Improve your inexpensive rain gearYou really don't want a floppy rain poncho on our camping trips. Rain gets blown in and the water drips down the poncho, soaking your legs.
If you are on a budget you might buy a set of construction workers hooded rain jacket and pants at Home Depot or Orchard Supply Hardware for one of our trips for $18 to $20 (2012) instead of at a camping gear store for $80 or even more. They have the advantage of being made of heavy duty material that will last for years.
Yes, they'll be bright yellow, but then we can find you in a whiteout on a winter trip more easily.
You should buy them a bit big so you can wear them on snow camp trips with all your layers of fleece, jackets, sweaters, etc. This means that the pants will probably be a bit long. If you can sew, you can hem the pants legs and use the material you cut off to greatly improve your gear and make it function more like the expensive sets.
Better rain jackets and pants have adjustable Velcro closures at the cuffs.
When the cuff is opened up to its widest, the tabs look like this:
When you pull the tabs in to tighten up the cuff opening, they look like this:
Use the cut-off strips to sew four rectangular closure tabs. Make the tabs a bit wider and longer than the Velcro you intend to use. Sew a strip of the 'pile' (soft side of the Velcro) to the jacket and pants cuffs. Sew the corresponding 'hook' Velcro to the underside of the tab. Why do it this way? The pile side does not catch on things, but the hook side does. If it is exposed constantly on the cuffs everything will catch on it. By putting the hook piece on the underside of the tab it is always caught to the soft piece, either partially when the cuffs are wide open, or completely when you pull on the tab and place it on the cuff to fully tighten it.
When you sew one end of the tab onto the cuff, put it in a position so that the end of its hook Velcro attaches to the pile Velcro on the cuff by at least an inch. Be sure to sew it on in a position with the cuff fully open. Baste it at first and experiment opening and closing.
Snow or rain camp must-haves has more ideas for camping gear.
bear resistant kayakers ice chest has notes/photos on how to turn a bear-resistant backpacker's food container into an ice chest