rain week

The Best Rain Ponchos, According to Experts

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers.

Rain ponchos don’t just fill the closets of hapless tourists and outdoor-music-festival enthusiasts. A good poncho can stand in for a raincoat even in the harshest conditions — and a great one keeps you looking polished while you’re avoiding puddles. For Rain Week, we asked outdoorsy people and stylists to recommend the best ponchos to keep you dry, whether you’re backpacking through the Pacific Northwest, looking to stand out in a sea of Scandinavian status rain jackets, or simply seeking an everyday option for rainy days. Below, the experts’ poncho picks for men and women, including unisex styles.

Best unisex ponchos

This affordable — and reusable — poncho is a “lifesaver,” according to Matt Young, the head of marketing and e-commerce at Brooklyn-based outdoors store Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co. Weighing just 2.7 ounces, the waterproof, wind-resistant, and heat-reflective poncho can be packed up compactly enough to fit in your pocket, he says. “It’s ideal for unexpected downpours, rainy hikes, outdoor events — and serves as a warm and dry shelter in emergencies.” Plus, unlike plastic or polyester, the material is tear-resistant and quiet, so the poncho won’t rip or rustle while you walk.

Sierra Designs’ poncho is another solid, lightweight option, says Andrew Williams, a gear expert with outdoors outfitter Backcountry. Made with waterproof taped seams, an adjustable three-piece hood, and side snaps to adjust its length, the poncho looks a little like a “tailored tarp,” according to Williams. And that’s because it kind of is: Its grommeted corners allow it to be used as a ground sheet or a tarp in a pinch, making it a good bet to pack for daylong outdoor concerts, sports games, or hikes.

The Canada Goose Field Poncho features fully sealed seams, a water-resistant zipper, and is made with three-layer fabric — the best possible material to keep you dry during long days in heavy downpours, says Williams. The style is definitely a splurge, but “its quality construction is meant to last season after season,” according to Young, who adds that the poncho “has an open fit that allows for airflow and doesn’t restrict movement.” Stylist Brian Coats recommends it “for both men and women,” noting that the poncho also comes in a camouflage print for those who “feel the need to stand out amongst a sea of disposable umbrellas.”

Best ponchos for women

For those seeking a poncho as fashionable as it is functional, Williams recommends this cropped style by Herschel Supply Co., which he says is kind of like a windbreaker, and is coated with DWR, or durable water repellent. “It’s ideal for running, biking, and standard urban wear.” Stylist Rebecca Dennett, who grew up in famously rainy London, also swears by it. “The Herschel poncho is a great price point, and I love its classic appeal.”

This Rains poncho, which is cut in an A-line shape and covers most of your body without stifling mobility, is a favorite of stylists Neelo Noory, Cou