If you ever had to move with lots of equipment you may have subscribed to the old saying "Travel light freeze at night." What was truly meant by that saying was you carried so much battle equipment you did not carry anything for comfort. That works to a point but it does not take long to figure out a tired frozen Trooper, SEAL or Marine is less effective than one who is rested, and dry as possible. Add a sand storm or two and you are sleeping cold and with sand in places and equipment you would prefer to not to have it in.
The bottom line is the limited amount of sleep an operator gets in the field can be enhanced by making him as comfortable as possible. Now we play a dangerous game. At what cost is comfort? Do we take less water or ammunition along to be comfortable at night or during a sand storm? In the past I tried several small tents, but they weighed four or five pounds plus the poles. They took up so much space in a rucksack that other needed equipment was left behind (Not acceptable).
I had gone to just getting a ground cover and wrapping myself in it during real bad weather or during sand storms. This has major drawbacks as your hands are tied up and movement from here is hard. It was light but the trade off was not good.
One day I was talking with a Recon friend who asked if I had seen the Kifaru Para Hooch? I said no without getting too excited. You see the only thing I have more examples of failed test pieces than shelters is load-bearing vests. He insisted I give it a try. Well since Kifaru had already captured my rucksack business I said sure.
I called Mel, at Kifaru, and ordered one. It came about two weeks later. The "Hooch" weighs less than a pound. Heck it weighs less than a poncho. The optional poles add another pound or so to that. Taking a long look at it shows the durable well-made construction. The hooch is made of a parachute material which makes it light, durable, wind and waterproof. Without the poles it will stow in a M16 30 round magazine pouch. Mine came in the now popular Coyote Tan color. The color is great but me being me, I tried painting/camouflage my hooch, but the Krylon did not stick well and came off after several rain storms, so forget painting.
Set up is a breeze. Just use poles front and rear, front only or tie to tree without poles. Then stake out ends and you have a good shelter. No floor is included, so like a poncho hooch it is for the tired and cold not the luxury camper. The poles are well made and add about a pound to the overall weight.
The Peg & Pole Kit is optional, for those who can't rely on the environment for their anchors. The Peg & Pole Kit makes sure you have everything to set up your shelter. Better yet, the poles "nest" inside each other, meaning you can control the elevation of your pitch.
One word on setting up, if you leave the material slack it will make noise in the breeze. If you stretch it tight it is quiet. Takes about three minutes to set the whole thing up, a little less after practice.
The Para Hooch kept me dry in several storms that would have soaked through a poncho hooch. It is nearly twice the size of a poncho and weighs less. You can fit all your gear and you inside, or if you're a nice guy, it will fit two operators. I now use my poncho as a ground cover for the Para Hooch and sleep warm and dry in my sleeping bag, without much additional weight. You can also wrap the Para Hooch around your sleeping bag and make a nice lightweight bivy sack. This is a very nice addition to anyone's kit and the best military type structure I have seen or used.