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What are the Different Types of Hooded Poncho?

Sonal Panse
Sonal Panse

The hooded poncho is worn in many cultures around the world to ward off the rain and the cold. A traditional poncho is a single piece outer garment of some waterproof material. It has a central head opening and arm openings, and side fasteners or cords are usually provided to secure the garment in place after it has been draped over the body. These days, in addition to a regular rain poncho, the trend for a fashion poncho has grown in popularity.

Ponchos are comfortable to wear as they allow for easier body movements while providing warm and protection from climatic elements. The common materials used to make a hooded poncho are wool and cotton yarn, but canvas, synthetic fabrics, rubberized cloth and plastic are also widely used. The materials used to make a poncho are generally lightweight.

Rain ponchos keep the wearer dry during storms.
Rain ponchos keep the wearer dry during storms.

A hooded poncho is available in knitted, crocheted and woven forms. It may be of a solid color or come in multicolor design patterns. The poncho may be worn for a practical purpose, or draped over skirts, trousers and other garments to make a fashion statement. In some ethnic communities, bright colored ponchos are worn on special festive occasions.

The hooded poncho may be in a cape pattern or more like a jacket, and may cover the arms entirely, partially or not at all. The length of a hooded poncho is variable, depending on the practical or fashion purpose the wearer intends it for. Some ponchos can be quite long, up to ankle length, while others are of knee length or waist length. The sides of the hooded poncho may be straight, swirly or uneven, and the alternative poncho, worn in fashion, may have fringes and decorations for a more eye-catching effect. The hood of the poncho may be fastened with a clasp, a button or a draw cord.

On the practical front, ponchos are regularly worn by military and rescue operation personnel. In addition to being voluminous enough to protect both the wearers and their equipments from the wind and the rain, these ponchos can also serve the additional purpose of being used as groundsheets and tents when required. The use of ponchos in the armed forces in modern times became prevalent in the USA first, notably during the American Civil War, and since then the use of ponchos has become quite prevalent in the armies of other nations as well. A hooded poncho has also proved popular with trekking and camping enthusiasts.

Discussion Comments


I want some sort of durable cloth, waterproof (not water resistant) rain poncho. I don't like buttons and snaps; they just rust. In Florida, we can have rain and wind for weeks or months at a time (that is why we call it the Liquid Sunshine State). I cannot have the cheap plastic because it would just blow off and the walker would just tear it.

Some time ago, I thought I saw something that was cloth with weighted bottom seams, but I cannot remember the site, but I think it was in England. I need something long enough that my slacks don't get drenched and so I freeze when I ride the air-conditioned buses and trains.


Does anyone know how to easily make a hooded poncho?

I have been looking at various hooded poncho patterns online and it seems like most of them want you to follow their free knitting patterns, or their free crochet patterns. Unfortunately, I am not that talented and am looking for something that I could sew.

In all honesty, it looks like a poncho would be really easy to make, as it is just draped fabric. I really can't see it being that difficult to do. Since I am cheap, I would really like to try making one on my own.


One of the best things you can buy if you have kids are hooded towel ponchos. They are fantastic for getting your kids dry and allowing them to run around in if they insist on making a break for it right after their baths.

I purchased hooded poncho towels for each of my kids so that they stay warm and get dry fast. I hate the thought of them running around in a flimsy towel after a bath, as I am always worried that they'll catch a cold.

Another good thing about the hooded towel ponchos for kids is that they don't really come in sizes, so you can let your kids use the same one for years.


I never thought that I would like hooded ponchos because they looked so bulky, but nothing is better for keeping you dry than a waterproof poncho. I love that it fits over my clothes and covers my head, and that it doesn't require me to fiddle with any buttons.

Another good thing about waterproof hooded ponchos for women is that they come in different lengths so if you have a longer dress, you can get one long enough to cover you. I used to struggle with finding a rain jacket that worked with all of my outfits, not I just use the poncho and I am good to go.

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    • Rain ponchos keep the wearer dry during storms.
      By: Daniel Etzold
      Rain ponchos keep the wearer dry during storms.