Uses for a poncho

Mais oui, mes chers lamas, c’est cette fois encore, des décisions, des décisions – que ce soit de publier un post sur mon bateau ou de publier sur une fille pratique de la belle France.

Alors la voilà! When you are on bivouac with her in the country, you have absolutely no tent or any gear and you suddenly decide to camp the night, but all you have between you is her poncho, what on earth do you do to stop that nasty rain from pluie-ing all over everything?


9 comments for “Uses for a poncho

  1. FoS
    November 8, 2019 at 15:21

    Can’t think of anything to write at my place so I’ll pester you at yours.

    This posting brought to mind Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes’ ( ):


    It was already hard upon October before I was ready to set forth, and at
    the high altitudes over which my road lay there was no Indian summer to
    be looked for. I was determined, if not to camp out, at least to have
    the means of camping out in my possession; for there is nothing more
    harassing to an easy mind than the necessity of reaching shelter by dusk,
    and the hospitality of a village inn is not always to be reckoned sure by
    those who trudge on foot. A tent, above all for a solitary traveller, is
    troublesome to pitch, and troublesome to strike again; and even on the
    march it forms a conspicuous feature in your baggage. A sleeping-sack,
    on the other hand, is always ready–you have only to get into it; it
    serves a double purpose–a bed by night, a portmanteau by day; and it
    does not advertise your intention of camping out to every curious passer-
    by. This is a huge point. If a camp is not secret, it is but a troubled
    resting-place; you become a public character; the convivial rustic visits
    your bedside after an early supper; and you must sleep with one eye open,
    and be up before the day. I decided on a sleeping-sack; and after
    repeated visits to Le Puy, and a deal of high living for myself and my
    advisers, a sleeping-sack was designed, constructed, and triumphantly
    brought home.

    This child of my invention was nearly six feet square, exclusive of two
    triangular flaps to serve as a pillow by night and as the top and bottom
    of the sack by day. I call it ‘the sack,’ but it was never a sack by
    more than courtesy: only a sort of long roll or sausage, green waterproof
    cart-cloth without and blue sheep’s fur within. It was commodious as a
    valise, warm and dry for a bed. There was luxurious turning room for
    one; and at a pinch the thing might serve for two. I could bury myself
    in it up to the neck; for my head I trusted to a fur cap, with a hood to
    fold down over my ears and a band to pass under my nose like a
    respirator; and in case of heavy rain I proposed to make myself a little
    tent, or tentlet, with my waterproof coat, three stones, and a bent


    The donkey was too happy at this load, needless to say.

    • November 8, 2019 at 16:38

      “ the convivial rustic visits your bedside after an early supper; and you must sleep with one eye open”

      The hazards of ye olde travel in far parts.

      • Fos
        November 9, 2019 at 08:12

        He took a pistol with him.

        BTW: there’s no kind way of putting this. If it is a choice between a picture of your maritime erection and a video of the nice the French lady sous tarp…

  2. JohnM de France
    November 8, 2019 at 17:05

    The Stephenson Way is now a long distance walk (GR in French) and is very varied and interesting. Watch out for the first stage. We walked 23km before we arrive at the village where our hotel was, only to find that it was 5km further on.
    the rest of the walk was wonderful. The Topoguide well produced.

    • November 8, 2019 at 21:09

      Tell me more.

    • FoS
      November 9, 2019 at 08:05

      JohnM de France, perhaps you could help me.

      On his walk in 1879, RLS passed through and stayed overnight in a wood/plantation of chestnut trees (the edible sort) in the Tarn valley. His account of that stay is fascinating and I added it to a piece on my webite involving chestnut trees (both edible and inedible):

      The stay is also interesting in the context of the poncho tent, since RLS’s sleeping wrapper served him well that night.

      Did you notice the chestnut wood on your hike? Is it still there? If yes and yes, did you take any photographs of the area? I suspect the road through the Tarn has taken many of the artefacts of Stevenson’s time with it.

      • JohnM de France
        November 9, 2019 at 12:16

        You must be joking ! We walked 200 km on that walk, do you expect me to remember such minor details ? Since that walk I have done several others. Each rando swirls in the memory and it is difficult to remember details. Do it for yourself, if not, then just the section that interests you. Buy the Topoguide No 700 “Le chemin de Stevenson”. It will give you details of each section of the walk, where to stay, etc. An invaluable guide available from

        • FoS
          November 9, 2019 at 12:46

          ‘Bought Donkey. Left Le Monastier. Got to St Jean du Gard. Sold donkey. Went home.’ Robert Louis Stevenson, a.k.a. JohnM.

          Seems an odd way to go hiking, if I may say so. Apart from knackering your knees, what is the point?

          Were you smoking something or was the DGSI on your tail?

          • JohnM de France
            November 9, 2019 at 13:48

            Not at all; I keep a Carnet de Voyage with descriptions and sketches. Our main interest is architecture. It is amazing how in the short distance one experiences (if one has eyes to see)severe changes. Is it different local builders ? Or, perhaps, fashion.
            Our walks are for knowledge as well as fitness.
            BTW Walkers do not suffer from knee problems, we leave that to joggers. I am 83 and still can do a 20km walk with no problems.
            If you want to find your clump of chataigne then look for it yourself.

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