You know, you can never really have too many books. (At least, until you have to move them…then some serious second-guessing starts taking place.) From time to time I’m asked what books I keep in my little library. Honestly, I dont keep track of them which is really kind of foolish. I should keep a spreadsheet with all of them listed so I know what I have and what I need. It’s just never seemed that important. Anyway….since a couple folks have asked, I’m working on a list of what I’ve got. I have quite a few books on preparedness or related subjects, but not all of them are winners. Some have turned out to be utterly worthless and others are just plain bad. Those books I’ll be leaving off any list. I’ll probably just dump it all as one long list with links to Amazin, but its gonna be a little while. It’s rather tedious work.
It is raining, as one of my friends would describe it, “like a cow pissing on a flat rock.” Ah, bucolic metaphors…how distasteful I find thee. Nonetheless, it’s been raining pretty much on and off for the week. It’s been a good opportunity to try out the new rain hat, which gets a high grade. When in town I prefer rain jackets and that sort of thing. When off in the sticks, I like ponchos. My preference for ponchos is mostly for the versatility of the poncho…it lends itself to a zillion uses that a simple rain jacket wouldnt. It’s been my experience that ponchos come in three flavors…the heavy ‘rubberized’ type, the lighter nylon ‘ripstop’, and commercial vinyl types. I suppose someone somewhere is making a silnylon pncho but I havent been pleased with the permeability of silnylon. If I don’t mind packing the weight, I go with the heavier rubberized ponchos…the nicest I’ve found so far have been the German surplus ones like the ones carried at Sportsmans Guide. They arent light but no raindrop is going to work is way through that material. I’ve used some of the lighter nylon ponchos and they’re just…okay…but I don’t think they do nearly as good a job as the heavier style. Having said that, I take the lighter nyon ones with me on most fishing or hunting trips because of weight/storage concerns, but if I know it’s gonna be pouring down I’ll take the heavier ones.
A few years ago I picked up a bunch of the German ponchos and have been quite pleased with them. Note that these are not the shelter halves, which are a completely different thing. Which brings me to….
One interesting variant is the shelter half. A couple years ago Sportsmans Guide had an awesome deal on these things. I picked up some and was fascinated. For use as a poncho against foul weather, it’s just silly…there are lighter, more waterproof materials available. However, as a cover for gear, groundcloth, wearable concealment and just plain raw material for a sewing project they were quite nice. You could indeed button two of them together to form a little pup tent, although the weight and bulk of two shelter halves was easily more than a similar lightweight tent or tarp. However, I like them for their concealment properties and heavy protective fabric. Anyway, SG has them in stock again, although not at as good a price as last time.
Speaking of combining ponchos, if you snap a couple ponchos together to form a shelter (and the German ones are designed to mate together as many as a half dozen to form a really large shelter) keep in mind that its usually fairly easy to pull those snaps out of the material. The US nylon ponchos aren’t too bad, but I’ve seen many aftermarket and foreign surplus ones where a firm tug will pull the snaps right out of the material. The German and Austrian ponchos are hemmed with fabric that the snaps are secured to, making them a bit more resistant to this sort of thing. The thing to take away here is that when you are unsnapping a bunch of joined ponchos, dont just grab the edges and yank apart…do it slowly, deliberately and carefully.