Last Updated on March 7, 2020
Backpackers face all types of weather when out on trails and it is important that they are prepared for the elements. When it is raining, there is nothing worse than getting your clothing and backpack soaked though, so having some protection is vital. One piece of gear that can protect you from a shower is a rain poncho. This guide will give you tips on what to look for when buying this item and the product reviews highlight the best rain ponchos for backpacking on the market today.
Quick Overview of The Best Backpacking Rain Ponchos
|Charles River Apparel Pacific Poncho||<1 lbs||Polypropylene||Check Price|
|Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho||0.6 lbs||Non woven Polypropylene||Check Price|
|JTENG Rain Poncho, Waterproof Raincoat||1.6 lbs||Polyester||Check Price|
|Snugpak Patrol Poncho||0.88 lbs||Paratex dry material||Check Price|
|Terra Hiker Rain Poncho for Outdoor Activities||0.53 lbs||210T polyester||Check Price|
|Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Tarp Poncho||0.51 lbs||Nylon||Check Price|
|Andake Reusable Protable Rain Poncho||0.72 lbs||80GSM Polyester||Check Price|
|OUTAD Multi-Purpose Rain Poncho||0.58 lbs||210T polyester||Check Price|
|Outdoor Products Backpacker Poncho||0.79 lbs||Coated nylon taffeta||Check Price|
Reviews of The Best Rain Ponchos
This versatile poncho comes in a range of color options and offers a good level of protection from both the wind and the rain.
Protection from the Weather:
Not only is this made from waterproof fabrics, it also has a hood and drawstring around the neck to give extra protection from high winds. The seams are also heat sealed to prevent water from leaking in at these points on the poncho.
Side Snap Closure:
These ponchos have a side snap closure feature under each arm, so they are easy to put on and the clips help to reduce flapping material.
This is a high-quality rain poncho that is made with New Englander polyurethane and bonded to a knit backing that reduces clamminess inside the poncho.
It comes with a handy storage pouch for you to keep your rain pouch in when it is not in use. When packed, it is compact and won’t take up room in your backpack.
- Good quality
- Drawstring neck
- Storage pouch
- Color options
- Good length
- No pockets
- Only covers upper arms
This product is perfect as a camping or travel rain poncho. It works just as well as a poncho you can keep in your car for emergencies, such as attending a sports event and needing protection from a sudden downpour.
Although it is a one-size-fits-all poncho with a relaxed design, it has a good fit thanks to the side snaps that keep the poncho close to your body and stops the fabric from flapping.
It is made from water-resistant polypropylene that is light and breathable and has welded waterproof seams that make it one of the best waterproof rain ponchos on the market. The hood gives extra protection from the elements and it has a drawstring to stop the wind getting into the poncho and around your neck.
This rain poncho comes with a storage bag, so you can pack it away neatly into your backpack until you are ready to use the poncho.
- Adjustable hood
- Neat storage bag
- Three color options
- Side snaps
- Good fit
- Good arm cover
- Bulky for backpacking
- Short length
This is one of the best tactical ponchos on the market and it is just as suitable for hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, and many other outdoor activities.
You can use this rain poncho in many ways other than just as a poncho. It has grommet corners that you can use to turn this poncho into a shelter. When used with a military poncho, you can turn it into a sleeping bag. You can also use it as a single sheet or as a picnic blanket.
This rain poncho has a high level of water-resistance as it is made from 210T high-density polyester fabric with 3000mm waterproof index. This is also durable and difficult to tear. The overlock of the poncho is glued to prevent leakages.
This poncho is large enough to wear over the top of your backpack to protect your backpack and its contents from the rain. Unlike many ponchos, it covers the whole of your arms and covers the top half of your legs.
- Multiple uses
- Good body coverage
- Wear it over your backpack
- Bulky for backpacking at 1.6 pounds
- Loose fitting with only two snap clips
This is one of the best hiking rain ponchos as you can also use this versatile product as an emergency bivvy sack.
This is an over-the-head style poncho, so it is quick and easy to put on and gives good body coverage, including the arms and thighs. It is roomy enough to wear over your backpack.
The rain poncho has a large hood that covers your head well and this has a drawstring to prevent wind and rain getting inside the poncho. The hood also has two thumb loops.
This is made from Paratex Dry material and has taped seams to stop water from leaking in.
It has a handy map pocket on the front of the poncho, so you have somewhere to conveniently store your map, so it is close to hand. You can also store any other small items you may need in this pocket. The pocket has a secure Velcro fastening.
- Long sleeves
- Quick to put on
- Adjustable hood
- Not breathable
- Clammy in warm weather
This is the best lightweight rain poncho for backpacking as you can also use it for a variety of purposes.
Lightweight and Compact:
At just eight ounces, this is one of the lightest ponchos and is perfect for ultralight backpacking. It is also compact, which means it takes up very little space in a backpack.
3-in-1 Ponchos Raincoat:
This rain poncho is a versatile and multipurpose product as you can use it in other ways than just as a poncho. It has reinforced eyelets, so you can build a shelter using the poncho or you can use it as a mat.
It has a waterproof level of PU3000mm and it is made from 210T high-density polyester fabric. The seams are sealed using a caulking treatment to prevent leakages. The body of the poncho is made from one piece as this improves its level of water-resistance.
This poncho is designed to have enough fabric in the back to easily cover your backpack while you are still wearing it. This means you will protect both yourself and your belongings from the rain.
- Weather and waterproof
- Large back fabric
- Lower arms not covered
- Tight head hole
A multifunctional option that is suitable for most outdoor pursuits.
The hood of this rain poncho has three panels, so it is shaped around your head to give better protection from the rain.
It is made from water-resistant nylon fabric and the seams are double-stitched and taped to prevent water from leaking through the seams.
This is one of the best lightweight options as it weighs a mere five ounces. This means it is good for ultralight backpacking and packs away compactly in your backpack.
Large Back Panel:
The large back panel means you can wear this rain poncho over your backpack without it lifting the fabric and leaving the back of your legs exposed to the elements.
It is easy to convert this poncho from a simple rain coat to a small shelter using an A-frame.
- Lightweight and compact
- Good shaped hood
- Covers backpack
- Good level of water-resistance
- Converts to shelter
- Arms not covered
- No tabs for guy lines
This poncho is designed specifically for outdoor activities and not for general use at events or while family camping. Therefore, it is one of the best rain ponchos for backpacking.
You can use this poncho not only as a rain poncho, but also as a mat, a tarp, a rainfly, or a shelter.
A bonus of this rain poncho is that it dries quickly, and this means you can quickly store it back in your backpack when the weather clears without it getting your other gear wet.
It is made from durable and water-resistant 80GSM polyester weaved PU. It can bear above 8000 water pressure. The hood has three adjustable buttons to cut the risk of water getting in at this point. There are also clips to the side to improve coverage of the rain poncho.
This poncho has a handy zippered pocket on the front. This is ideal for keeping smaller items hikers may need close to hand and the zipper means their belongings are secure and dry. The pocket doubles as a storage pouch for the poncho.
Extra Safety Features:
This is one of the few rain ponchos that has safety features. The front has two reflective film while the back boasts a reflective brand logo. This improves safety when hiking in heavy rain or in darkness.
- Easy to dry
- Converts to a mat
- Built-in storage pouch
- Good safety features
- Too big for most people
- Hood not sturdy
The OUTAD Multi-Purpose Rain Poncho is an affordable option that will suit people who enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
The design of this rain poncho is a large rectangle of material that is folded to create a loose-fitting and comfortable item of rain gear.
Velcro Side Fastenings:
There are Velcro side fastenings, so you can close the side openings. This will give the poncho a more body-hugging fit and improves coverage to protect from the elements.
This rain poncho comes with a carry pouch. When the rain poncho is folded inside this pouch, it is very compact and will not take up a lot of space in your backpack.
- Good protection from rain
- Velcro side fastenings
- Carry pouch
- Very warm in hot weather
- Hard to fit poncho in the storage pouch
One of the best rain ponchos for hiking, you can wear this poncho over your backpack when an unexpected shower hits to keep both you and your backpack dry.
A durable and lightweight option that has good water-resistance and is suitable for hiking, backpacking, and many other outdoor activities.
This lightweight and water-resistant poncho is made from good-quality urethane-coated nylon taffeta with watertight bound seam construction to prevent leakages at the seams.
The hood has a drawcord, so you can tighten the hood around your face to stop wind and rain getting inside this poncho. It also has rust-resistant snaps at the wrists and sides to give a better fit and prevent water from getting in at these points.
This rain poncho can convert to a rainfly or a tarp and has web-tie cords at the corners for these purposes.
- Lightweight at 0.79 pounds
- Reasonable coverage
- Fits over your backpack
- Adjustable hood
- Rip-stop polyester zipper carrying case
- Weak snaps
- Very short on people over six feet
Review of an Emergency Only Rain Poncho
This is one of the cheapest rain ponchos available that is suitable for all the family and is ideal for emergency rain protection on camping trips.
This is a one-size-fits-all rain poncho that is suitable for men, women, and children.
This poncho has a good level of water resistance and it has electronically welded seams to prevent water leakages.
Each poncho comes individually packaged in a resealable pouch. The pouch has a loop, so you can hang the package inside your tent.
This poncho weighs approximately eight ounces, so it is an ultralight option. However, due to the thinness of the fabric, it is not the best rain poncho for backpacking as it would easily snag on branches.
It has snap fastenings under the arms, so you can make the rain poncho fit closer to the body and protect your sides from the rain.
- Available in multipacks
- Underarm fastenings
- Good water-resistance
- Small head holes
- Tears easily
Things to Consider Before Buying a Rain Poncho
To make sure you buy the best rain poncho, there are several factors you should consider. This guide will help you to make an informed purchase decision.
The materials that a rain poncho is made from are the most important factor to consider as you need a waterproof rain poncho that provides enough protection from the weather. The following are the most common materials used in rain ponchos:
- PU coated nylon- This is an affordable waterproof material that has nylon on the outside for durability and wear resistance. On the inside, it has waterproof polyurethane. The only downside to rain ponchos made with this fabric is they feel clammy on the inside in warmer weather.
- PVC- Many ponchos use PVC as a layering material. However, some of the cheapest waterproof rain ponchos are made solely from PVC. These are most commonly bought by people as camping rain ponchos. Not only are they cheap, they are easy to repair using duct tape.
- Cuben fiber- If you want a lightweight rain poncho, you are probably best opting for one made from cuben fiber. The fabric combines plastic mylar with other fibers. The downside is that this is one of the most expensive options.
- Sil-nylon and sil-poly- Either nylon or polyester are saturated with silicone. This makes it both waterproof and durable. Rain ponchos made with these fabrics are some of the most affordable options.
Adult rain ponchos usually come in one-size-fits-all. This means that this is not an item you need to try before you buy to check the size. They are usually a loose fit to accommodate all sizes. The only size difference is when buying travel rain ponchos for children. These are simply a smaller version of rain ponchos for adults.
The price of rain ponchos can vary significantly. The factors that impact on the price are usually the brand and the materials. However, it is important to note that the price does not always reflect the quality of the poncho. Unless you spend time outdoors in the rain regularly, it is probably not worth spending more money to get a high-quality rain poncho. As long as it keeps you dry in the rain, a cheap poncho can work just as well.
A Few Frequently Asked Questions
Hiking Ponchos vs. Rain Jackets: Which Works Best?
When choosing rain gear for outdoor pursuits, a rain poncho is just one option. Another option you may consider is a rain jacket. When deciding which is the best for you, it is important to compare the pros and cons of each item.
The biggest advantage of choosing a rain poncho is that they are less expensive than a rain jacket, so they are ideal for people who just want emergency protection for a sudden downpour. The other pros are they can act as a shelter, they have better ventilation than rain coats, and they can fit over your backpack to prevent it from getting soaked. On the downside, they have a loose fit. This means they are prone to snagging on branches and they can let water inside as they are not close to the body.
The main positives of a rain jacket are that they provide total coverage and are contoured to the body. This means that water does not get in and there is no excess material getting in the way or caught on branches. They are also more durable than a rain poncho, so they are better for people who hike, backpack, or climb in the rain regularly. On the downsides, there is poorer ventilation in a rain jacket and they are more expensive than a rain poncho.
When You May Not Need a Rain Poncho
In winter months, rainy seasons, and unpredictable weather, it makes sense to always pack your rain poncho in your backpack. However, there are times when you can save on weight and space in your bag by leaving the poncho at home. In the summer months, you do not necessarily need to pack any rain gear. Showers are usually lighter and won’t drench you and the heat means you will soon dry quickly. Hiking in the heat can build up a sweat, so many hikers and backpackers find a brief shower of rain very refreshing as it helps to cool them down. Wearing a rain poncho would stop you from experiencing this refreshment.
Are Cheap Ponchos as Good as Expensive Ponchos?
The price of a poncho is not always a reflection of its quality. Some cheap rain ponchos are very good quality while some expensive rain ponchos are not great. Regardless of the price, each rain poncho has pros and cons. Sometimes a rain poncho is more expensive simply because it is manufactured by a well-known brand and not necessarily because it is a high quality rain poncho. If you only use a rain poncho occasionally, it is not worth spending lots of money on this piece of gear. In most cases, a cheap rain poncho is just as fit for purpose as an expensive rain poncho.
The Advantages of a Rain Poncho
When deciding if a rain poncho is the right option for you, it is important to consider the benefits of this rain gear. A rain poncho has the following advantages:
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to repair
- Wear it over your backpack
- Cool for summer rain
A Few Tips on Using Ponchos
To get the most out of your rain poncho, use the following tips:
- Pack your rain poncho in an outer pocket of your backpack or at the top of the main compartment. This means you can easily find the poncho when you need it quickly.
- If the weather is fine at night, use this as drying time for the rain poncho.
- On rainy nights. Hang the poncho in your tent away from your sleeping bag if there is room.
- If you don’t mind getting wet in a light shower but want to keep your backpack dry to protect your sleeping bag, you can use your poncho as a cover for your backpack.
If you decide that a rain poncho is a good piece of rain gear to meet your needs, you will find plenty of choices available. Which one you choose will depend on what you want to pay, the activities you are doing while wearing one. For those with a limited budget, the best option is the FroggToggs Ultra-Lite Poncho. Not only is this a budget-friendly rain poncho, it has good adjustable features and offers good protection from the elements. The overall best rain poncho for backpacking is the Andake Reusable Rain Poncho. It has a good level of water-resistance, a pocket for carrying small belongings, it is durable, and it dries quickly, which is useful if you are sleeping in a tent.