Great news!!  That horrid yellow piece of plastic, they called a rain poncho, with the huge character on the back, that we purchased for what ... ?? Oh yeah, twelve dollars during a downpour at one of the theme parks, can be pulled out of the dark recesses of that box labeled souvenirs and used once again!

"No way! I wouldn't be caught dead in that dreadful thing ever again", you say. "The only reason I bought that Big Bird looking thing (besides the rain) was I knew I wouldn't be seen anyone I knew while wearing it!"

Well listen up missy. You might be caught dead without it.

In a crisis situation your survival may depend on that large piece of plastic – so you may want to rethink things.

I’ll admit it that ponchos are not what I would refer to as “fashion flair”. But, when keeping dry or warm becomes your top priority - your mind set will change drastically and fashion will go out the window.

In a disaster situation, where you are forced to 'get-out-of-dodge' and the rain is pouring down, a poncho will not only keep you and your hair dry, but your BOB (Bug Out Bag) as well.

Just as diamond earrings are the perfect accessory to any outfit -ponchos are like … well the Hope Diamond in a survival situation.

We know the obvious - ponchos keep the rain off of us and keep us warm from the cold wind. But there are other uses out necessity it can be used for.

For instance, as a tarp (a large sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof material). Just open the poncho fully to its rectangular shape.

You can also use the poncho as ground cover to lay your sleeping bag on top of - staying off the damp ground and keeping warm and dry.

If it is windy you can use the poncho as a lean-to (looks like a slope) and lay or sit behind it to break the wind or shade yourself from the sun. Or throw it over a line tied from tree to tree to make a tent.

Another thought is, you can collect condensation (that's water droplets from moisture) using your poncho when water is in short supply.

Although we have been talking about the proverbial 'theme park' poncho, I would highly suggest you seek out a military surplus store or look on this site to find a poncho that is more suitable for your needs. Look for one with grommets inlaid into the seams every six or so inches and snaps down the sides.

Also, make sure the hood draws in tight enough to keep out wind and rain, while still allowing your head to move about unconstrained.

Durable and sturdy fabric is also important as is the size of the poncho. It needs to cover you from your head to your calves allowing coverage for your BOB.

News flash! Because ponchos usually come in only one size you may need to use a belt to take up some of the slack. Accessories!!!

As I said before, for us girls, ponchos can be the Hope Diamond in a survival situation. Just as you are with your clothes - be creative with the uses of your poncho.

Ponchos are relatively cheap, light, and easy to stow. And, since we are all bargain shoppers these days (er ... hello we're supposed to be) look what you get for your money: Protection from wind and water for both you and your BOB, a tarp, a blanket, a tent and water catcher all rolled into one. Now that's a bargain!

- Survivor Jane


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