The People’s Poncho review

We have talked about waterproofs and strategies for staying in dry in the past. One item that we have not really reviewed but many of you have mentioned is a poncho. These waterproof items are a little more versatile in some respects than a normal rain jacket, but also have their own limitations.

The People’s Poncho – £58

Set up by brother and sister duo Iona and Johnny, The People’s Poncho was inspired by the garments worn for city cycling in China. They believe that cycling doesn’t need to be complicated or restricted by bad weather, as do we!

#inspiration this morning! getting from A-B! #thepeoplesponcho 🚲🚲

A photo posted by the people's poncho 雨伞 (@thepeoplesponcho) on

The Design

The poncho comes in a one size fits all design. Like the basic ponchos found in China, this poncho pulls over your head and has some press studs to close up the neck when on. There is a waterproof pocket on the front  and a hood with a little peak. Inside the front there are two large hand tabs to keep the poncho over your lap when on the bike. There is a press stud on each side to make sleeves for when you are off the bike.

It is available in 4 colours: black, navy, camouflage and yellow, allowing you to pick stealth or highly visible.

The good

This is a really well priced product, especially given that it fulfils the role of jacket and trousers. It can also play double duty when out hiking or even just wandering around town. I really don’t like waterproof trousers, but I also don’t always like having wet knees when out walking around. This poncho solves that problem.

Large poncho

 

 

The fabric is very much like the laminate fabrics you find in nice waterproof jackets. The water beads up nicely and can be shaken off but the fabric is still quite soft to the touch. Because it is a poncho it is pretty breathable anyway, but the fabric feels like it won’t get clammy in warm humid weather, making this a much more appropriate summer cycling waterproof.

The People’s Poncho is a great length for wearing off the bike, the sides are long enough to cover your arms fully. The fabric is really lightweight but completely waterproof. It doesn’t feel like it is weighing you down at all and therefore should be comfortable in the summer as well as the winter with layers underneath. A further benefit is it packs down really well and comes with a small pouch. This makes it ideal for keeping in a bag just incase the weather turns, always a benefit for London cycling!

The trim around the edge of the poncho is reflective. As this spreads out when you are using the poncho, you can significantly increase your road footprint when wearing the poncho. The little peak on the hood is also reflective, so if you have the hood up at night there is a nice flash wherever your face is pointing.

The front pocket is really handy. I like having my phone handy incase I want to take a photo when I stop or whatever, and this pocket is perfect for that.

Poncho with hood up

The bad

Whilst the length of the poncho is good off the bike, it is a little too long for me on most bikes. I can use it with my Brompton as the wheels are so small, but on a regular non-folding bike the poncho touches the wheels. A taller person, or someone on a very upright bike, would not have this problem. The handholds are also a little close together – if you had very wide handlebars you might struggle a bit.

I found the poncho blows out a little at the back when riding in some wind. This is not too much of a problem and may be partly due to the poncho being a little big for me. I did find it irritating though and I feel it created some extra drag. This is a general problem with ponchos on bikes for me – it seems that in London, when it is raining it is often very windy as well. Therefore even though they seem like a really great solution, the conditions for wearing them have to be just right.

Poncho touching the wheels

Even on a bike too big for me it touches the wheels

Review Conclusions

This is a great poncho for use on certain types of bikes. It also makes a good emergency garment for keeping in your bag to protect you on those unexpected wet rides home. Personally, I can see that this poncho will be great for general outdoor use with occasional cycling investiture.

It would be good if there were a few more cycle friendly features on the poncho. It is modelled on ponchos made for a very casual form of cycling, but with a few little tweaks, it would be great on bikes with a more aggressive riding position as well, such as road bikes. If it was a little shorter at the front, or had some way to draw it up then it would not hit the front wheel. The Otto poncho has a really handy waist strap to stop it billowing out at the back. The People’s Poncho could benefit from this as well.

If you are already an occasional poncho wearer and in the market for a new one, this is a great option at a great price. It is also a great purchase if you want to have a poncho around just incase. I will definitely be taking it camping with me, and it now lives in my rucksack so I have it with me whenever I am out around town on foot or on my Brompton.

The People’s Poncho is available for £58 from thepeoplesponcho.co.uk

 

Are you a poncho fan? Have you got a People’s Poncho or another type? Let us know!

Join 9,241 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

14 Responses to The People’s Poncho review

  1. Andy Ball 18/02/2016 at 2:08 pm #

    I’ve got a friend who has something similar, and it works. This poncho is far too long at the front and presents a bit of a hazard. Surprised it got through testing.

  2. remerson 18/02/2016 at 2:17 pm #

    That hood will prevent you from looking over your shoulder, or even just left and right. Not good.

    I have one of the full Dutch rain capes from FastRider (http://www.fastrider.nl/capes-poncho%12s/cape-blauw-one-size) and it works really well. The hood has strings which tighten it to the sides of your head, specifically to avoid the visibility problem. A cape is also full-length all the way around, so it’ll keep the sides of your legs much dryer than a poncho will.

    They’re not particularly expensive but I don’t know whether FastRider ship to the UK themselves. I think I got mine from London Cycle Chic, of all places.

  3. Peter 18/02/2016 at 6:05 pm #

    I remember wearing a poncho in 70’s when I was a teenager. I think I borrowed it from my Dad. I liked the way they kept my hands dry and I didn’t get too hot like I did wearing a coat.

    I’m glad they are making a come back!

    • Eladora 20/02/2016 at 11:35 am #

      I had a thick yellow plasticky “cycle cape” that had been my Dad’s and I used that to cycle school. I got some odd comments, but my biggest memory is that it smelt of mothballs!

  4. Adam Edwards 19/02/2016 at 8:34 am #

    The other issue for me is the colour. I have a yellow poncho for wet days which does all of the good things listed above, has a waist tie and being yellow makes me stand out in traffic which is vital in Barnet where there’s not much you can do but cycle on the road. Perhaps they can come up with a brighter model?

  5. John H 19/02/2016 at 11:49 am #

    Clint Eastwood always wore a Poncho when he was riding (The Good The Bad and The Ugly ) but then he also smoked a cigar and carries a six gun. No arguments there !!!!!!!!

  6. Peter C 19/02/2016 at 1:54 pm #

    The front looks far too long. I also bet the Chinese don’t pay £58 for something like this!
    I’ve got a Raleigh one in bright yellow which is a much safer colour, completely waterproof and it cost less than £15! But it’s wearing out on the back where I sit on it to stop it blowing upwards in the wind and they don’t seem to be making them any more. V annoying

  7. Bob 19/02/2016 at 2:06 pm #

    If you look at the instagram pic from China, that yellow poncho is cut to cover not just his hands but some sort of front-end cargo as well. The Poeple’s Poncho may not be an exact copy but if that’s the model, it’s no wonder the thing is too long at the front.

  8. Mick 20/02/2016 at 2:34 am #

    It’s not s poncho, it’s s good old fashion cycle cape. In 70’s it was the only option to stay dry even halford sold them. The pick of the crop was the Pakit Cape.
    The reason they may appear a bit long, but no self respecting commuter should be with out full mudguards, even if you don’t mind skunk stripes think of the person behind you.

  9. Carolyn 20/02/2016 at 8:44 am #

    I still have my Mary Quant poncho, but only wear it when heavy rain as the hood restricts view and rain puddle builds up on the front.

  10. Alehouse Rock 21/02/2016 at 1:13 pm #

    [[[[[ Capes keep you drier, and keep you ventilated, but the plastic needs to be thick enough (heavy enough) to not be blown around when it’s very windy. In a gentle breeze, thinner ones are fine, and if you’re riding in very cold temperatures—and freezing to death—pop the rain-cape on, and suddenly the icy wind disappears and you’re essentially cycling along in a tent. MAGIC!

  11. Phil 22/02/2016 at 2:02 pm #

    Army surplus ponchos are very cheap…

  12. Joshua 20/04/2016 at 6:35 pm #

    I have been using the Poncho recently and I ham really happy with it! I am going to buy a yellow one for Festivals as well !

Leave a Reply