U.S. Army Poncho
This is recommended equipment for all NATO participants.
A quality poncho is recommended. A poncho is easy to use as quick shelter when forward deployed or as ground cloth, when you are stationary for a while in the pouring rain, ponchos have a great deal of utility as well since you can spread them out a bit and generally keep yourself a little dryer.
Notes on selecting a poncho
- Make certain your poncho is absolutely waterproof. If it is not waterproof, leave it behind and just use your shelter half instead.
- Over time the coatings deteriorate and waterproof performance fails. If your poncho is stinky, that is the tell tail sign that you coating is deteriorated and either has failed or will fail upon use.
- The later issue ripstop nylon ponchos were borderline useless when new. They are pretty much all useless by now. Pass on them.
- The previous generation solid green ponchos are fairly substantial and as long as the coatings have not failed will usually give good service.
- There are a few small manufacturers of good quality ponchos still around that make their ponchos out of the same blackout material that is used on the newer nylon tents. If you spot one of them, grab it and don't let go. They are perfect.