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Sometimes a sunny day becomes an unexpected cloudy rainy day. No matter where you are, the proper rain protection can help make your travel or commute into work or school much more pleasant and protect you and your clothes from the elements.
In this article, I will explain what types of rain ponchos are available and give you a lot of recommendations for some of the best rain ponchos out there.
What are rain ponchos?
To my surprise, I asked a few of my friends what they thought about rain ponchos and some of my friends didn’t know what a rain poncho was, or at least didn’t know the exact name. Maybe rain ponchos are less of a trend now? In reality, rain ponchos are actually far more useful than you might expect and they can also be quite fashionable.
A rain poncho is basically an oversized hoodie that repels water away from your clothes and body. It will usually have a hood and sleeves for your arms. So, you could wear a rain poncho over your regular clothes to keep your clothes dry from the rain. Or in other words, think of an oversized raincoat that should cover most or all of your body.
However, there are two different types of rain ponchos, multi-use or disposable.
Multi-use rain ponchos
Multi-use rain ponchos, also known as reusable rain ponchos, are similar to any other article of clothing that you can use multiple times.
You could use reusable rain ponchos almost every day if it was raining and not have to worry about buying a new one as you can keep the same reusable rain poncho day in and day out.
If you want to save the environment, reusable rain ponchos are far better for the environment as it’s not going directly into the trash after one use. You could think of reusable rain ponchos as reusable water bottles, instead of buying a single-use bottle of water, you could fill up a refillable water bottle that produces less plastic and trash than single-use water bottles in the long term.
Disposable rain ponchos
Disposable rain ponchos are typically given out or bought when we least expect them. They are good for one-time use, but nothing more. Most of the time the quality of disposable rain ponchos are weak and will wear and tear after a day of use making them ultimately useless after a day.
You can find disposable rain ponchos at many convenience stores and supermarkets, but as they are disposable they are typically thinner and the material is almost like wearing a plastic bag over your clothes.
Places like Niagara Falls will hand out disposable rain ponchos when you go to the falls via boat or visit the caves. Once you are done you will throw them away without any intent to use them again.
Disposable rain ponchos aren’t the best for the environment. Think of plastic bags you get from the grocery store. Once you use them, it’s hard to use them as they tear or leak very easily and just create more waste. So be mindful about the impact on the environment.
Rain poncho vs umbrella vs jacket
It will all come down to preference, but most people will agree that umbrellas are great for everyday living. Umbrellas are light and easy to put away into a backpack or bag. Umbrellas are great for cities or parks. However, umbrellas cannot handle strong winds and still leaves you vulnerable to the elements.
A rain poncho, on the other hand, will cover you from your head to your feet or knees. You will have your hands free as the poncho is a piece of clothing you wear over your regular daily clothing. It also will handle windy weather with ease as you’re wearing it blocking out the elements from hitting your skin or clothing.
A rain jacket is great as it’s easy to take off and put on leaving your hands free, but it will only cover your upper half. So, your legs are still exposed to the elements. A jacket is great for both cities and the great outdoors for short periods of time.
So, in the end, you will have to decide which one is right for you based on your circumstances.
The best rain ponchos
The HLK.Sports Rain Coats EVA Reusable Rain Coat Jacket with Hood is probably the best rain poncho for casual use.
It’s made out of thick biodegradable EVA material that is light enough for most and impacts the environment slightly less than other ponchos. It’s better to be eco than not, especially when you get a reusable poncho.
What is great about this poncho is the fact that it is compatible with a medium-sized backpack making it easy for daily use. So, if you are wearing a backpack, you should keep an eye out for ponchos that are easy to wear with a backpack. Most ponchos allow you to wear a backpack, but some will fit backpacks a little easier than others.
I for one like how the poncho is also slightly opaque allowing you to show off your clothes underneath.
The HLK Sports Rain Coat poncho fits up to size XL unisex as it’s 59″ by 27.5″ including the hood.
The Womens Rain Poncho Stylish Polyester Waterproof Raincoat with Hood Zipper Styles is marketed for women, but with a classic polka dot design that makes it eye-catching. The front length is 36.2” and the back length is 40.6”. So, as someone who is 5’10”, it would be short on me.
However, this poncho would still be good enough for boys and girls or adult women. Plus, it includes an anti-leak portable bag making it easy to clip on backpacks or handbags. It is perfect for keeping the contents of your bags dry if you are done with the rain poncho and need a place to put it.
The poncho is described as a cape as the sleeves are part of the main poncho. Because of the poncho design, this poncho is actually easier to wear as it’s more like a blanket instead of a hoodie. I kinds think of it as a shorter snuggie. This poncho would be great if you want something that looks less like a standard rain poncho and more like a unique rain outfit.
The MELIFLUOS DESIGNED IN SPAIN Raincoat Poncho for Women with Polka Dots Design is another rain poncho that is made for women, as it’s shorter with gender-specific design features throughout. If you’re over 5’5″, the poncho will reach down to your knees.
The foldable durable design is great if you want a clear rain poncho to show off your clothes underneath, but also have elements of unique Spanish design. You have stylish faux pockets that aren’t useable, but many reviewers still enjoyed how it looked.
It’s available in one design and the material is thicker as it’s a little more like rubber material. As it’s a PVC material, it’s less eco-friendly than EVA material, but will help up in the long run. Some have said the smell was terrible when it first arrived, but after one day of hanging, the smell went away.
The ISusser Disposable Emergency Raincoats, Colorful Rain Poncho with Hook Portable Ball is a unique disposable rain poncho that is packed in a pokemon like a ball that clips onto a bag or backpack. The poke type ball is 2.5″ in diameter, making it crazy portable. The poncho itself is 35.4″ by 47.2″. So it’s large enough for most average height men and women, while being longer for children.
Each ball is a different color, but the unisex rain poncho inside has no color and is a little clear. The material won’t be the best as it is compact and thin, but useable for one day.
As it’s a disposable rain poncho, it won’t be all so fashionable. However, if you are traveling as a family or your kid is on his or her way to school, this could be a great poncho to have clipped to your bag. The advantage of always being prepared for any rain is awesome and kids would most likely use it as it’s like opening a colorful toy with a prize inside.
Probably the most interesting rain poncho I have ever seen is one that would transform. The FWG Rain Poncho Waterproof Raincoat is a transformable rain poncho. Yes, a rain poncho that turns into a tent.
I never thought a rain poncho could double as a tent, but they made it happen and wow it’s interesting. It can be folded into the size of an iPad, 9” by 3.15” and while wearing it as a poncho, its front length is 36.5″, back length is 40.5″ and width is 58.5″.
It’s not the most comfortable poncho on the market, let alone stylish, but being so unique allows it to be useful for anyone that needs a poncho and a tent combo.
The material, Polyester PONGEE, will be more rugged and thicker than other ponchos on this list, so don’t expect to use this poncho for daily use. However, if you like to hike, this poncho would be a great choice withstanding wear and tear better than other ponchos on this list.
For the backpackers out there, the Adventure World Globotrekker Lightweight Backpack Poncho is an interesting rain poncho that can cater to the world backpackers. The poncho fits all as the length is 51″ without any backpack. So, once you had a backpack on, the back would be below your knees.
Coming in seven different colors, the backpacker’s rain poncho can cover you and your oversized backpack while you trek through the jungle or get to your next destination.
Another plus about the poncho is the high-quality ultra waterproof 210T Terylene fabric. It’s also equipped with a drawstring hood and zipped neck
While I am not a backpacker myself, I prefer briefcase and carry-on, this poncho is very innovative and useful catering to globetrotters.
The Disposable Rain Poncho (Extra Thick) with Drawstring Hood is a pack of six disposable rain ponchos that come in yellow, red, and blue.
Being a disposable rain poncho, it’s not going to be the strongest material as they might rip easily, but still great for a whole day of use. Compared to the poke like ball rain ponchos, which are listed above, these disposable ponchos are slightly stronger and can endure an eventful day at an amusement park or touring around a city sightseeing.
These could be great to stuff into a backpack for a group of people knowing it will rain as this is another poncho that would fit all sizes. It might be perfect for a day at an amusement park or on a field trip where you need to be prepared for anything during that one day but not a regular occurrence.
If you want a 100% clear rain poncho, the Waterproof Raincoat Transparent Rain Poncho is perfect if you want to show off your outfit.
As the rain poncho is made for women, it won’t fit most men, but as a woman, you can easily show off your normal everyday outfit or suit while you walk through the rainy streets of NYC.
The material, which is EVA, is thick and holds form easily, but the one negative would be not being so compact if you want to stuff it in a bag. The material is similar to rubber as the manufacturing process to make it clear made this poncho more thick than others on this list.
The length comes in at 43″, making it an ideal size for most women.
The LOHASCASA Women’s and Big Girl’s Waterproof Raincoat is a stylish women’s poncho that comes in 12 different colors. It’s 40.5″ in length, making it ideal for most women or children.
What makes this poncho special though is the material being less like a rubber material and lighter than the other ponchos. The material is polyester, it will last a good amount of time as it can withstand most normal wear and tear. In fact, it’s a two-layered poncho has a breathable underlayer that doesn’t make you too hot unlike other ponchos above. Reviews rave about the material and how compact it can get in a handbag.
If you prefer a lighter more breathable rain poncho, this would be one to consider.
The 4ucycling Raincoat is more of an oversized pullover rain jacket, but with poncho-like material synthetically assembled (nylon made), that repels rain better than most rain jackets. Being a synthetic assembly, it is rugged and feels very different from all other materials used on this list.
The length is 49.5″ making it almost as long as most ponchos, but less baggy and more fitted like a pullover. It comes in army-green or black for the colors, I personally prefer the black.
My favorite thing about this pullover is the fact that it has a big kangaroo-like pocket in the front with a zipper. Having a huge pocket like a kangaroo is super useful if you don’t want to put anything in your pants pockets or purse. Then there is elastic in the sleeves fitting to your wrist so the sleeves don’t cover your hands by moving too much.
The pullover is more like a jacket than a poncho, so it means it’s easier to move around in because of no rubber-like material constricting you.
Again, another rain jacket is on this list, but as it’s similar to a rain poncho I think it should be included. The ZHENWEI Womens’ Rain Coat with Hood is a traditional rain jacket that measures in 39″ in length. Meaning it will be long enough for most women as it’s long enough to reach or pass the knees.
The great thing about a button-up rain jacket is the ease of taking off and on the jacket. No need to pull it over your head as you can easily unbutton it where you take it off and on as a jacket. Unfortunately, it has no pockets in or outside of the jacket. As there are no pockets, it’s less useful in my eyes, but still many reviews still enjoy it.
There are 15 colors available all fitted for women. The material is eco-friendly EVA that is slightly thicker than other jackets or ponchos on this list, but as a jacket, you can easily adjust the buttons to make it more breathable.
I think this could be a great option if you want a jacket that is long, but not a pullover or a poncho.
No matter if you settle with a rain poncho or not, I do hope this list helped you pick your next purchase to protect you and your clothes from the rain.
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Steve is a senior contributor for UponArriving and spends close to 300 nights a year in hotels while traveling the world and trying to eat as much as he can. Steve has spoken at summits like the FBZ Elite Summit in Austin. He holds top-tier elite status with almost every hotel program as a Marriott Ambassador, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond, IHG Spire, and GHA Black. Utilizing credit card points and miles, Steve takes over 100 flights per year while experiencing some of the top first class and business class cabin in the sky.