If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best rain poncho is, we recommend the Outdoor Products Multipurpose Poncho.
Are you tired of constantly getting caught in unexpected downpours and ending up drenched like a soggy sponge? It’s the risk we all run as outdoor enthusiasts, and something we have to cope with, regardless of how unpleasant it might be.
But why cope when you can stay dry while confidently strutting through the rain? It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fashion-forward attire, but trust me, the best rain poncho will quickly become your new best friend. It’s time to say goodbye to bulky umbrellas and heavy rain jackets, and hello to a sleek, practical solution that will pack away into a tiny container.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best rain ponchos:
- Outdoor Products Multipurpose Poncho – Best Overall
- Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Tarp Poncho – Best for Backpacking
- Onewind Silnylon Poncho – Best Bang for Your Buck
- Redcamp Waterproof Rain Poncho – Best Budget Friendly Rain Poncho
- OneTigris Tentsformer Poncho – Best Poncho for Making Shelter
- Helikon-Tex Swagman Roll Poncho – Most Versatile Rain Poncho
- Pteromy Rain Poncho – Best Rain Poncho for Kids
Best Rain Ponchos – Reviewed
Affordable and surprisingly durable, the Outdoor Products rain poncho has a nice amount of durability, checking off most of the boxes we look for, which makes this one the best overall.
Looking for a rain poncho that you can put through the paces? The Outdoor Products poncho might be the one for you, as it boasts a surprising amount of durability despite the relatively lightweight material. If you’ve spent any time around cheap Home Depot ponchos, you know that the flimsy plastic material will barely last two uses before tears start forming. Not so with Outdoor Product’s poncho – the polyester covering should be able to last you at least a year, if not more, even when exposed to the rigors of extreme hiking and backpacking.
This particular poncho comes in a decent size, though it’s not big enough to cover both you and a 40+ liter backpack. If you’re looking for something like that, I’d recommend checking out the next product in this review: the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano poncho. That being said, not all of you need a poncho that you can backpack in. Sometimes you just need a lightweight covering to protect yourself during half or full day hikes or while you’re walking the dog. If that sounds like you, the Outdoor Products rain poncho is more than sufficient to meet your needs.
The snaps are somewhat flimsy, but they are rust-resistant and work well enough. On top of that, it also comes with a convenient carry case, which allows you to pack away the poncho into a nice little bundle when you aren’t using it.
– Decent weight
– Comes with a carry case
– Blocks the rain well
– Snaps are a little flimsy
Best for Backpacking
Large and lightweight, the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sill Nano poncho is a backpacker’s best friend, sporting an oversized design that will easily cover you and your pack, regardless of size.
It’s big and it’s expensive, but the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano poncho is exactly what you want to have on an extended backpacking trip. Large enough to protect you and whatever pack is on your back, the Nano is the perfect choice for all kinds of adventurers.
If any of you are familiar with Sea to Summit, you know that they’re one of the top brands in the outdoor world. Camping gear is their forte, but they’ve brought their high-quality, lightweight standard into the realm of ponchos as well. Although, that’s not to say that the Nano can’t be used for camping purposes either.
In fact, the Nano is a 4-in-1 poncho, with the ability to act as a groundsheet and a makeshift shelter, in addition to its role as a raincoat and backpack cover. As long as you have a set of trekking poles, you can easily prop up the poncho to create a makeshift roof for your sleeping system. It’s a nice option for ultralight backpackers and cowboy campers who want to keep their pack weight low without giving up on shelter altogether.
And, at 8.15 ounces, it’s one of the lightest rain ponchos that you’ll find, especially when you consider how big it is. However, for all of these amazing features, you will find yourself paying a hefty price. Without a doubt, the Sea to Summit Nano is one of the most expensive ponchos on the market, so it’s not a budget friendly option. However, if you have the finances for it, you won’t find a better trail companion than this.
– Covers you and your pack
– Can act as a groundsheet and shelter
– Very water repellent
Best Bang for Your Buck
Reasonably priced with many of the features found in the Sea to Summit Nano, the Onewind poncho gives you the best bang for your buck if you’re looking for a versatile option that won’t break the bank.
Another solid, lightweight option, the Onewind poncho is pretty similar to the Nano mentioned above. In fact, for the most part, you can practically think of the Onewind poncho as a much more budget friendly version of the Sea to Summit Nano. Well, with a few cut corners, that is.
Overall, the two of them are practically the same weight, they can both be converted into makeshift shelters, and they’re made out of similar materials. However, while the Nano is big enough to cover you and a backpack, you’ll be lucky to fit the Onewind poncho over yourself and a tiny rucksack. But hey, it’s not like every poncho needs to be backpack friendly, especially since many of you probably won’t even be using it for that purpose.
The material itself is incredibly waterproof, and should have no trouble standing up against several hours of torrential rain. Of course, I also like how you can transform it into a makeshift shelter, and you could probably get away with using it as a groundsheet as well. When you consider that all of those features come in such a budget friendly package, what’s not to like?
Well, a couple of things. For starters, the head hole and hood are a bit small, though it’s not impossible to squeeze through. I also wouldn’t recommend using it with long sleeves, unless you want the fabric around your forearms to get soaked. But if you can overlook those points, this is definitely a poncho deserving of the title “best bang for your buck.”
– Great water resistance
– Can be used as a makeshift shelter
– Head hole and hood are a bit small
Best Budget Friendly Rain Poncho
Very affordable, the Redcamp poncho is just what you need for a variety of outdoor tasks – whether you’re hiking, walking your dog, or running to your car after work, this is the one for you.
Unbelievably cheap, the Redcamp poncho really steals the show as the best budget friendly rain poncho. But what’s even more unbelievable is how robust and well made this product is, despite the reduced price tag. I’m pretty sure Redcamp could double or triple the cost of this poncho, and very few people would find a reason to complain.
Spacious and lightweight, it’s easy to slip on and off when you need it, and it packs down into a tiny container as well. It’s definitely the sort of poncho you could toss in your backpack for an “in case of emergency” scenario, whether that’s your backpacking pack, your hiking daypack, or the rucksack you bring to work.
The poncho itself is large enough for a big guy like me (with plenty of room to spare) and should fall to the space between your mid-thigh and knee, depending on how tall you are. When you’re not using it as a jacket, you can put it on the ground to be used as a tarp or camping mat. The durability of the material is somewhat questionable, as it’s just regular polyester, without any ripstop capability. For that reason alone, I might shy away from using this poncho as a ground mat, but it should hold up well as a poncho.
– Very affordable
– Good weight
– Packs down well
– Fairly spacious
– Durability is a bit questionable
Best Poncho for Making Shelter
Want a poncho that can act as a bona fide tent in a pinch? The OneTigris Tensformer is going to be your best bet, coming with its own set up tent stakes and guylines to make sure you’re never caught unprepared.
I’m not going to lie, I find the name “Tentsformer” to be a little cheesy, especially for a rain poncho. But when it comes down to execution, OneTigris certainly knew what they were doing.
As the name implies, this is an item that can transform into a variety of different shapes, but the “poncho” and “tent” versions are the ones you’ll probably use the most. As weird as it is to say, I feel like the Tentsformer is more of a tent that can be worn as a poncho, instead of a poncho that can be turned into a tent. It actually comes with its own guylines and tent stakes, which means all you need to do is find a decently sized trekking pole or tree branch to prop up the front.
All that to say, if you fancy yourself a survivalist, or you just want to be prepared for as many scenarios as possible, this tent…er…poncho might just be the right fit for you. It does run a bit large, which is perfect for taller hikers or for those of you who plan to carry a small backpack that you want to keep sheltered from the rain as well. Just keep in mind that there isn’t that much extra room, so make sure your backpack is no bigger than a hydration pack or a small daypack.
– Makes a great shelter
– Decent waterproofing
– Good size
– Nice price for what you get
– Needs more tent stakes
– Quality is good, but not great
Most Versatile Rain Poncho
One of the more heavy-duty poncho options, the Helikon-Tex Swagman poncho is ideal for backcountry survivalists and hunters who want to stay warm and dry at the same time.
The most expensive product in this review, I really see the Helikon-Tex Swagman poncho as a niche product. For most of you, this is going to be complete overkill, but I know there are some survivalists and extreme outdoor enthusiasts who would love to have something this hardcore and dependable in their toolkit.
As one of the most versatile ponchos out there, the Swagman gives you the flexibility to switch between a poncho, a sleeping bag, a sleeping bag liner, an emergency jacket, a hammock quilt, and a blanket. Though the material itself is just a thin layer of waterproof nylon, it’s lined with a warm, insulating layer to help take the bite out of those chilly alpine mornings. Hunters and off-season campers, don’t let the high price point scare you away – this is a poncho/bedroll that you won’t regret giving a chance.
The weight is a bit high on this one, but that’s to be expected when you consider its versatility. And to be honest, 1.64 pounds is incredibly lightweight if you’re planning to use it in place of an underquilt for your hammock. While the durability is slightly disappointing, you won’t have any trouble with it as long as you aren’t excessively rough on the material. The waterproofing is very effective and reliable as well, and even if the poncho does happen to get soaked through, it’ll dry off within a matter of minutes.
– Very versatile
– Good waterproofing
– Decent weight for what you get
– Quick drying
Best Rain Poncho for Kids
The cheapest of them all, the Pteromy rain poncho is very water repellent and comes in a variety of colors, making it perfect for children and adults who want to stay dry in style.
It only seemed fitting that we should move from the most expensive poncho to the least expensive poncho to top off the list. Normally, I find that these cheap products land far beneath the quality standards that I hold for products that I recommend. But somehow, the Pteromy rain poncho actually does pretty well.
In terms of waterproofing, arguably the most important feature of any poncho, rain just beads on the surface of the polyester and rolls right off. Even after several hours in the rain, you’ll find that the poncho retains its waterproofing ability without becoming oversaturated. When you’re done with it, simply pull it over your head and let it air dry for a few minutes. It’ll be like it never even got wet in the first place!
It’s also one of the few rain poncho options that gives you a variety of colors to pick from, instead of leaving you with black, blue, or gray as your only choice. This is nice for kids, or for adults who don’t want to look like everyone else.
As you might expect from most ponchos at this point, the Ptermoy rain poncho can double as a tarp as well. Whether you want to hang it over a line or use it as a “picnic blanket,” the possibilities are nearly endless, though I would be careful regarding the durability of this product. It is quite budget friendly, which means some features aren’t going to be quite as durable as others.
– Very waterproof
– Can be used as a tarp
– Multiple color options
– Durability isn’t great
Best Rain Poncho – Buyer’s Guide
What is a Poncho?
A rain poncho is a vital gear item for any outdoor enthusiast, as it provides reliable protection from rain while allowing for comfortable movement. Made from durable materials like nylon or polyester, rain ponchos offer a lightweight and practical solution for staying dry in wet weather.
But while the weather protection is certainly nice to have, why would you opt for a poncho when you could just as easily wear a regular rain jacket? Well, considering its spacious design, a poncho can be easily worn over regular clothing or a backpack, ensuring full coverage. They also tend to come with a hood and snap buttons or velcro closures, which provide exceptional functionality and ease of use.
Rain ponchos are also a lot more packable and portable than your typical rain jacket. Sporting nothing more than a thin, waterproof exterior, you can often fold the poncho into a compact pouch, which is so much easier to carry than a bulky jacket. Some ponchos even come with their own carry case.
Rain ponchos are almost exclusively made from nylon and polyester, due to their excellent water resistance and lightweight nature. To go a step further, these materials are often coated with a waterproof layer or treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish, ensuring that water slides off the surface. Perfect for hikers, campers, and travelers, these fabrics provide reliable protection while being easy to pack and carry.
Some ponchos are made from more breathable fabrics, which helps with moisture-wicking and ensuring you don’t get soaked with sweat. This is contrary to how most ponchos used to be made a couple decades ago (you might remember how they used to feel like plastic sheets…because they were). These new fabrics allow air to circulate, working to prevent that unpleasant, clammy feeling.
The only problem is that breathable materials are more likely to let rain through after they’ve gotten saturated, even when they’re coated with a DWR finish. Which is to say, if you find yourself in a heavy rain shower, it’s likely that your poncho will be pretty useless after a couple of hours. Still, these occasions are relatively few and far between, so I’d still recommend going with a more breathable poncho when you can.
And that brings us to our next point: water resistance. At the end of the day, rain ponchos are useless if they can’t keep you dry, so this is one of those areas that you need to be satisfied with before you move onto any of the other points in our buyer’s guide.
Some definitely do it better than others. As we mentioned, there are a few ponchos that are truly waterproof, not even letting in the smallest drop of water. At the same time, these are the ponchos that don’t let moisture pass through from either direction – which is to say, your sweat is also stuck inside with you. In some regards, being trapped with your sweat isn’t much better than getting soaked with rain. I’ll leave it to you to make that call, though.
Conversely, breathable rain ponchos will let your sweat evaporate from your skin, keeping you dry. In light rainstorms, or heavy hitters that are here one moment and gone the next, this is exactly what you want to have. However, if you happen to be caught in a “several hours long” rain shower, the material will get oversaturated and lose its effectiveness.
Comfort is highly dependent on the material of your rain poncho. As we’ve mentioned, a breathable poncho is going to help keep your skin dry, unlike a completely waterproof poncho which will make your skin sticky with sweat.
But beyond that, you have to consider the fit of your poncho as well. Usually this isn’t a problem, as they all pretty much come oversized, so you can fit you backpack underneath as well. However, some do come with a much more fitted style, so you’ll have to be careful when shopping for one of these.
A good rain poncho should also have a spacious hood that not only keeps your head dry but allows you to see clearly as well. Look for options with adjustable hoods, whether they have drawstrings or brims, so you can keep the rain away from your face without compromising on comfort. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than a hood that blocks your vision and makes you stumble around like a blindfolded wanderer.
On one hand, you want a rain poncho that is lightweight and easy to carry, making it hassle-free to pack and transport. You don’t want it to add unnecessary weight to your load when you’re not wearing it. On the other hand, you also need a poncho that is substantial enough to shield you from the elements effectively. So at the end of the day, striking that delicate balance is going to be your primary goal.
The weight of a rain poncho primarily depends on the materials used during its construction. Ponchos made from lightweight fabrics like nylon or polyester tend to be lighter, making them convenient to carry in your bag or backpack. These lightweight options are a great choice if you value portability and ease of use.
However, it’s important to ensure that the lightweight poncho you choose doesn’t compromise on durability. While you want it to be easy to carry, you also need it to withstand the rigors of the outdoors. After all, you wouldn’t want your poncho to tear at the slightest touch of a branch or sharp object.
And that brings us to durability, our final point. Material plays a large role in the durability of a product – specifically, the denier of a fabric will tell you how tough it actually is. Denier is just a measurement that tells you the thickness of a thread, with a higher denier equating to a thicker thread.
Of course, you can’t forget about the closure as well. Solid zippers and/or snaps are crucial to consider when looking for a durable product, so make sure you do your research to find something that will hold up longer than a summer or two.
Why Trust US?
At Untamed Space, we’re passionate about helping you have the best camping experience possible. Our team of experts have experience camping and backpacking all over the world, allowing them to provide insightful and relevant content to guide you in your outdoor pursuits.
All of our reviews are based on a combination of firsthand experience, extensive research, and an analysis of customer feedback. We are an independent website and do not receive payments or incentives from manufacturers to promote their products, and we continuously update our content to provide new information based on product availability. Wherever you are in your journey, whatever gear you’re searching for, you can be sure to find unbiased and up-to-date reviews for all of your needs.
Can I wear a Rain Poncho Over My Backpack?
Yes, you can wear a rain poncho over your backpack. In fact, many rain ponchos are specifically designed to accommodate backpacks -just look for ponchos with a generous size and extra length at the back to provide ample coverage for both you and your gear. Some ponchos have specialized features like backpack straps or loops to secure the poncho in place and prevent it from slipping off. This way, you can keep yourself and your backpack dry during rainy weather.
What Features Should I Look for in a Rain Poncho?
When choosing a rain poncho, it’s important to consider several key features. Look for a poncho that is made from durable waterproof material, such as nylon or polyester with a waterproof coating. Ensure that it has sealed seams to prevent water from seeping in. Additionally, opt for a poncho with a generous size to provide ample coverage, and consider features like a hood with adjustable drawstrings, snap buttons or a zipper closure, and built-in pockets for convenience.
Can I Use a Rain Poncho as a Makeshift Shelter?
While rain ponchos are primarily designed for personal protection against rain, some ponchos can be used as makeshift shelters or ground covers in emergency situations. Look for ponchos with reinforced grommets or attachment points, as they can be easily transformed into a shelter with the help of ropes or cords. However, keep in mind that using a rain poncho in this way may compromise its integrity, so it’s advisable to have a dedicated shelter or ground cover for such purposes if possible.
Try as we might, weather manipulation (in the truest sense) remains outside of our reach. While it may look sunny in the morning, there’s no guarantee that a pop-up shower, or something more severe, will roll in as the day progresses. And when you’re out on the trail, the last thing you want to do is get soaking wet.
That being said, the Outdoor Products multipurpose poncho stands out as the best rain poncho on the market. Its exceptional durability and versatility make it a reliable companion for any outdoor enthusiast, regardless of how long you plan to stay outside. So, whether you’re an avid hiker or someone who enjoys the occasional outdoor adventure, investing in a high-quality rain poncho like this will undoubtedly enhance your experience and keep you dry when Mother Nature decides to pour.