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The 5 best rain ponchos

It can be frustrating when an unpredictable forecast leaves you unprepared, which is why it's so useful to have quick weather protection on hand. Though they all generally look similar — hood, wide sleeves, open bottom — the best rain ponchos are waterproof, durable, and well-ventilated to keep you from overheating.

Though rain ponchos should inherently protect you from getting wet, they can vary in how waterproof they are. Some brands provide a waterproof rating, which tells you how much water pressure the fabric can withstand, measured in millimeters. It usually ranges from 800 to 10,000 millimeters. For backpacking, hiking, and other rugged adventures, you may prefer an option with a higher waterproof rating. But keep in mind you can still be kept perfectly dry with models at the lower end of the spectrum, too (for reference, the average umbrella is rated at about 420 millimeters).

You'll find most ponchos only come in one size, though the length and width will vary from brand to brand. There should be enough material to cover as much of your body as you prefer, however, the wider the poncho is, the more you'll be able to fit underneath (an important consideration if you'll be carrying a backpack or other gear).

Other features to look for in a poncho may include a drawstring hood to give your head maximum protection and a zipper closure to make it easier to get on and off. For colder days, there are even fleece-lined ponchos that resemble a warm, oversized blanket.

With these considerations in mind, read on for the best rain ponchos you can buy on Amazon.

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1. The fan-favorite

Waterproof rating: Not specified

What makes it great: For the price, you likely won't find a better-rated reusable rain poncho than this one from SaphiRose. Available in more than 40 color and style options, this polyester poncho is 100% waterproof and has a full-length zipper so it's easy to take on and off. Amazon reviewers have mentioned that this lightweight poncho feels similar to the fabric of an umbrella and is very loose, so it can easily fit over a backpack or any other gear you’re carrying. Plus, it has one zippered exterior pocket and comes with a carrying pouch so you have somewhere to store it when you're not wearing it.

One reviewer says: "This rain poncho is great! Well made, generously sized, and the material is sturdy AND doesn't crinkle loudly like other rain ponchos I have tried!"

  • Available sizes: one size (57 inches wide, 37 inches long in the front, and 41 inches long in the back)

2. The hot weather poncho

Waterproof rating: 2,000 millimeters

What makes it great: Ultralight and 100% waterproof (it's made from polypropylene plastic), this frogg toggs rain poncho is ideal for wearing outdoors in humid, hot weather. Amazon reviewers seemed to especially like the breathable side snap design of this poncho, which allows for more airflow on especially hot days. Plus, this poncho has an adjustable drawstring hood and comes with an included stuff sack to carry it in. Choose from four colors: blue, khaki, dark green, and carbon black.

One reviewer says: “I use this in the rainy season and I love it because it is adjustable in terms of how much air you want to let in. It keeps the rain out but lets fresh air in. I live in a warm humid environment where it rains a lot and raincoats just don't work for me, they make me over-heat and sweat. This poncho works perfectly.”

  • Available sizes: One size (54 x 40 inches)

3. The cold weather poncho

Waterproof rating: 8,000 millimeters

What makes it great: For cold, wet weather, this cozy Mambe hooded blanket will keep you both dry and warm. While it's technically more of a cape since it doesn't have armholes, it's lined with Polartec fleece and zips up in the front to offer you full 360-degree rain and wind protection. On top of that, this machine-washable poncho boasts large internal pockets for storage. Similar to other options, it comes with its own carrying bag and it's available in a handful of colors.

One reviewer says: "This thing is pricey but it’s worth it. If you are investing in your kids sports that play in cold temps or rain this thing is worth the investment. Plus it’s big enough to wrap around ourself and our little 3 year old and keep everyone warm [...] I keep in in my truck at all times. Rain proof. Wind proof. Retains heat. Can’t ask for more."

  • Available sizes: Small (19 x 44 inches), large (22 x 50 inches), XL (25 x 50 inches), and XL-tall (25 x 56 inches)

4. The versatile hiking poncho

Waterproof rating: 3,000 millimeters

What makes it great: Not only is this lightweight Anyoo rain poncho one of the longest options on this list, but it's also one of the widest, which means it's especially well-suited for taller folks or those who want to shield a backpack or other gear from the elements, too. It's crafted from durable ripstop nylon fabric with a waterproof PVC coating, and it fastens with snap closures down the side to make for a breathable sleeve. The drawstring closure on the hood and the longer brim will ensure your face is covered, and the compact carrying pouch comes with a drawstring closure, too.

Thanks to several key design features, it's also versatile beyond being a rain jacket, which is why a few reviewers referred to it as a "military poncho." It can be used as an extra tarp to cover a tent during a rain shower or as a makeshift sun shelter (there are four grommets built in to secure it to the ground or tie it up on tree trunks). You can also lay it out on the ground as a mat for picnics or to set a sleeping bag on.

The "X" model pictured above comes in four colors, but there are 27 styles to choose from in total.

One reviewer says: "My son and I used these on a recent backpacking trip in Virginia. We got hit with a massive thunderstorm and these ponchos worked great in keeping us and our gear dry. The rainproofing on my tent wasn't working so I used some cord to attach the poncho to the top of my tent as an additional rain fly. Versatile, useful, lightweight, and packs down tiny. Great product."

  • Available sizes: One size (86 x 55 inches)

5. The disposable poncho

Waterproof rating: Not applicable

What makes it great: This five-pack of disposable rain ponchos is one of the most convenient options you'll find because they're designed to be tossed or recycled after you're done with them. According to several Amazon users, they are surprisingly durable, which means you may be able to get several uses out of them by simply hanging them to dry.

Each poncho comes individually packaged and is made with thick, biodegradable PE plastic that's 100% waterproof, according to the brand (though there is no waterproof rating. They boast a simple pull-over design with a hood, though there aren't any pockets. Choose from four colors.

One reviewer says: “A pack of ‘disposable’ rain ponchos that's perfect for emergency use. Thicker and stronger than the usual poncho that feels like you're wearing a dry cleaning plastic bag. This does the job and looks good doing it."

  • Available sizes: Adult (50 x 40 inches) or child (40 x 30 inches)