While most of us would love to have beautiful weather for our entire vacation, that isn’t usually realistic. Even if you plan to travel during the best season of the year, the risk of rainfall during your trip is always there. Being prepared for your trip by packing a rain poncho is a practical idea.
I’ve experienced heavy rain on desert vacations, city vacations, international vacations, and theme park vacations. Sometimes, you can defer your outdoor activity to another day, and choose to do something indoors for the day. Other times, you’ll just need to pull out your rain jacket or disposable poncho and make the best of the situation, regardless of the weather.
Luckily, sightseeing or theme park visiting in the rain can actually have its advantages. Often you’ll find fewer crowds when the weather isn’t cooperating. If you are willing to brave the rain, you’ll often be able to see more in less time.
You may consider bringing your own raincoat on vacation, especially if you are expecting bad weather. However, a poncho can be even more practical and a better option because it covers more of your body and will also protect your handbag/camera bag.
When choosing the best rain ponchos for travel, you’ll need to consider a few things about your own situation:
- How much room do you have in your suitcase/backpack? Is it something you’ll be carrying around? Do you need it to be a compact size for packing?
- Where do you anticipate using the poncho? Will you want it to cover a handbag or camera case as well?
- Will you be walking around sightseeing, or will you need to be more active?
- Are you planning to also use an umbrella or will you want the rain poncho to keep you completely dry?
- Will you want to dispose of it when you are done, or will you want to keep it for another day/trip? Do you need reusable rain ponchos?
- Do you prioritize style or practicality? Are you looking for a stylish rain poncho?
I remember touring Notre Dame on our last day in Paris on our Adventures by Disney trip. Our adventure guides had provided us with disposable ponchos at the beginning of the trip, which we carried around deep in our backpacks. On our last day, the clouds opened and it started downpouring.
I appreciate the practicality of a disposable rain poncho, but I did feel a little self-conscious as an obvious tourist in the fashion capital of the world. One of our fellow travelers was prepared with a much more stylish (but just as portable) poncho, and I realized that I had some research and shopping to do once I got home. Here are some of the best rain ponchos for travel that we discovered in our research.
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The Best Rain Ponchos For Travel
Terra Hiker Waterproof Rain Ponchos
The Terra Hiker Waterproof Rain Poncho is a step up from the standard disposable rain poncho. They are available in different colors and are one size fits all. Unlike the disposable ponchos, these are reusable so you’ll only need to pack one per person on your trip.
If you have a backpack, handbag, or camera bag, it will probably be covered under the poncho. According to the product details, it can accommodate a large backpack up to 60L. They have heat-sealed seams and fully waterproof, and have a hood.
Unlike the cheaper rain ponchos, these will hold up better in heavy rainstorms and sudden downpours. The Terra Hiker Rain Poncho is easily packed because it can be folded down to 8.66 inches. These are a great option if you think it may rain for more than one day of your trip because they are the size of a disposable poncho but can be reused.
You can find the Terra Hiker on Amazon. It’s available in green, orange, and blue.
Arcturus Lightweight Ripstop Nylon Rain Poncho
The Arcturus Lightweight Ripstop Nylon Rain Poncho has a large adjustable hood, so you can wear a hat under the hood. It weighs 11 ounces and comes with a little stuff sack case so it’s easy to carry along.
The Arcturus poncho has side snap closures and can also be used as an emergency shelter, ground cover, or a tarp. Steel grommets on the edges can be used to tie it down if necessary.
These retail for about $20, so they are reasonably priced, although more expensive than the disposable options. They are a great choice if your vacation plans include a lot of outdoor activities, like hiking.
They are available in multiple colors, including camo, grey, orange, black, and blue. There’s only one size, so these aren’t great for kids.
You can purchase the Arcturus poncho on Amazon.
Snugpak Patrol Poncho
Looking for a high-quality rain poncho made from waterproof material? The Snugpak Patrol Poncho is one of the most expensive ponchos on the market, but it’s also one of the best. It would be great for a hiking or camping vacation. Due to the price, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for a theme park vacation or for light rain.
These ponchos have an adjustable hood (so you can make sure your neck and head are dry), and cuff thumb loops to keep rain from going up your sleeve. There’s also a velcro pocket with a storm flap on the chest that can be used to store small items.
The Snugpack Patrol Poncho is available in one size and multiple colors, including olive, tan, and black. They retail for about $45, so they are definitely best for situations when you’ll be outdoors in the wet weather for long periods of time. You can find them online at Amazon or at outdoor and sporting goods stores.
Frogg Toggs Rain Ponchos and Rain Jackets
The Frogg Toggs Emergency Rain Jacket is the one of the most stylish of the rain ponchos on the market. It comes in fashion colors like purple and green, and is available in multiple sizes. It is, however, more of a lightweight rain jacket than a poncho.
I really like these for city or theme park trips, because while they are lightweight and don’t take up much space, they are also stylish. Features include elastic cuffs, an adjustable hood, and a zipper front with a rain flap. It retails for about $10 and can be purchased on Amazon.
Frogg Toggs also makes a higher-quality rain jacket – the Xtreme Lite Packable Waterproof Breathable Rain Jacket. It retails for about $35 and comes with a drawstring hood. It’s windproof and waterproof, and folds smaller than a regular rain jacket.
There’s also the Frogg Toggs poncho, which is more of a standard poncho. It is offered in multiple colors, like blue, grey, tan, and green. This is a nice middle-of-the-road poncho, because it’s reusable but not too expensive. You can purchase it on Amazon.com.
For more significant rain protection, you can also purchase Frogg Toggs waterproof rain pants. These would be perfect for hiking or camping and will provide better protection rather than a poncho alone. However, they are probably a little bit overkill for sightseeing or a day at the theme park.
For surprise rain, or if you are just wanting to be completely prepared for a pop-up shower, a disposable poncho might be your best option. These lightweight ponchos are not the highest quality, but they are easy to carry, cheap, and water resistant. You can find them in many stores as well, including gift shops, pharmacies, and mass retail shops.
In general, with these type of ponchos, you’ll need to be pretty gentle with them. I’ve had these style ponchos rip on the seems, so be careful putting them on. If you are visiting a theme park and will be moving around quite a bit, it’s always good to make sure you lift the back before sitting on them so you don’t add any more stress to the seams.
In most cases, these disposable ponchos are clear or a transparent white color. You may be able to find some in bright colors as well. Avoid paying extra for characters or patterns since they won’t last very long.
Disposable rain ponchos are generally pretty big. So they’ll usually cover much of your body, as well as any handbag, diaper bag, or camera bag that you might be carrying.
When I visit Walt Disney World, I generally do not pack disposable ponchos for my family. If there’s lots of rain in the forecast, I usually bring along my own raincoat. However, if I’m not prepared, I end up spending a few extra dollars on the ponchos available at the parks.
Disposable ponchos are generally available in one size for adults and one size for kids. If you’d like to purchase them in advance of your trip, you can find some on Amazon. For trips with lots of rainy days in the forecast, bring more than one – or opt for some of the more expensive reusable ponchos.