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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Therm A Rest Honcho Poncho > Test Report by Morgan Lypka
THERM-A-REST HONCHO PONCHO
TEST SERIES BY MORGAN LYPKA
Initial Report - November 10, 2017
Field Report - January 21, 2018
Long Term Report - March 9, 2018
NAME: Morgan Lypka
HEIGHT: 5’4” (1.6 m)
WEIGHT: 110 lb (50 kg)
EMAIL: m DOT lypka AT yahoo.com
City, Province, Country: Fernie, British Columbia (B.C.), Canada
Backpacking Background: I started backpacking 2 years ago, when I moved to the Rocky Mountains. I am originally from Saskatchewan, Canada, where I have done overnight canoe trips. Most of my backpacking ventures are 1 to 3 days long. I get cold quickly, but handle heat well. My backcountry trips involve hiking, trail running, ski touring and cross-country skiing. I am getting into kayaking, rock climbing and fly fishing. This year, I started solo camping. I camp with a lightweight 3-person, 3-season tent. Decreasing my packed weight in the backcountry is a developing focus of mine (fitting everything was the first).
PRODUCT INFORMATION AND SPECS
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer’s Website: https://www.thermarest.com
MSRP: $129.95 USD
Listed Weight: 1 lb 12 oz (790 g)
Measured Weight: 1 lb 13 oz (816 g)
Colour Testing: Yellow Curry
Additional Colours: Poseidon, Olivine, Deep Purple
Size Testing: one size fits all
Fill: 37.5 Active Partical Polyester
Shell Fabric: Waterproof Breathable 20D Polyester RipStop w/DWR 1000mm Hydrostatic Head / 5000 MVTR
Liner Fabric: Brushed 50D Polyester Taffeta
Packed Dimension: 16 in x 12 in (40 cm x 30 cm)
The Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho is part of Therm-a-Rest’s Camp & Comfort Series. It doubles as a poncho and a blanket, and has an attached bag that it folds into. It is marketed as water resistant and breathable, and has 37.5 insulation. The front of the poncho is shorter than the back, which should help for walking in the front, and warmth in the back. The poncho has a kangaroo pocket for hands on the front, with a zippered pocket to store items in the front. The attached bag for the poncho conveniently fits in this top zippered pocket. The poncho comes together by two snap buttons on either side of the body. The poncho can be turned into a blanket by undoing the snap buttons. The only piece of the poncho that doesn’t fully convert into the blanket is the hood, which hangs out on the top side of the blanket. The hood is easily cinched or loosed with elastic drawstrings on both sides.
So far a good initial impression with the poncho. It is comfortable. It’s warm! It seemed to be water resistant when I tried it with my wet shower hair dripping on it for a while. It’s a bit large. It seems like I could fit three of me in the body part. Already I’m thinking that I would appreciate there to be 2 sizes. The front of the poncho falls just below my knees, and the back of the poncho falls about mid calves. The arm spaces are quite large, and already I have snagged them on doorknobs when I’ve been reaching into my cubberts. Aside from the arms I haven’t had too much difficulty walking around in my house with it, but I can picture the bottom possibly snagging in the bush. Time will tell. The hood seems awesome, fits well and cinches properly. The buttons on the side of the body/below the arms do up easily, but seem to come undone almost a little too easily. I will test this further. I love that it comes in its own attached bag, and that it is light and packs down quite small. I like that it has pockets; useful for hands and for stowing things away (like the attached bag). It would be convenient if the hood could somehow tuck away better when it is converted into a blanket. I don’t love the idea of getting snow in the hood while I’m using it as a blanket if I’m then going to put it back on as a poncho right after. Trialing it as a blanket, it's long enough for me and wide enough for maybe two people sleeping right side by side. It feels very lightweight as a blanket, so I'm excited to test its warmth outdoors.
I’m excited to test this product in the field! I’m curious how the large size will affect my mobility in the backcountry. The hood fits well but the rest is a bit large for me. The poncho folds down nice and small and is readily portable. I’m excited to test its warmth and water resistance as a blanket.
Location: Hollywood Beach, Vero Beach and Flagler Beach, FL
Length: Hollywood was a day trip, Vero Beach was a couple hours trip, and Flagler was 2 nights front-country camping
Temperature and Weather: 25 C (77 F) and sunny at Hollywood, 15 C (61 F) and overcast at Vero Beach and 10 C (50 F) at night at Flagler
I used the Poncho as a blanket at Hollywood Beach. I used it inside up, and it worked well at wicking water away. I didn't directly lie on it, but instead laid on my towel on top of the Poncho so as not to drench the Poncho after I came out of the water. It was nice and wide, allowing both my sister and I to lie on it with our amenities (books, snacks, bags etc.). The Poncho proved its versatility here.
At Vero Beach, I wore the Poncho while cozying up and reading on the beach. It started to drizzle, so the hood was great and the Poncho kept me dry and wicked away the little water there was nicely.
While camping near Flagler beach, I wore the Poncho as I snacked in the evening and while brushing my teeth. It was difficult to do these activities while wearing the Poncho. I found I kept having to pull up the sleeves and trying to hold them up there so that I wouldn't get food on them or get them wet. I used the pocket to transport all of my toiletries to the bathroom and it was great. It was very spacious and held everything. One night I used the Poncho as a blanket, and the next I wore it to sleep. Both nights I used a synthetic sleeping bag (probably good to 10 C (50 F) as a blanket over the Poncho. I stayed comfortable warm with the sleeping bag over the Poncho. The fabric of the Poncho wasn't noisy at all, I don't remember hearing it as I shifted in the night. It was also very comfortable wearing it to bed the second night, and I didn't have to worry about accidentally kicking off my blankets or rolling out of them.
Location: Yoho National Park, Alberta, Canada
Length: 2 days, 2 nights in backcountry
Temperature and Weather: -10 C (14 F), lightly packed snow trails, overcast
I cross-country skied 12 km (7.5 mi) into the backcountry where I stayed in a hut for 2 days and 2 nights. The poncho fit into my 65 L backpack, however in its bag it was hard to pack down. Below is a photo of the poncho stuffed bag beside a size 6 US shoe.
Since I was staying in a hut with a fireplace, I opted to leave my sleeping bag at home and use the poncho for sleeping instead. It was awesome, and saved me a lot of space and weight. I fastened the buttons along the side as seen in the photo below to mimic a sleeping bag, and the buttons stayed together all night. The sleeping bag provided the right amount of warmth for the hut, which was probably around 20 C (68 F) with the fire ablaze. Although I didn't feel the need to, its nice that I could've undone one or two buttons to cool off a little. The length was great for me, with my toes covered nicely.
I also brought the poncho when day hiking around the area. It just fit into my 9 L daypack, making it a bit tricky to fit in my food around it. I used it for a blanket while I stopped and snacked on the middle of Lake Ohara. Snow brushed off of the blanket nicely, and it didn't seem to retain moisture.
So far, I have not noticed any wear and tear on the Poncho.
Quick Shots: Versatile. Too large when worn as Poncho for one size fits all. Comfortable. Works well as sleeping bag. Good water wicking.
Location: Small cabin in the woods in Kaslo, British Columbia
Length: 2 nights
Temperature and Weather Outside: -15 C (5 F) and snowy outside, +15 C (59 F) inside
Location: Lizard Range, Rocky Mountains, British Columbia, Canada
Length: 4 days, 3 nights in backcountry
Temperature and Weather: -5 to -25 C (23 to -13 F) outside, +15 C (59 F) inside the hut, sunny and snow stormy weather
Trek to hut: 15 km (9 mi), accessed by sled
I used the Honcho Poncho as a sleeping bag for a small cabin in the woods, just outside of Kalso, British Columbia, and I packed in into a cabin in the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains. The small cabin was mainly accessed by car, with only a 200 m (650 ft) walk in, and the Poncho packed nicely into my duffle bag for the hike. It set up as a sleeping bag readily on a pullout couch, and kept me comfortable and warm for the 2 nights. Using the Poncho in the backcountry, it fit nicely into my 65 L backpack, which I wore on my back for the sled in. The Poncho was the largest item in my backpack, but it is also light weight and I didn't feel like I had a heavy load on my back. I slept in the loft, and the cabin was heated with propane. The Poncho as a sleeping bag was perfect for the temperature inside, and when I would get too warm while sleeping I would undo one of the top buttons to open up the sleeping bag a little more.
Quick shots: Light weight. Packs down well. Easy set up/pack up.
Summary: The Honcho is now my go to sleeping bag for heated huts or warmer weather. I've definitely gotten more use out of it as a sleeping bag than a poncho, but I think that will be more balanced come warmer weather this summer. I love how easily it packs up and sets up, and I love it's light weight.
Thank you BackpackGearTest.org and Therm-a-Rest for allowing me to stay warm and trial the Honcho Poncho in the backcountry! I'm looking forward to trialing it in more seasons.
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