As all of us outdoor enthusiasts know, the weather can be very unpredictable. At one point or another, you’ll get caught in a shower and will need some protection. However, most hikers don’t like bringing an umbrella, and a rain jacket can be cumbersome (unless you know it will rain all day). So, what should you do?

A rain poncho is a great option. It’s lightweight, compact, and incredibly easy to pack. It fits easily in any backpack and, unlike an umbrella or a jacket, it doesn’t require much space. And when it starts raining, a poncho is guaranteed to keep you and your gear dry.

While they are relatively simple in design, there are still some differences between them (materials, extra features, weight). To make things clearer, we created a buying guide with advice on how to pick out the best rain poncho for your type of activity. But first, take a look at some excellent ponchos we picked out for you.

How To Choose A Rain Poncho – Buying Guide


A reliable rain poncho is very useful to have when the weather takes a turn for the worse. It packs really small so everyone can keep one in their backpack, and it’s incredibly easy to put it on – just pull it over your head. As long as you keep a few things in mind when choosing, finding the best backpacking rain poncho won’t be hard. Take a look.

Size and Fit

Rain ponchos usually come in one universal size. Because of this, you need to pay more attention to the specified model dimensions and see if a particular model is a good fit for you. While some will only reach waist height, others go below the knees and give you better protection. In any case, if you’re expecting rain on a hike, we would advise that you wear some rain pants too.

Unlike jackets and coats, rain ponchos don’t have a snug fit making them very comfy to wear. The best rain ponchos are long enough not only to cover yourself but your backpack too. This way you won’t have to buy a backpack rain cover separately, and your gear will stay protected.

Materials and Waterproofing

The main requirement for any waterproof poncho is to be fully waterproof. Depending on the model and manufacturer, many different materials are used to make them, with polyester, nylon, and EVA (plastic) being the most common.

Polyester is most common in reusable rain ponchos because it offers an excellent balance between lightweight and great water protection. Nylon rain ponchos are a bit heavier, but also tougher and more durable. It’s a plus if you get a poncho made from rip-stop materials (especially for camping and hiking) since it won’t tear as soon as you touch a branch.

Plastic is also common, especially for single-use ponchos. EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) is the most common choice because it’s very cheap and great to make a waterproof poncho. However, it has reduced breathability so you can get sweaty inside. Also, it’s fairly easy to tear.

In addition to the material itself, watertight seams are also very important. Most products featured in our backpacking poncho reviews have either taped or heat-sealed seams, making sure water doesn’t leak inside. We also want to add that some models have a special surface coating (DWR, polyurethane, silicone) to help repel water even better.


One of the main reasons people choose rain ponchos as rain protective gear is their lightweight. This makes them easily portable and convenient to have in your backpacking backpack even if you’re packing light. However, there are some differences here too.

The lightest rain ponchos for hiking are usually made of plastic and are generally less durable. This is why it’s important to find a balance between what you can carry and the poncho quality. The good news is that some of the best backpacking rain ponchos are made of polyester which is exceptionally light and pretty strong, so you’ll have reliable gear without adding too much weight.


There are two main types of rain ponchos – disposable and reusable. As we mentioned earlier, disposable ponchos are made of plastic to be thrown away after one use. Their advantage is that they are incredibly cheap and offer good protection. However, durability is a big issue here. So, if you want a waterproof poncho for hiking, you should get a higher-quality model.

Reusable ponchos are made from better materials, giving them increased strength. Heavy-duty rain ponchos for hiking can be packed and used again many times, which is pretty cost-effective in the long run. In addition, some models are made to be multi-purpose. This is especially useful to campers and hikers since you can use them as a tarp, or a rain cover when setting up your tent in the rain.

Additional Features

As you can see, every backpacking poncho comes with a hood. However, it’s very convenient if the hood has drawstrings to tighten it, allowing you to keep your head dry. Also, having snap buttons or Velcro straps on the sides is a huge plus because they prevent the poncho from moving too much and rain from getting in.

Pockets are also very useful to have if you need something close at hand. They are located either on the sides or on the chest, and you should look for a model with zippered waterproof pockets to make sure your valuables stay dry. Even though a true poncho comes without sleeves, some of these models are designed as poncho/raincoat hybrids to bring you the best of both. If you want one with sleeves, get a model that has elastic and adjustable cuffs.

While a rain poncho is designed to be put over your head, this won’t always be easy. This is why many models come with a front zipper (full or partial). Finally, we really like it when a rain poncho comes in a carry pouch, allowing you to easily pack and transport it.



Q: What Is a Poncho?


A poncho is a type of clothing that resembles a blanket with a hole in the middle. Its main purpose is to protect you from cold or, in this case, water. It allows excellent freedom of movement, while still keeping you and your belongings dry. Only waterproof materials are used for making rain ponchos, and they are very valuable if you are caught in a downpour.

Q: What Are The Benefits Of Using A Rain Poncho?


There are many benefits of using a rain poncho – it’s light, fully waterproof, easy to pack, and won’t ruin your budget. It takes up less space than an umbrella or a rain jacket, and protects your gear too. Also, unlike an umbrella, a rain poncho for backpacking won’t break in the wind.

Q: Rain Jacket Or Rain Poncho - Which One To Choose?


This really depends on your needs. A poncho costs less, weighs less, and is much easier to bring with you. Some models can even double as tarps or rain shelters. Because they have a loose fit, they fit easily over your backpack too.

Rain jackets, on the other hand, are a much better choice if you need protection all day. They have a better fit (no place for wind or water to get in) and are much more durable. They are also larger and heavier. Which of these two you should bring when hiking depends on the weather forecast as well as your personal preferences.

Globo Surf Overview

Having so many different models to choose from can make a small confusion. Even though they are not overly expensive, you still want to buy a poncho that will keep you dry and give you what you expect for your money. We hope our guide has helped you a bit in finding the best waterproof poncho, so you have proper protection on your next adventure. And even if you’re very good at predicting the weather, you’ll be glad to have it if it suddenly starts to rain.

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!