Stay dry & stylish on your outdoor adventures! Explore the best rain ponchos & capes for hiking, backpacking, & cycling. Embrace the rain with confidence
Welcome to the ultimate guide on the “Best Rain Ponchos and Capes for Hiking, Backpacking, and Cycling”!
If you’re, like us, an outdoor enthusiast who loves exploring nature’s wonders, you know that unpredictable weather can quickly turn a thrilling adventure into a soggy experience.
We have experienced that so many times, and many would agree with us… staying dry while journeying the outdoors – either backpacking, hiking, or cycling – is one of the most challenging endeavors ever.
We’ve tried many solutions, from rain jackets to umbrellas, and found out what works the best for us is rain capes or so-called rain ponchos.
So, don’t let rain dampen your spirits or hinder your plans anymore. Whether you’re embarking on a challenging hiking trail, setting off on a backpacking expedition, or cycling through scenic routes, a reliable rain poncho or cape is a must-have piece of gear to keep you dry and comfortable throughout your journey.
In this comprehensive article, we’ve curated a carefully researched selection of the finest rain ponchos and capes available, designed to withstand the elements and cater to the needs of avid hikers, backpackers, and cyclists alike. Join us as we explore the top-notch options that combine functionality, durability, and style, empowering you to embrace the great outdoors, rain or shine!
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The difference between rain capes for hiking, backpacking, and cycling
Now, if you are looking for the best rain ponchos for hiking, backpacking, and cycling, you must be aware that what you need differs slightly between cycling and hiking/backpacking.
But don’t worry, I will go through the three here so that you know what to look for before I get into the best ponchos for each activity type below.
Hiking – Rain capes for hiking and trekking should ideally cover both you and your backpack, thus it should be longer in the back. However, you might have a rain cover for your backpack and not worry too much about covering the backpack. It is also good that it covers your knees to keep your legs as dry as possible.
Backpacking – While rain ponchos for hiking and backpacking are pretty much the same, you might be more interested in a lightweight option when backpacking to minimize extra weight in your backpack. It is also more crucial that the rain poncho covers the backpack since you can’t just go home and dry the back of your backpack when the day ends. This makes a long back on the poncho a necessity for backpackers.
Cycling – When looking for the perfect rain poncho for cycling, you want to ensure that it is longer in the front compared to the hiking and backpacking ones so that it covers the handlebars. Ideally, it also covers your panniers and bikepacking bags behind you when cycle touring. It is also crucial to have hand/finger straps so that the poncho does not fly back when cycling.
The 9 Best Rain Ponchos and Capes for Hiking, Backpacking, and Cycling in a Nutshell
Best Rain Ponchos for Hiking
Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Nano Tarp Poncho
VAUDE Hiking Backpack Poncho
Charles River Apparel Pacific Poncho
Best Rain Capes for Backpacking
Snugpak Patrol Poncho
Mil-Tec Ripstop Wet Weather Poncho
FROGG TOGGS Ultra-Lite2 Poncho
Best Rain Ponchos for Cycling
VAUDE Valdipino Poncho
SaphiRose Lightweight Cycling Rain Poncho
Pteromy Hooded Rain Poncho
3 Best Rain Ponchos for Hiking
Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Nano Tarp Poncho
This is a great rain poncho for hiking. It is big in size, so it covers your pack perfectly even when wearing a bigger pack for long day hikes. This makes it a versatile cape you can use for backpacking too.
The hood has adjustable straps and a brim protecting you from getting wet. If you are of average height, you can expect it to cover your knees, which is a god-sent when hiking in the rain.
Another lovely feature is the ability to be used as a tarp with the use of trekking poles, or even simple sticks for that matter. We used this feature a couple of time when surprised by the rain in far away places and it was a blessing to be able to have a dry spot where to shelter.
However, what I like the most about this hiking rain poncho is how lightweight it is. It makes it perfect to store in the day pack if the weather forecast is somewhat indecisive.
VAUDE has made one of the best rain ponchos for hiking. I absolutely love this one, it is designed specifically for hiking with a zip on the back easily creating space for your backpack without being tight.
It is spacious, has breathable material, is long enough to cover most people’s knees, protects you from all sorts of weather, and has an adaptable hood.
Besides, it has a pocket on the front with a flap protecting it from the rain. Perfect for storing your phone without worrying about it getting wet.
But the front pocket is also where you easily stuff the rain poncho after drying it. It packs up super easy and it is so handy that the pocket is its own pouch.
Finally, if you are looking for a product that assures eco manufacturing, VAUDE is one of the best quality brands out there when it comes to outdoor gear, rain ponchos for hiking being no exception.
While this is not the longest poncho, it is probably the most stylish rain cape for hiking on this list. It looks good and comes in different colors, from bright and happy to earthy.
However, I would not recommend it for a longer hike in the rain as the poncho does not reach average-built people below the knees, which is one of the most useful features when hiking long distances in wet weather.
On a side note, it works well with a pair of rain pants or waterproof pants.
Another reason why I would not recommend it on longer rain treks is that it does not have a zipper, but buttons, which could let in water if the rain is heavy enough. It also lacks a visor beak to protect your face from the rain.
Thus, this is a great rain poncho for hiking if you want something you can use not only when hiking, but also when going for a stroll in town. It is a good option for shorter hikes an light rain.
The Snugpack Patrol Poncho is a huge rain cape. Ideal for backpacking with an adjustable hoodie, thumb straps, waterproof zipper, and a protected front pocket to safely store your phone.
This is a lightweight military-style poncho that I really like and it is also very durable. This also makes the poncho function as a shelter.
The disadvantage of this rain poncho for backpacking is that it might be a little short for taller people, especially with a larger backpack as it will probably not cover your pack properly and you might not reach the finger straps comfortably.
This is a really cool versatile rain poncho perfect for backpacking. My favorite feature is that you can use it as a tarp, sleeping bag cover, or ground sheet.
You can also strap two ponchos together for a larger shelter, which is ideal if you backpack with your partner or a friend with the same backpacking rain poncho.
Further, it has hood straps and ripstop material making it not only waterproof but solid when hiking in areas with lots of branches and bushes that can easily rip up your poncho – something you want to avoid at all costs!
While it is a cool multi-use cape for backpacking, it is on the heavier side and also does not have any pockets to store your phone or camera when hiking.
This is a great rain poncho for biking that covers the handlebar to perfection while cycling. The material is soft, yet fends off the rain perfectly.
The hood has an adjustable strap, snap on the back, and visor beak to keep you as dry as possible in the face when pedaling in the rain. It also has finger straps to prevent it from flying off when cycling.
Further, the zipper is waterproof, and my favorite feature is the pocket in the front (also with a waterproof zipper.) It is ideal for carrying your phone or camera should the rain slow down a bit and you want to snap a picture or two of your bikepacking or cycle touring adventure.
And finally, what better color than yellow to brighten up a rainy day? Though mostly, it is a fabulous color to be seen in on an otherwise gray day on the road. Talking about being seen, it has a reflective stripe on the back for extra visibility.
This is a great budget-friendly poncho for cycling. It is one size fits all, which means that it is nothing fancy, yet it does the job. If you are on a budget or you will not use it very often, it is a top choice.
It has a small pocket in the front with a flap protecting it against the rain, a hood with a visor, and adjustable straps.
What I love about it, is its versatility. You can use it for both hiking and cycling.
However, the downside of this rain cape for cycling is that it does not cover your hands and handlebars entirely.
You can tell that it is not made specifically for cycling, but I like that it is an affordable option. So if you only cycle occasionally and might need it for hiking too, this is a good budget option.
Frequently Asked Questions about Rain Ponchos and Capes
What material are rain ponchos made of?
Rain ponchos are commonly made of lightweight, waterproof materials such as nylon, polyester, or PVC, providing effective protection against rain and wind.
What’s the best material for a rain cape or poncho?
Both polyester and nylon have their advantages Polyester: .Excellent resistance to UV rays, making it less prone to fading and degradation in sunlight. .Generally more affordable than nylon. .Quick-drying properties, making it suitable for wet environments. .Retains its shape and resists wrinkles. Nylon: .Higher strength and abrasion resistance compared to polyester. .More breathable, allowing better air circulation. .Superior elasticity, making it more flexible and comfortable to wear. .Lightweight, yet durable, making it ideal for outdoor activities. .Resistant to mildew and mold. When it comes to rain capes, both materials can provide effective waterproofing, but nylon may be a slightly better choice due to its breathability and greater resistance to wear and tear.
Is a poncho better than a raincoat?
Ponchos offer extensive coverage & ventilation, great for mild & wet conditions. Raincoats provide mobility, durability, & tailored fit, ideal for active outdoor pursuits. Choose based on specific needs & preferences.
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