Ponchos may not seem like the most fashionable item of clothing, but when it comes to survival, their practicality outweighs their aesthetic appeal.
Survival ponchos can be used not only to quickly protect your clothes from the rain, but also to completely shelter you from harm when you don’t have a tent or tarp handy.
You will thank yourself for taking a survival poncho in your backpack, but how do you find the best survival poncho for you?
Here at Survival Front, we’ve looked at five top products to help narrow down your choice for the best survival poncho. There are several features you’ll need to consider before choosing the most suitable one for you, so be sure to take a look at our handy buyer’s guide for expert advice!
Come and check out our reviews below!
Terra Hiker Rain Poncho
Multifunctionality is a key aspect of many survival-based items, and is something you should always look out for when choosing gear.
The Terra Hiker Rain Poncho is no exception when it comes to having multiple uses. It is described as a ‘3-in-1’ poncho, and is specially built for a variety of outdoor activities, such as mountaineering and fishing.
It can be used as a shield from heavy rain, but also doubles as a damp-proof mat or a sunshade, and can be used as a tent-like shelter when you urgently need it. These multiple uses make it exactly the kind of gear you’ll need to save space in your backpack.
Constructed from 210T high-density polyester, it’s a poncho that can endure the worst that the wilderness has to offer. The fabric is also PU3000mm waterproof and seam-sealed, so you can rely on it to stop you from soaking in the outdoors.
This poncho is especially roomy, with enough space in the back to accommodate a backpack of up to 60L in capacity. This means your essential survival gear doesn’t need to get wet either.
Despite being a tough poncho, you won’t have to worry about it weighing your backpack down. It is only 0.68lbs, and folds down to 8 x 3 x 2in, so it will fit comfortably in your backpack without taking up unnecessary space.
Read the full Terra Hiker Rain Poncho review
- 3-in-1 poncho can double as a mat or a makeshift shelter
- Made from 210T high-density polyester
- PU3000mm waterproof rating and seam-sealed
- Super-lightweight and compact
- Can fit a backpack of up to 60L underneath
- Some customers have found that the hood is small-fitting
- As it is lightweight, it is more prone to struggling in particularly windy conditions
Arcturus Reusable Rain Poncho
At only 0.68lbs, the Arcturus Reusable Rain Poncho is super-lightweight, and ideal for use in emergency situations. It packs down into a compact size, and even comes with a carry bag for your convenience.
It is a versatile poncho, and can be used as a tarp or emergency shelter, or a groundsheet to help you stay comfortable. The sides of the poncho unbutton for easy access to its whole shape, and included are steel grommets in every corner, for a simple tie-down process.
It is designed from 210T rip-stop taffeta material, and coated with two layers of waterproof polyurethane. This makes it able to withstand a plethora of weather conditions, even when the unexpected happens.
The hood is exceptionally large and deep, which provides ideal protection from adverse weather. It comes with an adjustable drawstring, so you can easily alter the tightness and fit of the hood as the weather changes.
The poncho is described as ‘extra-long,’ so it should cover most adults past the knee and even just above boot-level. You’ll be thankful for that extra protection if you end up in a flooded situation, and you never know when you could be up to your knees in disaster!
Read the full Arcturus Reusable Rain Poncho review
- Super-lightweight and easy to pack away
- Steel grommets and buttons at the sides means it can be opened up for other uses
- Durable design with a waterproof layer
- Extra large hood
- Long length helps to cover more of your body from the rain
- Some customers have found that there are issues with the sewing on the seams, which may be unreliable
- It may not be the most convenient design to wear with a backpack underneath, due to the positioning of the hood
Mil-Tec Waterproof Ripstop Poncho
The Mil-Tec Waterproof Ripstop Poncho is constructed from 100% nylon, built to prevent rips and tears. As a waterproof poncho, you can rely on it to protect during even the heaviest of rainfall. It could certainly be described as a ‘heavy-duty’ poncho, which will be durable against the elements.
The nylon fabric allows the material to be lightweight, while also maintaining its strength. This makes it an ideal choice for survival, and, as it weighs only 1.5lbs (approx), it is excellent for storing in a backpack for when you’re hiking or need to head out during a disaster.
This is a one-size-fits-all poncho. It measures at 84in long, and 56in wide, so it is worth considering whether this would be appropriate for you.
In addition to its strength, the poncho is also multifunctional, which is exactly what you need from your survival gear. It comes with eyelets on the hem, so you can use the poncho as a shelter or a groundsheet in case the weather takes a sudden turn. On the sides of the poncho, you’ll find press-stud poppers, which allow you to use the poncho as a sleeping bag cover if you need to. The poppers also let you create sleeves on the poncho, so that you can hold equipment more efficiently.
Read the full Mil-Tec Waterproof Ripstop Poncho review
- Made from 100% rip-stop nylon, so it is durable and heavy-duty
- Weighs 1.5lbs, so it can fit easily into a backpack
- Includes eyelets on the hem for multifunctional use
- Press-stud poppers allow you to turn the poncho into a sleeping bag cover
- May get warm very quickly when worn due to the material used
Fire Force #8740 Military Style Poncho
Made from rip-stop nylon fabric, the Fire Force #8740 Military Style Poncho can withstand high-impact rainfall and water damage.
The nylon uses thicker interwoven threads combined with thinner fabric to help prevent small tears from developing into larger issues. It also comes with water repellent urethane coating, and has taped seams on both the hood and neck, for extra protection from water.
This poncho comes in a variety of camo colors, such as black and brown, and a standard camouflage design. These colors are excellent for when you need to hide in the wilderness and keep yourself out of harm’s way.
What makes this durable poncho especially great is its lightweight design. It can be packed down easily into a compact size to fit nicely into a backpack. Weighing around 1lb, you shouldn’t have many issues carrying this poncho around with you, and won’t weigh you down when you wear it either.
In a survival situation, you never know when you’ll need to take shelter at a moment’s notice. This poncho’s multifunctional capabilities makes it a convenient piece of gear to have on hand. It comes with six grommets and eyelets on the hem, so you can use this poncho as either a shelter or ground cover for when you need it the most.
Read the full Fire Force #8740 Military Style Poncho review
- Rip-stop nylon design is durable and tough
- Lightweight and packs into a compact size
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Includes six grommets and eyelets for multifunctional use
- Taped seams on the hood and neck
- Some customers have found that the snap closures are unreliable
Revival Gear Reusable Rain Poncho
If you’re in need of a durable survival poncho, the Revival Gear Reusable Rain Poncho is an excellent choice.
With a brand new design in 2019, you can expect a high-quality product that can endure all kinds of weather conditions. It is made from lightweight, rip-resistant nylon polyester blend material, so it can face whatever challenges the elements may bring.
Although it is a heavy-duty poncho, it is breathable, using one-way airflow technology to help keep your temperature regulated. This is ideal in unpredictable weather conditions, as you won’t end up feeling too hot or too cold and can instead stay comfortable.
This poncho features ultra-durable sewed seams, which help to form a rip-resistant construction around the body, arms, and neck. For an especially tighter fit, you can use the strong elastic drawstring to make the hood feel snugger and prevent further water damage.
There are many multifunctional uses for this poncho. It can be turned into a tarp shelter at an urgent notice, simply by unfastening the velcro under the arms and tying each corner of the poncho to pegs in the ground, or to a tree. The poncho can also double as a ground mat, using the strong metal grommets found in each corner. You can use these to tighten the poncho over a certain area, or you can lay it on the ground, so that you have somewhere comfortable to sit.
Read the full Revival Gear Reusable Rain Poncho review
- Breathable, with one-way airflow technology
- Designed with rip-resistant nylon polyester, for a durable performance
- Strong sewed seams to prevent water from getting inside
- Can be used as a tarp, or a ground mat, using the included metal grommets
- Elastic drawstring included, so you can tighten the hood
- Heavier than other ponchos on the market
Size and Weight
It’s important to get the balance right when it comes to a poncho’s size and weight.
Many ponchos come as a one-size-fits-all design, so you won’t usually need to try before you buy. Generally, they will be loose-fitting, but if you are looking for children’s ponchos, then be sure to opt for those specifically made for kids.
If possible, you should opt for a poncho that could cover both you and another person, but that still remains lightweight when packed. If you are planning on traveling alone, then a smaller poncho would of course be the best option, but bear in mind that larger ponchos will be more multifunctional.
The most effective rain ponchos will use certain materials to ensure that the poncho is sturdy and durable, while still being easy to carry.
A crucial feature to consider is the color of your survival poncho. While you can’t guarantee what obstacles you’ll face in the wilderness, you should try to opt for a poncho that will best suit your intentions.
If you are anticipating being on the run and needing to hide, then a camouflage or light color will be your best choice. This way, you can blend in better with your environment and keep yourself out of danger and away from potential threats.
However, if you are concerned about being rescued and you want to be seen, then a bright color is the best way to go. Bright or neon-colored ponchos are especially great for when it gets dark. They can really stand out, even from far away distances.
With this in mind, providing it’s within your budget, you could purchase both a bright and a camo-colored poncho, to help you when either situation arises.
When it comes to finding a survival poncho, you’ll need more than just a flimsy, thin sheet to cover you.
While PVC ponchos can work well against adverse weather conditions, they are not the most breathable of materials. This means if you are on the move, you could end up feeling uncomfortably hot.
As a result of this, many ponchos use PVC as a layering material. However, if you opt for a more budget-friendly PVC poncho, then they are likely to be made solely from this material.
PU-coated nylon is a sensible option, as it is known for its waterproof properties. The nylon on the exterior provides durability and wear-resistance, while it features waterproof polyurethane inside to prevent water from seeping through.
However, similarly to PVC, these ponchos can get uncomfortably hot in warm weather.
For arguably the most lightweight option, cuben fiber is perhaps the best material to look out for. It combines plastic mylar with other fibers to keep it light on your person and in your backpack. However, it won’t be as budget-friendly as plastic or PVC options.
Many ponchos will use silicone nylon or silicone polyester for both a tough and waterproof design. If you are looking for affordability combined with durability, then these materials are worth considering.
Disposable or Long-Lasting?
It is worth considering opting for disposable ponchos for survival. You may find that they’re the best option for you, or they could work as an addition to an emergency survival kit when your high-quality poncho isn’t available.
While we often discuss the importance of long-lasting and durable survival gear, it is useful to think about how convenient disposable ponchos can be.
They will work great during SHTF situations, as you can easily store them away in your car or backpack for when you need to quickly make an escape.
Disposable ponchos often come in multipacks in a variety of colors, with a clear one usually included. For disaster scenarios, these packs are handy to have, despite their limited lifespan. If well-maintained, though, you may be able to make them last longer.
It is essential that your poncho is highly water-resistant, otherwise it won’t be worth having.
Many of the best survival ponchos will be designed with watertight materials. You should look out for ponchos with taped seams, as this further prevents any water from seeping through.
Look out for ponchos that have a semi-coverage hood at the least, as your head will need protection from rainfall too!
Additional Design Details
There are many great ponchos out there, but what truly makes a survival poncho the best?
A poncho with additional design details, such as buttons and grommets in the correct place, simply adds to the overall quality and elevates a poncho from good to great.
Grommets or eyelets are extremely useful to have, as these can help you to turn the poncho into a comfortable shelter during desperate times in the wilderness.
You should also look at ponchos that feature elastic pull tabs for convenience, along with snap fastenings under the arms. These will allow the poncho to fit closer to your body and keep your sides free from rain damage.
Survival ponchos may not seem like an essential, but you’ll feel lost without one if a downpour strikes. Their versatility makes them especially useful for survival, and we think it’s crucial to have at least one durable survival poncho stored in your backpack.
However, with many great products out there, and with the ones we’ve listed being so high-quality, it can be hard to choose the best survival poncho to get the job done.
With all features considered, my pick for the best survival poncho would have to be the Arcturus Reusable Rain Poncho.
This poncho stood out from a survivalist standpoint, as its ultra-lightweight construction makes it the ideal choice to store in a backpack or carry with you during an SHTF situation. It is versatile yet simple, and contains the durable materials necessary to keep you covered.
Thanks for reading, and we hope you can find the best survival poncho to stop you from getting soaked when times are tough! Please leave any feedback in our comments section!
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Good Luck and Happy Survival Prepping!
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