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15 Best Survival Ponchos For Rain And Shelter 2023

by | May 23, 2023 | Survival Gear, Survival Tactical Ponchos | 0 comments

The best survival poncho isn’t just a piece of waterproof fabric, it’s a multi-purpose tool that could save your life in the wilderness. In a pinch, you can repurpose it as shelter, a signaling device, and more.

A survival poncho is more than just a rain shield. It’s a reliable shelter that can make all the difference when needed.

So if you’re looking for one of the best survival ponchos, we’ve got you covered. We have a list of the top 15 survival ponchos available, so you can have the best options to choose from.

Now, read on to start arming yourself with the knowledge and tools essential for staying safe, secure, and dry no matter what challenges nature throws your way.

Young woman wearing one of her survival tactical ponchos.

In This Guide

Our Top Picks

A couple wearing survival ponchos in the rain.

Emergency Uses Of A Survival Poncho

The best survival poncho isn’t just for rain, it can double as an emergency tool like a makeshift shelter or a signaling method. This can mean the difference between life and death.

When you invest in a premium poncho, you’re not just getting a rain cover. You’re equipping yourself with a multi-functional tool that could save your life when you least expect it. Here are the reasons why you should never leave home without one:

Makeshift Shelter

Creating a makeshift shelter using your poncho is essential for surviving harsh conditions. Alongside a sturdy tree, this makeshift habitat can protect you from the elements.

It’s an ideal tool if you find yourself caught in a sudden storm or needing an overnight shelter.


Laying your poncho on the ground provides a clean surface or a barrier from the wet earth. Coupled with a sleeping bag, it can offer better insulation and comfort.

Outdoor experts and survival authorities consistently stress the importance of having a versatile piece of equipment like a poncho in your emergency kit.

Signaling for Help

Choosing a brightly colored poncho or one with reflective elements increases your chances of being spotted by rescue teams or fellow hikers. Pair it with a whistle or flare for maximum visibility and attention.

Hikers wearing bright colored ponchos

15 Best Ponchos For Survival and Tactical Use

Picking the best survival poncho involves more than just waterproofing. Factors like material and extra features come into play. Let’s explore the best options available:

Our Pick
1. Mil-Tec Ripstop Wet Weather Poncho
  • Heavy-duty ripstop material
  • Military design
  • Water-resistant up to 5000mm
  • Comes with a carry bag
  • Not breathable

The Mil-Tec brand is backed by decades of experience in the military, tactical, and outdoor industries. So you can take comfort in knowing that their poncho is also reliable.

This Mil-Tec military survival poncho is 100% waterproof and made of ripstop fabric that’s incredibly lightweight yet unbelievably strong.

It’s developed from years of experience in military, tactical, and outdoor industries, it’s designed to withstand even the harshest conditions.

But this isn’t just any ordinary poncho. You can turn it into a makeshift shelter or groundsheet when you need it most, or even use it as a sleeping bag cover to stay warm and protected. You just need some paracord and a few stakes or makeshift wood spikes, and you’re good to go.

The heavy-duty material not only keeps you dry but also weighs the poncho down, so it will stay put even in windy conditions.

Also Great
2. USGI Industries Military Style Poncho
  • Water-resistant up to 3000mm
  • Made of durable 210T high-density ripstop fabric
  • Excellent coverage and length
  • Materials aren't breathable

This military-spec rain poncho is made from 100% polyester and 210T high-density ripstop fabric. And with an astounding 3000mm water resistance rating, you’ll be shielded from even the heaviest rainfall.

This 59-inch wide by 86-inch long poncho has got your back (and your backpack!). And when you’re not using it, you can tuck it into a carry bag, so you’ll never be caught unprepared.

This poncho is more than just a rain barrier. You can set it up into a quick shelter or even a rainproof bivy over your sleeping bag using its full 62-inch width. This versatile piece of gear has got you covered, literally.

The drawstring closure, adjustable hood, and waist drawstring with 16 inches of adjustability ensure you stay snug and dry no matter how hard the rain falls.

One downside is that it doesn’t have a front pocket, but that’s a minor detail compared to the exceptional quality and ripstop construction this poncho offers.

Budget Pick
3. Arcturus Lightweight Rain Poncho
  • Lightweight design
  • Double-layered PU-coated nylon ripstop material
  • Long and comfortable to use
  • Not ideal for use in windy conditions

This lightweight, compact lifesaver weighs merely 11 ounces, and you can pack it down into a tiny stuff sack, so you’ll always have it on hand.

Say goodbye to those flimsy, easy-tear ponchos that fall apart under pressure — this one is made to last. This heavy-duty poncho features a waterproof PU-coated nylon ripstop material. 

It’s also long enough to keep you dry from head to toe, even if you’re 6-feet tall. But the benefits of this versatile rain poncho don’t end there. It’s also useful in making an impromptu tent, lean-to shelter, or ground cloth.

And with its spacious size and steel grommets for easy tie-down, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.

4. Helikon-Tex Poncho
  • Excellent fit
  • Durable and well-made
  • Sturdy grommets and snaps
  • Not breathable
  • Smaller than the standard ponc

Crafted from ripstop polyester, this poncho is designed to withstand the harshest conditions. It also has press stud poppers which you can use to create sleeves effortlessly.

And if you’re with a friend, you can even connect two ponchos together for added coverage.

The adjustable hood will keep your head dry and shielded from the elements, ensuring a snug fit, so you can focus on the task.

One of the standout features of this poncho is its lightweight design and compact size when folded. You can also compress it into a small bag, so perfect for any outdoor enthusiast who values preparedness and portability.

5. Snugpak Patrol Waterproof Poncho
  • Lightweight design
  • Roomy sleeves
  • Easy to use and pack
  • Sleeves might be too short for some
  • Lacks loops or grommets

This large poncho provides ample coverage to keep you dry from head to toe, even if the rain is relentless.

Compressed to a mere 8 inches by 4 inches and weighing only 0.8 pounds, it’s a breeze to pack and carry. The hook-and-loop closure ensures a secure fit, while the adjustable hood and thumb loops provide that extra coverage during colder weather.

But this poncho doesn’t stop at keeping you dry. It also includes a Velcro map pocket with a storm flap on the chest, giving easy access to your navigation essentials. 

And suppose you find yourself in a tight spot. In that case, its generous cut even allows for use as an emergency bivvy, potentially saving the day if you’re unexpectedly spending the night outdoors.

6. Foxelli Hooded Rain Poncho
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Comfortable fit
  • Spacious design
  • Big and bulky visor

This poncho boasts a premium quality, tear-resistant material, so you won’t have to worry about being caught in the downpour.

The adjustable hood cord and side fasteners ensure a perfect, customized fit to shield you from the elements.

This lightweight and compact poncho weighs a mere 11 oz. Just slip it into your pocket, backpack, or purse, and you’ll be ready for unexpected showers.

This is more than just a simple poncho. It’s a versatile piece of gear that can also serve as a camping blanket, sleeping bag cover, or even a tarp to protect your tent.

And to sweeten the deal, Foxelli offers a 120-day, no-questions-asked return policy, as well as a one-year warranty.

7. ACT FIRE Military Army Tactical Poncho
  • Waterproof up to 20000 mm
  • Lightweight and comfortable to use
  • Breathable and heavy-duty build
  • Foul smell that goes away after several uses

This military-grade is not only waterproof, but it’s also abrasion-resistant, ensuring you stay protected from the elements.

Weighing a mere 14 oz, this poncho is incredibly lightweight and easy to carry. Its size, waterproof performance, and metal grommets with cord design offer a multitude of uses.

Use it as a shelter tent, tarp, blanket sleeping bag, mountaineering raincoat, or mat for hiking and picnics — it’s got you covered.

Plus, you won’t have to worry about feeling hot, stuffy, or weighed down outdoors. This breathable, comfortable raincoat ensures a pleasant wearing experience, allowing you to move freely in the heavy rain.

8. Viper Tactical Adult Poncho
  • Made of 100% ripstop material
  • Sturdy metal eyelets
  • Lightweight and long enough to cover taller people
  • Non-breathable fabric

This one-size-fits-all waterproof ripstop nylon poncho is lightweight enough to be a must-have addition to your outdoor gear without slowing you down.

But don’t just take our word for it. Military personnel have trusted and relied on this durable poncho during their rigorous jungle training deployments, proving its effectiveness and resilience even in the harshest conditions.

This poncho boasts taped seams and press studs on each side, with a fully adjustable cord on the hood, so you can get a snug fit.

Plus, the metal eyelets on the edges let you hang the garment securely, while the drawstring storage bag makes it compact and easy to store when not in use.

9. M-Tac Tactical Rain Poncho
  • Convenient snaps make it easy to convert it into a shelter
  • Quick-drying
  • Lightweight and rip-resistant
  • No reinforcement around the grommets and buttons

This isn’t just any ordinary raincoat. Inspired by USMC and ACU designs, this waterproof poncho offers maximum protection and style during camping, patrolling, fishing, or even survival.

Get this, and you’ll stay dry and comfortable without sacrificing breathability.

And if you need shelter in a pinch, this poncho quickly transforms into a tarp-grade tent shelter using reinforced grommets.

The drawstring hood and foldable design provide ultimate protection against the elements, ensuring you’re ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store.

10. OneTigris Tentsformer Raincoat
  • Water resistant up to 1500mm
  • Durable PU-coated ripstop nylon material
  • Compact design
  • Hood may be difficult to adjust

Made from 75D ripstop nylon and featuring a PU waterproof coating, this raincoat offers 1500mm of waterproof protection while remaining breathable.

Designed for tall people, this poncho offers ample coverage and unrestricted movement. You can also transform it easily into a minimalist shelter in a pinch, making it an essential addition to any survival kit. 

11. FROGG TOGGS Ultra-Lite Poncho
  • Ultralight design
  • Breathable
  • Quick-drying
  • Not for heavy-duty use

With this imported, unlined rain poncho, you’ll have instant protection from the wind and rain.

It’s machine washable, ultra-lightweight at just 9 ounces, and crafted from waterproof, wind-resistant, and breathable non-woven fabric.

What’s even better is that this rain poncho is entirely recyclable!

Frogg Toggs ensures all their gear undergoes rigorous testing to meet their high standards, and this ultra-compact, portable poncho is no exception. 

You won’t have to struggle with an adjustable hood and cord locks, as well as side snap buttons for extra defense. Plus, it comes with a stuff sack, so you can easily carry it around wherever you go.

12. LOOGU Hooded Rain Poncho
  • Good camouflage effect
  • Lightweight material
  • Easy to wear and spread out
  • Hood is a bit small

It’s easy to stay dry with this imported, unlined rain poncho. Just pull it on for instant protection from wind and rain. Plus, it dries quickly, so if you’re always on the move, this is an excellent option.

Equipped with an adjustable hood featuring cord locks and side snaps, you’ll be well-protected from bad weather. And don’t worry about lugging it around – you’ll also get a stuff sack for easy carrying.

However, the knee-length design might not cover your entire seat area when you’re wearing a small backpack.

But with all its amazing features, you’ll likely find it worth the investment – so much so that you might even want to grab a second one as a spare!

13. Terra Hiker Waterproof Rain Ponchos
  • Water resistance of up to 15000 mm
  • Light and compact design
  • Loose fit makes it easy to wear
  • Hood is too small for some

This lightweight and portable poncho folds into a compact size and weighs only 0.68 lb, so it’s easy to take with you on any adventure.

The 3-layer thickening design and strengthened eyelets ensure top-notch durability, while the hem’s eyelets can be fastened to tent stakes for added versatility.

And if you’re concerned about a wet sleeping bag in a damp tent, simply transform this rain poncho into a moisture-proof tarp by laying it inside your tent. You’ll stay cozy and dry even in the wettest conditions.

Just keep in mind that some users have found the overall size to be smaller than expected. But with all its amazing benefits, this rain poncho is still a valuable addition to your outdoor gear collection.

Best Modern Pick
14. HAZARD 4 Poncho Villa
  • Durable and compact design
  • Includes a vent for drying
  • Comfortable fit
  • Expensive

This modern poncho boasts features that rival high-end technical sports jackets. So you can ditch those old-school vinyl camping ponchos and embrace the functionality of a sleeveless design.

This versatile poncho comes with large front and back fuzzy loop panels for agency identification, as well as extra panels on the shoulders and head-back area.

If you need a makeshift tent, this poncho has large perimeter grommets, so you can easily transform this poncho into a small shelter for hanging.

For added convenience, you can effortlessly stuff the poncho into its own front pocket for storage.

And guess what? It even includes a vent for drying! Say hello to the future of rain protection with this modern and practical poncho.

15. REDCAMP Waterproof Rain Poncho
  • Lightweight
  • Fits well
  • Offers great coverage
  • Noisy plastic-like noise when moving

Weather is unpredictable, right? But the REDCAMP Raincoat is your “just in case” solution. It fits snugly in your backpack, ensuring you’re always prepared for those unexpected rain showers.

The best part? This incredibly lightweight and convenient raincoat weighs a mere 0.59 lbs. So you can easily carry it wherever you go without feeling weighed down.

The innovative “sleeve cut” design is also a breath of fresh air, making you wonder why it took long for someone to think of this idea.

When paired with lightweight rain chaps, you’ll experience the ultimate in ventilation, leaving traditional rain jackets and pants in the dust.

Man wearing one of the best survival ponchos in the rain.

What You Need To Consider When Buying A Survival Tactical Poncho

When it comes to staying dry and warm in the great outdoors, nothing beats a high-quality survival poncho. And when shopping for the best survival poncho, you can’t afford to overlook key factors. Material and versatility are just the starting points of your quest for the ideal poncho.

So what should you consider when buying a survival poncho?


The fabric of your poncho dictates its durability and weather resistance. A ripstop nylon material offers a perfect balance between weight and strength. Ensure your poncho is made of durable, waterproof material like, aside from ripstop nylon, polyester with a waterproof coating. Don’t settle for cheap, disposable ponchos that can easily tear or leak.

Each material has unique characteristics that can influence their performance and suitability for various situations.

Here’s a brief overview of the materials commonly used in ponchos:

  • Nylon: This lightweight and strong material is known for its water resistance when treated with a waterproof coating. It’s a popular choice for survival ponchos due to its durability and ability to withstand tough conditions.

  • Polyester: Polyester is valued for its water resistance, quick-drying properties, and affordability.

  • Breathable PU Fabric: Breathable polyurethane (PU) fabric is designed to offer both waterproof protection and enhanced breathability. It allows moisture vapor to escape, which helps reduce condensation inside the poncho.

  • Polypropylene (PP) and Polyethylene (PE): PP and PE are lightweight and highly water-resistant materials often used in disposable or short-term use ponchos.

These materials are the most affordable option, making them ideal for those needing a temporary solution or having a limited budget.


A good poncho should serve multiple functions, from rain cover to emergency shelter. Add-ons like grommets and drawstrings enhance its adaptability. Look for a poncho that doubles as an emergency shelter, ground cover, or even a makeshift sleeping bag.

A versatile poncho can be a lifesaver, providing the necessary protection and adaptability to tackle any situation head-on.

3 people wearing ponchos.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of your poncho affects its portability, so consider a compact, lightweight design for ease of carry. While ponchos are typically designed with a one-size-fits-most approach, it’s better to secure a poncho that fits your height and build perfectly.

A properly fitted poncho protects against rain, wind, or cold.

Wearing a poncho that is too small may leave you exposed to harsh elements, while a larger poncho can hinder your movement and put you at risk.

Your survival poncho should be lightweight and packable, fitting easily into your backpack or emergency kit. Remember, you never know when you’ll need it.

Color and Visibility

Your poncho’s color can serve as an aid or a hindrance. As mentioned earlier, bright colors aid visibility, while subdued tones help you blend into your environment. In emergency situations, it’s essential to be visible. Choose a poncho with bright colors or reflective elements to ensure rescue teams or fellow hikers can see you.

Extra Features

Added features like pockets or hood adjusters add functionality. Together with robust material, these extras make your poncho versatile. Don’t overlook the importance of extra features when selecting a survival poncho. A well-designed hood, grommets, and loops can provide additional versatility, allowing you to adapt your poncho to suit different needs.

Built-in pockets offer quick access to essential items, while ventilation features ensure breathability and comfort during prolonged use.

Plus, packability and reflective elements further enhance the functionality of your poncho by making it easy to store and increasing visibility in low-light conditions.

2 men and a woman wearing ponchos in the rain.

How To Wash A Poncho

Proper care extends the life of your poncho, ensuring it’s ready for your next adventure. Soap and water are your basic cleaning agents. Here’s how to clean it:

  1. Check the care label for specific instructions, as different materials may have varying requirements.

2. You can hand wash your poncho in cold water with a mild detergent. Gently swish it around to remove dirt and grime.

3. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as this can damage the material.

4. Rinse thoroughly and gently press out excess water.

5. Hang the poncho to air dry, preferably in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

In real-life situations, washing your poncho after a camping trip or hike can help prolong its life and maintain its water-resistant properties.

FAQ About Survival Tactical Ponchos

What is the best material for a survival poncho?

There isn’t a single “best” material for a survival poncho, as different materials offer unique advantages depending on the situation. 

Nylon and polyester are popular choices because of their durability and water resistance, while breathable PU fabric provides enhanced breathability and comfort.

In a real-life scenario, a hiker in a rainy, humid environment might opt for a breathable PU fabric poncho to stay dry and comfortable.

At the same time, someone in a more rugged terrain might choose a nylon or polyester poncho for its durability.

What poncho does the army use?

The army typically uses a military-grade poncho made of durable materials like ripstop nylon or polyester with a waterproof coating.

These ponchos are designed to withstand harsh conditions and provide reliable protection from rain, wind, and cold.

Soldiers in the field need a robust and versatile poncho that can also double as an emergency shelter or groundsheet when needed.

Do you wear anything under a poncho?

Yes, you should wear appropriate clothing layers under a poncho to ensure comfort and protection from the elements.

The layers you choose will depend on factors such as the weather, the activity, and personal preferences.

You will want to wear moisture-wicking base layers and an insulating mid-layer under the poncho to stay warm and dry during a sudden rainstorm on the trail.

People wearing ponchos.

Key Takeaways: Best Survival Poncho

A well-chosen survival poncho is an invaluable addition to your outdoor gear. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a casual hiker, investing in a high-quality poncho ensures you’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

Arming yourself with the right survival tactical poncho can make all the difference when facing the unexpected.

As you venture into the great outdoors or face the challenges of everyday life, a reliable poncho will keep you dry, warm, and safe.

Take action now, and invest in a survival poncho that offers the protection and confidence you need to tackle any adventure head-on.

Angie Montgomery
Angie Montgomery


Angie Montgomery is the co-founder of Monday Day Prepping. She and her husband Bill have been “prepper’s” since 2008. When she’s not helping manage the homestead, she enjoys teaching her two boys how to cook and make natural alternatives to cleaners and other household items.


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