You’ve been looking forward to hiking on your camping trip but now it won’t stop raining! No problem. Here is a guide to the best rain ponchos for hiking and backpacking.
It happens to many of us. You’re in the middle of your hike and enjoying the beauty of nature when that dark cloud rolls in suddenly. Rain falls heavily upon you, and you have miles to go before you return to your campsite.
After one time, you'll swear you'll never be caught without better protection again!
But when hiking and enjoying other outdoor activities, you don’t always want or have much space for a cumbersome jacket. Taking a poncho is a perfect, compact solution. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Thank you for your support.
5 Best Rain Ponchos for Hiking
There are several important features that distinguish disposable ponchos from high-quality reusable rain ponchos. Here are our best poncho recommendations with pros and cons for each. to help you make your choice and not be so nervous when checking that weather forecast for bad weather.
Most ponchos are made to fit any kind of person, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out which size you are.
But the Sea to Summit has the distinction of having the biggest size, one of the most important traits when looking for the best rain poncho for hiking.
Large dimensions are important in case you have a large backpack you also want to cover up. It also helps to keep your legs dry, even when on the move.
This one will reach the knee on the average person. This is ideal. You don’t want lower than that.
Another benefit to its generous size is that it can be used as a rain tarp in a pinch. It’s big enough for two people in emergency situations.
Its waterproof material means it won’t leak and can withstand heavy rain.
Its fabric makes it lightweight, only half a pound when packed. It’s also durable, and even features snap buttons on the sides for good ventilation and adjustability.
The trifecta of size, lightweight, and durability makes the Sea to Summit the best overall model.
- Big enough to function as an emergency shelter
- Waterproof fabric
- Often sold out
- Could be too big for you if you’re not wearing a big rucksack
If you’re looking for a more affordable price but still want some similar features to the Sea to Summit, this Frogg Togg is one of the best rain ponchos for hiking.
If you’re already lugging a lot of gear, your back will be grateful for its low weight of half a pound. It can even fit in your pocket! It’s easily foldable and packable, making it the best lightweight rain poncho.
However, this lightweight poncho doesn’t have the highest quality material on this list, so it is less durable.
But one advantage to this material is that it is breathable. If you find yourself prone to getting sweaty and sticky on your hikes, this poncho may be the best option for you.
It’s also huge in size at 36 by 44 inches, easily protecting you and your backpack from rain. The side snaps and its adjustable hood make it easy to customize and get a better fit.
- Most lightweight
- Easy to pack
- Big in size
- More affordable
- Not made from the highest quality material
- Not a good option for short people (it might drag on the ground!)
By the way, if you'd rather avoid rain altogether, you should check out 5 Great Places for RVers Who Hate the Rain.
While ponchos do a good job keeping you dry, a lot still looks like a glorified trash bag.
Not the Charles River. In my opinion, this is a stylish rain poncho.
To boot, they offer six different colors. If you’re thinking about looking good out on the trail, this may be your best rain poncho for hiking.
It doesn’t skimp on features either. Like the others, it’s lightweight and easy to pack.
It has heat-sealed seams that make it ultra-durable. Plus it has a drawstring hood to prevent water from seeping down the neck.
The downside is that it cuts at the waist. So unless you buy the accompanying pants poncho as well, it won’t do the best job at keeping your legs dry in heavier rainfall.
Such is the cost for a stylish poncho!
- Looks great
- Different color options
- Drawstring hood
- No pockets
If you’re someone who likes to keep dry at all costs, the Snugpak is your best rain poncho for hiking.
Fully tapered seams and enclosed seams really do the trick. And the fabric is waterproof, windproof, and light enough to still be breathable.
Because of its size and fabric, the total weight is 13 ounces. This makes it one of the heavier ponchos, but it’s worth it if you don’t mind carrying that minor extra weight around.
It even features a chest pocket sealed by Velcro to hold things you would want to access on your hike, like a map. This way you won’t need to dig through your backpack in the elements.
- Velcro-sealed chest pocket
- Durable fabric
- On the expensive end
- Might be baggy on shorter adults
- Relatively heavy
The Terra Hiker rain poncho is perhaps the best of all worlds combining features from the previous four options.
It’s affordable, has varied color choices, a storable front pocket, and can withstand moderate rainfall.
Its large size can function as an emergency shelter for two people. As a drawback, it can’t be packed small enough to fit in your pocket.
The material is nylon so while it doesn't have the most breathable fabrics on the list, it is still comfortable and will last you a while. No easy tearing for this poncho.
- Color Options
- Front pocket
- Can’t be trusted in very heavy rain
- Doesn’t pack that small
Hope this helps you hike without letting a little wet weather stop you.
Your Vote for Best Backpacking Poncho
Are you like me and have been caught out in the rain? Or perhaps were smarter and prepared from the start?! Either way, we'd love to hear your recommendation for the best rain poncho for hiking. Let us know in the comments!
Also check out: What Do You Do on a Rainy Day?
And we LOVE our new RV Lifestyle clothing line to go UNDER your new raincoats! Check it out here: RVlifestyle.com/GoShopping