Picture this; you’re in the wilderness with your buddies, or with your family if you’re like me. You’re having the normal walk in the morning after breakfast.
Out of nowhere, you start noticing some dark clouds, and immediately a rainstorm hits you.
It’s almost like it all snuck up on you and now, it’s pouring hard. The only shelter around is single trees that would not provide any shelter.
You’ll be soaked before you get anywhere safe.
There are two kinds of people in this case. The ones that end this story dry and safe and the others that end up soaked and grumpy.
What is a Poncho?
Today’s conversation is to ensure that you end up in the first group that ends up being dry and safe.
For all the times that I have found myself in this particular situation, all I end up doing is opening my bag and going for my poncho.
Ponchos are survival that all wilderness backpackers should have. I was introduced to it during my days in the army and I have not looked back since.
Tracing its roots back to ancient times, ponchos were adapted for military use as rain gear when soldiers were expected to maneuver different places with different weather conditions.
Here are my recommendations for the types of ponchos you can check out.
1. Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape
The original description from the company reads, the most breathable rain poncho and shelter. From one backpacker to another, this baby sure does impress.
Six moon’s designs really outdid themselves with this one, and their unique product will be a testament for a while.
This incredible poncho also doubles as a tarp tent ensuring that all you wilderness backpackers are sorted.
Weighing just over 10 ounces this poncho has a waterproof hood for your head and a larger 360-degree coverage for all your other things.
On top of this, the poncho can also act as an emergency tent. All you’ll need is a trekking pole which is not included in the package.
2. Sea to Summit Tarp Poncho
Sea to Summit Tarp poncho is a multipurpose piece of gear that is set to impress any wilderness backpacker.
The only drawback that it may face is its weight, which it attributes to the thicker 70D nylon material.
While some might rule that out as a disadvantage, I believe that the durability that it offers is well worth the risk.
Durability and quality design were given a major priority with this poncho.
It offers so much more space to accommodate a larger backpack and double stitching to ensure the poncho survives anything you throw at it.
3. Frogg Toggs Poncho
For those looking for a budget option, I’m sorry you had to scroll this far down to find it. Look no farther, ladies and gentlemen.
There is a reason why this poncho is a favorite in the backpackers’ society. Retailing at just above $15 this poncho will do most of the things that a decent poncho can do at a fraction of the price.
It weighs just under 10 ounces and sports a fully functional emergency hood with an adjustment.
It isn’t made of any particularly strong fabric and thus doesn’t promise durability but goes to about mid-thigh height which is more than is required at most times.
4. Rumpl NanoLoft Puffy Pancho
A friend of mine pointed me to this particular poncho when I told him that I was compiling a list of ponchos for survival nerds.
He described it as the warmest poncho in the world, which is quite a description if you ask me.
When I went to have a look at his, I was more than impressed. The super-cozy NanoLoft technology that Rumpl is known for has been stuffed in this poncho.
This type of insulation is perfect for nasty weather as it continues insulating even after it gets wet. The other overlooked advantage is how fast it dries.
It houses convenient pouches for holding your phone and any other personal belongings and pack down as a pillow or a snuggie if kept dry.
Be sure to check it out when you get the time.
5. Canada Goose Field Poncho
Since I provided a budget option, I feel like it would be unfair if I ended this list without providing an option for those of us that don’t mind spending money on quality gear.
The Canada Goose Field Poncho boasts a custom fabric called TEI that is lightweight and easily keeps water out.
Although it may not pack as many features as some of the most functional ponchos on this list, I would recommend it those bold backpackers that aren’t afraid of making a fashion statement while still being functional in the wilderness.
Survival is a basic instinct for human beings as a species. It has been hardwired into our DNA.
As a species that is proud to have conquered time and assured itself of continuity for a long time.
One of the cornerstones of survival has always been, Failure to plan is planning to fail.
That being said here is a list of ponchos to keep you safe when you’re out there in the wilderness:
- Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape
- Sea to Summit Tarp Poncho
- Frogg Toggs Poncho
- Rumpl NanoLoft Puffy Pancho
- Canada Goose Field Poncho
I am an independent safety and survival expert and consultant. I have over 15+ years of experience working with corporations and individuals to help identify, remediate and prepare for threats and and disasters. I help clients understand risks and blog about my thoughts and techniques at DisasterShelters.net