Comments and Reviews
This item should not be confused with a poncho -- glorified, or not. I came at it as a waterproof nylon jacket, then Frogg Togg user. Think of it as a hooded jacket, or parka, which you can wear over your pack. No pack straps holding the rain gear so close that the ventilation vents are meaningless. No pack straps abrading your rain gear. Lots of room between you and the silnylon w/o the open barn door feature of a poncho. I think it is the best new idea that I've seen since the SCS (Soda Can Stove). It has replaced all my upper body raingear.
Dave "Chainsaw" Hicks, from a post made to Backpackgeartest.org on Apr. 5, 2002
Click here for the newest reviews of the Packa at Backpackgeartest.org
I was very pleased with the UNRESTRICTED feel when the jacket was on. Since the jacket goes OVER the straps vs under that confined kind of feel does not exist. This also meant that I could slip it off and on at a whim. I could either let the arms hang down or tuck them up under the pack cover. In reverse when the day started out grey but not yet raining I could cover the pack and when the rain began to fall I could very easily pull out the arms and slip into the jacket without taking off the pack. The pit zips are real vents, to say they are large and useful not just for looks. Again since the jacket is free flowing and not tucked under the straps I was very please to find I DID NOT get the body heat induced rainstorm inside the jacket. I give it a thumbs up.
Sue "Hammock Hanger" Turner, from a post to Whiteblaze.net on Feb. 20, 2003. Click here for her full review at Whiteblaze.net (over 22,000 views!)
Hey, that's pretty unique! I'll trade a pack for a Packa. I'll mail the pack out tomorrow.
Glen "Homemade" Van Peski of Gossamer Gear, personal email . Jan. 20, 2003
I really like the deep blue color, and it is incredibly light. The Packa is a real treasure for me. It does what I've wanted rain gear to do for many, many years.
Shane Steinkamp, personal email, Nov. 20, 2002. See Shane's original Packa review Here.
I have an external frame pack for which Eddie custom made a Packa. It works quite well. And his price was reasonable. I used it for my 4 week hike from Springer to Davenport Gap. Lots of snow and rain to test it. Contact him through his website to see if he can help you.
Art Cloutman, from a post to AT-L on July 19, 2003
I stayed dry without having to take off my pack, which was really cool. In light rain I'd hike with the pack cover part of the Packa keeping my pack dry and jacket part tucked away. When the rain got heavy or I got cold, usually transient thirty minute periods with bits of lighter rain, I would pull on the jacket part of the Packa without having to take off my pack. Completely comfortable, totally waterproof. My bag never had a drip of water on it. I like having the body of the jacket over my pack not under it. Airflow and temperature control were better than with a jacket due to the Packa's roomy cut and my ability to take off the jacket without having to take off my pack. At 10 oz it is lighter than separate jackets and pack covers. I also found it large enough to be rigged as a door/vestibule to my tarp during bad storms.
See Canyon's Packa review formally hosted by Thru-hiker.com here.
England as it turned out, was a great place to test a new rain parka. In 3 weeks of hiking we had one day without rain. The trail took us up over mountain peaks above tree-level where we were pelted by hail in gale force winds and down through valleys where the temperature soared. Through it all, our Packas kept us dry and warm but not sweaty. In the worst weather we wore them with hoods up and fully zipped. If internal heat built up we could open the pit zips, drop the hoods, pull our arms out of the sleeves, and eventually roll the entire jacket portion back into the pack cover. That way, with pack cover on, we were always ready for a quick cover-up when the next downpour began. The Packas were lightweight, yet a solid barrier against rain and strong winds. They worked superbly. Trust us, we've tried enough other rain coverage options on our many long-distance hikes to know what we're talking about.
See Sue Freeman's full review here, Footprint Press July 2004 Newsletter
"Yawn." Yes, I heard it. "So what?" you say. "Big deal, a pack cover and a jacket, so one piece instead of two. Clever, but I don't see an advantage." I know, I am hearing you think it now as I type.
Consider this: sil-nylon is waterproof and fairly rugged. It will keep you dry in the rain, and it doesn't even attempt to trick you into thinking it is going to magically breath while keeping you dry. So in that respect, the Packa functions just like a good coated nylon or sil-nylon rain jacket that only weighs 11 ounces. Add to that it has a well designed rain hood, a loose fit and LARGE pit vents to help with air flow. The jacket functions about like a poncho for breathing while maintaining the serviceability of a jacket in the wind.
But, here is the thing about most jackets, normally your pack goes over the jacket, and your straps close off small sections inside the jacket to create pockets of air that don't circulate at all. You pack straps get soaked, and since most of them are made with foam - you have wet sponges for shoulder straps until they dry out. Your pack cover only covers the back of your pack, if you wear a rain jacket and a pack cover, rain can still go down your back and get the part of your pack next to your back wet.
Now think of this - the Packa keeps all of you and your pack under it just like that poncho I mentioned. There is no exposed straps or gap between your jacket and pack cover. Your straps are all under your jacket so air still flows normally, albeit inside a sil-nylon cover. Are the advantages starting to sink in?
See Sgt. Rock's full review here
All of the previous comments refer to the older Silnylon Packas manufactured by Equinox. The following reviews are on the newest edtion of the Packa.
For 15 days I carried/wore/layed on/sat on a Packa. Many reviews have been written about the Packa....I can add a few points that a few have missed.
See MedicineMan's full review here (MedicineMan's review is hosted by hammockforums.net, but you have to be a donating member to view it. There is a ton of Packa traffic at HF, so donate $10 to a great site and read all about the Packa and hammock camping)
I was amazed at how well this prodoct fit into my packing philosophy: Light, simple, and multi purpose. The first time I put this on I thought how much of a no brainer can this be? It is such a simple design, but ingenious! The fit and function of the Packa are so well thought out that it almost puts itself on.
See Rich Gran's full review here
See a GREAT video from my friends at Hammock Fourms here
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