The Blackshore Poncho, an unexpected rainwear solution

I have a pretty long commute. I don’t do it every day, but 2-3 times a week. It involves cycling, the train, the metro and walking. This means exposure to weather and a lot of sitting around. Add this to a penchant for dressing up in fancy frocks and there is a certain type of weather conditions that is problematic. That’s right, rain is a problem. The punches thrown by a mild drizzle I can roll with, it’s the medium to full biblical torrential that causes discomfort. The sort that makes you soggy overall, and keeps you moist most of the day. In fact, dry out time likely coincides with when it’s time to head outside for a fresh application. This means I need a rainwear solution.

Enough about the problem… What is the solution?

Now I could waffle on for a while about this and that solution that almost works, or offers a partial remedy for certain areas. Such as wearing a waxed jacket or a rainproof hat. At the end of the day though there’s only one real solution: Full rainproof gear. The sort that covers you from the top of your head to your ankles, with a hood that can be tightened around your face, elasticated around wrists and ankles. The sort made of seam-welded synthetic fabrics in lurid colours, mostly waterproof and moisture containing and, well, definitely favouring function over any other factor. I have a set, which I detest and rarely use. And mine are just plain grey and blue, so no luridness to stoke the fires of my ire.

The Blackshore Coastal Clothing indigo poncho, hand made in Southwold.

The Blackshore Coastal Clothing indigo poncho, hand made in Southwold.

Let’s look at a better rainwear solution!

No, let’s cut to the chase, save valuable time and words and skip directly to the rainwear solution I’ve divined forth: The Indigo rip-stop dry-wax poncho from Blacshore Coastal Clothing. A rainproof poncho made from lightweight waxed cotton. Sufficient of size to cover most, unisex of construction to suit all. Foldable and packable in a pouch that slips nicely into my backpack. Handmade by a real person in Southwold on the East coast of Great Britain (actually, it’s made by Cathy, according to the tag attached to it, and yes, I love personal touches like this), it’s like an exercise in ticking boxes for someone of my persuasion.

The parts that go into the poncho are worth looking closer at. The lightweight waxed cotton, supplied by Halley-Stevenson in Dundee, is made from rip-stop cotton fabric, so it is handily resistant to tearing. It is also a good example of the evolution that is happening in traditional waxed cotton, as this is a “dry-wax” version, which has all the desirable waterproof qualities of waxed cotton but it can, in addition, be hand washed in warm water without losing its properties. This is something of a game-changer for waxed cotton, as traditionally washing a waxed cotton jacket means a total reapplication of the wax. The dry wax finish can also be replenished, but using a less messy wax stick to apply the wax.

The buttons are also worth a mention, sourced from Courtney & Co, the last and only factory in the UK making traditional corozo buttons. I really appreciate when small. independent companies support each other in this way, helping each other to succeed.

Hood up, cinched tight to keep the inclement weather out.

Hood up, cinched tight to keep the inclement weather out.

Conclusion?

 

This isn’t a hugely complex garment to construct, but the work that has gone into making it is well executed. The seams are straight, the buttons properly attached and the buttonholes solid. What must be an absolute beast to work with though is the sheer surface area of the poncho. There must be at last two regular jackets worth of waxed cotton involved.

Blackshore has kept things nice and simple for sizing and colour choices. You can select either a long or a short size, in either indigo or orange. Available now from Blackshore Coastal Clothing, price 210 pounds.

Addendum:

The only snag in my grand plan is that due to various complications like travelling abroad, a following period of illness, too much pleasant weather and now being confined to my home, I’ve not had a chance to fully field test my new rainwear. I’ve worn it and it certainly fits, the fabric does just what it says on the tin and I’ve unfolded and refolded it, so I’ve no doubt it does just what it promises. I want to fly through the rain though, cackling crazily, while droplets form on the waxed cotton and become streams trailing off behind me instead of soaking up my jeans. This is all down to me though, Blackshore Coastal Clothing has delivered their side of the deal in grand style.

 

5 Comments

  • James 22/03/2020 at 18:10

    I’m really keen on having one of these but with the commute off the agenda for the foreseeable and a new laptop on the way, for the unexpected home working, all clothing purchases seem pretty pointless.

    That being said I could make one of Blackshore’s smocks my WFH uniform.

    Reply
    • nick 22/03/2020 at 18:13

      Nothing says «working from home» like a wild-eyed stare and a smock. I like your thinking!

      Reply
  • Wobbly Jelly 23/03/2020 at 13:46

    Last poncho I had was green, with brass eyelets, so a few sticks and bungee’s it was turned into a bivi. And used as such many times

    That takes some getting over!

    This one looks much better. Blackshore’s Moleskins look tempting.

    Reply
  • David O'Boyle 18/10/2020 at 16:52

    I enjoyed your review of the Blackshore poncho and am considering purchasing one. I do have a question you may be able to answer; can I pull my arms in to remove a jacket without removing the poncho? I often get warm after walking for a time but prefer not to expose myself to the elements. Thanks!

    Reply
    • nick 18/10/2020 at 16:53

      Yes, I can’t see any problem in using the poncho as a makeshift changing room.

      Reply

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