Staying Dry on the Trail: Best Backpacking Ponchos [2019 Update]

Who’s the Winner? Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho

Frogg Toggs Men's Ultra-Lite Ponchos

The Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho is the best-rated backpacking poncho in our lineup of the top six products. This product had the edge in terms of versatility with snaps down the side. The material used in this product is lightweight and breathable for a more enjoyable experience. It is also able to cover the entirety of the legs and arms while shielding a large bag from the elements. The Froggs Toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho is our overall best winner due to the advantages including a small flexible weight, durability, and a product that is breathable.

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Frogg Toggs Men's Ultra-Lite Ponchos
  • Waterproof & Breathable
  • Mfg Style #: FTP1714-09

Guide to Buying the Best Rain Poncho

Nature is the best escape from the reality of work, chores, and bills. What’s not too pleasant, however, is when our camping trip turns into a wet mess. But is it possible to go hiking throughout the year, even during the wet seasons? Most would solve this problem with a rain jacket. Others, if in a pinch, use plastic bags. We say that you should invest in a durable backpacking poncho to take with you for hiking in the rain. Don’t get bogged down on your next trip to the trails. Instead, use this guide to find the best poncho raincoat for camping, hiking, or nature walking.

Check out our other guides on backpacking clothing:

When considering to buy your first rain poncho, it is important to remember the key attributes. These can include aspects such as breathable, lightweight, flexible, convenient and water-resistant. Save yourself the worry and use this guide to your next camping investment. It is also equally important to take care of your backpacking poncho. Raincoat jackets do not offer what a poncho might have. Instead of being drenched – from the rain and sweat – invest in one of our top picks for the best rain poncho for hiking.

Why Take a Poncho With You on the Trails

Rain ponchos are used for many reasons and can be helpful when out in the woods. Many of those who participate in outdoor recreations say that a poncho is a great backup when the weather changes.

Listed below, in no particular, are the top picks for rain ponchos.

What Advantages Do Ponchos Have to Offer While Camping?

Though taking a raincoat on your next hiking trip might seem like the best idea, a poncho can come in handy for many reasons.

hikers in ponchos

Convenient

Have you ever struggled to zip up a raincoat while your fingers are wet and cold? With a poncho, this isn’t an issue. These products are made with accessibility in mind, easily be taken on and off at a moment’s notice. They can also be used as windbreakers, tarps, even water catchers.

Flexible

Many top-of-the-line backpacking ponchos are made with zippers that allow you to bundle up during the wet seasons easily. Unlike a raincoat that may limit your movement, a poncho will enable you to keep your appendages dry while hiking or doing any other various outdoorsy recreation.

Water-Resistance

Water-resistant/waterproof materials are able to protect against the penetration of water by using various membranes (such as a gore tex material) or chemical applications to the ponchos fabric. Typically, raincoats are considered to be waterproof, which requires a membrane, providing a layer of bulk. Ponchos are usually water-resistant, allowing you to bypass the heavier top layer while staying relatively dry.

Breathable and Lightweight

Hiking is a physical activity that requires proper clothing. Taking to the trails while in a raincoat can easily make one sweat, adding discomfort. Backpacking ponchos provide a great deal of ventilation, allowing you to move freely and not feel sticky.

What to Look For in a Hiking Poncho?

When looking for a product that will last you a long time, especially when braving the natural elements, it is essential to consider different features that you would like.

Material

How it’s made can significantly impact your hiking experience. To provide enough protection from the weather, be sure to look for a poncho that is made with any of the following materials listed below.

  • PU nylon: This is a waterproof material that is both durable and affordable.
  • PVC: Usually the cheapest option, it provides some waterproofing, and this material is easier to repair and replace but isn’t breathable so be prepared to sweat.
  • Cuben fiber: This material is ideal when looking for a lightweight poncho, though it can be more expensive.
  • Sil-nylon or sil-poly: Backpacking ponchos that use these materials are often hardy and waterproof.

Resistance

Investing in a resistant hiking poncho will save you from having to buy another one later down the road. To ensure that you do not get wet while out on the trails, look for ponchos that are made with watertight materials. One identifier of this attribute is if they have taped seams that will prevent water from seeping in under the top layer. Some ponchos also have hoods for better coverage.

hiker wearing poncho overlooking canyon

Durability

Ponchos used for hiking need to be durable enough for any weather that comes your way. A durable poncho will have seams to protect it from possible tears. Another useful feature that is offered is a knit backing to maintain high quality.

Features

The poncho is an ideal outdoor cover for its various usages and features. Though these might not be your top consideration, it is something to check on when comparing different products. Backpacking ponchos may have any of the features listed below.

  • Storage bag
  • Vents
  • Drawstrings
  • Hoods
  • Pockets
  • Zippers

Design

When it comes to the design of your hiking protection, you want it to be accessible and easy to move around in. For instance, it might have a lot of extra features such as a hood, but it should not be too big to get in your way. The design can also be a fun way to personalize your new product.

Tips on How to Care for Your New Rain Poncho

Buying a poncho that is durable enough to survive the elements does not mean that you shouldn’t clean it from time to time. Follow these suggestions for an easy way to ensure that it will last years.

Follow the Coat Label

We know that reading the instructions might seem obvious, but many don’t think about this tool. To make sure you are correctly sanitizing your new outdoor poncho, follow the laid out guidelines given to you by the manufacturers themselves.

Air Dry

The dryer may not be the safest place for your rain poncho to dry. To avoid the build-up of mildew, take your poncho off and hang it up after a long excursion. Be sure to let it air dry in a well-ventilated area.

Wash it

If you’ve checked the label and read that washing your rain poncho is not going to ruin it, then this may be the best way to clean it. To do this, remove all of the extra residues on a low setting in your washer.

The 6 Best Backpacking Ponchos Reviewed

Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho

Frogg Toggs Men's Ultra-Lite Ponchos

This product is made from materials that are lightweight, which is great because it allows there to be ventilation while out on the trails. The waterproof seams are made with patented bi-laminate technology that offers a durable, reusable rain poncho. When done with it, this product can be recycled without any hassle as it is not harmful to the environment. The side snaps and adjustable hood keep you securely protected.

Another desirable feature is the included pouch. This allows you to easily store it within your backpack, bringing it out when needed. The design makes it easy to move around in when participating in activities such as bicycling, fishing or jogging. This product is ideal for camping, hunting, and even just out in the woods in the winter seasons.

Pros

  • A breathable and lightweight rain poncho.
  • The waterproof seams are welded for a secured and durable product.
  • Features such as the adjustable hood, side snaps, and reusable bag help make your experience more enjoyable and stress-free.

Cons

  • The material is not as long-lasting compared with other products, making it an ideal item for those who don’t mind replacing it every once in a while.
Sale
Frogg Toggs Men's Ultra-Lite Ponchos
  • Waterproof & Breathable
  • Mfg Style #: FTP1714-09

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Tarp Poncho

Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL NanoTarp-Poncho (Lime)

This rain poncho is made with siliconized cordura which has been proven to be a heavy duty poncho, coping well with weather changes. Waterproof seams are sealed securely with double stitching and sealed. This product is made with different useful features such as a 3-panel hood with a drawcord and side snaps for a drier, snug fit. The additional storage bag comes handy when keeping it packed away.

When considering design, it is easy to see that this product can cover a large backpack, protecting all of your essentials. Some unique features are the attachment points located at each corner. These allow the rain poncho to be converted into a shelter that will fit two individuals. This item is recommended for those hoping to explore temperature climates, as a raincoat would be too bulky. The Sea to Summit Tarp Poncho has the right amount of ventilation without getting you soaked.

Pros

  • This backpacking poncho includes a variety of features such as a secured hood, attachment points for a shelter, side snaps, and a stuff sack.
  • The outer layer of this rain poncho is made with double stitched siliconized materials that are tape sealed, meaning that water won’t seep through.
  • This product is lightweight and well ventilated so that storage will be easy.

Cons

  • This poncho has been found to be too lightweight when dealing with windy conditions.
Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL NanoTarp-Poncho (Lime)
  • Made of 15D Ultra-Sil Nano fabric
  • Waterproof seams-double stitched and tape sealed. Sides snap together for rain protection when worn as a poncho
  • Guy attachment points on corners so that it can convert to a two-person shelter
  • Siliconized outer surface won't wet out. Drawcord raises rear hem when not used with a pack. Accommodates a large pack
  • Weight: 8.1 oz. Dimensions 57" x 104"

Terra Hiker Rain Poncho

Terra Hiker Waterproof Rain Poncho, Hiking Rain Jacket for Adults, Men/Women Reusable Rain Coat with Drawstring Hood and Pocket for Outdoor Activities

The Terra Hiker Rain Poncho is a versatile option. It is made from 210 T high-density polyester, making it a waterproof poncho. The seams in place are tested with a caulking treatment for extra durability. The design of this poncho is intended to cover both you and your large backpack while out on the trails. It can also be broken down into a size of 8 x 3 x 2 inches with a weight of 0.68 pounds for lightweight storage.

This item is durable with the use of thickened eyelets on the hem which can be converted into either a mat or sunshade. Avoid water on your face with the hooded component’s elastic rope for a snug fit. This backpacking poncho is best for any outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and a casual picnic.

Pros

  • This poncho can be converted as a mat, sunshade or raincoat as it is designed with versatility in mind.
  • It is extremely lightweight, being compacted to a weight of less than a pound.
  • The nylon storage bag makes it easy to pack up.

Cons

  • This item does not have any straps or zippers designed for the lower half of the body, making it fly up when conditions are somewhat windy.
Sale
Terra Hiker Waterproof Rain Poncho, Hiking Rain Jacket for Adults, Men/Women Reusable Rain Coat with Drawstring Hood and Pocket for Outdoor Activities
  • 3-IN-1 RAINCOAT: Multi-use poncho is specially designed for outdoor activities; can be used as a mountaineering raincoat, or a mat for hiking, picnics, fishing and more
  • STRENGTHENED WATERPROOF FUNCTION: Made from 210T high density polyester fabric that's PU3000MM waterproof; seam-sealed and fully waterproof
  • EXTRA SPACE: Roomy back is able to accommodate a large capacity backpack
  • DURABLE AND CONVENIENT: Thickened eyelets create enhanced durability; cuffs with snaps on both sides ensure maximum comfort; cap margin with elastic rope for effective protection
  • PORTABLE AND COMPACT: Can be folded into a compact size of 8.58" x 2.34" x 2.34" (22 x 6 x 6 cm) and weighs 0.58 lbs for great portability

Charles River Apparel Pacific Poncho

Charles River Apparel Men's Pacific Rain Poncho

This product is made with waterproof polyurethane that is bonded to a knit backing. With these materials being heat-sealed, the poncho is made with durability being the key. This polyester fabric lining offers a great deal of warmth. The drawstrings and snaps located on the hood and neck regions provide additional protection from both rain and wind.

The storage pouch makes packing it up convenient and quick while on the road. It is large enough to cover you and all of your belongings, even a large backpack without restricting movement. Choose from 15 different colors to personalize your camping gear such as aqua, green, orange, purple, yellow and chocolate. One feature that sets this product apart from the others are the separate side snaps located under the arms for an extra layer of warmth.

Pros

  • The side snaps for under the arms makes for a great deal of protection when combined with the adjustable hood and neck snaps.
  • This product is waterproof and made with 100 percent polyurethane for a high-quality poncho.
  • The variety of colors provided give you the option to choose what you want.

Cons

  • The fabric on the arms does not extend past the elbow, so as the whole appendage is not adequately protected from the rain.
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Charles River Apparel Men's Pacific Rain Poncho
  • Waterproof with heat-sealed seams
  • High quality, multi-use poncho made from waterproof new englander polyurethane bonded to a knit backing
  • Features heat-sealed seams and hood with snap neck and drawstrings for added wind/rain protection
  • Side snap closure under arms
  • Conveniently packs into a matching storage pouch

Snugpack Patrol Poncho

Snugpak Patrol Poncho, Waterproof, One Size, Lightweight, Suitable for Hiking, Camping, and Hunting, Black

This rain poncho is waterproof with seams that are fully taped and a dry latex material. The design allows you to quickly take it on and off with the simple smock style. It can even be used as an emergency Bivvi due to the way that the cut was constructed.

This product offers a lot of features such as an adjustable hood, thumb loops and a storage bag for safe keeping. Another is the map pocket that allows your maps/documents to be stored safely within the Velcro lined pouch. To keep this compartment dry, there is a storm flap. This feature makes the Snugpack Patrol Poncho beneficial for those exploring the woods far out from the beaten path.

Pros

  • Fully taped seams and a latex dry material make this rain poncho waterproof.
  • The smock style cut allows the user to quickly adjust to weather conditions when faced with sudden changes and challenges.
  • Features including an adjustable hood, thumb loops, and a map pocket add for an enjoyable and hassle-free adventure.

Cons

  • The lightweight material can be too thin for colder hikes that require more protection.
Snugpak Patrol Poncho, Waterproof, One Size, Lightweight, Suitable for Hiking, Camping, and Hunting, Black
  • Poncho shoulder width is 52.7 inches, poncho depth from front to back is 63.4 inches, poncho length from shoulder to hem is 56.7 inches
  • Compression packed size is 8 inches by 4 inches; travel friendly and weighs only 0.8 pounds
  • Completely waterproof with the combination of an outer coating of durable water repellent and a polyurethane coating
  • Equipped with an adjustable hood and thumb loops located in the cuffs to increased coverage during colder weather
  • Features a Velcro map pocket with a storm flap located on the chest; tape sealed seams

JTENG Rain Poncho Waterproof Ripstop

JTENG Rain Poncho Waterproof, Rip-Stop for Hunting Camping Military and use with Emergency Grommet Corners for shelter use

The JTENG Rain Poncho is used in different ways including as a tent, as a raincoat, or even sprawled out on the ground as a mat or a picnic blanket. The combination of PVC and polyester make for a lightweight and breathable product. The added storage bag makes packing up quick and free of hassle. When in use, this backpacking rain poncho covers and protects you and your bag from heavy wind and rainfall. The versatility that this product has to offer makes it perfect for those who are interested in survival, camping, fishing, hunting, tactical and military.

Pros

  • The fabric used to make this poncho adds to a heavy-duty product that will keep the user dry.
  • Versatility is key as this item is used as a tent, raincoat, picnic blanket or mat.
  • The cap margin contains a piece of rope for an adjustable head region and added protection.

Cons

  • The head cap is designed with a zipper on the neckline so that users may adjust it to their size, but the opening is still too big for some.
JTENG Rain Poncho Waterproof, Rip-Stop for Hunting Camping Military and use with Emergency Grommet Corners for shelter use
  • 1.upgrade version ,good zipper on neckline,solve the problem of head opening too small for some people.
  • 2.Weight: 725g (1.6(lb)),Made from 100% PVC Waterproof Polyester Material;
  • 3.Adult Sized; Dimensions: 59" x 55" (L x W),come with an quality storage bag,can be closed for added protection from rain or be opened and spread out to utilize and maximize its coverage like use it as a tarp.
  • 4.Grommet Corners For Use As Emergency Shelter Or Sleeping Bag When Used as A Military Poncho
  • 5.Protects you and your backpack from heavy wind and rain, all-in-one easy-to-wear raincoat

Last update on 2019-12-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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