Hey, Curious Campers!
If you get curious about the history of some of your camping gear as we do, then check out the history of the poncho! We carry a handful of ponchos from an assortment of brand names such as GSI Outdoor, Red Ledge, and Coghlan’s. But how long have these effective pieces of rain gear been in existence and how did they come to be?
These outer garments were developed for protection from wind, sandstorms, and keeping you warm. We’ve traced the history of the poncho back to 500 B.C. along the Andes Mountains. The natives known as the Paracas were from South America from lands such as modern day Bolivia and Peru. Over hundreds of years, they slowly made their way into Mexican land.
Just a simple large sheet of fabric with a hole in its center for your head, ponchos have developed a few more features over the years. By the 1800s, ponchos were made with fasteners so that the sides could close around your body to provide better effectiveness. They also grew hoods that were added to the top of the center hole for further protection. And just 50 years after that, ponchos were adopted by the U.S. military. They started making their ponchos out of a latex-coated cloth that was waterproof and it became part of popular attire for soldiers in the Civil War. Not only would they use it for clothing, but they proved handy as a ground sheet to sleep on as well.
While ponchos are nowadays still strongly associated with the Americas and the natives who first created them, they have made a comeback in modern fashion as well. Designed as articles of fashion, the simple sheet shape hasn’t changed, but the material of these fashionable ponchos are typically knit from wool or yarn.
Take a look at the ponchos in our Rain Gear Department which you can look at by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!