Interest in a Poncho Tarp?


Senior Member
May 8, 2014
I'm curious if there is any interest in an improved poncho tarp?

I have had and used military ponchos often over the years. I still take one to the river with me, but use it as a ground sheet more than anything else. They are handy because they are cheap and durable, but the hoods are pretty small and they are pretty narrow when used as a shelter.

I carried and used a MyTrailCo poncho tarp on several hunts over the years. Especially on earlier season hunts in dry climates it made more sense to me than rain gear. I used it more as a wind break glassing than as a shelter or rain gear. It did ok as a simple lean to for wind but was pretty narrow to use any other way. I also packed it on my caribou hunt. I used it to block a cold wind one day while glassing, set up with trekking poles. I figured if I was waiting out a hard windy rain I could put it over my breathable rain gear to protect it from wetting out. My rain gear has treated me well, but I have heard the horror stories of when it does fail. I always thought the Mytrailco version was a little smaller and less durable than I wanted, but liked the idea.

I have a Seek DST tarp that I really like for use as a tarp. That said it can be on the big side for a glassing tarp at 10'x10' and is not a poncho. On the caribou hunt I ended up carrying both the DST and the MyTrailCo poncho tarp in my pack some days. I used both at different times on the trip.

Thinking about a more multi-use version on that trip made me remember a Pathfinder poncho tarp I'd bought several years ago. It is a 7'x7'sturdy silnylon tarp with a velcro section that holds a large hood. I tracked it down from a tote of gear and used it again this winter. It's larger size and square shape make it just big enough to be a good plow point shelter for one guy. I spent some time in it one day when it couldn't decide if it wanted to snow, ice, or rain. As a test I left my Thermarest Z lite pad in it when I left at dark, and came back the next morning to find everything still in good shape and my pad dry. I also used it as a poncho and waited out a cold rain for a half hour or so. I need to use it more, but thinking back on some earlier fishing trips plus this winter it has never failed me.

It is on the heavy side. I don't have it here now, but I think it was around 18oz the way I packed it. I carried it in a fashionable and protective Crown Royal bag with some guylines.

It is no longer offered by the Pathfinder store and they have no plans to bring it back. When I called the people who made it for them they said they won't make another run without 20 orders. I'm curious if anyone else would be interested in one, or what changes you'd like to see? Also I'd be curious if any custom makers are making a similar but better product? I'd like to have another one or two.

Features I want:
-Oversize hood. I want to be able to tuck back in it while watching an animal I've already spotted, keep the rain off my face
-Square shape. I like square tarps for the quick easy plow point shelters I often use
-Stout guyline loops
-Off center hood opening. I want to have the hood flap able to be set to open downhill when using it as a tarp

Any features others would want?

Also how would cuben fiber be for one of these? I've never been around a shelter made from it. I would definitely like a lighter version than what I have.


Desk Jockey

Senior Member
Apr 5, 2015
Mountain Laurel designs had one that was pretty good. I don’t see it on their site right now but maybe it will come back.

I run one called a gatewood cape by six moon designs.