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Part of enjoying the great outdoors is adapting to the weather. It can be unpredictable at the best of times. If you’re planning on spending any amount of time on a boat or camping you’re going to need protection from the rain. A good rain poncho can keep you warm and dry without taking up a ton of space. That way you don’t need to worry about the bulk of a full rain jacket. And you also don’t need to be carrying around an umbrella that you may not need.
Many modern rain ponchos are ultra lightweight. When you don’t need them they can be folded up and tucked away nearly anywhere. Depending on how you like to enjoy the outdoors, there are many different ponchos out there. The best ponchos for rain are going to provide a means to keep dry. But they also must be breathable. They need to be designed to provide comfort. But at the same time they can’t be bulky. You need a material that can handle some wear and tear. Sealed seams to protect from rain. An adjustable hood. And so many other things depending on how you hike and camp. If you need good rain gear for kayakingor fishing, try some of these.
With over 40 colors available, the SaphiRose rain poncho jacket is one of the best ponchos on the market. Suitable for men or women, this is a great rain poncho for backpacking. The polyester is something known as pongee polyester which is eco-friendly. It also features an extra coating on top for added protection. There is a full-length zipper down the front to make it easier to get in and out of. The seams along the sides and arms are also heat-sealed seams. That means you don’t need to worry about accidental leaks in a bad storm. The material is also quick-drying and breathable.
The adjustable hood is large if you’re not a fan of tight hoods around your head. But it also has a drawstring so you can tighten it if need be. It comes with a pouch for storage that matches the color of the poncho as well.
If you want a simple, cheap rain poncho, the Coleman Adult Eva Poncho might be the best poncho for you. With an adjustable drawstring and side snaps, it will keep you dry in the rain without breaking the bank. The EVA coating prevents sun from damaging the material or causing the color to fade. You could also use it as a tarp, a blanket, or a floor mat. At 50 in by 80 in it covers a good deal of your body. Best of all the material is breathable so you don’t need to worry about feeling too hot inside. The material is durable enough to last you through some serious hiking as well.
The Mil-Tec ripstop poncho is designed to simulate military rain ponchos. It offers superior protection from rain and wet weather. It’s also multi-purpose and can be used as a blanket, a tarp, or a rain cover. If you don’t like lightweight material rain ponchos this may be the best choice for you. It’s heavier than most other kinds you’re going to find.
Another great feature of the Mil-Tec is the size. This will cover someone to the knees even if they are 6ft tall. There’s an internal waist belt as well to help secure the fit around your waist. Few rain ponchos are this versatile.
The sides of the poncho feature snap buttons to help secure it. There are also eyelets if you plan to use it as a tarp or rain cover. As you can imagine, it’s made to be durable. The ripstop material resists wear and tear. The hood is solid and adjustable. It covers your body well without feeling too heavy or too light.
The Charles River Men’s Pacific Rain Poncho is available in 10 colors suitable for men or women. It’s made of a tough and durable polyurethane. That keeps you dry and it also resists tearing. The arms are heat sealed so you don’t need to worry about leaks. The hood has a drawstring and there are snaps on the side under the arm so you can adjust the fit. You can even hand wash this one if you need to. That will provide a means to make sure this never gets smelly like some rain ponchos can.
The Terra Hiker rain poncho is made from ripstop polyester. It features a PU coating to enhance its waterproof attributes. It’s also roomy enough that you can carry a massive 60 liter backpack underneath it. This is one of the best rain ponchos you can get for durability.
The eyelets are reinforced so that you can also use it as a rain cover if you need to. It also doubles as a tarp. The cuffs are adjustable and feature Velcro straps. It’s available in several colors. It also features a reflective strip along the back for safety. An adjustable hood and comfort fit round out the Terra Hiker rain poncho attributes.
The Frogg Toggs rain poncho lives up to its ultra-lite name. It’s barely noticeable when you wear it. The unpackaged weight is under 9 oz. That’s less than a can of soup. The inside layer is soft to the touch while the outside keeps water away. The material is breathable so you don’t have to worry about overheating during a hot summer storm. It features side snaps to help adjust the fit and add extra protection. The hood is adjustable as well for when it gets particularly windy.
The rain poncho is one-size-fits-all, but it’s very roomy. If you have a backpack, it should fit fine under the poncho as well. Durability may be an issue with this particular poncho however. The trade-off for it being so lightweight is that it’s not super durable. Keep that in mind when you first open the package. Some people have complained that it tore right out of the package in their haste to remove it. It may not be the best rain poncho for hard hiking.
If you are just heading out for a weekend getaway, you may not want to invest in a serious rain poncho. The best rain poncho for you may be the Kasu emergency rain poncho. These rain ponchos are designed to provide a single use and then disposed of. That means less worry and fuss over your rain ponchos.
Featuring a drawstring hood these rain ponchos are made of polyethylene. That’s a lightweight plastic. Each package comes with 5 rain ponchos included. That makes them a great option if you’re planning a family get away for a weekend. Especially if you don’t know for sure how the weather is going to hold up. They are still roomy enough to accommodate a backpack. And of course there’s a drawstring hood.
Keep in mind that these are essentially just plastic. Breathability is not an option with this particular Poncho. That means if it’s a hot, humid day you’re going to be sweating. If you’re looking to outfit several people for very little money this is the best rain poncho choice.
The 4ucycling rain poncho features a chest pocket with a zipper for storing small items. The overall weight is light but the material is still durable. It’s made from ripstop polyester. This one won’t fall apart after one or two uses. There’s a drawstring for the hood and the cuffs are elastic. The front has a zipper so you don’t need to pull it over your head as well. It’s not a traditional poncho by any means. But it does look better than an old school rain poncho as well. If you don’t like the tarp look and feel of a normal rain poncho, this may be the best poncho for rain out there.
The Foxelli hooded rain poncho is made of a thick and durable high grade polyester. There are steel grommets so that you can also convert it to a tarp or rain cover if you need to. The PU coating increases its waterproof attributes. An adjustable hood will help keep water away from your face and head as well.
It comes in several stylish colors making it one of the nicest looking rain ponchos. It also features a long front zipper. The material is tear resistant. There are also Velcro straps to help secure it at the sides. Even better, the company offers you a 120 day money back guarantee. This is pretty rare for most rain ponchos.
This rain poncho is your best bet if you want to have a reusable rain poncho without dropping a lot of money. It’s a step up from the disposable rain ponchos. It’s not as durable as some nylon ponchos but it is still quite effective. It offers superior coverage so you’ll keep your body and most of your legs dry as well. There is no zipper, but it does have side snaps to adjust the fit. It’s very lightweight so travelling with it is never a problem. And of course, the hood is adjustable. You can easily wear a backpack under the rain poncho as well.
Snugpak Patrol Poncho is one of the best rain ponchos for durability. Made from polyurethane with a DWR coating you’re guaranteed to stay dry. As a poncho and raincoat hybrid it has sleeves with elastic cuffs to keep your arms from getting wet as well. There’s a zipper closure for your neck, and it even fits over a backpack. The chest pocket closes with Velcro and you can adjust the hood as you like. The material is rugged enough to withstand some serious backpacking. The breathability ensures your body won’t overheat as well.
Things to Remember
As you can see, not all ponchos are created equally. You’re going to need to consider how you’re camping or hiking to determine what is going to be the best rain poncho. Size, design, weight, and material are all factors that will determine the best poncho for you.
The main purpose of a poncho is just to keep you dry. The best rain ponchos are going to be able to keep water away and keep you warm. They should also do a good job of breathing so you don’t overheat. And, ideally, they will resist forming mold or mildew when they’re stored damp.
Plastic Ponchos: This is a very common material for lightweight, affordable rain ponchos. Especially if the poncho is meant to be disposable. Many of these will be made from a firestick that’s known as ethylene-vinyl acetate. That’s often abbreviated As EVA. It’s very affordable, and very lightweight. You wouldn’t want to have a long-term poncho made of EVA however. It doesn’t breathe well, and it can tear easily. However, it is waterproof and you can get disposable ones for just a couple of dollars. The material does the job with few frills.
Polyester Ponchos: This is a great choice for affordable, lightweight rain ponchos. They may still tear but not as easily as plastic rain ponchos. They also store easily and don’t take up a lot of room. Breathability may still be an issue with these, the watch that if you’re doing a lot of hiking.
Nylon Ponchos: Nylon ponchos are the best rain ponchos if you’re looking for some weight. These are durable ponchos that will keep you warm and dry. They’re not as easy to store away as the lightweight plastic and polyester ponchos. These will last you much longer as well. Don’t put these away with water on them. The material could grow mildew and smell.
Unlike most coats and jackets, rain ponchos don’t necessarily have to be in it for the long haul. Because of the way a poncho is designed it’s very easy to use simple, cheap, disposable ones. If your camping trip is just a one-off, the best rain poncho for you may be a disposable one. However, if you are an avid outdoors person you’re going to want something more permanent. Disposable ponchos are always good for emergencies. If you weren’t planning to get caught out in the rain but it happens, it’s good to have one or two in your trunk. But if you know you’re going to be outside in all kinds of weather, a more durable nylon Poncho may be your best bet.
A lot of people may overlook the fit of a rain poncho. Because it just drapes over you, this is not always considered when looking for the best poncho out there. If you just need a quick covering from the rain, this doesn’t matter that much. The best option in that case may be a disposable plastic poncho. It’s more about protecting you from the rain then how it looks or feels. However, if you plan to do a lot of hiking in your poncho then you want a good fit. You need it to be comfortable and not constrictive. You also want to make sure it has breathability. Over a long enough period of time a poncho can get very hot if it doesn’t breathe. If it’s not fit properly, this can become a worse problem. Keep in mind whether or no you’ll be wearing a backpack. You want a rain poncho that fits over a backpack easily to keep your gear dry.
Also consider the fit of he hood and not just on your body. Sometimes a hood can feel ight. Make sure you get an adjustable one.
The traditional design of a poncho has evolved over the years. The best rain poncho for you may not look exactly like what you think a poncho should look like anymore. For instance, many modern ponchos have sleeves. A traditional poncho does not, but there are raincoat/poncho hybrids available. These combine some of the best features of both to try to maximize comfort and function. The material often affects how the design comes together.
In its most basic form a poncho is just a tarp with a hole cut in it for your head. You want to have some extra features to make it a little more useful, comfortable, and versatile. A simple, disposable poncho should at least have a hood to keep your head dry. But there are some other features that may enhance your poncho to make it more desirable.
Pockets: It never hurts to have some space to store a few items to keep them dry as well. Very few ponchos will have pockets simply because of the way a poncho is designed. However, you can be on the lookout for some that are designed with that. Poncho pockets are often down at the side or on the chest. They should have zippers to keep whatever’s inside dry.
Zippers: A traditional poncho will just pull over your head. However, this is unappealing to some people. If you have a backpack on they can tear. For that reason there have been alterations to the design. Many ponchos now come with front zippers on them to allow you to get in and out easily.
Fasteners: The best poncho will have things like drawstrings, Velcro or snaps. Also adjustable cuffs if it has sleeves. That way you can tighten the sleeves, the sides, or the hood if you like. Side straps and snaps allow for more snug fit which is helpful in windy weather. A loose poncho can pull away in a stiff wind. If you have a backpack on, that can cause billowing also. It’s good to have that adjustability.
Storage: This isn’t necessary by any means but it’s a nice touch. Some ponchos are sold with storage pouches. You can fold it up into a tiny package like a dry bag and keep it on your belt or in your backpack when not in use. This is also helpful if it’s still wet. That way it won’t get the rest of your gear wet when you put it away. Remember, you want to be drying your poncho before you store it if you can. That way you’ll avoid mold and mildew that forms in water.
The Bottom Line
The best rain poncho depends on how an why you need a poncho in the first place. Keep that in mind and be prepared for any kind of weather. Pack light if necessary but go for durability if you’re going to be hiking hard.
My grandfather first took me fishing when I was too young to actually hold up a rod on my own. As an avid camper, hiker, and nature enthusiast I'm always looking for a new adventure.