There comes a time when it’s important to take your survival tools and equipment to the next level. Such was the case for me recently when I upgraded my previously upgraded vinyl poncho to a rip-stop German Flecktarn camouflage pattern poncho. It’s not quite as light in weight but far more durable with a number of advantages.
For starters, rip-stop material is really tough stuff and is not prone to tearing and if it should get a hole it will not grow in size. Because of this strength it can be adapted to function beyond it’s original intended use as a garment and into a tent-like structure by using fiberglass knock-down shock-cord rods as an “X-frame” being tied in the center with each end anchored at the corner grommets that are incorporated into the poncho design.
My poncho measures 54″x80″ and provides good coverage when configured as a tent. I am 6′ tall and have found a couple of positions to lay where I can be completely covered and yet stay somewhat comfortable. I can lay on my side in a sitting posture with my legs bent. When I feel a need to stretch my legs I remain on my side and form a “V” with my legs outstretched. While in this position there is plenty of room for my Bug-Out-Bag (B.O.B.) to lay beside me.
Should it happen to be raining, you could trench around the drip-line to divert water or build up a layer of insulation beneath you to keep you warm and comfy while at the same time separate you from the wet ground. If it’s not raining I suppose that body parts that protrude out from under the shelter wouldn’t really matter, but I prefer to be covered completely.
I carry my poncho in my B.O.B. along with an ENO double-sized hammock. I decided to try using the poncho as a rain-fly to cover the hammock. As you might see in the photo, it is slightly under-sized for rain but it could be used in a pinch with the sides held out with guy-lines. At the same time it covers the top opening of the hammock to help keep out bugs.
In either the tent or hammock rain-fly mode the camouflage pattern helps to provide a stealthy approach to camping which in some emergency circumstances could work in your favor unless you want to be highly visible in which case you would want to use a blaze-orange or other bright color to gain attention.
If I decide to upgrade yet another time, it would probably be for a larger size or a different camouflage pattern but I am quite pleased with what this poncho has delivered and look forward to testing it out in the field.