5 Uses For a Poncho

5 Uses For a Poncho

One of the hallmarks of picking survival gear is to choose items that can have multiple functions. By doing so, you will reduce the number of items that need to be carried as well as lower the overall weight of an emergency/survival kit. 

A common item found in most kits is a rain poncho. You may have one of these in your vehicle or backpack, but do you know some of the alternative ways it can be used? If not, then you have come to the right place because today we will be discussing some of the ways to use this versatile item.


5 Different Ways to Use a Poncho


This is the most obvious and main use of a poncho but there is one aspect to it that many people do not consider, and that is the size of the poncho. 

There are of course different sizes of ponchos to accommodate different body types and you may be tempted to choose a size according to your body size. When choosing a poncho, it's best to get a size larger than you think you need. 

When temperatures drop, you may be wearing additional clothes underneath and a larger poncho will be more comfortable to wear. Also, if you have a backpack, a larger poncho can be pulled over the backpack while it is being carried. This will help to keep your gear dry. 


Collect Rainwater 

A poncho does a great job of repelling water but there are times when you will also want to collect water. When your drinking water is running low, stretch out a poncho to act as a rain catch. 

A large poncho laid out will collect much more water quickly than setting out a small cooking pot or water bottle. 

 Emergency Blanket

Waterproof a Shelter 

When making a shelter in the wild, an important step is to waterproof it as much as possible. However, for a variety of reasons, you may not be able to waterproof the shelter before a storm is upon you. If you find yourself in this situation, use a large poncho to cover the top and sides of the shelter as much as possible. 



A Signaling Device 

Whether you are stuck on the side of the road or in the middle of nowhere, you are going to want a way to signal for help. 

Because ponchos are large and create movement in the wind, they work well in drawing attention to your position. To draw even more attention, choose a brightly colored poncho, such as one that is bright orange. 


An Improvised Sleeping Pad 

Sleeping directly on the ground when it is wet or cold should always be avoided because it will lower your body temperature. But what do you do if you do not have a sleeping bag or tent?

If you have a poncho, then you can easily make an improvised sleeping pad. To do this, simply stuff the poncho with as many leaves or vegetation as possible and you will quickly have a sleeping pad that will keep you off the ground. 

 Raincoat Backup

Final Thought

A poncho is a great way for staying relatively dry in the rain. Everyone should have one in their kit because they are also very affordable and quite versatile. Remember, choose a poncho that is larger than you think you will need and one that is brightly colored to increase your visibility. 

Thanks for reading and stay dry! 


Let us know some of the alternative ways you have used a poncho by leaving a comment below.



Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. Bryan is a published author with Fox Chapel Publishing. In 2019, Bryan authored the book, Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. In March 2021, he released his second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival.

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