If you’re a regular bike commuter you’ll need to figure out how to you’ll go about cycling in the rain. There are a variety of methods to dealing with rain while cycling, but I wanted to try the poncho approach. I began researching rain capes and ponchos hoping to find one that keep me dry and not make me look goofy. I started researching the various poncho’s and rain capes on the market, but settled The People’s Poncho. Their ponchos were stylish, made for cycling, and apparently would keep me dry. The only way to know if it lived up to the hype was to buy one.
I bought the Hardy Navy Poncho from their website for £71.50 GBP which is approximately $94 USD. This included shipping from Germany to California. From the moment I clicked “buy” it took fourteen days for the poncho to arrive on my doorstep. I could have paid extra for faster shipping, but I was in no hurry and could wait. They are clear on the website that it can take extra days to get through customs, and looking at my shipping details it appears that was the case with my poncho.
The poncho arrives in this nifty, little bag. It has a front pocket to hold things, and a large zipper over the top to get to the poncho. It could be useful for storing your poncho after the rainy months pass or also easy to bring with you for a ride if there’s chance of showers. I read some reviews that people struggled to get the poncho back into the pack, but if you carefully fold your poncho you can easily put it back into this pouch. According to their website the Chinese character, “伞 means to cover, or UMBRELLA and is shaped like an umbrella. Likewise 雨 has 4 rain drops in it and takes the meaning RAIN.”
Is the People’s poncho really 100% waterproof?
The company claims that this poncho is 100% waterproof, but I have heard other companies make this same claim. I bought a “waterproof” jacket for a backpacking trip in Patagonia only for it to soak through within 3 minutes of the first rain storm. Was this poncho all talk? My first test as you can see above was to line the inside of a cup with the poncho and fill it with water. I wanted to know if the water would seep through to the glass cup. After waiting for it to soak through it in fact kept the water from getting into the glass.
The second test was to put it on and give it a good power shower with the garden hose. How would it handle a constant shower of water?
Once again it performed great! It did its job perfectly. The claim of 100% waterproof held up. I had my doubts, but this poncho really will keep you bone dry with it on.
It is important to remember that if you plan on using this poncho while cycling you need to have fenders on your bike. Without fenders you’ll have water spraying and coming off the tires which will get your shoes and pants wet. If you’re hoping to be completely dry while bike commuting than make sure you get this poncho AND fenders.
The Features of this Cycling Poncho
Material – It’s made of three layers of polyester to keep it breathable, waterproof, and durable. The outer layer has a TPU coating (Thermoplastic polyurethane) which helps the water roll right off. Unlike cheaper rain ponchos or capes it doesn’t feel like you could rip it with your bare hands. Its got strength to it, and is made to last. Even so it is lightweight weighing in at 460g. I was worried that it wearing it would get hot, but it’s surprisingly breathable. They attribute this to their triknot knit design.
Buttons – Three buttons down the middle to make it easy to get your head in, but also useful to button it up to keep the water out. On each side of the poncho there’s three buttons to pop together if you’d like to make sleeves for your arms. I found this great for walking around, but too restrictive while riding my bike.
Straps for Cycling – Under the poncho there’s two straps that you can grab while holding the handlebars. This creates a small canopy to protect your legs from getting wet. A simple concept, but works really well. They also have a strap that can cinch around your waist to keep the poncho covering your torso. Without this, windy weather would turn your poncho into a superhero cape and you’d get soaking wet. These handlebar and waist straps are what sets this poncho apart from other “cycling ponchos.”
Visibility – Reflective strips on the front, back, and piping to help with visibility. As a bike commuter you’ve got to work hard to make sure other cyclists and motorists see you on the road. I chose the navy blue color, because I liked the look of it, but if you want to be extra visible they have a bright yellow poncho too.
Large Front Pocket – The poncho has a pocket on the front to store your phone, keys, and other belongings. It closes with a zipper, and is quite large. It’s not waterproof though, but only water resistant. They suggest placing your phone in a waterproof bag if you’ll be carrying it in that pocket while cycling in the rain. Maybe their next reiteration of this poncho could have a waterproof pocket?
Sizing – According to their site, this poncho works great with people that have a height of 5’3″ to 6’3″. They only make a single size so if you fall outside that height range than this probably isn’t the poncho for you. I am 6 feet tall and while standing upright the poncho ends right in the middle of my knees. Taking it on and off is super easy, and can be done in seconds.
Stylish and Hip – One of the reasons I wanted to try out this poncho was simply because it looks cool. It has a stylish look, and you’re guaranteed to get compliments while wearing it. Too many other ponchos and rain capes make you look like you’re wearing a trash bag. I won’t lie, I now get a little excited for rain so that I can wear this poncho while riding.
Washing and Drying – I haven’t washed my poncho yet, but the label says to wash it off with warm water and a little bit of soap. After drenching the poncho in water I shook off the water and let it dry in my bathroom. It was completely dry when I checked in the morning.
Helmets & Backpack – Without a helmet the hood on the poncho more than covers my entire head coming down over my forehead slightly. I can easily wear the poncho with a helmet, but the hood no longer covers fully covers my forehead. The poncho is large enough that you can wear a backpack with it too.
How does it feel while cycling?
So how does it work while cycling? The first trip with the poncho went just like any other ride. The only difference is it took a little getting used to working the brakes and gear shifts with the poncho straps. Initially I hooked the straps onto my handlebars, but felt more confident riding when I hooked them onto my hands instead.
More than anything it felt normal riding with the poncho on. The waistband did its job to keep the poncho covering my body, and the hood kept on my head. I thought rain would find a way in, but even during heavy downpours this thing will keep you nice and dry. Use the elastic straps on the front and back of the hood to make it fit close to your head. This will not only keep the hood on your noggin, but make it easier to look over your shoulder while riding.
Is the People’s Poncho worth it?
The only downside of the People’s Poncho is the cost. It’s not the cheapest way to keep yourself dry while cycling, but in my opinion its benefits are worth the extra money. It will last longer than other cheaper brands, actually does it’s job, and you look good. What really sold me on this poncho is that I can use it not only for cycling, but on other rainy adventures. I will definitely be taking this with me on rainy day hikes or anytime I expect rain on camping and backpacking excursions.
So is it worth it? Absolutely. My only regret is that I didn’t buy one earlier. It makes bike commuting in the rain 100 times easier. Happy riding and keep dry!