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Hazard 4 Poncho Villa

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Nighted, May 15, 2014.

  1. Nighted
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Nighted Loaded Pockets

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    Today is a cold rainy day in Gitmo Nation North and I was very excited to finally get to try out the Hazard 4 Poncho Villa. Some of you Hazard 4 fans have probably heard about this product and those living in rainy areas may have been considering getting one.

    I looked at some videos from the Hazard 4 booth at Shot Show and a review by a certain bearded individual who looks to live in a part of the world populated with wet rain forests and was quite intrigued with the product. After once owning and loving an old US military issue poncho, I was certainly interested in the modernized take implemented by Hazard 4/Civilian Labs.

    Lots of patch panels, a well designed hood, grommets for use as a tarp, room to cover a pack or two, and a large front pocket that the poncho can be folded into and stowed for later use, what's not to like? It's sharp looking for a poncho and has received a few positive comments so far, specifically from ladies...but that's more relative to my incredibly handsome manliness only reinforced by this tacticool shroud. ;)

    Well, as impressive as I apparently make this product look (or vice versa), it certainly does not perform in equal respect.

    Let's start with the product description copied and pasted from Gearbunker.com website, where I purchased the item from:
    • water-resistant/breathable soft-shell fabric
    • 100% waterproof fully-taped seams throughout
    • generous size to fit over packs/bags/chest-packs
    • large front & back velcro panels for agency i.d.
    • velcro panels on the shoulders & head-back
    • ample hood with brim section fits over head-wear
    • hood-sinchers for front and back-of-head adjust
    • zipper front to chin for full rain-coverage of throat
    • large perimeter grommets for hanging as tent/tarp (two ponchos combine for a larger tent)
    • side snaps for closing edges in severe weather
    • fully covers the torso and most of legs
    • allows rain-free access to pockets/bags
    • can be used as a seating/work surface
    • quick on and off over layered clothing
    This website is, I believe, the direct distribution outlet for Hazard 4/Civilian Labs.

    Sounds awesome, right? Sure did to me.

    Here is the review I left on the Hazard 4 Poncho Villa product page:

    Product Name: Poncho Villa(TM) Technical Soft-Shell Poncho
    Headline: Got 129.99? Might as well burn it.
    Email: nighted@_________.com
    Name: Nighted
    Location: Northern Ontario
    Review: Wow. First time wearing today and the poncho was soaked through the hood and the shoulders in about an hour of exposure. I have another product that I've owned for years and never has a drop of water come through it. Maybe I got one that wasn't properly treated, I don't know. This is my first product from Hazard 4 and now I'm doubtful I'll spend my money on their products again.
    Rating: 2

    I feel it is important that I do not believe this review will make it online. Have a look around Gearbunker and at the reviews. You will soon discover that quite literally EVERY review is 5 out of 5!!!

    Very suspect. [​IMG]


    So that about says it all. Now for the photos of the poncho after I got home and took a few minutes to get dry. You can see that it is soaked through and the water doesn't just bead and roll off as Hazard 4 claims in the videos showcasing the product from their trade show booth.

    I suppose I'll have to get some water treatment product and attempt to get it properly sealed, as it should have been out of the box. I should also mention that the wind can catch it and cause it to ride up on the legs, allowing them to get soaked. I would suggest putting those bottom grommets to use and adding some weights or however you decide to get creative to address this issue.

    Please leave any comments or questions that you may have concerning my review and/or this product (or any OTHER experience you have personally had with H4).

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    Last edited by Nighted, Jan 21, 2015
  2. SAKplumber
    • In Omnia Paratus

    SAKplumber EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Wow. Thats lame! I can't believe how lame that is!
     
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  3. Nighted
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    Nighted Loaded Pockets

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    It's totally lame brother! haha

    I'll give it a good wash in some Nikwax (maybe H4 will be kind enough to pay for it) and hopefully that will fix 'er up. Reminds me of my Goretex gear which has to be fiddled with to stay repellant.

    Would probably have to treat the poncho eventually but right off the bat it's unacceptable and falls far short of Hazard 4's claims.

    I've had my Helly Hanson gear for several years and it's never had any issues, rain just rolls right off it like the day I bought it and it's some kind of material that I doubt I'll ever have to treat it. I could shower in that Helly stuff and stay dry. I just wanted a Poncho because I thought it would be cool to keep my sling pack dry and my shorts at the same time without having to carry around rain pants.
     
  4. popedandy

    popedandy Loaded Pockets

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    When I first saw the title, I thought, "Cool. This should be a nice piece of gear." Unfortunately, a rain poncho that doesn't keep out the rain isn't something I see myself needing. Thanks for the review - I have been thinking about getting some rain gear, so it was well-timed.
     
  5. Nighted
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    Nighted Loaded Pockets

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    I'm going to make an attempt to give it a proper water repellant treatment. I'll update after that if I can test it out.

    Maybe this was a fluke, who knows. I agree with you though, and if you're looking for some serious rain gear and not specifically a poncho, I can't recommend Helly Hansen enough.
     
  6. MFS1589

    MFS1589 Loaded Pockets

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    IMO Water Repellent and Poncho do not go together, Waterproof and Poncho do, due to the fabric selected it is doing what is should, but for the intended purpose it fails.
     
  7. MOD-u-LAR

    MOD-u-LAR Loaded Pockets

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    I had issues with a "waxed" canvas jacket I bought as a raincoat only to have it soak through right away. I got some Otter Wax and went to work. It made it look cool-aged almost-but was of course waxy afterwords. I like the wax now and was wondering if you think the material it's made of would work with wax? I figures it was not even close to waterproof when they claimed it was breathable. They were good about never claiming it was waterproof.
    Anyway what do you think the chance of wax working is? And do you think it's worth it from an engineered piece of kit point of view? Thanks in advance.
     
  8. Nighted
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    Nighted Loaded Pockets

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    Dunno. I have some Nikwax Tech Wash and TX Direct Wash-In.

    I'll get back soon with the results.
     
  9. Airmechqa

    Airmechqa Loaded Pockets

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    What has Hazard 4 said? Did you contact them to see if they would make it right?

    Tom
     
  10. Nighted
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    Nighted Loaded Pockets

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    They said they would pay me the cost of having it sent back to them so that they could inspect it. No other offer. I suggested they could reimburse me the cost of the DWR products as it would be far more convenient to just give it a proper treatment, but they gave no reply.

    I'm not surprised. They don't even post negative reviews of their products on their site. I just won't ever buy or suggest their products again unless they make some effort to console me.

    I got some Nikwax Tech Wash and some TX Direct Wash-In and have treated the poncho, last Wednesday actually. I have not had the chance to go into any serious rain with it though, but I will update with the results.
     
  11. ShadowE

    ShadowE Loaded Pockets

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    129.99 for a PONCHO? they "had" you at that :/
     
  12. Nighted
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    Nighted Loaded Pockets

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    Twist the knife you must, eh? ;)
     
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  13. Firemission

    Firemission Loaded Pockets

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    Wow; that sucks. I could've used a poncho today. It came down in buckets here in West Florida. I own a couple of their products, but those aren't comparable to the item you were wearing. I was actually looking for a rain poncho to use down here that would be somewhat durable. I have a Marmot gortex jacket that is 12 years old but on its way out. Something that is somewhat light weight. I've checked a few vendors and makers out. Well I hope they make it right for you. Good luck.
     
  14. Bob the Dog

    Bob the Dog Loaded Pockets

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    I had lusted after one of these a little bit. (The price was the killer)

    What a disappointment!
     
  15. Jonb74

    Jonb74 Loaded Pockets

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    My BBQ grill cover is more waterproof than that thing appears to be.
     
  16. gearheavy

    gearheavy Loaded Pockets

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    From personal experience of owning several hundred dollars of Civilian Labs products from several years ago (6-8? I forget), I discovered they were more hype than substance. They had a slick looking website, great pictures and very appealing forward thinking designs. But in use, their products were not necessarily practical or functional, sometimes not completely thought out, and often overly complicated with a plethora of buckles, straps, and zippers. I often felt their concepts went straight from design to production without much real world testing. So I never looked at them again. Fast forward to early this year, I was attracted to Hazard 4 products by their excellent looks. But after a little research and learning they were affiliated with Civilian Labs, plus seeing that same slick looking website and same Civilian Labs graphics on Hazard 4 labels, I immediately stepped on the brakes. I'm not saying Hazard 4/Civilain Labs is a bad company or puts out bad products today. But I do believe they have a tendency to release products that haven't been thoroughly defined by clear fitness-for-purpose specs, nor UAX requirements, and perhaps not vetted by strictest quality design standards. I believe Hazard 4/CL products best satisfies those who are early adapters of the latest cool designs and don't mind taking a chance. I may still buy their products because they are indeed neat and functional "looking", but I'll buy only after they've been proven in the market for a decent period of time by the early adapters and given positive reviews.

    So to Nighted - thank you very much for taking the chance on the poncho and taking the time to report your experience. Excellent review. Hope Hazard 4/CL does you right.
     
    Last edited by gearheavy, May 28, 2014
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  17. Grinch

    Grinch Banned

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    thats why i only buy frog gear when it comes to rain gear .
     
  18. Nighted
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    Nighted Loaded Pockets

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    @gearheavy:

    I think you get it. They have great looking designs and that is what initially attracted me to their products.

    After nearly 2 weeks of replying to their terse email with hopes of some other, more amenable offer in return, I've received no reply. No offer of credit, discounts, or even just some freakin' patches or something.

    I suppose once I told them that I'd tossed the receipt (all in Chinese) that I nullified my status as a customer with any valid claim to satisfaction. It won't be forgotten.
     
    Last edited by Nighted, May 28, 2014
  19. StJimmyS21

    StJimmyS21 Loaded Pockets

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    I thought about this guy long and hard, and almost dropped the hammer on purchasing one through amazon. Certainly glad I didn't. Instead I picked up the old school one on LaPoliceGear for something to the tune of 10 bucks.

    Sorry to hear about your bad luck dude.
     
  20. Nighted
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    Nighted Loaded Pockets

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    Meh, stuff happens. It was supposed to be quite wet lately and I was hoping to test it after my meticulous water proofing treatment but we've suddenly been getting this stunning spring weather.

    Worst case scenario, I'll sell it to some sucker in the BST forum. ;)

    Maybe I'll see if it's fire proof. [​IMG]