Poncho

Best Rain Poncho

Written by: Dave NartinDecember 28, 2019Updated: January 8, 2020

There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a sudden downpour of rain, with no protection from the elements. 

This is the main reason many people like to carry a packable rain poncho. 

If you’re attending a festival or sporting event, going hiking, fishing or camping, or you walk to and from work every day, a reusable rain poncho can be a must-have item. Some people will opt for a disposable rain poncho, so they can carry it into an event and not worry about taking it home. Others want the durability and quality of an every-day rain poncho.

Either way, a plastic rain poncho should be on your shopping list as an item to add to your closet, car, backpack, tackle box or suitcase.

We’re here to help with a comparison of the best rain ponchos today – including one for children. Let’s start with a look at some important considerations when making your selection.

Things To Consider When Choosing a Rain Poncho

1

It’s Not A Jacket

First off, don’t confuse a rain poncho with a rain jacket. A rain poncho slips over your head and drapes over your body and arms. That makes them simple to pull on when rain starts suddenly. It makes them easy to pack and take anywhere. It can also mean better ventilation than a jacket, if you’re hiking in hot weather, for instance. One poncho can often be used by different people of different sizes. FInally, a poncho is usually much easier to pack than a jacket. But it’s not the same as a jacket.

Length and Overall Fit

 Think about the purpose and how you’ll use it when choosing the length and size of your poncho. 

A long rain poncho can be really valuable if you’re using it to attend events where you’ll be sitting, so you can drape it over your knees and keep your pants dry. It can also cover a backpack. But if you’re hiking, a poncho that’s too long may be a pain, hooking on trees or even catching under your feet. You’ll want to look for one that’s long enough to cover your knees, but not so long that it’s a nuisance.

The same with fit. You want it big enough that there is ventilation, or to cover your backpack if you’re hiking. But you don’t want it so big that it’s catching on everything around you. You’ll also have to remember that ponchos usually don’t have full-coverage sleeves. They’re almost like a big circle, although some have snaps that create partial sleeves, and some are made with dedicated sleeves.

Versatility

A jacket may serve you better if you need long-term protection, if you want a tight-fitting garment, or if you want to use it for more than just hiking or emergency rain protection. But a poncho can be extremely versatile as more than just a poncho. 

You can drape it over your backpack as well as your body, keeping your gear extra dry. You can use it as a tent or a tent fly in an emergency. You can also use it as a blanket if you want to make camp once the rain stops, or have a picnic. You can cover your gear with it. Or, a long rain poncho will allow you to use it to sit on even while you’re still wearing it. And if you get a stylish rain poncho, you can wear it on your commute or out to dinner.

Extra Features

Once again, depending on how you’ll be using your rain poncho, you’ll want to consider what kind of features you’d like on it. If you’re simply looking for a disposable rain poncho to take to that one football game, a plastic rain poncho will do. If you want a fashion rain poncho, clearly this won’t do.

But there are other features to consider. If you’ll be out in windy conditions, you’ll want to be sure the hood has a drawstring so you can tighten or even tie it closed. If you’re in warm conditions, you may want ventilation under the arms, such as a flap or a cover that snaps open. If you’re planning to use it a lot, quality waterproofing will be important. If you’re interested in camouflage, you may be looking to purchase a military rain poncho.   

And if you have a family, you will be looking for a men’s rain poncho, and a women’s rain poncho, and of course a youth rain poncho, kids rain poncho or baby rain poncho, to make sure everyone is protected. You may even need a dog rain poncho.

Top Rain Ponchos

2
A

Totes – Unisex Rain Poncho

Totes - Unisex Rain Poncho

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Totes – Unisex Rain PonchoTotes - Unisex Rain PonchoTotes - Unisex Rain PonchoTotes – Unisex Rain Poncho

This versatile totes rain poncho isn’t just for men, it’s also ideal as a women’s waterproof rain poncho or even a rain poncho for kids, particularly older ones.

It’s made of lightweight EFA fabric, making it easy to pack and comfortable to wear. It also folds up to a size of 9×7 inches, making it the best rain poncho for travel.

The pullover design is full cut, allowing for a billowed maximum protection, and side snaps that close and create arms. It also has a built-in hood. It fits almost every size, with a length from the shoulder to the bottom of 38 inches, but it likely isn’t meant as a big and tall rain poncho.

Pros:

  • Versatile enough to fit different sizes.
  • Lightweight rain poncho that makes it ideal for travel.
  • Comes with a mesh tote bag for easy transporting.
  • Tighten with the snaps, or un-do them for added ventilation.

Cons:

  • No drawstring in the hood.
  • Just a basic poncho, no fancy features or custom sizes.
  • Not considered a heavy duty rain poncho.
  • Versatile enough to fit different sizes.
  • Lightweight rain poncho that makes it ideal for travel.
  • Comes with a mesh tote bag for easy transporting.
  • Tighten with the snaps, or un-do them for added ventilation.
  • No drawstring in the hood.
  • Just a basic poncho, no fancy features or custom sizes.
  • Not considered a heavy duty rain poncho.
B

Outdoor Products – Backpacker Poncho

Outdoor Products - Backpacker Poncho

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Outdoor Products – Backpacker PonchoOutdoor Products - Backpacker PonchoOutdoor Products - Backpacker PonchoOutdoor Products – Backpacker Poncho

This hooded rain poncho is the best rain poncho for backpacking. It’s a heavy duty poncho that you can use time and time again. 

It’s made with a durable, polyurethane-coated polyester taffeta that’s water resistant and has taped seams to seal out moisture. It also has rust-resistant snaps that include snaps to tuck up the back panel if you’re not wearing a backpack. If you do have a backpack, it will be covered under this roomy poncho.

It also has a hood that adjusts with a drawstring, and even has tie cords at the corners, allowing you to use it as a fly when camping or a shelter in an emergency.    

It’s among the best rain ponchos for travel, with a weight of only 10.7 ounces – one ounce more in the polyester, zippered carrying case that comes with it. It measures 39 inches long in the front and 53 inches long in the back, not including the hood.

Pros:

  • Taped seams keep rain out.
  • It covers a backpack, or you can snap up the back panels if you’re not carrying a pack.
  • You can use it as a fly or emergency shelter.
  • It’s lightweight yet durable.

Cons:

  • Considered a men’s jacket, although it could easily be unisex.
  • Size may be too big for some women and youth.
  • Taped seams keep rain out.
  • It covers a backpack, or you can snap up the back panels if you’re not carrying a pack.
  • You can use it as a fly or emergency shelter.
  • It’s lightweight yet durable.
  • Considered a men’s jacket, although it could easily be unisex.
  • Size may be too big for some women and youth.
C

Charles River Apparel – Pacific Rain Poncho

Charles River Apparel - Pacific Rain Poncho

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Charles River Apparel – Pacific Rain PonchoCharles River Apparel - Pacific Rain PonchoCharles River Apparel - Pacific Rain PonchoCharles River Apparel – Pacific Rain Poncho

This product boasts wind-proof as well as waterproof qualities, with its New Englander polyurethane that’s bonded to a knit backing. The lining provides a bit of warmth, and it has heat-sealed seams to keep moisture from leaking in.

The hood has a drawstring, and there are also a few snaps at the neck to allow for air flow or to snap up for extra warmth. There are also side snap closures under the arm to either close up, or to open for ventilation.

It measures 52 inches by 80 inches and comes with a travel pouch.

Pros:

  • Bonded to a knit backing which gives it a bit of warmth.
  • Snaps at the neck and under the arms provide some ventilation.
  • Wind-proof and waterproof.

Cons:

  • The sleeves are short.
  • Doesn’t fold up really small so it’s not that ideal for travel.
  • Bonded to a knit backing which gives it a bit of warmth.
  • Snaps at the neck and under the arms provide some ventilation.
  • Wind-proof and waterproof.
  • The sleeves are short.
  • Doesn’t fold up really small so it’s not that ideal for travel.
D

Charles River Apparel – Apparel Kids’ Big Pacific Poncho

Charles River Apparel - Apparel Kids' Big Pacific Poncho

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Charles River Apparel – Apparel Kids’ Big Pacific PonchoCharles River Apparel - Apparel Kids' Big Pacific PonchoCharles River Apparel - Apparel Kids' Big Pacific PonchoCharles River Apparel – Apparel Kids’ Big Pacific Poncho

Family time is important, so it’s worth noting that Charles River makes a children’s rain poncho. This durable version will serve as a girl’s rain poncho or a boy’s rain poncho.

And while it may not rank at the top as a cute rain poncho, the color selection means your kids can get a red rain poncho, black rain poncho and more.

Similar to the adult version, it’s made with 100% polyurethane bonded to a polyester knit. It’s waterproof with heat sealed seams. It has an elastic gathering at the hood and side snap closures under the arms that create sleeves but still allows for movement.

It’s great for packing into school backpacks or taking to summer camp, as it weighs .80 ounces in the travel pouch that’s included. 

As a bonus for the parents, it’s machine washable.

Pros:

  • Made with the same quality as the adult version, bonded to a polyester knit for a bit of added warmth.
  • One size will fit most children, with measurements of 40.5 inches by 73 inches.
  • Machine washable.

Cons:

  • One size may not fit all.
  • Some kids may want a funny rain poncho, or a cute rain poncho, instead of simply a solid color.
  • Made with the same quality as the adult version, bonded to a polyester knit for a bit of added warmth.
  • One size will fit most children, with measurements of 40.5 inches by 73 inches.
  • Machine washable.
  • One size may not fit all.
  • Some kids may want a funny rain poncho, or a cute rain poncho, instead of simply a solid color.
E

JTENG – Rain Poncho

JTENG - Rain Poncho

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JTENG – Rain PonchoJTENG - Rain PonchoJTENG - Rain PonchoJTENG – Rain Poncho

This versatile product can be used as an emergency rain poncho, but it can also serve as an emergency shelter or tent, and a ground cover. That’s because it’s basically a large rectangle of 100% rip-stop waterproof polyester, measuring 55 inches long and 41 inches wide.

It has grommet corners so that you can string it up as a tent or fly. It also has taped seams for extra protection, and velcro closures at the cuffs for extra adjusting. A small elastic strap at the cuffs allows you to loop your thumb into it to hold the sleeves down in the wind.

The roomy back panel makes it extra long, and it will cover a backpack.

Pros:

  • Versatile enough to be a jacket, a tent or a blanket.
  • Grommets allow you to tie it down to use as a shelter or ground cover.
  • A bit of a brim on the hood for rain protection.

Cons:

  • No drawstring on the hood.
  • Difficult to fold up to a small size.
  • Versatile enough to be a jacket, a tent or a blanket.
  • Grommets allow you to tie it down to use as a shelter or ground cover.
  • A bit of a brim on the hood for rain protection.
  • No drawstring on the hood.
  • Difficult to fold up to a small size.
F

Snugpak – Patrol Poncho

Snugpak - Patrol Poncho

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Snugpak – Patrol PonchoSnugpak - Patrol PonchoSnugpak - Patrol PonchoSnugpak – Patrol Poncho

This is a bit more of a custom rain poncho for those who want compact size for travel with a couple of bonus features.

This poncho is 57 inches long from the shoulder to the hem, providing good protection that will cover a backpack. It weighs only 0.8 pounds when folded up, and when compression packed into the included stuff sack, it measures only 8 inches by 4 inches.

It has an outer polyurethane coating that makes it durable and water repellent, and it has tape-sealed seams for extra protection. The hood is adjustable and it features thumb loops in the cuffs so you can hold the sleeves down in cold or windy weather.

As a bonus, it has dedicated sleeves, and a Velcro pocket with a storm flap on the chest.

Pros:

  • Packable and lightweight.
  • Sleeves provide extra protection.
  • The closing pocket is a bonus.

Cons:

  • Sleeves mean reduced ventilation.
  • Sleeves may not fit everyone.
  • Packable and lightweight.
  • Sleeves provide extra protection.
  • The closing pocket is a bonus.
  • Sleeves mean reduced ventilation.
  • Sleeves may not fit everyone.

Winning Product

3
Our Choice

JTENG – Rain Poncho

JTENG - Rain Poncho

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Choosing a rain poncho will still be based on individual preference, including where, when and how often you’ll be using your rain poncho. There will always be some who want a cheap, clear rain poncho that they will use once and discard. 

But for those looking for a quality poncho, we have selected the Outdoor Products Backpacker Poncho as the winning product. 

Here’s why we think it’s the best waterproof rain poncho:

Durable: Heavy duty, polyurethane-coated polyester that’s water resistant with taped seams.

Versatile: Rust-resistant snap to tuck up the back panel if you’re not wearing a backpack. Or, leave the panel down to cover a backpack.

Doubles as a shelter: tie cords at the corners mean you can use it for shelter.    

Adjustable: the hood has a drawstring. 

Multi-purpose: still light enough to fold up for hiking or travel.

Dave Nartin
Founder at Mountain Leon
Hi. Im Dave. Mountain Lion is the name of this travel blog. It came from my love for both the English and Spanish language, my favourite animal (Lion), and my favourite activity (mountain climbing). Enjoy!