Are you looking for a best rain poncho for travel, for hiking, for backpacking or maybe just for every day use?
Most people associate rain ponchos with bland-looking plastic tarps one would get for free at a live outdoor concert.
While it’s true that many of them are indeed nothing worth talking about, these days there are also tons of choices of fashionable and highly versatile rain ponchos, some of which are more than capable of replacing your traditional rain jacket.
Check out the following guide and top reviews to learn more about why you can comfortably make the switch to rain ponchos today.
Top 10 Best Rain Ponchos 2021 Comparison Chart
Below is a comparison chart of our picks for the best waterproof ponchos; which are mentioned in this article.
Click on the selected products to compare poncho prices.
You can then read my poncho reviews below.
Half length mens poncho for both wind and rain protection
Full length stylish poncho for women. Can fit a backpack.
Half length unisex hooded pullover poncho with side snaps.
Full length stylish batwing-style poncho for women.
Packable unisex poncho that is perfect for camping and hiking.
3-in-1 Unisex Poncho. Use it as a poncho, a sunshade or mat. Can fit a 60 L backpack.
Multi-use unisex poncho. Use as poncho, tarp, mat or sleeping bag cover.
Full-length unisex poncho that can fit a 50 L backpack. Use as poncho, tarp, mat and sleeping bag cover.
100% Rip-stop waterproof polyester poncho.
Extra large hood and extra long length. Camo-style poncho.
What’s a Poncho?
A poncho is made from a single sheet of fabric with a single opening for the head. A hood may or may not be attached. Here’s where the differences appear between traditional ponchos and rain ponchos.
Rain ponchos also have hoods because they’re supposed to protect your entire body from rain. Can’t do that without a hood. The second big difference is that a rain poncho may also have openings for arms and fasteners featured on the sides.
Upon tightening the fasteners, you get better protection from rain and wind.
Where Does Poncho Come From?
Poncho originates from South America, and specifically from the region along the Andes Mountains.
As to where the actual name "Poncho" came from, there are a number of speculations here. It is commonly believed though that the name originates from the Quechua puchu or Mpudungun pontro.
Rain Ponchos vs. Rain Jackets
Ponchos may be preferable to rain jackets in many scenarios. For starters, they’re better suited to bring along if you’re only expecting light showers or if you’re carrying a non-waterproof or water-resistant backpack.
With the poncho being roomier in general, you can easily wear one over your backpack and keep your clothes, food, and gadgets protected from the rain. You can also use a poncho as a tarp and improvise a temporary shelter from it. A rain jacket simply won’t allow you to do that.
You may also want to consider a poncho if you don’t want to carry extra weight — extra weight being a tent or a rain jacket. However, keep in mind that when facing unpredictable weather, a rain jacket is often the better choice. A rain jacket would likely provide you with better protection against heavy rain and harsh winds.
Where to Buy Rain Ponchos
Rain ponchos can be purchased from many types of stores. Any store that sells outdoor gear should have at least a small selection of rain ponchos. Hunting goods stores that sell camping equipment should have rain ponchos.
You can also try your luck at stores that sell South American merchandise. But, at the end of the day, rain ponchos are easier to buy online. Since sizing is less of a concern, buying rain ponchos online can save you valuable time and money.
How to Choose the Best Poncho for Rain in 2021
Find below all the information and guidelines you could need to help you find a good rain poncho for your needs.
Although ponchos can be made from a wide range of materials, there are only four materials worth discussing with respect to rain ponchos.
Silicone ponchos are made from silicone-coated polyester or nylon. The silicone provides extra durability and a waterproof layer which keeps you dry.
PVC can be used on its own as the sole material or as a layering material. PVC rain ponchos may look stiff and not very pretty. However, they have great waterproofing and they’re easy to repair too. Duct tape can handle most tears with ease, which is also something that makes PVC ponchos cheap and widely available.
- PU-coated nylon
This is a waterproof material mostly used in rain ponchos designed for cold weather. The nylon is naturally durable and it’s coated with polyurethane for water proofing. This is the same material used in most of today’s camping tents.
While this is a nice combination, and a rather affordable one, a tightened PU-coated nylon rain poncho may have poor ventilation for the summer, though perhaps any worse than PVC.
- Cuben fiber
Cuben fiber ponchos are known for their good balance of light weight and weatherproofing. This type of fabric is considered the most expensive because it combines various fibers with plastic mylar for added strength, wind proofing, waterproofing, and durability.
Before buying a rain poncho, you should first have a clear picture of where, when, and for what you want to use it. If it’s just a backup for your rain jacket then you won’t need anything fancy. Just a light poncho with a hood should do just fine.
If you want to use the poncho for shelter too, then you need to look at different specs such as resistance to tear and size. Not all ponchos can be used as tarps.
Rain ponchos aren’t sized in the same way as jackets or shirts or shoes. A medium-size rain poncho could be equally useful to short individuals and tall individuals. So there’s no need to go crazy on sizing and fit as you would other types of clothing.
What you should be interested in is how much of the body it can cover and how much room there is in the back. If you want to shield your backpack from the rain too, it’s important that the poncho has extra room in the back.
If it hangs more in the back than in the front, that’s a good indicator that the rain poncho can protect your equipment too. Note that many manufacturers will list the intended uses for their ponchos. You can use those to determine how much room they would provide.
While kids’ rain ponchos may have some variety, adult ponchos tend to be one-size-fits-all. It makes sense that the manufacturers would do this because rain ponchos are designed as a loose-fit protective garment anyway.
It should come as no surprise that you can find rain ponchos for any budget. Like any other type of protective garment, ponchos come in a variety of materials of different thicknesses. They’re also made by a wide range of manufacturers, each charging a different premium for their work.
This all makes the prices vary wildly. However, does this also mean that the price is reflective of superior quality? Not always. Certain brands simply cost more than others. Sometimes the materials used are more expensive and, in those cases, the price may reflect the quality of the poncho.
At the end of the day, ponchos aren’t designed for very harsh weather conditions and rough outdoor terrain. This means that you shouldn’t expect a poncho to be more than what it is just because it costs a bit more.
Should you opt for a lightweight poncho or a heavy duty rain poncho? Here are some things to consider when it comes to choosing the right poncho based on weight.
- Ponchos for rain are usually light
They’re designed for maximum mobility and protection against light showers. Therefore, there’s no need to have extra or thicker material just so water can fall off your while hiking or enjoying a walk in the city.
- Even heavy duty ponchos will be a lot lighter than rain jackets
Military-style ponchos may seem sturdier and roomier but they rarely exceed 2lbs regardless.
The weight of a poncho shouldn’t concern you as much as its tear resistance and coverage.
Top 14 Best Rain Poncho Reviews
In the section below, you will find our rain ponchos review of 2021.
The list covers all the positive aspects and downsides of each brand of poncho. Hopefully, after reading this review, you will easily decide which poncho is the best for your circumstances.
1. Charles River Men’s Pacific Rain Poncho Review
This is a sweet 100% polyurethane rain poncho. It has good waterproofing and a slippery exterior which makes it a very comfortable protective garment.
Interestingly enough, this is also a very stylish rain poncho. It features arm openings and side snap closures. It has an adjustable hood and two buttons on the chest which can be opened for extra ventilation or closed for protection against wind and rain.
The drawstrings are also waterproof, which makes the poncho that much better. Unlike other models, the Pacific Rain Poncho by Charles River doesn’t have that traditional extra loose fit. It falls down closer to the body which gives it a nice appeal.
Its durability is good but not high-end. That’s understandable since it’s clearly designed for urban use and not camping in the middle of the forest or hiking on harsh terrain. This rain poncho also comes in six colors, all of which can help you make a fashion statement.
The overall style may just be a deciding factor for those that think ponchos look funny and don’t have the same class as a rain jacket.
2. Saphi Rose Adult Rain Poncho Review
This is a very large poncho, large enough to wear with a backpack underneath. It can be bought in a wide range of colors, which makes it also somewhat stylish rain poncho and versatile.
It only comes in one size but it should be enough to fit people who wear S to XL. The poncho weighs just 9.6oz which makes it a pleasure to wear. The material of choice is polyester (100%). This means that the poncho is quick-drying and quite breathable too.
The waterproofing is on point too. Although the material does most of the work, some design features such as heat-sealed seams, covered zippers, and side closures also contribute to the waterproofing and wind-proofing capabilities.
The hood can be adjusted with a piece of elastic. As opposed to some common low-quality drawstrings, the elastic should hold better during heavier showers or fast winds.
What’s also interesting about the design is the fact that it comes with a zipper in the front. You don’t have to pull it over your head as you normally would a rain poncho. Instead you can put it on like a regular jacket, arms first and then zip it. The zipper is waterproof and also adds a nice aesthetic element that makes the poncho look less boring from the front.
3. Totes Hooded Pullover Rain Poncho Review
Totes offers some color variety; it also offers this rain poncho in a clear version which looks quite interesting. The vinyl poncho has all the waterproofing you need in the spring or summer. It can serve you well on a camping trip and during a trip to the grocery store.
The hood is not adjustable but should fit well enough to not blow off at the first gust of wind. The side snaps secure the poncho enough to provide extra warmth and limit the amount of moisture that can get underneath.
It’s 38” long and this is the only size it comes in. It should be enough for anyone that wears jackets sized S to XL. However, the bigger you are, the lower the chance of you being able to also carry a backpack underneath.
If style is very important to you then this may not be your first choice. However, the price is quite affordable and for some people, that’s all that matters.
4. OZUnique Women’s Batwing-Sleeved Rain Poncho Review
If you’re a DC fan then this Batman/Batwoman-inspired rain poncho might be just the thing for you. When it comes to cool rain ponchos, few can hold a candle to one inspired by caped crusaders.
This 100% polyester poncho has extra-long 35.5” sleeves and a 46.5” dress length. The side coverage is very impressive and doesn’t limit your ventilation given how wide the sleeves are. The material is also great because it doesn’t make noise as you move, as some low-end rain ponchos might.
The hood is slightly pointy which gives the poncho a bit of extra flair. It’s also adjustable, which means that you can tackle some wind in it too.
At first glance, the design may seem like a traditional pullover-styled poncho. However, you can put it on like a regular jacket and zip it up at the front.
The zipper has been treated for water resistance. One thing to note is that there are no side snaps.
5. Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho Review
If you’re not looking to spend a lot on your poncho then perhaps this nonwoven polypropylene poncho is the one for you, and justifiably too. It has a classic rain poncho design with no sleeves and side snaps.
The hood is medium to large and features relatively thick drawstrings for adjustments. The dress length is 40” which is not bad. It should be enough to accommodate people that wear jackets sized S to XL.
Average-height users might get the most out of this poncho due to the extra leg coverage. Without sleeves, this is not a heavy-duty poncho. It’s still good enough for sporting events, short camping trips, or a stroll around the city in light summer showers.
The breathability and temperature control are superior to many other models, and these might be very important features to people that care less about the bells and whistles or about how fashionable the rain poncho is.
Its resistance to tearing is decent, although it may not last long if you take it through a thick forest and parting tree branches and brushes along your way.
6. Terra Hiker Rain Poncho Review
Although the price tag might not reflect this, the Terra Hiker rain poncho has quite a bit of engineering behind it. For starters, the seams are tight and caulked for extra waterproofing.
The Velcroed cuffs are covered. The eyelets are triple-layered which makes them thicker and capable of handling more than just light showers.
A hood brim has been added to the adjustable hood to provide extra water protection. The design also allows for more room in the back. This and the durability make it a great backpacking or hiking poncho.
Although it doesn’t come with a carry bag or pouch, it’s easy to roll up. The poncho weighs about as much as flimsy cheap ponchos only this one is much better.
Of course, due to its design, the Terra Hiker rain poncho can also be used as an improvised shelter or a picnic mat, all in all more than just a piece of protective rain gear.
The 210T polyester material is a high-density fabric that’s often used in rain ponchos and other types of waterproof gear. If you add to that the quality and durability of the seams, this poncho really offers great value for the money.
Still, if you want to nitpick, you might say that the color availability is not that impressive.
>>> Click here to check the current price on this raincoat or click the button below.
7. Andake Poncho for Hiking & Camping Review
This good quality rain poncho is ultralight (11.5 oz), durable and portable. It is made of 80 GSM Polyester weaved PU, which makes it quick-drying and easy to store.
The poncho has a water-resistant zippered pocket where you can store some essential items. It offers 360 degree protection with a hood, a cap, neckline buttons and a quick-dry rope in the brim.
An added bonus for hikers is that it also offers two reflective films to the front, as well as a reflective logo on the bag. A lovely safety feature that you don't typically find on ponchos.
We love the multi-purpose design of this poncho which makes it perfect for hiking and camping. Use it for a poncho or turn it into a large-sized mat. And, it’s even possible to wear a backpack underneath this poncho.
Love that the bag comes with its very own storage bag that you can throw in your backpack as well.
8. Anyoo Hiking Poncho Review
If you’re looking for a military rain or a camo poncho, Anyoo might have what you want. This rain poncho comes in an amazing variety of colors and patterns, surely enough to satisfy even the most demanding customers.
210T ripstop nylon fabric is used alongside an exterior PVC coating for waterproofing. This and the quality waterproof seams make for a truly heavy duty poncho that should fare admirably under heavy showers, not just the occasional light summer rain.
The hood is adjustable and quite large. It is so to accommodate the wearer with or without a backpack on his back. The sleeves are long and extra wide. If you’re concerned about overheating, this should ease your mind.
Extra range of motion is also a characteristic of the Anyoo rain poncho. The durability is also impressive, especially at this price range. This is one poncho you shouldn’t fear using on a camping trip or a trek through dense forests.
The hardened eyelets may also come in handy if you find yourself in need of shelter. The only downside here is that stakes aren’t provided. Still, it’s nothing that a bit of ingenuity and experience won’t solve.
As already mentioned, if you’re picky about style, there are plenty of varieties to choose from. Even the single color models that feature the Anyoo logo at the bottom look pretty cool.
You’ll also find side fasteners of the classic hook and loop style. This is a necessary feature due to the extra loose fit which could put the wearer at a disadvantage against strong winds or heavy rain.
9. Foxelli Adult Unisex Rain Poncho Review
Not all manufacturers bother to make gender-specific rain ponchos. There’s really no need for any of that. Foxelli hit it out of the ballpark with its hooded rain poncho because of how easily it fits both men and women with just some basic adjustments on the sides.
This is one of the best ponchos with hood in that the adjustability is good enough for strong winds and heavy rain. The 210T polyester fabric has a capable and long-lasting waterproof coating. Its tear resistance is impressive and certainly reflective of the poncho’s price tag.
While some cheap ponchos may offer the same level of protection from water, it’s unlikely that they would serve you equally well in the city and at the campsite. The coverage is also ideal. This poncho is 95” long and 55” wide.
At this price range, you would be hard-pressed to find something roomier in the adult section. Got a 50L backpack? You will have no problem hiding it and protecting it under this Foxelli rain poncho.
What’s also great, but also to be expected of a hiking poncho, is the presence of eyelets which let you prop up the poncho as a tarp. This is useful if you want to use it as a camping blanket, tent, or just as a simple cover on a hot summer day.
10. 4ucycling Rain Jacket Poncho Review
Here’s a rain poncho that might serve you extra well in cold weather. Right off the bat, the sleeve design is superior to that of most ponchos. Unlike traditional ponchos with wide sleeves, this 4ucycling rain poncho has elastic wrist endings. This will prevent backflow or unwanted cold air from getting underneath the poncho.
The elastic rope used on the hood allows for quick adjustments on the fly. You also get a zipper that comes down from the neck across your chest. It serves a dual purpose: making it easy to put the pullover poncho on and acting as a means to increase ventilation and regulate your body temperature.
Underneath the zipper is another zipper, a horizontal one, that features a different design and purpose. The teeth are oriented inward for extra water protection. And, this time the zipper is hiding a medium-sized pocket.
This is useful for keeping your gadgets within reach and protected. Or, to a lesser extent, for carrying other types of poncho rain gear such as stakes for creating a shelter.
The extra length at the back offers better wind-proofing than other ponchos. This might just be one of the best rain ponchos for cold weather.
11. Arcturus Reusable Rain Poncho Review
Here’s another contender for the best military rain poncho. Where can you put it? In any camping or survival backpack. Where can you take it with you? On fishing, hunting, camping, hiking trips, or any other kind of outdoor activity.
What makes it one of the really cool ponchos? Well, the camo design is interesting and useful beyond just preventing rain from soaking all your clothes.
The construction is just as good as the material quality too. 210T ripstop nylon is a staple in rain ponchos and camping tents. It is rugged enough for camping or generally roughing it in the wild, yet it doesn’t feel harsh against the skin.
Two layers of polyurethane coating are applied to the nylon to ensure long-term waterproofing. The large hood is nice to have but the way the poncho opens up when you need to put up a quick shelter is even better. Too bad that stakes aren’t included.
That being said, the steel grommets are a nice touch and ensure that your makeshift shelter won’t fly away or rip apart at the corners.
12. Buauty Women’s Hooded Raincoat Poncho Review
Some may argue that there’s no reason why your rain poncho can’t also be worn to make a fashion statement. Perhaps just to prove a point, Buauty designed this women’s poncho for both protection and as a fashionable accessory that is sure to turn heads for all the right reasons.
And style is not where it all ends. Apart from being very breathable and waterproof, these Buauty ponchos also feature pockets. If you don’t want to carry a purse with you, there will be enough room inside the waterproof zippered pocket for cosmetics and important accessories or gadgets.
All models have two things in common in terms of the construction: a very large adjustable hood and a front top-to-bottom zipper which eliminates some of the issues present in pullover rain ponchos. It certainly makes sizing less of an issue.
13. Lingito Emergency Rain Ponchos Family Pack Review
Need emergency rain ponchos for future use? Consider getting some for the whole family while you’re at it.
This family pack of Lingito ponchos is characterized by affordability, thickness, and size variety. You’ll find in the pack four adult ponchos and four child ponchos. The sizes are unisex so there’s no need to worry there.
Assorted colors are also available which can be particularly appealing to kids. Note that even though the plastic ponchos come in multiple colors, each one is a clear rain poncho.
The extra material thickness makes these ponchos very useful even during heavy rain and strong winds.
Longer than other classic ponchos, these Lingito ponchos capably protect you against winds head-on or otherwise. Furthermore, the elastic wrist bands make sure that you won’t get extra chilly or have to deal with rain backflow.
14. Anyoo Rain Poncho Coat Jacket Review
This Anyoo design may seem familiar but not exactly. It’s slightly more stylish with its elastic thumb loops, higher graphic variety, zippered front piece, and slightly hidden side closures.
It’s also worth pointing out that there’s no compromise in the waterproofing department. That being said, this is not the most rugged poncho, which means that it’s best suited for wearing in an urban environment.
What’s also nice is that it offers some extra protection in cold weather due to the interior cloth layer. It’s also what makes this poncho softer to the touch.
The extra size can accommodate a few extra wearable accessories and gear, or it could offer you complete coverage if you want to ride your bike in the rain.
It may not be the cheapest poncho on the market but it is one of the more reliable ones if you care equally about water resistance and style.
Verdict on the Best Poncho
While the majority of ponchos may seem the same if you don’t look at the graphics, some are clearly better suited than others for specific scenarios.
Our Pick for The Best Rain Poncho for Travel
The best rain poncho for travel, in our opinion, might just be the Charles River Apparel Pacific rain poncho. Its stylishness makes it suitable and eye-catching in any environment and social setting — all without compromising waterproofing.
Our Pick for The Best Hiking Poncho
When it comes to the best rain poncho for hiking, in our opinion, the Anyoo Hiking Poncho might be your best bet. It’s roomy, very rugged, and can be easily transformed into a stable shelter for one.
Our Pick for The Best Backpacking Poncho
The Terra Hiker Rain Poncho is, in our opinion, the best backpacking poncho so far. It’s durable enough, it has enough coverage to be worn over a backpack, and it too can be used to improvise a shelter. However, this is a lightweight rain poncho which makes it ideal to use when you want to cut down on carry weight.
Our Pick for Best Overall
With that in mind, here’s our pick for the best rain poncho overall. Not the best in any particular category but more like the most versatile of the bunch. A poncho that can serve you admirably in any situation.
Click here to see Our Pick for the best rain poncho for women: Saphi Rose Hooded Poncho Jacket
Click here to see Our Pick for the best men rain poncho: Charles River Waterproof Poncho
- After some more fabulous gear for travel? Click to see our list of the best travel gear.
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