waterproof rain poncho

Ready for the Outdoors - The 14 Best Rain Ponchos for Backpacking

Last Update: 11 June 2022

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The 13 Best Lightweight Rain Ponchos

Backpacking to the wondrous outdoors is one of the most rewarding escapes you can get from the busy urban life. You get to enjoy nature up-close even in the most remote of areas, however, backpacking does have its downsides.

Sudden downpour will be more likely to dampen your moods than anything else while backpacking. Luckily, rain ponchos exist and they are the perfect backpacking accessory for a couple of reasons:

We considered must-have features for a good quality rain poncho, industry standards and a bunch more elements to bring you the very best backpacking rain ponchos in the market today.

Below are our selections as well as an informative piece on what to look out for when shopping for this oh-so-important rain gear. But before then, here's a quick table that lists these top of the line backpacking rain ponchos, just in case you are in a hurry.

Image Name
Our Rating Check Price / Buy
Thermarest Honcho Poncho

Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho

Andake reusable rain poncho

Andake Reusable Rain Poncho

Foxelli lightweight waterproof hooded rain poncho –  emergency military raincoat for adult men and women – for hiking, camping, fishing

Foxelli Hooded Rain Poncho – Waterproof Military Raincoat

Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Nano Tarp Poncho

Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Nano Tarp Poncho

Terra Hiker Multifunctional Outdoor Poncho

Terra Hiker Multi functional Outdoor Poncho

Anyoo Lightweight Waterproof Rain Poncho

Anyoo Lightweight Waterproof Rain Poncho

TOAKS SaphiRose hooded rain poncho jacket

SaphiRose Hooded Rain Poncho Jacket

Charles River adult pacific rain poncho

Charles River Apparel Pacific Rain Poncho

SEAL3 heavy-duty pvc rain poncho

SEAL3 Heavy-Duty PVC Rain Poncho

Arcturus hooded nylon rain poncho - multipurpose

Arcturus Reusable Nylon Rain Poncho

GSI GLORYFIRE tactical rain poncho for camping, hiking, backpacking

GLORYFIRE Tactical Rain Poncho for Backpacking

M-Tac military style men's rain poncho for outdoors

M-Tac Military Army Ripstop Poncho for Men

Swagman Roll Poncho by Helikon-Tex

Swagman Tactical Roll Poncho by Helikon-Tex


Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Breathable Poncho

The Best Backpacking Rain Ponchos

1. Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho

Thermarest Honcho Poncho - Greenprint
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The poncho covers to about the knee for most people.The Honcho Poncho from Therm-a-Rest is available in five unique color styles; Olive, Tomato, Slate, Blue and Green print. The poncho is water-resistant and decent at keeping you nice and warm either as a draped-over poncho or as a blanket.

Its one-size-fits-all sizing is no coincidence as the poncho is essentially a wearable blanket with snap fasteners for quick transformations and fitting. For that reason, the Honcho Poncho is very roomy and will fit most body shapes and heights.

Packable and Feature-Rich

At 1.5 pounds, the Honcho Poncho is lightweight and comes with its own self-storing pouch for easy storage. When used as a poncho, the pouch doubles up as a front zippered pocket with side kangaroo pockets for warming your hands.

You can use the zippered pocket to store small items that won’t be as heavy as to sag your poncho at the front. The poncho packs away in a small compact package measuring about 17 inches long and 11 inches wide with 6 inches in height.

Its hoodie will protect your head and neck from the cooler temps. However, it has no cinch cord to tighten it up around the head and neck thus may not be very effective at heat retention or keeping out the cold.

That said, the hood is quite huge and can be used over beanies, hats or other hoods.

Sporting a 20-denier ripstop polyester outer shell and a 20-denier polyester lining, the Honcho Poncho is considerably resistant to tears and rips. Its fill material, making up about 0.6 pounds of its overall weight, is made of the company’s proprietary eraLoft polyester hollow fiber and provides adequate warmth to weight ratio whereas.

However, its large size and minimal fasteners leave parts of your arms and sides exposed to the cold. So, you may want to wear a jacket or a long-sleeve layer underneath for the best protection against cold, rainwater and wind.


With this unit, you’re getting a blanket and a poncho at a relatively affordable price. The press studs on its lining make for sizeable armholes allowing for quick transitions between the two functionalities.

Use it as a lap blanket, a sleeping blanket, or a poncho with the sides wrapped around your body for an extra layer of warmth.

Its compressible and packable nature means you can take it to any outdoor activity – backpacking, traveling, nature walks, you name it!

Frankly speaking, the oversize style of the poncho will be unflattering for most people. Shorter people may find it hard to move around in the poncho and taking bathroom breaks may require you to remove it altogether.

Our Verdict

Despite coming from one of the leading makers of outdoor sleeping systems, the Honcho Poncho is a basic dual-purpose blanket.

Sure, you’ll enjoy it as a passable blanket but as a poncho, it needs to be further refined to offer improved weather protection and fitting. Else, it will protect you from light showers and act as an extra layer of warmth.

2. Andake Reusable Rain Poncho

Andake ultra lightweight hiking rain poncho
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First off, we have the stylish yet functional rain poncho from Andake, it has a noticeable cap crown in the hood and performs quite well with regards to waterproofing. This unisex adult rain poncho will shield you from even the heaviest downpours.

Great Waterproofing

The seams on this poncho are all sealed-up and the main material is known for its water-resistance and fair breathability qualities. The Andake rain poncho has waterproofing rate of 8000mm and its air permeability is fairly decent for rain gear.

Simply put, this all means that the poncho will keep you dry for long periods in heavy rains without compromising on comfort.

High-quality Build

Aside from the durable and deluxe 210T polyester taffeta material, you also get functional extras such as; an elastic drawstring with spring-loaded stoppers, sleeve buttons, a waterproof zippered pocket, reflective film at the front and back and so much more.

You will get great value for your money as the Andake reusable poncho can also be used as a ground mat, rainfly or sunshade tarp. It will cover a large area of your body and the back is long enough to protect your backpack from rain.

The poncho is also very durable owing to the polyester material and the taffeta weaving allows for a comfy, smooth fit. The 210Tex rating on the polyester means that 9000 meters of polyester would weigh 210 grams, which further means that it is finer and cozy.

The material also allows it to dry more quickly so you don’t have to carry or pack away wet gear when the rain subsides.

Our Verdict

The Andake Reusable rain poncho is easy to recommend even to the avid camper as it’s durable, functional and one of the highest-rated ponchos in the market today. It’s massive enough to keep you dry even in heavy rain and it comes with many nifty features for even better performance and value for money.

3. Foxelli Hooded Rain Poncho

Foxelli hooded Multi-functional poncho
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This military-style poncho has the right mix of high-quality materials and functionality to make it the go-to rain gear for every outdoor activity. Whether heading out for a backpacking trip, outdoor music festival, fishing trip or camping, make sure you stay dry and comfortable with the Foxelli rain poncho.

It is available in a starry design among other stylish and subtle colors.

Great Weather Protection

Made of 210Tex polyester that has been waterproofed with a 3000mm polyurethane coating, this poncho provides the best cover in heavy rain and strong winds. The material is water-resistant and tear-resistant so you can get the most life out of the poncho.

Additionally, its large size of 95 inches in length and 55 inches in width will be more than enough to cover you and a 50L backpack without restricting mobility.

The poncho is also very lightweight and can be easily carried in the included compact storage bag.


It can protect you from other outdoor elements when used as a sunshade, tent tarp, sleeping bag cover or even as a camping blanket. The included steel grommets allow for quick form transitions and easy fastening.

The hood has a cap for extra protection and features a drawstring for quick and easy adjustments of fit. You will also sport Velcro fasteners on the sides that allow for a comfortable fit and try to face off windy conditions.

Our Verdict

The Foxelli Hooded rain poncho is an excellent choice of rain gear for all your outdoorsy activities and will even double up as an emergency camping blanket, sleeping bag cover, tent tarp and even a groundsheet.

Also, the interesting choice of colors will have you looking stylish and unique in your band of avid campers and backpackers. Of course, if you are dissatisfied with the product you can always return it within 120 days, no questions asked.

4. Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Poncho

Sea to Summit Nano-Sil tarp poncho
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Made of 15 denier-rated nylon fabric, the Ultra-SIL poncho is one of the most lightweight rain ponchos in our top picks. It is the best choice for ultralight backpacking and it does just as well for most outdoor escapades.

Excellent Weather Protection

It provides decent coverage, about 57 inches at the front and an impressive 104 inches at the back meaning your large backpack will be well-shielded from the rain. Also, water has no way of seeping in through the seams as they are all tape-sealed and double-stitched.

The siliconized nylon ensures that the poncho won’t soak on the exterior while the polyurethane inner coating ensures some waterproofing.

Loaded with Extra Features

The design allows for it to be easily converted to an A-frame tent that can be used as a sunshade or a shelter. Also, the sides snap together and the 3-panel construction of the hood allows for even more weather protection.

Our Verdict

Sea to Summit’s Ultra-SIL rain poncho is the most lightweight yet protective rain gear that you will find today. It’s made of durable, waterproof material that will dry off quickly and that will keep you dry when it’s raining.

However, the feathery weight is at the expense of a couple of other things, for instance you can expect the poncho to snag on branches easily.

5. Terra Hiker Rain Poncho

Terra Hiker Waterproof Rain Poncho
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Another lightweight option on our list is the Terra Hiker rain poncho, which only weighs 10.9 ounces and is made of 210Tex polyester fabric.

The fabric is modestly-rated at 3000mm for waterproofing that will suffice in protecting you from bad weather. The poncho undergoes a caulking treatment in the production line to prevent any seepage of water.

The winds can be annoying when you’re wearing a lightweight poncho, that’s why the Terra Hiker uses Velcro cuffs to close away any vulnerable parts.

Like so many of our picks, this poncho will cover most of your body and will even accommodate spacious room at the back for your backpack. Additionally, the poncho is durable and sturdy enough for use as tent tarp or even ground mat.

Highly Versatile

The sealed-off seams further improve the poncho’s waterproofing ability and the hood has a slight overhang to keep rain droplets off your face. That said, you can also use this product as a ground mat for all manners of outdoorsy activities such as fishing, picnicking, hiking and so much more.

The thickened eyelets enhance longevity and are handy for fastening to tent pegs or stakes that way you can also use the rain poncho as a shelter or sunshade.

Our Verdict

Yet another multipurpose rain poncho with useful features and excellent waterproofing abilities, the Terra Hiker packs away into a lightweight and compact bundle. It has seamless construction and will perform without any hiccups.

Well, not exactly.

If you’re taller than six feet three inches it might not cover your knees sufficiently and if you have a short, small stature then you may suffer from the poncho’s loose-fitting. Also, the chemical odor coming from the product can be off-putting to some people.

6. Anyoo Waterproof Rain Poncho

Anyoo waterproof backpacking rain poncho foldable camping
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Aside from the many different colors and styles this poncho comes in, the Anyoo rain poncho is well-built to ensure you stay nice and dry. It’s a reusable poncho that is made of heavy-duty 210Tex nylon with PVC coating.

The poncho comes in a drawstring storage bag for enhanced portability and storage. It weighs only 9 ounces and has a one-size-fits-all fitting.

Functional Construction

The Anyoo rain poncho is rugged and resistant to tearing and abrasion thanks to its PVC-coated nylon fabric. The poncho is rated at 3000mm for waterproofing which means that you will be well protected from the rain.

Its one-piece construction and well-glued overlock help enhance waterproofing and water repellency even further.

The hood has a drawcord and together with its hook and loop fasteners will have you a custom fit over your face and head every time. The armholes and sides fit loosely to allow proper ventilation so you won’t be all sweaty underneath.


The Anyoo ponchos offer a large coverage enough to protect you and your backpack from getting wet without restricting movement. Also, the hood and sides can be adjusted using a drawstring and fasteners respectively.

You can use it as a poncho or as shelter, ground tarp or sleeping bag cover thanks to the included eyelets located along the hem as well as the hook & loop fasteners.

Our Verdict

A reusable rain poncho for all genders and with all the features to guarantee you value for money; the Anyoo rain poncho is the perfect emergency rain gear for all outdoor enthusiasts. However, you may wear a cap under the hood, to keep it out of your line of vision.

7. SaphiRose Rain Poncho Jacket

SaphiRose hooded rain poncho jacket
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The rain poncho has a width of 57.4inches and front length drops down to 36.2inches while the back length goes a few inches longer to 40.5 inches. It will adequately cover anyone with a small-medium backpack from heavy rain with no problem.

Waterproof and Windproof

It has a zipper system at the front and snap-buttons on the sides for a comfortable fit and optimal weather protection. The seams are all sealed off so you can stay nice and dry in heavy rains and windy conditions.

The use of 100% polyester fabric in its construction has benefits such as quick-drying, easy maintenance, very water-resistant, and fairly tough against tearing. The poncho has PU coat waterproofing rated at 3000mm.

The loose sleeve design allows for better coverage and freedom of movement while the included buckle helps keep the poncho from flapping in strong winds.


The SaphiRose rain poncho is super lightweight at only 9.6 ounces and comes with a matching color carrying pouch for maximum portability and ease of storage. The poncho doesn’t skimp comfort or style either as the fabric feels soft to touch or it is in itself a fashion piece for most people.

Our Verdict

The Saphi Rose rain poncho has a large size that may make it feel a little bulky to wear, but you can be assured of its effectiveness in keeping out moisture. It’s also very stylish and the zipper system makes it easier to put on and take off.

8. Charles River Apparel Men's Pacific Rain Poncho

Charles River Apparel adult Pacific rain poncho
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Even though rain ponchos are not known for their fashion sense, the Pacific Rain Poncho from Charles River Apparel looks stunning enough to make it to a runway. You will be spoilt for choice on the many colors the poncho comes in and the rain protection won’t disappoint either.

Comfy and Practical

The poncho is uniquely designed to offer weather protection as well as comfort.

You get a generously-sized fabric that measures 80 inches by 52 inches, which is enough to cover slightly past your knees if you’re 5ft 7in tall. The fabric is made of New Englander polyurethane for assured strength and waterproofing and the seams are heat-sealed to keep out moisture.

There are side snaps under the arm area and a drawstring in the hood for quick adjustments and weather protection. After use, you can fold the poncho back into the included matching storage pouch for a lightweight, compact bundle that is easy to carry.

Overall, the Pacific poncho is lightweight despite it being durable, waterproof, windproof and insulative making it a must-have item for any camper or backpacker.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for a stylish yet purposeful rain poncho that is simply that, then the Pacific line from Charles River has a lot to offer. The manufacturer goes as far as to offer the ponchos in specific sizes so you can get a custom fit.

The Pacific rain poncho does have enticing gimmicks like conversion into a tarp or makeshift tent. Instead, it offers high-quality weather protection all without forgoing aesthetics and comfort.

9. Seal3 Rain Poncho

SEAL3 PVC Waterproof rain poncho
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Available in seven nature-friendly colors, the Seal3 has a fit-all sizing and can be worn by anyone over four feet tall. It can be used for other uses such as a backup tent, tarp and camping mat for your tactical, hunting or fishing activities.

Good Quality Construction

The poncho is made sleeveless to allow air circulation and mobility and you won’t have a hard time getting your head through the opening as the hood is very spacious. It’s also long at the front and back for optimal rain coverage.

The neckline is zippered and the hood has adjustable drawstrings for even more custom fits and accessibility. There’s also a slight extrusion on the hood to protect your face from getting wet.

Durability is not overlooked as the Seal3 rain poncho features a ripstop 190Tex taffeta construct that has been further waterproofed with two-layered PVC. The grommets are made of sturdy metal to allow for multi-use over long periods.

Relatively Large Rain Coverage

The poncho has a surface area of 7 feet by 4.5 feet when unfolded as a tarp and 86 inches in length by 56 inches wide when used as a regular poncho. With this in your camping gear, you won’t have to worry about facing sudden downpours or bad weather.

Our Verdict

Heavy-duty, waterproofed and lightweight are the main aspects that the Seal3 shines. Additionally, the manufacturer has a friendly no-questions-asked guarantee policy that will come in handy if you’re not satisfied with the product.

Consider the Seal3 rain poncho if you’re looking for lightweight rain gear that keeps you dry and has multi-use functionality.

10. Arcturus Reusable Rain Poncho

Arcturus Reusable Rain Poncho - Camo
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Next up, we have the Arcturus, a rain poncho that scored well in the weight and portability aspects. The poncho is reusable and extra strong owing to its 210Tex ripstop taffeta construct that is further waterproofed with two thin layers of polyurethane coating.

The hood is very roomy so you won’t struggle to cover your head during rain plus, it offers rain coverage very generously. The poncho measures 54 inches wide and 48 inches long, which can amply cover you slightly past the knees.

Usable as a Tarp or Shelter

Whether for emergencies or just taking a quick nap, the Arcturus rain poncho can double up as sunshade, groundsheet or makeshift tent in a matter of minutes. You can improvise the 96 inches by 54 inches surface area as you want.

The manufacturer also jokes that it can be used as a scarecrow. Why not, right?

The included steel grommets at the corners of the poncho make do for quick tie-downs and fasteners.

Our Verdict

While the Arcturus is generously sized and waterproofed at the front and back, it fails at being breathable and it may not be ideal for anyone of average height or shorter. Regardless, it is durable, easy to store away and quick to dry off and you can use it for more purposes other than as a rain poncho.

11. Gloryfire Tactical Poncho

Glopryfire Tactical Backpacking Poncho
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Boasting of 10000mm waterproof rating and soft-shell fabric construction, you will want the Gloryfire poncho to be your first line of defense against the sudden downpour.

It’s made by a US company and comes with a 3-year warranty cover so you can take it with you for all your outdoor activities without worry.

The Best Build Yet

Every component on the Gloryfire poncho feels well thought-out and delivers optimal functionality without any compromises. First off, it has a one-size-fits-all fitting and it features side snaps to allow closing of the edges during windy and severe weather.

Waterproofing is taken care of by the 10000mm WP-rated polyester/spandex shelling and the seams are fully sealed-off for maximum effectiveness. Breathability and more so the air permeability is rated at 6000gsm which ensures that you’re comfy and dry underneath.

There’s also a nano-coating surface on the poncho that will rinse more than fifty times ensuring the poncho’s durability and water repellency stretches out for longer.

The neckline design and double brims in the hoodie also ensure that rainwater will just slip off the hood leaving your face/head dry and protected. It also features a bunch of fasteners, zippers and snaps for a more custom fit.


You can also use the tactical poncho for other purposes such as; a makeshift tent, emergency sleeping bag, sunshade tarp or ground mat. It offers a remarkable 79.18 inches by 51.18 inches worth of real estate to work with.

When you’re all done using the poncho, it can be stuffed back into its front pocket for convenient portability and storage.

Our Verdict

The Gloryfire Tactical Poncho makes some bold claims about waterproofing and water resistance, of which to be fair delivers quite well. You will get adequate coverage in heavy rain and you may also use the poncho in multiple ways.

It’s heavy-duty, well-made and best suited for heavy downpours else it would be an overkill for light showers and drizzling conditions.

12. M-Tac Poncho

M-Tac military raincoat poncho
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Tailored to the needs of servicemen, this multifunctional rain gear is exactly what you need for all your camping, hiking, fishing and backpacking activities. It has an unfolded size of 87 inches in length by 57 inches in width, which is enough to keep you and your backpack dry in heavy rain.

Good Quality Build

The M-Tac features a ripstop nylon fabric, which is the recommended option for heavy-duty apparels like military uniforms. So, you can be assured of top performance and longevity with this product.

It also comes with a nylon carrying bag for easy portability and storage.

To enhance multi-usage of the item, the poncho has drawcords, metal grommets, cuff buttons, and a hoodie. It can be used as a regular hooded rain poncho or as a ground tarp, sunshade or shelter thanks to the corded eyelets on its edges.

Our Verdict

The M-Tac rain poncho has a distinct military-style design and comes as advertised; simple and functional. It will provide the needed shielding from rain or drizzle and the cordage will allow you to adjust its volume as needed.

Unlike most ponchos, its hood is spacious enough to accommodate a helmet and overall you will get a lot of uses for it.

13. Helikon-Tex Swagman Roll Poncho

Helikon-Tex Swagman Roll Poncho
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The Swagman Roll is not technically a rain poncho but instead can be used with one as a liner for warmth and extra insulation. It can also serve as a sleeping bag, hammock liner/quilt, emergency jacket and so on.

Rugged Construction

The nylon fabric in this product is fused with the industry-leading Climashield Apex insulation that will ensure you stay warm in chilly or wet weather. In true Helikon-Tex-esque fashion, you can expect high-quality materials and top-notch craftsmanship in the Swagman Roll.

The hood features a shock cord for easy fit adjustments and there’s a zippered pocket in the chest area to place items and a Velcro-ed tab to tuck away the hood. The compartment also acts as the self-pack so you can store it away more efficiently.

There’s also a nano-coating surface on the poncho that will rinse more than fifty times ensuring the poncho’s durability and water repellency stretches out for longer.

You will also notice lots of shock cords, bar tack sewn-in Cordura squares, and buckles with elastic webbing to help you fit the poncho liner as snuggly as possible close to your body.

Multi-functional Accessory

As a poncho liner, the Swagman USGI poncho-ready with four toggles well-placed at the corners to help align the rain poncho with the liner. A two-way zipper system runs along the edges of the roll and can be closed for use as a sleeping bag or sleeping bag liner.

Additionally, you may use it as a blanket, hammock under-quilt, emergency jacket and so much more.

Our Verdict

The Swagman Roll from Helikon-Tex pays homage to the grit of traveling workmen back in the day who used to carry all their belongings in a bedroll in search for work. The Swagman Roll focuses on making the product comfy and warm even for the chilliest of nights.

Even though you will need a rain poncho to use over it, the Swagman Roll is a worthy accessory to have for an awesome experience outdoors.

14. Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Poncho

Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Waterproof Breathable Poncho
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The Ultra-Lite 2 rain poncho completes the Frogg Toggs’ trendy line of ultra-light rain gear perfect for backpacking or any other outdoor activities. The poncho comes in a variety of colors namely; blue, dark green, khaki, and carbon black.

Very Lightweight and Waterproof

The water-resistant polypropylene materials make the poncho lightweight and still waterproof while the welded seams enhance the waterproofing even further. Although it’s non-woven, the material allows for some degree of breathability.


The poncho has a one-size-fits-all style and included side snaps to allow for a secure custom fit for any body size or shape. The snaps also help keep the poncho close to your body thus preventing the fabric from flapping in strong winds.

It’s lightweight to pack or move around with and it comes with a storage bag for extra convenience and portability. You will also have an easy time taking the poncho on and off due to its sizing and spacious hoodie.

The drawstring and slight overhang on the hoodie will keep any stray droplets out leaving you nice and dry.

Our Verdict

The perfect option for reusable emergency rain gear, the Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 rain poncho is super lightweight and ready to shield you from any sudden downpour. It features the basic must-haves for a decent quality rain poncho is priced at a friendly rate.

Comparison Table for the Best Waterproof Backpacking Ponchos

Poncho Name Material Weight Unfolded Dimensions Packed Dimensions
Andake Reusable Rain Poncho Polyester-weaved PU 11.5 oz 55.91" × 85.83" 9.06" × 9.84" × 0.1"
Foxelli Hooded Rain Poncho Polyester 11.0 oz 95.0" × 55.0" 9.0" × 3.5" × 3.5"
Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Poncho Sil-nylon w/ Polyurethane 8.1 oz 57" × 104" 11.8" × 11.2" × 1.2"
Terra Hiker Rain Poncho Polyester 10.9 oz 55.1" × 43.3" 8.0" × 3.0" × 2.0"
Anyoo Waterproof Rain Poncho Polyester 9.0 oz 86" × 55" 9.0" × 3.0" × 3.0"
SaphiRose Rain Poncho Jacket Polyester 8.1 oz 41.3" × 57.1" 9.8" × 6.0"
Charles River Apparel Adult Pacific Rain Poncho Polyurethane 4.57 oz 52.0" × 80.0" 13" x 8" x 1.2"
SEAL3 Rain Poncho Taffeta w/ Polyvinyl chloride 19.2 oz 56.0" × 43.0" 10.0" × 9.0" × 2.0"
Arcturus Reusable Rain Poncho Taffeta w/ Polyurethane 11.0 oz 54.0" × 48.0" 8.0" × 4.0"
Gloryfire Tactical Poncho Polyester w/ Spandex 20.0 oz 79.5" x 53.5" 13" x 11.2" x 2.2"
M-Tac Military Poncho Nylon 14.7 oz 83.0" × 57.0" 8.4" x 5.9" x 2.7"
Helikon-Tex Swagman Roll Poncho Nylon 26.24 oz 57.04" × 78.74" 5.5" x 8.66"
Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Polypropylene 9.0 oz 54.0" × 40" 9.2" × 7.5" × 3.0"

NOTE: All dimensions are approximate. For folded dimensions with only two measurements, the object is cylindrical (diameter by height).

What to Look Out for When Shopping for Rain Ponchos

hiking rain ponchos

Weight and Size

Limited storage space, mobility and overall portability of items are some of the key elements most backpackers will consider when picking out items to pack.

A rain poncho worth its salt will be light enough to carry and compact enough to pack after all you will only need a rain poncho when it’s drizzling or raining. Most reusable rain ponchos will weigh less than 20 ounces while disposable versions will be even lighter.

Additionally, if you’re a die-hard backpacker then it will be more practical to get a slightly heavier rain poncho with heavy-duty coating.

That said, you will also need rain gear that covers you up generously to keep you from getting wet. Most manufacturers offer one-size-fits-all sizing for adults and the ponchos typically offer a loose fit.

If it goes way past your knees then it’s probably fine, else further than that will have you forgoing mobility and storage issues. Longer sleeves on the poncho will offer better coverage while shorter ones will enhance mobility.


Pay close attention to the material used in making the poncho as it determines the overall effectiveness of the product. Obviously, you will need a waterproof material that can shelter you from the weather.

The most commonly used materials include polyurethane (PU), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nylon, and polyester. In high-end models, you can expect to find Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) material. They all offer excellent protection from rain and will mostly be coated or layered with other materials for extra comfort and waterproofing.

PU-coated nylon, for instance, is strong and comfy to wear but lacks preferred breathability properties. Consider going for rain ponchos with fabric exteriors and waterproofing inner liners as they offer optimal endurance.

On waterproofing, you may also want to check whether the seams are taped or welded as well as the waterproofing rating if available. The waterproofing rating will typically range from 3000mm to 5000mm with the higher rating being better.

Ripstop weaving on the materials is a big plus on durability of the poncho as it prevents it from tearing against brushes and branches.

Types of Rain Ponchos

hikers in different types of rain ponchos

You have two main choices; reusable vs. disposable rain ponchos. Reusable ponchos are a no-brainer pick for environmentalists as well as for anyone looking to save a buck or two. Plus, reusable ponchos are more durable and more practical for hiking and backpacking.

Disposable options are cheaper, very lightweight and portable. They suit anyone who doesn’t backpack too often or you who is extremely limited in storage space as you can dispose of it when done.

Some manufacturers also make biodegradable ponchos but they can be very rare to find and equally expensive to purchase. Keep in mind that reusable and disposable options are both made of some sort of plastic so, dispose of responsibly.

Essential Features

You will want to go for rain ponchos that are longer, spacious at the back to cover your backpack, and with toned-down colors to not scare away wildlife. Camouflage and military green styles should work just fine.

Also, for warmer climates, you may go for ponchos with sides that can be opened using snaps or fasteners for better ventilation. Those with closed sides will be perfect for rainy and colder conditions.

To get the most out of your rain poncho, you may also look for extra features such as;

Rain Ponchos Versus Other Backpacking Rain Gear

poncho versus rain jacket

Apart from ensuring that your trip is not cut short due to rain, backpacking rain gear protects you and your clothes from the elements. Some good options to consider when it comes to hiking rain gear include rain ponchos, rain jackets, rain hats, and rain pants. Going for either will mostly be dependent on the season you hike in.

Hiking in extreme weather like during winter demands layers and layers of insulation aside from heavy-duty rain gear.

Ponchos are preferred for their loose fit, versatility and feathery weight. The loose fitting allows for ventilation; however, this also makes them problematic to handle in strong winds. That said, rain ponchos are your go-to gear for heavy summer rains, rain showers, and emergencies.

They are also very affordable when compared to other backpacking rain gear.

Rain jackets cling closer to the body, offer total coverage and won’t snag on branches and bushes like some ponchos. They are more durable than ponchos and best suited for people who climb, hike or backpack in the rain constantly.

However, rain jackets/coats provide poor ventilation and can be overly expensive than ponchos.

Other types of rain gear such as rain hats and rain pants help complement rain ponchos and jackets. The pants cover the boot’s opening and the hats keep rain droplets away from your face and glasses.

You may also want to consider getting some trekking poles and good-quality hiking shoes and boots for better protection against the weather.


Rain ponchos are the most versatile and practical of all travel items. They offer the most utility without using up too much space or compromising mobility.

You can find heavy-duty ponchos for your intense hikes in the backcountry just as easy as you will your feather-light variants for your day hiking and light trails. All-in-all rain ponchos are easy to clean, carry, pack and very effective in shielding you against the sudden downpour.

Written By Daniel Msanii

When he's not camping or adventuring the outdoors, you'll find him grinding hard on his keyboard to put up some super-awesome content on campingmaniacs.com. Starting off on camping escapades back in 2011, he has grown fond of the activity over the years. His exposure to a myriad of different camping terrains, gear and the outdoor atmosphere has hitherto changed his perception of the entire outdoor life. He enjoys sharing the experiences of his adventures and gear reviews with the awesome camping community on this platform. Read more about us.


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