3 Best Ponchos for Camping

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Hey there campers and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best ponchos for camping this year.  We who enjoy camping know that Mother Nature is temperamental and unpredictable. And most of the time she just messes around with us by drizzling just enough for us to get wet, but not enough for a rain jacket

In these circumstances, a good poncho can really come into its own by keeping us nice and dry, without the weight or heat of a jacket.  So if this is something you are interested in, to help you out I have had a good look around and come up with three decent options below.

Let’s check them out…

My three recommended ponchos for camping

I will review these in more detail below, but if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

02/18/2024 09:31 am GMT

What are ponchos for camping?

Ponchos are versatile outerwear garments that are often used for camping because they provide protection from rain and wind while also being lightweight and easy to pack. They are typically made from waterproof or water-resistant materials such as nylon or polyester with one of the main advantages over a traditional rain jacket is that it provides more coverage, which can keep both you and your backpack dry

They can also be used as an emergency shelter, by draping the poncho over a rope or branch to create a makeshift tent. Some camping ponchos even come with grommets or snaps that allow them to be fastened together to create a larger shelter as well.

best ponchos for camping - man wearing poncho in rainforest

What should you be looking for?

The following factors should be considered as you look around for a good poncho to meet your camping or hunting needs.

  1. Construction materials
  2. Waterproofing
  3. Durability
  4. Breathability
  5. Weight and pack size
  6. Additions

Construction materials

As always, how the poncho is made will go a long way to determining how effective it is. Most trekking rain ponchos are composed of thin, densely woven waterproof materials such PU-coated polyester taffeta. The polyester material is treated with a liquid protective film made of PU giving it very good water-repellency and makes the fabric more robust and tear- and abrasion-resistant. 

Most waterproof poncho styles are single-coated or double-coated, meaning the coating has only been applied once or twice.

Nylon and polyester are more common fabrics for camping ponchos, either coated or non-coated. Because nylon fiber is neither waterproof nor water-repellent, it should always be PU, PVC, or silicone-coated first.

Waterproofing

Most manufacturers label their products as “water-resistant” or “waterproof.” Still, the only way to tell for sure is to search for the fabric’s hydrostatic head rating.

Hydrostatic head ratings (HH ratings) determine how much water pressure a fabric can tolerate before leaking; the more significant the HH value, the more waterproof the fabric. This rating is in millimeters in product descriptions (i.e., 3,000 mm).

best ponchos for camping - green poncho in rain

Durability

Many lightweight camping ponchos trade durability for weight savings. The thin and light cloth repels rain and allows for breathability, but these versions are not among the most durable or flexible rain ponchos. Remember that many lightweight poncho designs are frail and may not last the first time they are used.

Constructions that are more robust and heavy-duty are typically made from nylon, PU-coated polyester and PVC whilst EVA and polypropylene are the least durable.

Aside from the fabric type chosen, the fabric’s density is an essential indicator of how robust and resistant to rips and tears it will be. The fabric density is measured in denier (for example, “15D”) and the rule of thumb is that the higher the denier count, the more tenacious the fabric is.

Breathability

Because of their loose fit, rain ponchos are better ventilated than ordinary raincoats. The most significant advantage rain ponchos bring is that they enable your sweat and body heat to escape when you traverse a route, avoiding the danger of overheating or being drenched in sweat.

Despite this, many of the coatings used to make rain ponchos with enhanced water repellency employ significantly less breathable fabric than waterproof-breathable rain shells. As a result, a few more ventilation elements such as mesh vents etc. can be advantageous to avoid any breathability inconvenience to the user.

Weight and packability

Typically, ponchos for camping are often one-size-fits-all; however, this is not always the case. You should be aware that practically all ponchos only cover your legs up to your knees, exposing your shins and foot if you want to hike in rainy weather.

When selecting the best poncho for you, always consider the size of your rucksack and avoid purchasing ponchos that are too large for your needs. If you just go on short treks with a modest backpack, an extra-large poncho will drag on the ground and most likely tear.

Additions

Other potential additions include:

  1. Pockets: These are helpful for storing your valuables, such as keys, cell phones, etc.
  2. Hood: This item covers your head which you might need for protection when the wind and rain are strong.
  3. Storage bag: This add-on is valuable in keeping the camping poncho packable and easy to store.
  4. Drawstrings: Adjustable drawcords and cord locks let you adjust the hood and hem as needed, which is very important in inclement weather.
  5. Multi-functional: Most ponchos with side openings, especially those made for the military or hunting, can be utilized to make an emergency shelter as well.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. PTEROMY Hooded Rain Poncho

My first option features a lightweight yet durable camping poncho. It offers three functions for the user allowing it to be used as a raincoat, ground sheet or makeshift shelter as well. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: PTEROMY
  • Fabric type: Polyester
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Dimensions: 42 x 35 x 17 inches
  • Weight: 0.5 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Hood with integrated visor
  • Adjustable strap
  • Large front pocket
  • Storage bag

Why have I chosen it?

This rain poncho is crafted using high-quality material that can withstand wear and tear with seams that are covered with waterproof backing material to ensure no rain leaks.  When the rain starts to fall, the hood has a brim to help you see better as well.

And for more effective use, every corner is strengthened and has a grommet with buttons installed along the side to aid as a shelter in windy conditions. It can also used as a camping tarp when laid flat on the ground as well.


2. Snugpak Patrol Poncho

This next camping poncho is designed to be durable enough for military use as well as being large enough to cover you and your bag in one fell swoop whilst providing enough leg coverage. The adjustable hood and thumb loops contribute to a more comfortable fit as well. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Snugpak
  • Fabric type: Paratex Dry Ripstop Fabric with 100% Waterproof Hydrophilic Polyurethane Coating
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Dimensions: 76 x 60 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.8 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Adjustable hood
  • Thumb loops
  • 2000 mm hydrostatic head PU coating
  • Storage bag

Why have I chosen it?

Because of its large cut, this rain poncho easily covers your gear and may be used as a bivvy in an emergency. Unlike other waterproof rain ponchos, the Patrol includes sleeves with elasticated wrists and thumb loops allowing you to wear gloves and prevent water from flowing down your arm.

The patrol poncho is lightweight at 363 grams and packs down to 20 x 10 cm, making it easy to fit into your bag. And when it’s windy, the considerable hood includes a drawstring toggle that helps enhance the fit and keeps the rain out of your eyes. A smock-style velcro front pocket is immediately below the 1/4-length zip that extends up to your chin to keep the rain out as well.


3. Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho

This third poncho for camping is from a well-known brand recognized for providing the warmth and comfort that outdoor adventurers require. Although this is a “one size fits all” type of clothing, it can be used as protection from the elements or as a ground blanket as well. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Therm-a-Rest
  • Fabric type: Polyester
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Dimensions: 79 x 56 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Storage pocket
  • Kangaroo pockets
  • Hood

Why have I chosen it?

The product is a warm, quilted, insulated poncho that is also waterproof and breathable. It is big enough that when snapped together at the sides, it may hang and cover your body down to your knees.

It also boasts a functional hood, a kangaroo pocket to keep your hands toasty and a huge front pocket that zips tight to accommodate everything you’ll ever need around the campfire. The entire item may be used as a blanket as well.

02/18/2024 09:31 am GMT

Conclusion

There you have it, my three ponchos for camping. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul