Here are the main aspects you need to keep in mind before buying.
Never choose cheap, flimsy materials when it comes to a survival poncho. You need a durable material that can beat the elements and can be stored for long periods. Ripstop is the best material for durability. The reason is, the special weave of the fabric prevents the rips from spreading once they appear.
Take a look at some of the materials you can pick.
Nylon- Ripstop nylon is durable, stretchable, and abrasion-resistant. Nylon is mold and mildew resistant and it’s usually coated with waterproof materials. However, PU-coated nylon isn’t the most breathable material.
Polyester- It is more abrasion and UV resistant than nylon. Polyester is also hydrophobic but it is coated with other materials too.
Polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE)- These are affordable, nonwoven fabrics that are versatile and waterproof. However, they aren’t breathable.
Breathable PU fabric- These are great for activewear as they are lightweight and breathable. At the same time, materials like Paratex Dry offers good waterproofing.
Size and Weight
Remember: a survival poncho isn’t something you will use regularly. So like every other vital survival gear, you need to balance the size and weight.
Ultralight ponchos are a great option as long as they don’t compromise durability. Note, the weight depends not on the material and thickness alone. The quality of the metal grommets, eyelets, and zippers also play a role.
While picking a poncho with a one-size-fits-all design. So you don’t need to pick an exact size like a rain jacket. But make sure you try it on with the backpack you plan to use. Ideally, it should have maximum coverage for the lower body as well.
A too big or a too-short poncho will affect your mobility in the wilderness. It may flap around or get caught in branches or bushes.
Don’t forget- struggling with an uncomfortable fit can be distracting. And in a survival scenario that can make the difference between life and death.
That being said, a larger poncho will also be more multifunctional. If you’re planning to use the poncho as a survival shelter or ground cover, pick a large size.
The quality of the material will also determine the waterproofing levels of the poncho. Check out the waterproof rating of the material and other features like taped seams. Here the seams are specially bonded, at times from both sides.
When you are heading for a wet zone, make sure that the material is waterproof and not water-resistant. However, the design and coverage of the poncho can play a big role in waterproofing. At times, a material with a low waterproof rating can surprise you with its performance.
The right features elevate the user experience and improve the overall quality of a poncho. Some common features needed in a survival poncho are adjustable hoods, metal eyelets, and snap fastenings.
We also prefer using ponchos with pockets. That makes it easy to keep small items within easy reach. Other than that, a storage bag or stuff sack of the right size is important for storing the poncho when not in use.
Breathability and Ventilation
A poncho that allows airflow and permits the sweat to escape is a better choice when you plan to do intense outdoor activities. In general, the basic loose-fitting design of the ponchos allows more ventilation than raincoats or rain jackets. Even so, heat and moisture can get trapped inside.
Breathability is an inherent property of the fabric. This indicates the amount of water vapor that can pass out through the fabric itself. For example, the Paratex fabric in the Snugpak Patrol poncho allows 7.5 liters of vapor to escape per square meter in 24 hours.
The color of the poncho is another factor that you need to consider. Light or camouflage colors are a good choice when you need to blend in with the environment. They will also help you to stay out of sight from potential threats.
On the other hand, bright or neon-colored ponchos are great in an emergency survival situation when you need to be rescued. Some of these colors can be seen from long distances and even in the dark.
Source link: https://persurvive.com/preparing/best-survival-ponchos/ by Coty Perry at persurvive.com