Last week I noticed the Bushcraft Outfitters got some more of their silnylon MEST (Multipurpose Emergency Survival Tarp) ponchos in stock. I ordered one of Friday and it came yesterday.
Along with the poncho I ordered a tube of McNett seam sealer to prevent leaks on the hood seams. I sealed the seams last night. The sealant was a little tacky, so per the instructions on the packaging I dusted them with some talcum powder, which can be seen in the pictures below.
I took some pictures of the MEST poncho with the Chinese-made USGI-style poncho that I've been carrying strapped to the bottom of my HPG Tarahumara day pack.
The MEST is about 1.5" longer and 1.5" narrower than the old poncho.
Notice that the MEST has nylon webbing loops sewn on, rather than grommets. This allows you to make field repairs with a needle and thread.
The old poncho came with a stuff sack but I generally rolled it up. I took pics of it both ways to show how much smaller the MEST is when stowed.
Aside from being much smaller, the MEST is maybe half the weight of the rubberized nylon GI-style poncho. The MEST could easily be carried in a cargo pocket. Combined with some utility cord or 550 cord, and some lightweight tent stakes, it'll make for a light, compact shelter.
Now all I need is some rain to test it out.