We would all love for our camping expeditions to be sunny all the time. Alas, this is not always an option.
Sometimes, when we least expect it, we may get caught in a downpour! That’s why it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for every eventuality - you need to make sure that you have a decent rain poncho for hiking with you!
There are a lot of fantastic rain ponchos for hiking in the market. With so much selection though, it can sometimes be difficult to narrow down what will be a good option.
Thankfully, we’re here to help. Read on for our picks of the best rain ponchos for hiking. We’ve also written a handy buyer’s guide to help you to narrow down your decision
TOP 5 Best Rain Poncho for Hiking
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
If you’re looking for a great quality rain poncho for hiking, then the Frogg Toggs Ultra Lite Poncho is certainly an option worth your consideration. In fact, many casual hikers consider it the best option to have when you’re enjoying life out in the wilderness.
The poncho is waterproof and is made out of polypropylene, a synthetic material which is commonly used to create rain ponchos.
The material is also totally recyclable, so if you do end up getting it caught on a tree branch or something and it gets ruined, you can simply put it in the recycle bin. This is perfect for the environmentally conscious hiker that doesn’t want to send their hard earned goods to the landfill.The poncho features adjustable elements which means you can truly fit the poncho to your requirements. In fact, it’s pretty versatile because of this as you can totally open out the poncho. You may even be able to use it as a tarp for your tent.
Of course, this may not be the best use of the poncho. Why? The Frogg Toggs Ultra Lite Poncho is certainly an option for the occasional rather than the consistent hiker. It has been designed to withstand the weather but perhaps not for every day wear and tear. It works well for the trail, but it may not be the best choice for someone that goes hiking every single day.
- Great for occasional use
- Not the most durable - may be better suited to a casual hiker rather than someone that goes hiking every day.
If you’re torn between getting a rain jacket and a rain poncho, you’re in luck with the 4ucycling Light Weight Easy Carry Wind Rancoat and Outdoor Rain Jacket Poncho.
Like a raincoat, the poncho features a bunch of secure zippers and hemlines, yet it retains the amount of space that a poncho is best useful for. There are a lot of things to love about this poncho!
The poncho has plenty of space, certainly enough to cover a backpack if you need it to! You don’t need to worry about any water getting in through the sleeves either as you might with a normal rain poncho. This is because the sleeves actually end in cuffs that are elasticated which block out the rain. There is also a hood that you can adjust using a drawstring.
If you’re carrying your phone or wallet with you, no need to fear as all of your key items will be nice and safe with the zippered pocket in the front of the poncho. Once you have finished with the poncho you can also then pack it back down into that exact pocket.
As far as waterproofing is concerned, the poncho is made out of 100% ripstop nylon and it easily repels water. It’s also well ventilated, though in this respect it’s much better for light hiking than it is for more aggressive hiking endeavors.
- Can be stuffed into the storage pocket easily
- Front zippered pocket
- The ideal blent between rain jacket and poncho
- Not as well ventilated as some other options on this list
Do you want to look good in your poncho? If you, why not try the Stormtech PCX-1 Adult’s Aerolite Packable Poncho?
This poncho comes in a bunch of different solid colors and looks great on the body in general. It’s in a standard size which means that it is able to fit a bunch of different sizes.
The poncho is pretty long, and will likely come down past most people’s knees so it’s ideal for people that are taller. It features a durable and thick material, Nylon Tafetta, that is covered with Durable Water Resistant (DWR) Coating. It’s not especially well ventilated in comparison to some other options, but it certainly does the job.
The poncho comes with drawstrings to easily adjust the hood around your face as needed. It’s ideal for a tool to use in an emergency rain storm.
- Attractive design
- Comes with a storage bag
- Quite expensive
If you need a high quality heavy duty rain poncho, then the Mil Tec Men’s US Waterproof Ripstop Hooded Nylon Festival Poncho is a fantastic choice for you.
Coming with a bunch of adjustment materials such as grommets and snap buttons, this poncho is all ready to go for your wilderness expeditions.
This waterproof poncho has been designed for military use, and is able to operate well in a number of different scenarios. It’s perfect for people that are very tall, and it covers a lot of ground when it’s spread out, so it can also operate well as a tent floor. It also has a hood that is sealed on using a waterproof stape, so it’s nice and secure.
The poncho comes with a carry pouch that matches with the garment, and it is made out of ripstop Nylon, a material that is highly reliable and thick. It is a little expensive, however.
- Comes with a carry bag
- Ideal for taller people
Another great option for if you want a poncho that can cover both you and your backpack admirably well! This rain poncho is pretty big, so it is able to cover even some of the biggest person and backpack combos out there.
This option certainly is expensive, but there’s not denying that you will get great value for money. It works well for people who measure from around 5 foot 3 to 6 foot 2, though it may not be great if you are very short or tall. It has elastic sleeve cuffs too so you don’t need to be concerned about water getting into your arms.
As you may imagine, the garment is very waterproof thanks to the Paratex material that it’s made out of. It also comes with a neat little pocket in the front that’s ideal for storing your favorite gadgets. It also comes in two different colors, and it can stuff inside of the pocket when you are finished with it.
- Elastic sleeve cuffs
- Handy pocket in front
- Able to cover a person and a large backpack
- A little bit long when you haven’t got a backpack on
Best Rain Poncho for Hiking Buyer’s Guide
Things to Think About
When you’re looking for a rain poncho for hiking, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice that’s available to you. It can be a lot easier to narrow down your options if you know what you’re looking for in a poncho, however.
Here are some of the key things that you need to remember when it comes to buying your very own rain poncho for hiking.
Perhaps one of the key considerations that you have to make when buying a rain poncho for hiking is what kind of material you want. It goes without saying that there are some materials that are exponentially better than others, and things like effectiveness and durability are affected by the decision that you make.
Here are some of the main materials used in making a rain poncho for hiking.
You will usually find that the cheaper rain ponchos are made out of PVC. These are usually the kinds of ponchos you’ll be able to buy at the last minute on a tourist attraction.
Naturally as you may imagine, rain ponchos for hiking don’t tend to last very long. They’re also not very good for the environment.
Polyester is a better material than PVC in general.
These kinds of ponchos are durable, lightweight and they don’t get damaged as easily. They also stay in shape much more easily and they can dry out quickly.
PU Coated Nylon
This is a synthetic material that is ideal for rain ponchos as it is flexible, water resistant and lightweight. It is usually laminated in waterproof polyurethane which is why it can resist water.
These lightweight ponchos are ideal if you’re going to be wearing them for long periods of time. They tend to be made out of plastic mylar.
There are also many more materials, but these are just a few you should know about.
Breathability and Flexibility
The best rain ponchos for hiking have usually been made to come with zippers. This means that you can stay well protected from the rain even during the worst rain.
All of your accessories that you have brought with you can also be kept dry. They are usually much better ventilated than raincoats, and you can move more freely with them. You should consider how much breathability and flexibility is important to you before you buy.
The whole point of a rain poncho for hiking is that you don’t get wet while you are hiking. Because of this, you should only be considering options that give you the best possible protection against water penetration.
This usually means that water proof membranes have been applied to the fabric, or chemicals have, in order to make it waterproof. Most of the ponchos will also come with taped seams and sports hoods that are made to make sure that you don’t get any rain on your head.
You may be inclined to opt for a ‘one size fits all’ poncho but this is truly not advisable. You will need to consider your size if you want to have a rain poncho that is truly effective for you.
Consider the size of your backpack as your poncho will likely need to cover it. With that being said, you may end up having a poncho that looks like a dress when you aren’t wearing the backpack. You should really be thinking about your specific uses - if you’re usually going to be carrying a backpack when you wear your rain poncho then a larger option will be better for you.
Weight and Storage Size
Sure, the size of the poncho is important when you’re wearing it, but what about when you aren’t wearing it? It’s important that you can pack your poncho away without a hitch when the weather is dry. It shouldn’t take up a great deal of space in your backpack, taking up no more than a little compartment.
You will usually find that the best rain ponchos will come with their own little carrying bags or storage bags for when you aren’t using them. It means you can store them easily without cramming them into your rucksack and not having any more space.
Rain ponchos are also ideal because they are lightweight so they can be carried easily. When you’re hiking, the last thing you want is to have excessive weight dragging you down. Of course with that being said you don’t want anything that’s too lightweight because you may end up compromising on durability. You need something lightweight that is still high quality.
Rain ponchos don’t have to be expensive, but the fact remains that some options are. Certain brans may make more expensive products, or certain materials may cost more money. You should really be considering how much you are going to use the rain poncho in order to discern how much you are going to pay.
If you’re going to be hiking a lot then yes, a rain poncho is a great idea but if you’re only going to use it once or twice then you may be better off with opting for a less expensive option. Your decision should always be relative to your particular needs, so you should consider this first before you choose to buy the poncho.
Also consider whether the poncho comes with anything in addition such as more zippers or a drawstrings as little extra features like this may make them cost more money. Ultimately, it always comes down to your particular requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a rain poncho?
A rain poncho is something that looks somewhat similar to a blanket.
The key difference is that there is a hole situated in the middle for your heads. In essence, it’s kind of like a waterproof blanket that’s designed to keep you dry while camping.