Survivalist Uses for Rain Poncho

First used by fighting men in the 1850s for US military forces on the Western Plains, rain ponchos have a long history of coming in handy when you’re up against all odds. Simply put, they’re great at keeping you dry, but they are capable of much more than just that. Any true prepper or survivalist has a rain poncho, die-hards have a few stashed away in different places such as truck compartments or bug-out-bags. There are plenty of ways to put this versatile survival tool to good use when the chips are down and the SHTF. Here are a few.

Ground Tarp

When you’re in a situation where you have minimal camp gear but need to sleep in the woods, warmth can be a big issue. As anyone accusomted to building shelters in the woods knows, it is incredibly important to have ground cover. When you’re sleeping close to the earth, the earth has a way of sucking the heat right out of you from below. Using a rain poncho as a ground tarp is an excellent way to stay warm in a pinch. Even better, lay pine needles down first, then cover them with the poncho and sleep on top.


No tent? No problem. A rain poncho is an excellent way to provide yourself cover from the elements when you are in a situation where you don’t have a legit tent or tarp to do so. Better yet, if you are with a buddy and have two ponchos, you can connect them using paracord and create a legitimate shelter that will provide warmth and protection from rain.

Sun Shield

While most people tend to associate the use of a rain poncho with protection from rain, a rain poncho can also be put to use in desert environments. Using a poncho to create a solar still is a great way to collect water when there isn’t any, and perhaps even more useful, a rain poncho can be strung up and used to protect you from the heat of the sun.


While it may not be a pleasant thought to entertain, if you are in a SHTF or WWOROL scenario, a rain poncho makes an excellent decoy. When attached to a cross-like binding of sticks, that is then run through the arms of the poncho, the poncho itself takes on the appearance of a human form. This can come in handy in a scenario where you may need to trick an assailent or opposing force into thinking there is someone there, when in reailty, it is just your poncho acting as a decoy. This is particularly effective in low-light scenarios, or situations where extreme weather can obscure vision.

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