The idea for a high-quality poncho first came while attending Skookum Festival, an outdoor music event in Stanley Park, back in 2018; 2020 notwithstanding, it still feels like a lifetime ago now.
On the second day of the festival it rained, a lot. Virgin Mobile was one of the main sponsors and having prepared for the weather, they handed out what must have been a few thousand branded, red, plastic ponchos. In a matter of moments, the festival ground transformed into a sea of pointy, red-headed Smurfs. Everyone looked like they belonged to some sort of new cult, a group of druids, or an extreme religious sect. I could only wait in anxious horror for the Virgin Mobile signal to come down from the mother ship and order all the plastic poncho-wearing druids to attack at once.
Luckily that didn't happen, and my prevailing thoughts were then:
Wow, that's a lot of people wearing ponchos.
Damn, that a lot of plastic going into the trash.
Do better ponchos even exist? I actually kind of like ponchos.
As the festival continued I got soaked, but fortunately, I survived the rapture. Fast forward to September 2019: I was planning for an upcoming trip to the Walbran Valley, one of the last remaining stands of ancient forest on Vancouver Island. It's an incredible place that's still under threat of logging, and it rains there, a lot. My rainwear game at the time was weak, so I went shopping and reflected on the red, plastic poncho hordes of the past and how I had wondered if there was something better. Ultimately, I decided, there wasn't.
Options were limited; I could either spend a fortune on a hyper-designed, ultra-tech shell, or suffer the way of sweat city and turn to the red side, and don the inexpensive red hood. In the middle there were other rain garments – shells which were mostly fitted and lacked any real water-proofing capabilities, all while still being on the expensive side. That's when I decided to make it myself, take fabric from a hyper-tech garment, and build it into the poncho form. Not crazy, just simple. I wanted to make something that would keep me dry, first and foremost. Keeping dry meant not sweating in it, and of course it had to last. A bonus would be to make it light and packable.
From that point on San Poncho was born!