It’s not rare to find backpackers lugging a medley of gear such as a rain poncho, hammock, shelter, and groundsheet. French startup Trail Hoppers has attempted to alleviate this burden by designing a single piece of equipment that performs all four functions: The Nomad Cape. As of now, the Nomad Cape is featured in a Kickstarter campaign where interested parties can show their support.
At the center of the Nomad Cape is a 425-g (15-oz) swathe of 70-denier ripstop nylon treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating. This rectangular piece measures 260 by 140 cm (102 by 55 in) when laid out flat, a sufficient size for the range of functionality it offers.
As a rain poncho, the Nomad Cape features an integrated cinch-able hood. The wearer inserts their head into this hood, extends their arms through the sides, and employs an elastic belt on the accompanying storage bag to secure the poncho around the waist. The garment incorporates six button snaps on its sides to avoid it from billowing open. Notably, it is sufficiently large to cover a backpack, protecting both the gear and its owner from rain.
For those looking to rest, the Nomad Cape can be transformed into a hammock. The sheet is suspended between two trees using adjustable-length webbing straps and carabiners, all included in the system. The hood is neatly stored in a zippered compartment for this function. The designers claim the hammock can bear up to 150 kg (331 lb).
The Nomad Cape also serves as a wind/rain shelter. The user’s trekking poles prop up the sheet at either end, and eight tie-outs attached to provided aluminum stakes secure the sides to the ground. The hammock’s straps double as front and rear guy wires in this setting.
Lastly, the Nomad Cape can function as a groundsheet, simply laying flat on the ground, and staked at each corner if needed. However, it’s important to understand that while the Nomad Cape offers four functions, it cannot execute them all at once. It’s therefore not a complete replacement for all four individual gear pieces.
For those considering the Nomad Cape, it is available for a Kickstarter pledge of €99 (approximately US$107). The planned retail price post-campaign is set at €149 ($160). A demonstration of the Nomad Cape’s functionalities can be seen in an accompanying video. Despite its limitations, it’s an intriguing addition to the trekking gear market, offering multifunctionality in a single package.