19 Best Rain Ponchos for Hiking and Backpacking in 2021

There’s a lot to consider when you’re searching for the best rain poncho for hiking or backpacking.

Factors like durability, weight, and price may be most important to you. But there are many more factors to consider such as the waterproof rating and how it looks.

Here you will find the most comprehensive review of the best rain ponchos for hiking and backpacking (as well as a few of the worst) and I will break down all important factors to consider.

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19 Best Rain Ponchos for Hiking and Backpacking

Top Choices at a Glance

Best Stylish Rain Ponchos for Hiking

Charles River Apparel Pacific Rain Poncho

Charles River Apparel Pacific Rain Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.5 (1656 ratings)

Price: $

About this Rain Poncho:

The Charles River Apparel Pacific Poncho looks much more stylish than most rain ponchos, making it suitable for more outdoor activities than just hiking. It is made well with high quality materials and comes at a very reasonable price, making this one of the best rain ponchos for hiking.

It is made with New Englander polyurethane as an outer layer bonded to a knit backing, so it feels soft inside but waterproof on the outside. It features heat-sealed seams to protect from leaks. It has a drawstring hood and buttons on the neck for extra protection in heavy rain. It is available in six different colors.

The only downside is that there’s not much space to cover a large backpack. It’s probably ok if you have small pack and are out on a day hike but not if you’re on a long backpacking trip.

The Charles River Apparel Pacific Rain Poncho might be the best rain poncho for you if you want an affordable poncho that still does a good job and looks stylish. It’s just not the best option for serious backpackers.

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SaphiRose Rain Poncho Jacket Coat Hooded for Adults with Pockets

SaphiRose Rain Poncho Jacket Coat Hooded for Adults with Pockets Review

Amazon Rating: 4.5 (9920 ratings)

Price: $

About this Rain Poncho:

If style is an important factor for you, you might consider the SaphiRose Rain Poncho. It boasts over 40 different designs and comes with a matching carrying case.

It is also quite inexpensive, descent quality, and convenient. A waterproof zipper runs the full length of the poncho and the seams are heat-sealed. It packs up small (about 10″ x 6″) so it’s pretty easy to carry.

This poncho may be the best rain poncho for hiking if style is your number one consideration.

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Anyoo Waterproof Rain Poncho

Anyoo Waterproof Rain Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (10383 ratings)

Price: $

About this Rain Poncho:

The Anyoo Waterproof Rain Poncho is a well-liked, budget-friendly option for the casual day hiker. It’s made from polyester coated with PVC for better protection. Yet it only weighs around 9 ounces which is quite good for wet weather.

Useful features include a drawstring hood and a convenient pocket on the inside for electronics. While there aren’t sleeves in the shape of the fabric, side snaps create make-shift sleeves.

It comes in about a dozen different designs and colors with plenty of stylish options. This is one of the best waterproof ponchos for hiking or for city use.

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Best Mid-Range Rain Ponchos for Hiking

Snugpak Patrol Poncho

Snugpak Patrol Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.7 (718 ratings)

Price: $$

About this Rain Poncho:

The Snugpak Patrol Poncho is quite a step up from the disposable ponchos, yet still maintains a fair price which makes it a favorite among serious outdoor enthusiasts.

Snugpak is a British company and still makes most of their products in northern England. The poncho is made from their exclusive Paratex Dry material, which doesn’t tell you much but it has an extremely good waterproof rating of 5000 mm while still being breathable.

It weights about 13 ounces (363 grams) making it quite a lite poncho but you can get much lighter if you’re an ultralight backpacker. It also packs up small to about 8″ x 4″. By design, it is meant to be a better fit, closer to a long rain jacket which is nice in windy conditions.

The Snugpak Patrol poncho is one of the best mid-range, reusable ponchos at a very reasonable price (about $50 at the time of this writing).

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Sea to Summit Tarp Poncho

Sea to Summit Tarp Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.4 (10 ratings)

Price: $$

About this Rain Poncho:

Not to be confused with the “Ultra-SIL Nano Tarp Poncho” from the same brand, this poncho is the Sea to Summit Tarp Poncho – a mid-range version, made a little heavier and more durable.

In fact, for a “heavier” version, this poncho is still not terribly heavy – 14 ounces. It is made from 70D ripstop nylon and has taped seams. It will also fit well over your whole backpack.

This is a great reusable rain poncho for day hikers and travelers. It’s not bad for backpacking either but you might consider the lighter version.

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VAUDE Hiking Backpack Poncho

VAUDE Hiking Backpack Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.2 (83 ratings)

Price: $$

About this Rain Poncho:

The Vaude Hiking Backpacking Poncho is a good-quality rain poncho but probably a little overpriced.

It has several convenient and attractive features including a front pocket, a zipper expansion in the back to fit a backpack, and good breathability. Furthermore, it is coated with their patented eco-Finish spray for waterproofing. They won’t say what’s in the eco-Finish but they’ll say what’s not: PFAS, or PFC chemicals, which are harmful chemicals commonly used on outdoor apparel for waterproofing.

The downside to this poncho is that it’s a bit on the heavy side, weighing in around 1 pound. I don’t think they can claim this is a “backpacking” poncho when other ponchos weigh a fraction of that.

In my opinion, this poncho is a little overpriced but if you like the look (I do) and avoiding PFAS chemicals is important to you, this poncho may be a good choice.

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Sierra Designs Poncho

**Most Environmentally Friendly Ponch**

Sierra Designs Poncho Review

Price: $$

About this Rain Poncho:

The Sierra Designs Poncho has changed – it used to be made from 80D Polyester but now is made from 40D nylon. The true reasons for the change are unknown but I speculate two reason: 1) to make it lighter 2) to make it more environmentally friendly.

The poncho weighs 8.5 ounces so it’s quite light and does not contain any Perfluorinated compounds (PFAS or PFCs). PFCs are chemicals that are used for many purposes (for example Teflon and non-stick pans), and a common use is making outdoor gear more water repellant. They leach out of clothing though, and last a very long time in the environment, giving them the name “forever chemicals”. They are also toxic to animals and humans.

Sierra Designs has removed PFCs from all their gear but the new rain poncho is a bit thinner and easier to tear. This might be the best rain poncho for hiking If being environmentally conscious is an important factor for you.

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Mil-Tec Waterproof Poncho Review

Mil-Tec Waterproof Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.4 (781 ratings)

Price: $$

About this Rain Poncho:

The Mil-Tec Poncho is mid-range in price but high in toughness. It’s meant to be a military poncho and even though it’s not really, it’s still the toughest poncho on this list, making it the best rain poncho for hiking in terms of durability.

It’s made from polyester and coated in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) making it quite a bit heavier (1.72 pounds) and not breathable, but very waterproof material (5000 mm rating). If you get two, they can snap together to make an emergency shelter. The hood has a drawstring and there are ties on the corners, making it more convenient for other purposes like a rainfly or shelter.

There are a few downsides, as always. Be aware that this poncho is made in China, not Germany, as some claim. Furthermore, some have complained about quality control issues like receiving a poncho with defects. But if you buy on Amazon, you can return it if it has defects.

The Mil-Tec poncho is best for bad weather and heavy wind. The extra weight is not good for ultralight backpacking.

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Adventure World Globotrekker Lightweight Backpack Poncho

Adventure World Globotrekker Lightweight Backpack Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (186 ratings)

Price: $$

About this Rain Poncho:

The Adventure World Backpack poncho is mid-range in terms of price and designed to fit over a large backpack. This way, it offers more protection than most ponchos for backpacking in the rain.

The poncho comes in many different colors and has an adjustable hood and neck zippers.

This poncho is made from terylene, also know as polyethylene teraphthalate (PET), which is a waterproof fabric but not very breathable. It weighs about 12 ounces which is pretty light given the size and amount of protection offered. But if you’re a serious ultralight backpacker that counts ounces, you’re probably better off with a Cedar Tree Packa or Zpacks Groundsheet. But those are both super expensive.

As a mid-range option that will easily cover a large backpack and is quite light, this is a very good poncho. Most customers are very satisfied with their purchase.

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Best Budget Ponchos for Hiking

Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Waterproof Breathable Poncho

Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Waterproof Breathable Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.5 (3711 ratings)

Price: $

About this Rain Poncho:

The Frogg Toggs rain poncho might be the best rain poncho for hiking and backpacking on a budget.

It’s pretty thin and may rip fairly easily. It is also loose fitting so it’s easy to fit over a backpack. However, in very bad weather, I would want a better fitting and slightly tighter rain jacket.

That being said, it’s a decent budget and lightweight poncho. Did I mention it only weighs 9 ounces? Given it’s cheap price, compact size when packed, and large size when using, this might be the best poncho for hiking if you just need something cheap.

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Outdoor Products Multipurpose Poncho

Outdoor Products Multipurpose Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.5 (24 ratings)

Price: $

About this Rain Poncho:

The Outdoor Products Multipurpose poncho is another cheap, lightweight poncho not meant for heavy use but good for backpackers in a pinch.

The good things about this poncho are that it is lightweight (9 ounces) and low priced. Also, the corners have nylon web ties to make it easy to use as a tarp or rainfly (hence the name “multipurpose”) which could be handy in emergency situations.

The main downside is that the material is not breathable.

If you’re just looking for a supercheap poncho for very occasional use, you’re probably better off with the Frogg Toggs. But if you like the idea of using the poncho for a tarp or rainfly, you can’t go wrong at such a low price.

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Terra Hiker Rain Poncho

Terra Hiker Rain Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (1451 ratings)

Price: $

About this Rain Poncho:

The Terra Hiker Rain Poncho might be the best value on this list. It’s not a high-end poncho but for the price, you get a really great poncho.

It costs around $20 and is made with 210T polyester which is quite strong and very waterproof. It has a waterproof rating of 3000mm which is excellent yet weighs just under 11 ounces.

It is big enough to cover a 60L backpack so if you’re carrying an 80L, you might want to think about a bigger poncho. Other than that, this is a great poncho for the price.

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JTENG Rain Poncho

JTENG Rain Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.3 (159 ratings)

Price: $

About this Rain Poncho:

The JTENG Rain Poncho is not among our favorites. It’s cheaply made, rips easily, and doesn’t fit well around the neck. There is good reason why it gets several poor reviews. You’d be better off wearing a sleeping bag out into the rain.

There are many better options for ponchos at an affordable price.

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Coleman EVA Poncho

Coleman EVA Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.3 (210 ratings)

Price: $

About this Rain Poncho:

The Coleman EVA poncho is a cheap, reusable poncho that is so inexpensive, you can think of it almost as one of those disposable ponchos.

The poncho is OK overall but really good if you factor in the price. Coleman is good at making mediocre quality products at VERY affordable prices.

The poncho is made from EVA and is PVC free. EVA is a polymer just like PVC but has a more rubber-like quality to it. EVA is supposed to be lighter but this poncho still weighs 28 ounces.

If you’re looking for a really good, lightweight poncho then this is not it. But if you’re looking for a super cheap poncho, this might be the one for you.

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Coghlan’s Emergency Poncho

Coghlan's Emergency Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (1288 ratings)

Price: $

About this Rain Poncho:

It looks like a trash bag but the Coghlan’s Emergency Poncho weighs very little and costs even less. This disposable poncho is something you keep in the bottom of you backpack and forget about it. Then one day, you’ll find yourself in need of an emergency poncho and it will be there to save you.

It’s not designed to be durable, stylish, or even worn more than once, but if you don’t have any rain gear in your pack, consider throwing one of these in.

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Best Ultralight Rain Ponchos for the Serious Backpacker

Zpacks Groundsheet Poncho

Zpacks Groundsheet Poncho Review

Price: $$$

About this Rain Poncho:

Zpacks is a cult favorite among a certain breed of serious backpackers. Their core values include minimalism and sustainability. Not only are their products sustainable but they also donate to organizations that are dedicated to preserving National Scenic Hiking Trails.

Zpacks is known for high-quality, yet simple outdoor products at a premium price and the groundsheet poncho is no different. It is made with Bio-Based Dyneema® Fiber which is essentially just polyethylene made from renewable, bio-based feed stock rather than fossil fuel based.

One of the best parts about this poncho is the warranty – two years against defects. The worst parts about it are that you’re going to pay about $200 to wear what looks like a plastic bag. But if high-quality and sustainability are important factors to you, this might be the best rain poncho for hiking.

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Cedar Tree Packa

Cedar Tree Packa Review

Price: $$$

About this Rain Poncho:

The Cedar Tree Packa might be the best rain poncho for hiking and backpacking ever made. But it comes at a price. This rain poncho is best suited for serious backpackers who need a high-quality pack cover and rain poncho.

The best thing about the Packa is the design. It fits nicely over a large backpack but if you need to wear it as a poncho too, you don’t need to take off your pack. You simply loosen the drawstring located behind your neck and untuck the rest of the poncho that covers your body.

The Packa is also built with lots of convenient features for backpackers. It has 21″ pit vents for ventilation under your arms, a double zipper so you can unzip from the bottom or top, as well as drawstrings around the bottom, sleeves, and hood.

This poncho is not available on Amazon or anywhere else except it’s very own website (thepacka.com), where you need to special order each one. There are various options for materials depending on your weight and strength preferences as well as color options.

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Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Nano Tarp Poncho

Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Nano Tarp Poncho Review

Amazon Rating: 4.9 (14 ratings)

Price: $$$

About this Rain Poncho:

Not to be confused with the slightly heavier version, The Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Nano Tarp Poncho is a super-light and reasonably priced (for it’s class) poncho.

It is made from “Ultra-SIL Nano” fabric, which is 15D siliconized nylon with a polyurethane inner lining, and weighs a mere 5.2 ounces. It packs up very small so that it fits in the palm of your hand. It is also big enough to cover you and your backpack and can also be used as an emergency shelter.

It has taped seams which probably aren’t as good as heat-sealed but are slightly more breathable. The poncho is designed to be more breathable than other ponchos and this is certainly true, but there’s not exactly a high standard to meet. It is still fairly waterproof with a rating of 1200mm which will keep you dry in most weather and very good considering it’s weight. Other ponchos might go up to 5000mm but are much heavier.

I personally thought the fabric would rip easily but it seems fairly durable and other people report the same. The price puts it in the lower-range of premium backpacking ponchos, making it the best rain poncho for backpacking when price is factored in, and generally one of the best lightweight rain ponchos.

Here’s an informative video about it:

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NanoLoft® Puffy Poncho – Psychotropic

NanoLoft® Puffy Poncho - Psychotropic Review

Price: $$$

About this Rain Poncho:

The NanoLoft Puffy Poncho is the only poncho I’ve seen with insulation, making it truly unique!

It is stuffed with postconsumer recycled polar fleece and coated with DWR to give it a waterproof rating of 5000 mm, which is very good. I love the convenient front pocket but don’t love the short length of the sleeves.

With the insulation, this poncho weighs a bit more than others in it’s category – around 2 pounds. I can still understand taking it backpacking as it could potentially replace a jacket as well as a pillow.

The NanoLoft Puffy Poncho is a great poncho, but it comes at a premium price and fulfils a specific need. It’s a personal decision as to whether or not you think this poncho is right for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are ponchos good for hiking?

Yes, ponchos are great for hiking. Some people prefer rain jackets but others prefer ponchos because they offer protection for your whole body in a single piece, and often even cover your backpack. There are many lightweight ponchos designed specifically for hikers.

What is the best waterproof poncho?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best waterproof poncho such as price, durability, waterproof rating, weight, and style. If you’re looking for a cheap, lightweight poncho, Frogg Toggs is one of the best. If you want something a little more durable, the Snugpak Patrol Poncho is great.

What is the best hiking ponchos?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best waterproof poncho such as weight, price, durability, and waterproof rating. Frogg Toggs is a great option on a budget but if you’re a serious backpacker, you might want to look into the Zpacks Groundsheet Poncho or Sea to Summit Nano Tarp Poncho.

Are rain ponchos any good?

There are many high-quality, waterproof, and stylish rain ponchos available. Rain ponchos may have received a bad reputation because many people choose to use cheap, disposable, emergency rain ponchos. For just a little more money, you can buy a good-looking rain poncho that is excellent at keeping you dry in the rain.

Final Thoughts

We’ve divided up the best rain ponchos for hiking and backpacking based on important factors such as price and their intended purpose. In each category, you’ll find our top picks but most of the other ponchos we’ve reviewed are great options as well. If we felt they are not great options, that should be very clear in our review.

I hope you found the best rain poncho for hiking for your own needs. Feel free to drop a comment below and let me know your experience with any of these or general thoughts on the subject.

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