Test Review: Wäfo Davos & Zürs Hiking Capes
Main difference: The "Kraxenponcho Davos" from Wäfo is made of breathable material. The "Zürs" is not breathable. Otherwise they are the same.
The newer hiking capes (2015) have longer sleeves with snap button for width adjustment. This is a major improvement, helps keep your arms dry. They also have a visor to protect your face from the rain or bright sunshine.
The fabric is thin and lightweight, just what you need when travelling. It got better over the years, softer yet durable, feels good on the skin, both dry or wet.
The cape is fairly long, reaching below the knees for most people. The front can be adjusted in length and secured between the legs, so you do not step on it when you go up steep hills. It has space for a daypack and comes with it own pack bag.
The hood with visor and volume regulation by drawstrings is important if you want to stay dry.
Keep it up.
Like most rainwear, it is only waterproof if you keep the hood up.
Otherwise water comes in via the open collar.
For this test we took new hiking ponchos to the Philippines, keen to find out how the local people would use them, as they are more familiar with the climate. We were surprised.
During the massive tropical downpours we went out to see how well these hiking capes work. The long sleeves on the newer models kept our arms dry. They are wide sleeves which helps ventilation.
As long as we kept the hoods up all was fine and we stayed mostly dry in the rain. The water just ran down the outside and dropped off the hem line.
When we put the hoods down our thin hoodies got soaked to the skin in the heavy rain. No problem in warm weather.
Avoid Chill Out
The main reason for wearing a rain cape is not necessarily to stay dry,
but to avoid the chill that comes with the cool rain of a thunderstorm.
In a warm climate these capes dry out quickly and stop the chill of wet clothes you may wear underneath when the rain caught you.
Our local team suggested to go swimming with all our trekking clothes on, even the rain capes. It was a good simulation of what can happen when you travel in rain forests and have to cross ponds or lakes.
This test was quite amusing and lead to lots of laughs and giggles for our local team. We learned that they swim in clothes all the time to avoid sunburn. This was a new experience for them, due to the unusual long design with useful hoods.
When your trekking adventure takes you through lakes or ponds,
you will be pleased to know that it is easy to swim in this hiking cape.
As you move forward it will hug your body and not cause too much drag.
With the help of our local team we've learned that there are new ways to enjoy hiking capes that we had not considered.
Hiking capes provide shade wherever you go. The breathable fabric, loose fit and low weight make them great for playing on the beach or in the water.
Following the example of our crew, we went swimming in these capes, with and without clothes underneath. It was quite easy and felt really good.
After each swim the capes dried out quickly in the sun. We kept them on for most of the day. When we got too hot we ran back into the sea to cool off.
Unlike sun lotion, sun capes don't come off in the water. There are toggles at the hem line to link front and back which keeps the cape from going over your head. Another good use is as a portable changing room.
The breathable hiking cape Davos model is very useful in tropical climates. It can keep you dry in the rain and safe from sunburn. You can wear it around town, in the forest, or as swimwear. Depending on the weather and location you can wear it with or without clothes underneath.
The non-breathable Zürs model is better for very wet situations. You either get wet from rain, sweat or condensation, unless you wear no backpack and your arms inside, swinging them as you walk to keep it ventilated. For short local runs in the rain or swimming it is just fine.
We'll update this test report should we get hold of newer versions.