As the weather cools down and we prepare for Winter, one of the most important pieces of survival or emergency gear is related to body temperature. Whether you are a prepper or someone that spends a lot of time in a car, you should plan to have backup mechanism to keep warm in the event the unthinkable happens.
Deployed soldiers have been modifying poncho liners for years during deployments. These modifications involve cutting holes, adding zippers and padding, etc. Lots of companies have created slightly modified poncho liners but what Hill People Gear has done with their Mountain Serape is awesome turning it into a multi-function product.
What can the Hill People Gear Mountain Serape do?
It is a:
- poncho liner
- great coat
- sleeping bag
It is all of these things without being gimmicky. HPG didn't just add uses on the packaging as an afterthought, the design is carefully planned and masterfully executed. It is as useful in the bush as it is in the urban jungle.
Looking at the Hill People Gear website, one thing I noticed is that it regularly goes out of stock. If you are interested, get one when available.
Comparing the Mountain Serape to a Poncho Liner
The Hill People Gear Mountain Serape is much warmer than a traditional poncho liner. To achieve this level of warmth, they use 2.4 ounces of Primaloft Fusion insulation. Primaloft is a USA made modern insulator that is also used in the military's winter gear. It is fantastic for survival equipment because it is light yet very warm.
I first learned about the Hill People Gear Mountain Serape during wilderness survival training. One of our instructors slept in a hammock and used the HPG Mountain Serape as versatile multipurpose tool. It was used as a jacket at night to keep warm and was used as his 3 season sleeping bag. When wilderness camping, every piece of kit must be multipurpose, small, light and useful.
In cold weather camping, you can use this as an additive layer to another sleep system. Think of it as a sleeping bag that adds about 40 degree Fahrenheit. The HPG Mountain Serape is a light 2 pounds making it easy to carry (considering its size).
Folded or rolled, it will consume a lot of space which isn't practical. Put it in a good stuff sack and it can be compressed down to the size of a large bottle of soda (2L) which is much easier to carry.
As a poncho, it is large enough to wear over a pack. As a blanket, it can easily cover 2 "normal sized" adults. As a sleeping bag it fits ones adult comfortable allowing enough room to move around and not feel constrained.
The external shell is soft enough to use as a "around the house blanket" yet robust enough to survive in the wild. If you don't pay attention and abuse your gear, you may rip it so be careful.
HPG says the Mountain Serape is water resistant but not waterproof. It is not meant to replace rain gear but will be fine during light misting. It is also perfectly good to use in winter with snow. If you do want to use it during rain, a good companion add on would be the O.P.S.E.C. Poncho from Survival Solutions.
Although Hill People Gear has kept the design of the Mountain Serape fairly consistent, I was told by a contact that they have improved minor features like stitching to make it better and more durable ( I tested the newer version which was lent to me by a friend).
When switching from Poncho to Great Coat, you will be happy about how warm it keeps you. Ponchos are easy to put on but not practical when you are working. When working around the campsite, home or survival situation, use the Great Coat mode. It allows you to move your arms freely. In Great Coat mode, you can even wear a pack over the Mountain Serape.
Anytime I write about a product, I receive questions from readers about a "comparable" product on AliExpress for 1/4 the price. While some AliExpress products are good deals and worth getting, but not the Serapes. The Chinese Serapes and made with cheap stitching, cheap insulation and non breathable shell fabric.
Many have said they loved the feature set but find the price expensive. And I can't disagree but the price is competitive to other high quality, low volume survival products.
The Hill people gear Mountain Serape is unique piece of kit that everyone should get and keep in your gobag, car or camping kit.