Gear Geek: The Return of the Poncho (and the Cape)

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Gear Geek: The Return of the Poncho (and the Cape)

When it comes to travel apparel, a poncho typically means those horrible plastic bag affairs, the ones with a loose-fitting hood cut into a sheet of plastic that drapes over you like a cheap blanket and breathes worse than a three-packs-a-day smoker. The kind you see tourists wearing in an unexpected downpour while wandering from museum to museum in Washington, DC, or sheltering themselves from the spray at Niagara Falls. But—as witnessed at this year’s Winter Outdoor Retailer—ponchos are making a comeback as a stylish, fashion-forward alternative to the traditional jacket. Capes and shawls, too. Here are few to consider.

1. Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho, $130; 2. Woolrich X Westerlind Poncho, $250; 3. Nau Poncho Via, $275; 4. Nau Synner Cape, $290; 5. Columbia Abbey Falls Hybrid Cape, $240; 6. Pendleton Glacier Park Blanket Wrap, $299; 7. Fjallraven Luhkka Down, $500.

Photo: Claudio Olivares Medina, CC-BY

Nathan Borchelt is a gear-obsessed travel writer and adventurer whose collection of shoes, backpacks, jackets, bags, and other “essential” detritus has long-outgrown his one-bedroom apartment (and his wife’s patience).