Gear Review: Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho

Ponchos are one of my favorite articles of clothing. I own numerous versions and dress them up or down depending on where I’m going. Elegant ponchos for the office? I have three. Striped Mexican poncho made of wool with fringes along the edges? Of course. A nylon flannel blanket with a snap-on hood thats double as a poncho? You know it. A technical poncho with a water resistant exterior and synthetic filling? Yup, I do now.

Therm-a-Rest’s Honcho Poncho came into my life a few weeks ago, and I have put it to good use ever since.

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The Honcho Poncho is one-size-fits-all. I am an average size (athletic build, if you will) 5’6″ woman, and it is rooooomy. It was just the right length, falling to about my knees, and wider than all of my other ponchos. And that’s not a bad thing because the poncho also serves as a blanket.

Add it to any nighttime sleep system for extra warmth. So even if it seems a little oversized while draped over your shoulders, you can use that excess material to wrap up in and keep warm.

If you don’t need an extra blanket at night, pack it back into its own zippered pocket and use it as a pillow.  The poncho packs down to about the size of a shoebox. The actual dimensions are 11 x 17 inches. I’ve tucked it into my carry-on backpack while flying and used it as a pillow on the plane. I also plan to bring it along on car camping trips to use a pillow.


The exterior shell is made of 20D polyester ripstop material that’s both breathable and water resistant with a DWR finish.

Inside, the 37.5 synthetic insulation (made of eraLoft polyester hollow fiber) will keep you warm without weighing you down. It’s warm enough to help make a difference in cooler temps but also light enough for warmer nights.

It definitely adds a noticeable layer of warmth. But since your arms and sides are mostly exposed—and it may be wide and roomy on you, too—don’t expect this to keep you warm on its own if it’s cold. It’s a perfect option for adding an extra layer of protection over a long sleeve layer or jacket, helping to keep out cooler temps, wind, and even a little rain. 

Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho review


What’s better than one pocket? TWO! Considering none of my other ponchos have pockets, this is kind of a big deal.

There is a large pocket in the front with a zipper where you can store your things for safekeeping. This is also the pocket that the poncho packs down into. While it’s pretty big, you wouldn’t want to put anything super heavy because it will weigh down the front of the poncho. It’s quite handy having a pocket with a zipper, though, for a little extra peace of mind knowing your stuff is secure.

The Honcho Poncho also has a kangaroo pocket in front, which is fun. It’s nice to be able to put your hands somewhere to keep them warm.


The hood is a handy option to have, but the gap around my face/neck was pretty big. It doesn’t have a cinch cord or anything to tighten the hood, so it’s not the most effective for trapping in warmth. At the same time, it’s big enough to put over any other hats or hoods you might have, so again, a great extra layer for warmth.

Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho review


As with most (all?) ponchos, the Honcho Poncho doubles as a blanket. There are two side clasps that form arm holes on either side. When undone and laid out flat, it becomes a large rectangle measuring 79 x 56 inches.

It’s perfect for so many scenarios:

  • Using as an added layer of warmth around the campfire at night—whether as a poncho or blanket across your lap
  • Taking your dog on brisk early morning walks or throwing it on to make coffee at camp
  • Road trip blanket or pillow
  • Travel pillow


At $115, it’s not exactly cheap, but that’s why we look at value and not just price.

The Honcho Poncho is a versatile piece of gear that you can wear and/or sleep with in the great outdoors and in everyday life at the park or the ballfields. It’s a perfect mid-weight top layer for cooler nights that can then transition to a blanket for extra warmth while sleeping. Or, it can be used on its own as a blanket on warmer nights.

Considering its many functions and that you can use it year-round, we think it’s a great value and a good investment.

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