Helikon Tex Swagman poncho - any views/experience?

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DocG

Full Member
Dec 20, 2013
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Moray
Greetings. Has anyone tried the (relatively) new Helikontex Swagman poncho? Reviews seem in favour, albeit either evangelical discovery-type blogs or what appear to be sponsored/paid advertisements. I have yet to see one being used as part of a video without the video being about it, if you follow.

I like the idea of, in the words of Dave Canterbury, a "multi-functional" garment/item. It seems to be a summer under-blanket for a hammock, an additional/emergency sleeping bag, a blanket and a warm layer to be worn a la wool blanket jacket, but with less weight and a waterproof (resistant) coating.

There are two versions available, but I haven't seen a comparison. The "basic" is about half the price of the other (advanced?) version but no-one seems to have compared them on YouTube or in writing. I contacted the manufacturers and had some info, but they basically say "the more expensive one is better" - to Profumo it, they would, wouldn't they?

So, has anyone bought one? What do they think? Would one of the "woobie coats" discussed on this forum be a cheaper version? Is the whole thing more of a gimmick than a viable item? Am I missing out on a very useful invention/adaptation? Should I just continue to wrap my Scout blanket round me and pin it closed/hold it in place with my belt?

This is the YouTube advert by the manufacturers:
 
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mickeyluv

Full Member
Nov 2, 2010
88
9
derbyshire
I have one and find it pretty handy when I'm out shooting at night. It stuffs into its own front pocket so doesn't take up much room in a backpack and when waiting in one place I use it for sitting on, wrapping round me or put it on to disrupt my shape. The thing I like is that when wearing it I can still carry my rifle easily and use my arms look through my thermal NV without having to hold it in place like you would with a normal woobie. There's not much room in it when it's zipped up like a sleeping bag (but the I am quite large) and it would have to be quite warm before you could sleep comfortably in it but if there's anything else you want to know please ask.
 
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Roughneck

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Mar 17, 2021
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Chelmsford
Hi, I have one too. The above comments totally agree. It appears to have a multifunction use but in reality for me only a few uses.
* Sleeping Bag ... No
* Sleeping Bag liner ... Yes
* Hammock underquilt ... Cold No ... Warm Yes
* Hunting Stalking ... virtually no sound
* Extra layer for warm ... Perfect
* Packs really small even smaller with a small compression sack
* Waterproof Poncho covering pack Absolutely spot on to keep everything dry
* Weight ... very light

I like using it and for the few uses I have spot on.
 
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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
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But if it's mainly usefull as a jacket, what's the point please?
If I need it I can wear the jacket in the sleeping bag too, isn't it?
 

Roughneck

Full Member
Mar 17, 2021
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Chelmsford
If your main use is a Jacket then buy a suitable Jacket.

You can wear it in a Sleeping Bag as a Jacket, but for me you would benefit more as a Sleeping Bag Liner to cover all your body.

For me as I said its fine, it has served me for hunting wearing it for warm, used it as a make shift hide which actually worked very well keeping me hidden and warm, and pretty good when it rains. I'm sure it will have other uses which I'll find when I need it.
 
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mickeyluv

Full Member
Nov 2, 2010
88
9
derbyshire
I agree with how roughneck summed it up. I like it because when I'm walking I get hot so don't want a heavy jacket but when stationary get cold so put it on and when sitting on a bit of foam mat it covers legs as well which a lightweight jacket wouldn't do.
 
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DocG

Full Member
Dec 20, 2013
790
78
Moray
I have one and find it pretty handy when I'm out shooting at night. It stuffs into its own front pocket so doesn't take up much room in a backpack and when waiting in one place I use it for sitting on, wrapping round me or put it on to disrupt my shape. The thing I like is that when wearing it I can still carry my rifle easily and use my arms look through my thermal NV without having to hold it in place like you would with a normal woobie. There's not much room in it when it's zipped up like a sleeping bag (but the I am quite large) and it would have to be quite warm before you could sleep comfortably in it but if there's anything else you want to know please ask.
Thanks for those insights. Others have said it's a bit small as a sleeping bag so I'll keep that in mind.
Have you tried it as a hammock underquilt?
 

DocG

Full Member
Dec 20, 2013
790
78
Moray
Hi, I have one too. The above comments totally agree. It appears to have a multifunction use but in reality for me only a few uses.
* Sleeping Bag ... No
* Sleeping Bag liner ... Yes
* Hammock underquilt ... Cold No ... Warm Yes
* Hunting Stalking ... virtually no sound
* Extra layer for warm ... Perfect
* Packs really small even smaller with a small compression sack
* Waterproof Poncho covering pack Absolutely spot on to keep everything dry
* Weight ... very light

I like using it and for the few uses I have spot on.
Ok, thanks too. It costs around £100 - that's made me hesitate. I assume you have the one with the front pocket and "special" lining material rather than the basic model. Have you seen / tried the basic model, by any chance?
 

DocG

Full Member
Dec 20, 2013
790
78
Moray
I agree with how roughneck summed it up. I like it because when I'm walking I get hot so don't want a heavy jacket but when stationary get cold so put it on and when sitting on a bit of foam mat it covers legs as well which a lightweight jacket wouldn't do.
Ok, thanks again - useful points to know as I am involved as a volunteer setting camera traps for wildlife as well as doing a bit of stalking and wildfowling.
 

Roughneck

Full Member
Mar 17, 2021
39
23
63
Chelmsford
Ok, thanks too. It costs around £100 - that's made me hesitate. I assume you have the one with the front pocket and "special" lining material rather than the basic model. Have you seen / tried the basic model, by any chance?
No I haven't tried or seen the Basic Model only on clips.
I bought mine from Hennie Haynes approx 2 years ago. £100 is a lot no question for an Item, I do a lot of Hill / Mountain walking and I have used it as a shelter for my wife and myself to get out the wind and rain to either eat our snacks or just rest from the weather. For me it's a well used item.
You mentioned about a Hammock Quilt, I haven't tried it in cold weather it is perfect for keeping warm whilst walking and ambling round. But when sleeping zero movement and your asking a lot of the swagman to keep you warm. Mind you everyone different with heat production so you wont know till you try it.
 
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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
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I was told if you wear Italian camouflage it becomes immediatly a bit warmer.

;)


I think it is wide enough as a sleeping bag. My Defcon 5 poncho serves well as emergency bivvy bag.

We discussed recently such systems in this thread too, by the way:

 
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Tiley

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Oct 19, 2006
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I have to admit I'm interested in this sort of thing and would love to hear more about it. It seems to be able to do a number of jobs but does it do them well? I know that it isn't a sleeping bag or jacket or any of those things specifically but are the compromises made in the design of it the things that make it ineffective over all? Is it a classic case of "jack of all trades, master of none" or is it worth including in my pack?
 
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Sep 16, 2013
489
181
Rochester, Kent
You ask an important question there! Perhaps it's something on which I should pass: despite my interest, it just doesn't seem to tick any box satisfactorily.
Have you seen Luke's review on youtube? His channel is called 'The Outdoor Gear Review' and his reviews are definitely worth a look. He has covered the Swagman roll and spoke favourably of it and I don't believe he has any reason to be biased in his reviews.

A friend of mine who I do a lot of camping with (Descattys on youtube) has been using his swagman pretty extensively for the last 18months or so and I know he really likes the versatility of it. In the summer he uses it on it's own as a sleeping bag/blanket and in the winter he uses it in conjunction with his Snugpak Elite 3. The DWR coating is a great selling point for it as you can (if you like) do away with the bivvy bag.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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I really ask myself why that was invented recently and not in use during the last centuries when most people did spend the whole day outdoors.

Did they just use the buttons because they look so cool?
 

TLM

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Nov 16, 2019
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Vantaa, Finland
In the older days people used something that does not exist any more, travelling cloaks. Apparently there were thicker ones for winter and lighter ones for summer. Might be useful, I really don't know as I have never used anything like it. Maybe some of the more traditional enthusiasts here have tested it?
 
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DocG

Full Member
Dec 20, 2013
790
78
Moray
Thanks to all the above - lots of useful points to ponder.
I like the idea of the swagman roll; however, I also liked the idea of some of the more traditional Swanndri range, but, when I tried them on I was conscious of a hobbit-like figure standing in the mirror before me. I know that Swanndri "work" (and I have a lovely "normal" wool shirt that is a favourite for faffing about it the woods), but the look / cut of the longer bushwear coats cured me of my longing. Until I can see one of these Helikon garments in a shop, I think I may keep my cash close.
Thanks for the YouTube reference - I'll look it up shortly.
 

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