Monday, January 24, 2022

Limited Protection but Why? - Helikon-Tex Poncho US Surplus Model Real R...

This is the Helikon-Tex US Model Poncho which is part of their Military Surplus Line. Unfortunately this product has some serious problems and can only be recommended for VERY short individuals.

The quality is great but you'll be left scratching your head when you see just how short it is.
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Helikon-Tex Poncho U.S. Model, Surplus Line

What it is : This is a lightweight poncho made by Helikon-Tex that I have been testing out for roughly 6 months now.

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Cost : $35

Colors : Black, two shades of green, and two woodland camo versions.

Sizes : One Size Fits All

Dimensions : 82.5 x 57” - That’s 82.5” long which unbuttoned and unfolded. When in poncho mode, it’s only around 40” long

Stored - 5.5” x 8.6”

Materials : Polyester

Features :
Hood with cord adjuster
Taped seams
Press studs and metal eyelets at the edges
Can be stabilized via dedicated cord

Surplus Line : This basically means that this poncho and the company’s other items that are part of this line are modeled after well known military surplus items. In this case, this poncho is modeled after the US Military poncho.

Modeled is the key word there.

Review Pros :

Good quality for a military “style” poncho. Better quality than most cheap ponchos that you can find in stores and online at sites like walmart or amazon.

I’ve experienced no leaking with this poncho and I have been out in the middle of tropical storms that have come through the area. Longest duration has been in the rain for roughly 2 hours with no issues.

It’s simple - quick to deploy

Fair Price - if purchased from an honest dealer - more on that in a moment.

Smaller hood and neck hole allow for less water / rain to get into the poncho

Can be used with the Swagman Roll as a sort of poncho liner.

Light weight


Storage included and it is big enough to easily hold the poncho. No issues with getting it out or putting it back in.

Review Cons :
I mentioned that this is part of the Surplus line and that it is modeled after the old US Military Poncho. Again, Modeled is the key word there as it is loosely modeled after the military variant.

This poncho is smaller in size - for a poncho it is rather short and the taller you are, the less protection that it will give your lower body. It’s about 4” shorter length and width than a military poncho
it will not mate to original military accessories such as the military poncho liner correctly.
If using this as a shelter, it is again due to the dimensions being rather small. It’s difficult to get good protection with it as it’s not as long nor as wide as a typical poncho.
The hood and head hole are smaller - if you have a big head it will be a tight fit.
These are made from Polyester whereas the military version was nylon. Polyester isn’t as strong as nylon and is generally a less expensive material. Civilian grade, not military - Because its not military grade, it is small and lighter in weight.

Small Size : Going back to the size, I would pay extra close attention to those measurements to see if this is going to work for you as this isn’t a large poncho by any means.

Cost : The retail price for this poncho is very fair for what it is but there are secondary sellers who are basically ripping people off. Take some sellers on Amazon, I’ve seen these ponchos being sold for as much as $70….this is not worth $70. This is a polyester poncho - it’s worth no more than around $40.

Side Snaps : I’ve had no issues with these but you have to be careful with them. They are fragile and there are plenty of reports of these being damage and destroyed rather easily.

Summary :
For the retail price, this poncho has served me well and I have no problem with recommending it. I would look passed the whole Surplus Line that Helikon has going on; that’s more marketing gimmick than anything else.

Pay attention to the measurements; will the smaller poncho work for you?

Also, watch the prices; don’t pay more than what this poncho is worth unless you really want it.


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