, but in a rain storm? It'd be no fun! :o

Thoughts?

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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by mtnfolk mike » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:33 am

great review WW... i have been looking into getting a few lightweight tarps for the misses and I... i carry an Equinox 8 x 10 tarp in my pack...
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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:18 pm

Bster13 wrote:Thinking about this a bit more. If you are hiking in the summer during the rain, you use your poncho.........saweet, good rain protection.

....you come to setup camp for the night. No problem, u get a little wet while you take the poncho off and pitch it as a tarp real quick.

....then you're setting up your gear, sleeping pad, ground cloth, sleeping bag etc. while being dry under the tarp. Still all good.

....now it's time to go to the bathroom, brush your teeth far away from camp (so no beasites smell it) etc. anything you need to do that involves getting out from under the tarp while it is raining. What do you do for rain protection? You were just sitting under it! :o

Do u bring a lightweight rain shell as well (adding weight to your pack), do you tough it out and get your other layers (possibly insulating :o) layers wet?

I figure if it is the winter and it is snowing...no biggie, a little snow can be brushed off after you go brush your teeth, but in a rain storm? It'd be no fun! :o

Thoughts?

Using your rain gear as a shelter has some downsides. Kinda hard to setup a poncho as a tarp and not get wet in the rain. But the fact that these ponchos can be setup as a small tarp is a positive in my view. Redundancy for no extra weight can be a good thing.

mtnfolk mike

I have an Equinox 8x10 tarp and like it. They make a nice UL sil poncho much like the Golite for a reasonable price. My Uncle got one from Campmor (rebranded equinox) and in some ways like it more than the Golite. I went with the Golite as they were on sale some time ago for 35 dollars so purchased a few. The Equinox was a brighter blue and I wanted green but my Uncle’s was a nice Olive color so I think they added that option. It was made in the USA too so if I had to pay full price for either I would go with the Equinox
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Re: Golite Poncho review.

Post by Cwood » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:37 pm

looks good. but have you seen any poncho's with the thermal liners?
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