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Poncho Float

Two ponchos can be used to make a waterproof float when you want to cross a body of water and keep some of your kit dry. This raft will float about 35 kilograms (77 pounds) of stuff.

Use two ponchos, two rucksacks, two 1.2 meter (4 foot) poles or branches, and ropes, vines, bootlaces, or comparable material as follows:

Push the hood of each poncho to the inner side and tightly tie off the necks using the drawstrings.

Spread one poncho on the ground with the inner side up. Place and center the two 1.2-meter (4-foot) poles on the poncho about 45 centimeters (18 inches) apart.

Place your rucksacks, packs, or other equipment between the poles. Also, place other items that you want to keep dry between the poles. Snap the poncho sides together.

Use your friends's help to complete the raft. Hold the snapped portion of the poncho in the air and roll it tightly down to the equipment. Make sure you roll the full width of the poncho.

Twist the ends of the roll to form pigtails in opposite directions. Fold the pigtails over the bundle and tie them securely in place using ropes, bootlaces, or vines.

Spread the second poncho on the ground, inner side up. If you need more buoyancy, place some fresh green brush on this poncho.

Place the equipment bundle, tied side down, on the center of the second poncho. Wrap the second poncho around the equipment bundle following the same procedure you used for wrapping the equipment in the first poncho.

Tie ropes, bootlaces, vines, or other binding material around the raft about 30 centimeters (12 inches) from the end of each pigtail.

Tie one end of a rope to an empty canister and the other end to the raft. This will help you to tow the raft.

Equipment Float Adventure

A river or water crossing is a fun wet adventure for two people. If there are more in your group, team up in pairs. Below is a plan for an overnight trip.

You need:

  1. Adequate healthy food supplies.

  2. Two army ponchos to build the raft and the shelter.

  3. Two more ponchos or hiking capes to wear.

  4. Two or more full sets of clothes per person,
    one to swim in, the rest to keep dry in your pack.

  5. Extra sets of dry clothes and towels left in the car for when you come back.

Keep the weight of your pack down and wear all the clothes that can get wet during your swim. This includes any rainwear, ponchos, sandals and such.

With the two army ponchos construct a poncho raft so you can safely float your dry stuff across a slow-moving river or a calm bit of open water.

Tie your army ponchos into a floating waterproof pack with a rope to keep your food and spare clothes dry when you cross open water.

Fold the other two ponchos around to keep the pack fairly dry.

Put on all the remaining clothes and swim across, pulling your poncho pack along.

As you arrive on the other side, wear your hiking ponchos to keep warm.

Use the army ponchos as a tent or shelter, one as groundsheet, the other suspended above.

Now jump back into the water for some fun, keeping your wet clothes on to stay warm. Practice swimming in ponchos too. This is a great exercise you can enjoy often.

Whenever you take a rest, snuggle up in your poncho shelter to stay warm. Getting cold is not part of the plan.

Poncho shelter
On arrival spread your ponchos out so they can dry while you jump back into the water for some fun.

When you're done with swimming, change into the dry clothes and hang the wet clothes up do dry. Then settle down for the night and enjoy your food. Your dry overnight clothes can be worn for your morning swim.


Return Swim

As on the outbound swim, wear most clothes on your return swim, put everything else into the poncho pack. Make sure it floats and stays together. Pack it carefully, even though the contents may be wet.

The extra sets of dry clothes in the car will be welcome when you arrive back and dry off. Have a safe journey home.