When I visited Bilbao last year, I found a poncho in the Guggenheim museum shop. I have fondly thought about it since then and finally purchased The People’s Poncho. Now even the heaviest of rain can’t stop us!
Getting out in the rain
Having grown up in the North West of England, which is notorious for it’s rainfall, I have been forever prepared with wet weather gear. I have also been a lover of the rain for as long as I can remember. I loved nothing more than standing in the gigantic puddle outside our house.
Although I have all the gear from a raincoat, to waterproof pants; gaiters to brollies, sometimes you simply need something easy for the rainiest of days. And something which doesn’t look too out of place in the city. I will admit that gaiters are a strange look when wandering around central Manchester – even when they are needed on a very flooded Market Street!
When I saw the poncho on that wonderous day in Bilbao, I was impressed by how well it was made. It was also pretty cool looking for a poncho too. Especially when you consider the flimsy plastic festival ones which you see all over the place in tourist areas. The People’s Poncho was quite snazzy with thought through details like the front pocket and handlebar straps. The latter being a consideration when I bought the jacket as I plan to use it when out on my Brompton too. I’m all about multi-use items, you see.
The problem with jackets
Jackets are great for your every day rainwear. But on the days when the rain is horizontal or absolutely ‘lashing it’, you can end up with soggy legs and, worse still, wet knickers! So that’s when you need your waterproof pants too. However, all this gear can get a bit bulky. Especially when you are travelling or on a day trip somewhere. If you have your lunch and flask in your pack, you might be limited on space for carrying the kitchen sink and all.
The People’s Poncho is a bit of an all-in-one solution really. I have seen people walking with the knee length jackets, which cover the bum and the knees. While they might keep you dry, they are also a bit on the chunky side. We love visiting museums and galleries, so need something quick and easy to chuck into our bags without needing to visit the cloakroom for too many things. A poncho ticks the box.
Head, shoulders, knees and… bag!
If you have ever been caught in a sudden downpour, you will no doubt understand the frantic scrabble which ensues. Grabbing all your waterproofs from your bag, while also trying to keep that dry and out of the puddles. And also stop yourself getting wetter in the process (nobody likes that wet/sweaty feeling underneath a waterproof!) I have found that The People’s Poncho is brilliant for solving this challenge. Not only is it simple to pop over your head in a rush, it also overs your bag. This means that you don’t need to fight with the bag cover pocket or remove your picnic trying to find the cover inside your pack.
Yeah, OK, you might look a bit like Quasimodo, but at least you’ll be a dry and warm Quasimodo. Besides, you don’t want to blend into the crowds when you have such a cool poncho to show off, do you?
The rain test
Can I say that we have been “lucky” to have been able to try out our The People’s Poncho on a couple of occasions. One was on our morning walk for my Reverse Commute, and another one on a visit to Dunham Massey. Both times have been a success and we were pleased with how dry and warm we were.
Being a wearer of glasses, the whole rain distortion is a real issue. A large peak on a raincoat is a must when I am choosing something which will be multi-functional and The People’s Poncho has just that. The hood is also really large (suitable to wear over a cycle helmet) and has adjustment elastic to prevent it from blowing off or flapping around like a head version of a windsock.
To the front of the neck, there are buttons along the high collar, to help that to fit snuggly too. Inside the buttons is another piece of fabric, which is used to keep out any wayward raindrops which might make it between the buttons. Another great feature for keeping your neck dry and toasty.
We both found that the long length of the poncho and the adjustable straps help keep things in place. I love that there is an internal waist strap too. Designed to save the poncho from flapping around when you’re on your bike, but also useful to keep it in place around a bag. We also found the handlebar straps were handy places for your hands to perch, while keeping them warm and sheltered.
Other cool features
Sometimes the simplest features are some of the coolest. The front pocket is a brilliant addition for keeping your phone and some handy cash in. They do recommend that in really heavy downpours that you put your expensive tech in an additional cover, just to be on the safe side. But it was good enough for the rain we tried them in.
Reflective strips are also an added extra, which are great for urban wandering and cycling. When the winter rain and dark evenings hit, it is great to have that little bit of extra visibility when riding around or walking. The strips are placed on the front, back and along the trim, giving you a nice visible glowing shape.
Handy bag and squishable size
I mentioned earlier that when travelling or carrying stuff for a day trip, you need something which can still fit in your pack. The poncho, although it looks big, is really squashable and packs into all the remaining spaces in your bag. It also comes with a handy carrying bag, which you can fold your poncho into. We haven’t used the bag so far, as it has been simpler to just hang or bag. If you’re concerned about the water coming in, don’t! A couple of quick flaps of the poncho (yes, even in the rain) and it is almost dry! It is so waterproof that the beads just flap off.
I can honestly say that The People’s Poncho has become a firm favourite in my wet weather gear and will be sure to go on some adventures with me in the future. I haven’t tried it on my (clashing pink) Brompton yet, but will write a post on that when the time comes. There are obviously different needs when it comes to pedalling around.
While The People’s Poncho might seem expensive at £65, they are actually very versatile and will last a long time (if you look after them) If you like to ride a bike and walk in the rain, I think it is a very handy piece of kit to keep you dry.
I only buy things I really need and have the criteria that they must be multi-functional and long-lasting. I have so far found that The People’s Poncho fits the bill.