Best Travel Poncho

Looking for a good lightweight (but effective) travel poncho for our three week trip to France this fall. Magellan's seem to have a nice one for $39 US but would like to hear any ideas from others.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
7357 posts

Compare the Magean's poncho to the o e in the RS Travel Store.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8735 posts

The RS one is really great. We took them to Costa Rica, where it was supposedly the dry season - but we used them repeatedly and had no problems. They fold into their own pocket for storage.

Posted by Adam
2925 posts

I used to use ponchos but became sold on a lightweight breathable waterproof rain jacket. It does a better job in the rain, doubles as a wind shell, and is more compact. Great for France in the fall.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8735 posts

We liked the ponchos because they covered not only us, but our daybags and camera equipment, too. They are generously sized, and since we are short, they covered us well past our knees.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24193 posts

Mike, The design of the Magellan's Rain Poncho is very similar to the RS Poncho, but I'm not sure if they're both made of the same material. I have one of the RS models and have had to use it on a couple of occasions, most recently in Bern (CH) last October during a heavy rainstorm. I probably could have managed with just an Umbrella but I felt the Poncho would be better as I was trying keep my Camera gear dry. The Poncho worked reasonably well, but it didn't seem to be staying entirely "dry" inside. I'm not sure if it was leaking a bit around the openings or whether water was actually getting through the fabric. In any case, it had to be thoroughly dried when I got back to the Hotel. You may not need it at all on your trip, but it's certainly good to have on hand if required, and they're easy to carry in a Daypack. Happy travels!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1994 posts

If you're going in the fall, you might want to consider a lightweight rain shell from outdoors stores like REI. Traveling in the fall, I am able to avoid carrying a heavy jacket (and I really hate being cold). A couple of layers, plus a lighteight fleece zipup, and the rain shell on top kept me really warm (and dry), even with cold/wet/windy weather in Venice. The shells are also far less bulky than a poncho, and I found them to work better than a poncho when rain and wind come together.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
2084 posts

I don't get the poncho thing. I have hiked with people wearing them and I stay dry in my jacket while they got wet in their ponchos. They are über ugly and really annoying in the wind. One person kept complaining about it flapping around her legs and then coming open and letting the rain in sideways, and cursed whoever it was that advised her to get a poncho. A good lightweight rain jacket ( waterproof, breatheable) is so much more practical. You will need a light jacket in the fall anyway. You can find them at out sites like Sierra Trading Post, REI Outlet, or its Canadian counterpart ( I forget the name but can find it, I think) for not much more than the cost of that poncho. Mand you""ll get a lot more use out of it.

Posted by Mike
43 posts

Thanks for all the replies. We have waterproof jackets which work well in a lot of conditions. The jacket is great for layering, etc and will definitely be part of our travel wardrobe. I just want to make sure we have a little extra rainy weather protection this time because the second week of our 3 week trip is an Inn to Inn Walking and Cycling tour in Burgundy while the third week is a self guided canal boat trip down the Canal du Midi. In other words, we are going to be outside and will have to face whatever weather comes our way. We will have limited opportunity to schedule indoor activities those days. While it appears the Magellans poncho is made of lightweight material, I dont see the actual weight of the poncho posted on the web site. It looks like the RS poncho is similar in construction and size.

Posted by Suz
Denver, USA
223 posts

I noticed that Campmor has a selection of ponchos, one of which is now on sale. It's claimed to be 100% waterproof, and has several positive reviews. The weight stated is 8 ounces. I have no personal experience with this item, but thought you might like to browse some more options if you haven't bought a poncho yet.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1759 posts

Today REI had ponchos for $30 and they come in a bag. The last time I wore a poncho was in 1962 during army basic training. They don't work. They let in water. They flap around. A good rain coat will be more effective.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
2084 posts

You definitely do not want a poncho for cycling! And not for the boat either, too windy. Look at what sailors and others who spend lots of time on boats in the rain wear-foul weather gear, not a poncho that blows around. I suggest you get some rain pants to wear with your jacket. I have hiked all day in the rain in mine-in Canada even on the coastal trail on Vancouver Island. Mwith a good waterproof breatheable jacket and rain pants, I stayed dry, comfortable and happy for several wet days.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

The best thing about ponchos is that they keep the water in. I live outside regardless of the weather. I've crossed whole oceans alone in a sailboat. I don't own a parka since I prefer to stay dry. I guess one might work if you stood very still and wore garbage bags under it.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
4235 posts

I second wearing a weather proof rain jacket, but we supplement them with those $1 emergency rain ponchos for... emergencies, like needing to walk to the train station with our backpacks, etc. They're better than nothing, and provide better coverage in a driving rain when an umbrella won't. For me, ponchos are too bulky - what do I do with it once inside a museum? If the weather is truly bad, we cough up the €€€ for taxis. This is what we pack; at any given time, there are several extras in our 'Europe' bags.