OUTDOORS

Gore Tex Poncho: Standing Up to The Elements in Style and Comfort

Blue goretex membrane, hand detail
Rita Warfield
Written by Rita Warfield

The material known as GoreTex has not been on the market for a long time, however, it has built a reputation for being one of the best insulation and waterproofing materials out there, a GoreTex poncho being an almost must-have for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts all over the world. To find out the features of GoreTex, check out our earlier piece that explains this topic in detail.

These ponchos have gained so much popularity over a relatively short period of time not just because of what they have to offer, but also because of all the roles that they can fill.

The high level of waterproofing combined with the lightweight and durable materials that they are made of allow them to be much more than simple clothing pieces and also fulfill other needs that the wearer has while in the great outdoors. First and foremost, let’s look at what makes them so special in the first place.

GoreTex

While most people understand what it does, not many people know what it actually is, often mistaking this for a fiber when in fact, at its core, it is a membrane.

Gore-Tex Black-jacket hand detail

What this membrane does is providing a layer of insulation that is virtually impenetrable by water and moisture in general, allowing the wearer to take full advantage of it in even the harshest of storms while remaining dry underneath.

See also: Layers Clothing: How to Use It to Survive in Any Environment

Once bonded to linings and outer textures, the membrane becomes a laminate. The thing that makes this laminate stand out from all other waterproofing options is the fact that it is very efficient.

So efficient, in fact, that a thin layer underneath the first layer of the clothing article is enough to keep the wearer nice and dry, making it incredibly lightweight without sacrificing any of its waterproofing capabilities.

This waterproofing technology can be used in nearly all types of clothing and apparel, from jackets to shoes, from pants to gloves, anything and everything that can be worn can be fitted with this waterproofing technology.

waterproof gore tex fabric

While GoreTex membranes and laminates are available for purchase from suppliers, it is often times simpler and more comfortable to purchase apparel that incorporates it rather than adding it to the clothing that you already own.

One last thing to note here is the fact that this waterproofing membrane is not made out of dangerous or allergenic materials, in fact, it often times acts as a hypoallergenic shield against particles that can cause skin allergies and rashes.

GoreTex Ponchos

It goes without saying that this is by far one of the best lines of defense that you have against the elements. The last thing you want happening to you is getting wet while in the outdoors, for various reasons.

Gearing yourself up in waterproof clothing for the entirety of your excursion is not a good idea either because of the fact that while waterproof clothing excels at keeping you dry, it does not do a good job of keeping you warm, comfortable or stealthy.

This is why, the vast majority of the time, it is actually a far better idea to have a waterproof poncho at your disposal, to use when the weather decides to turn on you.

They are usually made out of polypropylene, sometimes with an interior lining, either cotton or polyester, with a thin layer of GoreTex membrane laminate sandwiched between them.

Designed to cover the torso, head, arms and a large portion of the wearer’s legs, depending on the size of the poncho, it can prove to be rather versatile in its uses. That being said, though, there are things that you should look out for when buying a poncho.

  • It should be light. The lighter the poncho, the easier it is to carry it around and wear it without getting in the way. Something to also keep in mind is the fact that it will seem heavier in the rain than it actually is, so the lighter it is the more comfortable it is when worn in the rain.
  • The size should be right. A poncho follows different measurements than a shirt or jacket. With your arms fully extended to the sides and your back straight, it should comfortably stretch from your left wrist to your right wrist and from your shoulders to your knees without it being drawn back.
  • It should be one solid piece, without removable sections.

One important thing to note is the fact that ponchos ordinarily don’t have any pockets. There are a few exceptions that sport either interior or side pockets which are designed in such a way that permits them to not catch water during the rain.

The choices that are on the market today

While these ponchos more or less are a must have for outdoorsmen, because of the sheer number of options that are available on the market, it can be often difficult to spot the better ones.

Based on the needs and requirements of outdoorsmen as well as the features that are being offered by GoreTex ponchos currently available, we were able to narrow it down to a few simple yet diversified options.

Charles River Apparel Pacific PonchoCharles River Apparel Pacific Poncho

Weight: 1 lbs

Available models: Navy Blue

Best Use: General outdoor activities

Description: Charles River poncho is rather simplistic, designed for general outdoor use without any specific purpose.

This offers it a large amount of versatility, making it a great choice for a go-to emergency poncho.

One of the most prominent features that this poncho brings to the table is the knit interior lining which adds a level of insulation keeping the wearer warm as well as dry.

In regards to resilience, due to its heat-sealed seams, this poncho is able to take a lot of abuse from the elements as well as general wear and tear.

Another great thing about it is the fact that it comes with its very own storage pouch, allowing the wearer to pack the poncho into the bag and store it away without having to take up additional space in a closet or other such storage spaces. This also makes it very portable, taking up very little luggage space.

Because of its low-end price point, it is one of the most affordable ponchos out there.

The only real drawback that this poncho has is its navy blue color. Because of the dark color shade, it is rather difficult to spot especially in locate and rescue situations. Also, because of the color, it is useless in situations where you have to blend into the background, like hunting.

Check the price on Amazon

Snugpak Patrol PonchoSnugpak Patrol Poncho

Weight: 3 lbs

Available models: Black

Best Use: Heavy storms

Description: This is one of the few instances when a poncho has pockets, more specifically a chest pocket designed to hold a map. The pocket itself has the same waterproof lining that the rest of the poncho has, and it is equipped with a storm flap in order to stop water from seeping in regardless of the intensity of the storm.

Snugpak Patrol poncho is built to take a lot of punishment from difficult weather conditions. With a dense thick polypropylene weave, it can survive and keep the wearer dry in hurricane grade storms.

Another thing to note here is the fact that the poncho was designed in such a way that, unlike other ponchos, it can easily and comfortably accommodate extra gear like backpacks, tactical vests, etc.

While the poncho is great in heavy weather situations, because of its strength and overall toughness it can also be used as a small emergency shelter. Just stretch it and prop it like a tarp with a few sticks and you are good to go.

One last great thing about this poncho is the hood. It is easily adjustable, as strong and as insulated as the rest of the poncho, able to cover the bottom half of the face and can easily be turned inside-out and sealed if the poncho is used as a shelter.

There is a small catch, though.

While this poncho is a lot stronger than most other ponchos on the market, it is also slightly heavier. While the extra weight is not nearly enough to affect the wearer, it can still be felt every now and again.

Check the price on Amazon

Frogg Toggs Men’s Ultra-Lite PonchosFrogg Toggs Men’s Ultra-Lite Ponchos

Weight: 1lbs

Available models: Khaki

Best Use: General outdoor activities

Description: This poncho is among the most affordable in the world, to the point where it could be considered disposable from a financial point of view.

Although it is on the more affordable side of the poncho line, it is properly insulated and strong enough to take on difficult weather conditions. One of the reasons for that is the non-woven polypropylene fabric that it is made out of, making it incredibly light and strong enough to hold its own.

The main thing that makes it stand out from the crowd is the simple design that it sports. With no pockets, no sleeves and simple button snaps on the sides tapered with bi-laminate waterproof sealed seams, it is easy to wear and maintain.

While the main strength of the Frogg Toggs poncho is its light weight, it also comes with a small drawback.

The overall sensation that the wearer experiences while using this poncho is one of slight flimsiness, which can be a discomfort especially in when taking on a strong wind.

Although the poncho is more than capable of holding its own against water, dealing with the wind is not its strong suite. The wearer is protected from the cold but the poncho tends to flail around as a result of the rushing air hitting the lightweight fibers.

Check the price on Amazon

STORMTECH PCX-1STORMTECH PCX-1

Weight: 0.5 lbs

Available models: Black

Best Use: Camping and outdoor activities

Description: Interestingly enough, this poncho is not actually made out of polypropylene, like the vast majority of the ponchos on the market. It is actually made out of Nylon threads, woven together and waterproofed with GoreTex membranes.

This gives it the same flexibility and waviness as a shirt but with the added insulation and protection of a poncho.

The PCX-1 also features an extended length, making it great for uses other than a rain poncho. Everything from a tent footprint to a makeshift cover can be easily met by this poncho.

Given the needs of the modern day hiker / traveler, the poncho has to be both light enough and flexible enough to take up as little luggage space as possible. This makes it highly portable and able to fit virtually in any piece of luggage regardless of how crowded it is.

One last thing to note about the PCX-1 is the fact that it is very comfortable to wear. Similar to a shirt made out of fine nylon thread, it is flexible enough to mold onto any surface or body without the rigidity and flakiness commonly attributed to polypropylene ponchos.

The downside with this poncho stems from the very nylon threads that it is made out of. Because the threads are so fine and carefully woven together, it is very susceptible to fire damage, making something as simple as standing around a campfire a real hazard with this poncho.

Check the price on Amazon

Jteng Ripstop ponchoJteng Ripstop poncho

Weight: 1lbs

Available models: Green

Best Use: Heavy rain, extreme weather conditions

Description: The Jteng Ripstop poncho is one of the new arrivals on the market and a powerful one at that.

The poncho itself is made out of heavy duty Rip-Stop polyester, waterproofed and treated in order to be as lightweight and as strong as it could be.

Originally developed for military applications, this poncho was designed and manufactured to withstand as much stress and as much environmental harshness as nature could throw at it without giving way.

One of the more prominent design features that this poncho boasts is the waterproof neck zipper. It allows the wearer to adjust it according to his or her needs and the size of the clothing worn underneath it.

Sizing can be difficult when it comes to rain ponchos, however, the Jteng poncho comes in a “one size fits most” package, 140 cm long and 105 cm tall, managing to cover the vast majority of adult sizes comfortably.

The size of the poncho plays to the wearer’s advantage by providing him or her with as much coverage as possible while at the same time making it easier to carry extra equipment and gear underneath it.

Another great thing about the size of this poncho is that it enables the wearer to use it as a make-shift basic hanging ridge tent. This is achieved by fully opening the length of the poncho, essentially doubling its height to 210 cm and using it as a shelter from the elements.

Portability plays an important part in the decisions that we make in regards to our outdoor gear. The people at Jteng have understood this and have provided a nice matching travel bag for the poncho, allowing for better storage and better transportation.

Check the price on Amazon

Ezyoutdoor Women’s Portable PonchoEzyoutdoor Women's Portable Poncho

Weight: 9.1 ounces

Available models: Black

Best Use: General outdoor activities / outdoor sports

Description: It is not often that we find gender specific ponchos on the market, the vast majority of them being classed as unisex, however, this one has been specially designed to complement the physiognomy of a woman.

Although it was designed for the weaker sex, the poncho itself is nothing short of strong, being woven with 100% eco-friendly Teflon fibers and a layer of GoreTex waterproofing.

Because of the lightweight fibers and feminine fit, Ezyoutdoor poncho is great for outdoor sports and performing in difficult weather conditions. This is because the wearer can perform to the best of her abilities without having to compensate for the bulky fit of unisex or masculine ponchos.

In regards to comfort, this poncho has been designed to allow for discrepancies and compensate for the effects that rough weather conditions have on general outdoor clothing. With that in mind, this poncho is able to keep the wearer dry without hindering her, keeping her a little warm at the same time.

One last thing to add regarding this poncho is the fact that it comes with a stylish and matching pouch to be carried in. This allows not only for better storage and maintenance but also for better luggage management, allowing the wearer to match the travel pouch to the rest of her luggage.

Check the price on Amazon

In Conclusion

Standing up to the elements is not always easy, facing the rain, dampness, and cold temperatures. While there are a lot of options available to us when it comes to staying dry in the rain, the waterproof poncho is by far the best, GoreTex waterproofed ponchos being the best on the market.

women standing in a chair in the rain

These ponchos do a bit more than just protecting us from the elements, they are able to also fulfill a lot of our outdoor needs. They make it easier to transport equipment, insulate our shelters and even add to our overall style without having to sacrifice much of anything.

Whatever your needs are, whatever your preferences are, however, harsh the elements that you will be facing are, GoreTex ponchos can rise to the occasion, you just have to look through them and find the ones that are the best for your situation.

Check out our must-read article on the best hiking rain gear for more options and insight.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rita Warfield
Rita Warfield

Fully passionate about the outdoors and totally committed to a life of exploration and learning, Rita is the perfect guide when it comes to choosing the right gear for your adventures. She gathered years of practical experience in testing her survival skills and knowledge in a wide range of difficult situations but she is also a passionate mountain climber. Even more, Rita loves hunting, she knows her way around a weapon, and she doesn’t back off in a difficult situation.

  • Mike Smith

    Ponchos are my favorite! I have a rain jacket that I take for trips that deal with constant intermittent rain, but my poncho is always somewhere in my bag. One thing you didn’t mention about the Frogg Togg (my favorites) is that given their disposable price, you can alter them into a bunch of different applications. One of my old ones became a rain kilt, and another is now a makeshift tent footprint.

    • Rita Warfield

      Thank you for that Mike! You can indeed recycle old ponchos and make use of it for a different purpose. It is definitely a bang a for your buck if done right!

  • Charles

    I have been using Frogg Toggs for as long as I remember. I have heard that more expensive ponchos may last longer or protect better, but I have had a hard time justifying the cost of a higher level poncho. Are they worth the investment? Or will I still end up buying a new one pretty much every year? I do like the idea of the neck zipper on the Jteng one shown here, but need a lot of convincing for a poncho worth 10x what I normally pay.

    • Rita Warfield

      Good point to raise when it comes to prices. However, if the more inexpensive ones appears to have the wear and tear and may be ineffective, it is good to invest in a more expensive one. Use of more durable materials hence it would last longer.

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