The poncho is more popular now than it has ever been. All sorts of people from travelers to bikers use them to keep the rain out and to stay warm. You yourself might have even been privileged enough to see the site of a roaring Harley ridden by a heavily tattooed biker wrapped in his very own brightly colored poncho.

The reason for their popularity is simple; they work. Most ponchos are 100% waterproof so they will keep you dry no matter how bad the downpour is. Some ponchos are even thick enough to help keep you warm by providing an extra layer of insulation as well as acting as a windbreaker.

No matter why you need a good quality waterproof poncho, the real challenge in buying one lies in finding one that will do what you need it to do last a long time. As there are so many designs on the market, which are hugely varying in quality, we have compiled a list of the top ponchos on the market today to help you find what you are looking for.

Comparison Chart

 NAMEMaterialColorWeightSizeCarry Bag?Our Rating
Charles River Apparel Pacific PonchoCharles River Apparel Pacific Ponchopolyurethane17 colors to choose from14.5 ozone size (dimensions 53" x 80")
Rain Poncho JTENGRain Poncho JTENGrip-stop polyester3 colors to choose from 30 ozone size (dimensions 59" x 55")
Adult 10 Mil Reusable Rain PonchoAdult 10 Mil Reusable Rain Ponchovinyl3 colors to choose from 7.2 ozone size (dimensions 52" x 80")
Men's US Waterproof Ripstop Hooded Nylon Festival PonchoMen’s US Waterproof Ripstop Hooded Nylon Festival Ponchorip-stop nylon2 colors to choose from 22 ozone size (dimensions 56" x 84")
Fogg toggs Ultra-Lite PonchoFogg toggs Ultra-Lite Ponchononwoven polypropylene3 colors to choose from 8.8 ozone size (dimensions 40" x 52")

A little bit of history of the Poncho

The humble Poncho comes from the Native Americans who populated the region of the Andes that is now part of Bolivia and Peru. Rather than being a garment for protecting people from the rain, it actually began as a woolen piece of clothing that helped keep people warm.

It was in more recent years that the poncho became popular throughout the world when modern materials allowed them to become waterproof. Thus the rain poncho was born and since then this type of poncho has become popular everywhere from America to Asia.

Types of Poncho

Thermal Poncho

Thermal Poncho

The original or traditional poncho is usually made out of wool and is designed to act as a thermal layer for those cold days and nights. They are extremely popular in their South America where in some places everyone you see will be wearing one. They are still something of a fashion statement in North America and Europe, but their popularity is growing enormously thanks to celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Jared Leto being spotted wearing them in recent years.

Rain Poncho

Rain Poncho

The rain poncho is so popular that it can be found pretty much anywhere in the world. First popularized by its use in the armed forces, the rain poncho is now used by everyone from housewives to deep sea oil rig workers. Interestingly, the German Army during WW2 actually issued ponchos to its soldiers that could be easily fitted together to form tents which is still something that some ponchos allow today.
How to buy a good poncho?

The style and cost of the poncho you buy really depends on what you need it for. The simple one-use disposable poncho is inexpensive but so thin that it often rips when you are trying to take it off. Though these fulfill a purpose in an emergency and are excellent for hikers and travelers if you need a longer lasting, more durable poncho then you will need to spend a little more and get a good quality thicker design.

Design differences

Sleeves or no sleeves?

Some ponchos come with sleeves while others are sleeveless. Not only do sleeves add weight but they also often hang loose and get in the way. This is why most people prefer sleeveless ponchos, but if you need full protection such as for keeping yourself dry while backpacking or through extensive travel, then you should get one with sleeves. Beware of the added weight though.

Need a hood?

A hood is a great idea on any poncho for obvious reasons. They only problem with them is that they can be a bit of a nuisance and end up collecting rainwater if you don’t put them on immediately or they are badly designed. All decent ponchos should feature a drawstring hood that will tighten up around the face to help keep you dry.

Waist up or down to the knees?

Most of the common ponchos cover down to the waist though there are designs that go all the way to the knee. Lots of military ponchos, for example, go to the knee to give soldiers standing out in the rain the best level of protection. Thick knee level ponchos do have the drawback of being quite heavy and not suitable for people such as hikers and travelers.


Thickness doesn’t affect a poncho’s waterproofing abilities all that much since these days even the thinnest plastic is waterproof. Rather thickness is a better indication of how long the poncho is going to last and how much you can put it though. If you plan to use it in the city, for example, a thickness of between 4 and 6 mm thick is considered to be a heavyweight while if you are in the countryside where branches and bushes could snag it then 6 to 15mm is what you will need.


If you are only bringing your poncho for emergencies, then you don’t need to buy the thickest material available. For some people weight and the ability to throw their poncho into a bag is more important than it being long lasting and durable. If weight is a consideration look for a thinner poncho without sleeves.

Finally, before you buy, be sure to check the measurements to make sure that the poncho you are buying will fit you. It might sound stupid but trust us many people have made this mistake.

Our Top Choice
Charles River Apparel Pacific Poncho

Charles River Apparel Pacific PonchoThis superb waterproof poncho is, without doubt, the best of the bunch. It is a top seller and has the best customer satisfaction scores of any poncho on the market today. If you want a great all around poncho that is lightweight enough to carry anywhere but still has the rugged durability to last years in the woods then this is definitely the one you should choose.

The poncho is available in 17 different colors for you to choose from and comes with elbow length sleeves that are wide ended to allow for an excellent level of arm freedom while still offering plenty of protection from the rain. These sleeves also feature snap closures that help seal the upper arm and body and therefore prevent any water from getting in should you need to be working with your arms up in the air for example.

It comes with a matching carry pouch that measures 12 x 9.5 x 0.5 inches and allows you to pack the poncho away into a fairly small space.
The poncho is made from New Englander polyurethane and is bonded together using heat-sealed seams. This material gives it some real strength and thanks to the heat sealed seams this poncho is 100% waterproof.

This is an excellent top rated poncho for anyone looking for a good design that will last. Though not light enough to replace the ultra-thin disposable ponchos, this design is suitable for everything else.

Material polyurethane
Color 17 colors to choose from
Weight 14.5 oz
Size one size (dimensions 53″ x 80″)
Carry Bag?
Rating (4.8 / 5)

  • Adult Size – dimensions 52″ x 80″
  • Hand washable
  • Convenient to store in its storage pouch
  • Waterproof with heat-sealed seams
  • High quality
  • Heat-sealed seams
  • Drawstrings hood
  • Side snap closure for under arms

  • Hood does fold up but still remains exposed meaning it is liable to fill with rain

Rain Poncho JTENG Waterproof Ripstop Hooded US PVC Camouflage Raincoat

Rain Poncho JTENGThis new and improved version of the already popular original is the perfect heavy duty poncho for people who are less concerned about weight but need their poncho to be a really durable and long lasting design.

It is made from 100% polyester and has been engineered to prevent rips. The design is very similar to a military poncho and is packed full of features that will help keep you dry while maintaining a maximum level of maneuverability.

It has a really handy neck zipper that helps with getting it on and off more easily as well as allowing for a little extra ventilation on really hot days. Its cuff buttons help you to tighten it up for heavy downpours when you will need to keep the water out and your body heat in.

One big advantage of this poncho is that it has been designed to open out so that you can use it as either a tarp on the floor or as cover for a temporary shelter. These features are why this poncho is the top choice for people who are serious about protecting themselves from the rain in all climates.

Material rip-stop polyester
Color 3 colors to choose from
Weight 30 oz
Size one size (dimensions 59″ x 55″)
Carry Bag?
Rating (4.7 / 5)

  • Made from 100% Rip-Stop Waterproof Polyester Material
  • Adult Sized; Dimensions: 59″ x 55″ (L x W)
  • Comes with a quality storage bag
  • Closed for added protection from rain or be opened and spread out to utilize and maximize its coverage like use it as a tarp
  • Grommet corners so it can be used as an emergency shelter or sleeping bag
  • Protects your backpack too

  • Heavy duty and therefore not so lightweight

Adult 10 Mil Reusable Rain Ponchos

Adult 10 Mil Reusable Rain Poncho

Available as a single poncho or in packs of 6, 12, and 48 this is a good in-between option of the low-cost disposable poncho and the heavy duty one.

It is ideal for those who need a lightweight but reasonably tough poncho for emergencies and occasional use. It comes in 3 different colors with elbow length sleeves and a hood. The design is simple and is heat sealed to give maximum protection from the rain.

The only drawback is that apart from the side snaps there is no way of tightening up this design to help you get it on more snuggly. You can’t complain for the price, but this drawback doesn’t make this poncho the best for long periods outdoors or in heavy downpours. Ideal for hikers and bikers who might need a pullover poncho for the times they get caught out in the rain.

Material vinyl
Color 3 colors to choose from
Weight 7.2 oz
Size one size (dimensions 52″ x 80″)
Carry Bag?
Rating (4.5 / 5)

  • Dimensions – 52″x 80″
  • Comes with side snaps
  • 10 Mil Thick
  • Comes with re-sealable pouch and plastic loop for hanging
  • Heat joined seams

  • Not adjustable so not as ideal for heavy rain as other designs

Men’s US Waterproof Ripstop Hooded Nylon Festival Poncho

Men's US Waterproof Ripstop Hooded Nylon Festival PonchoIf you are looking for a poncho that has the optimum level of adjustability, then this is definitely one to consider. Made from fully waterproof ripstop nylon, it comes with adjustable drawstrings on the hood, arms and on the waistband so that once you have them all pulled up tight there is little chance of you ever getting wet. What’s more, this feature also helps to retain your body heat which makes this design ideal for people in colder climes who need to stay warm and dry.

Material rip-stop nylon
Color 2 colors to choose from
Weight 22 oz
Size one size (dimensions 56″ x 84″)
Carry Bag?
Rating (4.4 / 5)

  • Waterproof ripstop nylon
  • Weighs between 650grams and 800grams packed
  • Draw cord hood, arms, and waist for maximum adjustability
  • Matching carry pouch

  • Might be unsuitable for warmer climates

Fogg toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho

Fogg toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho

This nice little poncho has been designed to be ultra-light while still having a reasonable level of resistance from tears. That said, don’t expect this design to stand up too much in the way of contact with branches, thorns and sharp edges because it is just not manufactured to do so.

If you are a hiker or traveler who wants a very lightweight poncho to make sure that you are covered from that occasional downpour, then this is the one we recommend. It is the most lightweight of all the ponchos on this list but still gives great protection from the rain.
It has an adjustable hood as well as side snaps though it lacks any waist drawstrings. All around, it is a really effective poncho, though for larger adults it doesn’t cover much below the waist. It comes with a really handy carry bag and is fully recyclable.

Material nonwoven polypropylene
Color 3 colors to choose from
Weight 8.8 oz
Size one size (dimensions 40″ x 52″)
Carry Bag?
Rating (4.3 / 5)

  • Side snaps
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable material with welded joints
  • Adjustable hood
  • Comes in a reusable bag
  • Recyclable

  • Not designed for heavy use