The term ‘revolutionary’ gets tossed around in the outdoor industry like an under-inflated beachball in a room full of toddlers–rampantly, but without much weight behind it. To meet that lofty definition, a product typically changes how we enjoy the outdoors via either a technological breakthrough or, in the most elegant execution with a subtle yet unexpected twist that makes you think, “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?!?” 

It is under this latter definition that I’m going to use the term “revolutionary” to describe Therm-a-Rest’s Honcho Poncho™. Sure, there’s arguably some hyperbole in there, too; I’ll give you that. But we’re talking about something as fun and comfortable as a poncho here, so let the beachballs fly!  

If “revolutionary” seems a stretch, it’s because the poncho itself dates back almost 2500 years to somewhere between Ecuador and Mexico. However, with a simple update using contemporary fabrics and insulation, the Honcho Poncho becomes one of the most fun, easy, and enviable ways to stay warm outside. If not revolutionary, it is, at the very least, uncommonly and surprisingly good.  

Let’s take a look at five of the reasons you absolutely need a Honcho Poncho in your movie.

Two people wearing Therm-A-Rest Honcho Ponchos enjoying a warm drinkPhoto: Scott Rinckenberger

Who Needs a Honcho Poncho?

First, let’s clarify who needs one and in what situations by asking if you’ve ever said one or more of these things while outdoors: 

“Oh man, that campfire is W.A.R.M! Except my back…let me turn around for a minute.” 

“You know, I would LOVE to sit down, but I would freeze my ass off the moment it touched that log.” 

“I’m almost warm, but I don’t have another layer, and I can’t move.” 

“I would love a sip of that, but I can’t because I’m death-gripping this blanket around me so I don’t freeze.” 

“If only this hot spring [surf beach] had a warm place to change right next to it, life would be [even more] perfect.” 

“I could squeeze on another layer, but I think the bulk might cut off any remaining circulation to my hands.” 

“If only this blanket had a hood and a giant pocket large enough to hold snacks, my phone…and my next beer.” 

If you have, the solution to every situation here is a Honcho Poncho. The warmth-boosting hood, the portable and warm changing station from summer beaches to winter hot springs, the giant pockets (a zippered top-loader that it stuffs into, plus a pass-through hand warmer)–it’s got it all. Plus, there are snaps on the side to make arm holes and reduce drafts. Add the ability to act as a blanket to boost the warmth of your sleeping bag, and you’ve got an immense amount of versatility packed into a single piece of gear.  

Two girls sitting by a fire in Therm-A-Rest Honcho PonchosPhoto: Scott Rinckenberger

The Coze Factor

A light and fluffy insulated poncho is to your body what the mainstreaming of pajama pants was to your legs – a way more comfortable and easy-to-wear alternative to…well, anything else. Say goodbye to shimmying into one more mid-layer, dealing with multiple hoods, or worrying that your big puffy won’t be enough for that winter campfire. Your Honcho Poncho will fit over everything, loosely and without restriction. Plus, it will cover you from your head to your knees (-ish, depending on your height), whether seated or standing, keeping you warm and cozy in just about any situation imaginable.  

Three kids wearing the Therm-A-Rest Honcho Poncho Kids printsPhoto: Mirae Campbell

Honcho Ponchos are Sized for Everyone – Even Kids!

Adult-sized Honcho Ponchos are simple by design, so one size fits all. Coverage will range from mid or upper thigh for taller folks and go below the knee for those around 5 feet tall. Due to popular demand (more like actual demand from parents whose kids keep stealing their Honcho Ponchos), we’ve just introduced the all-new Kid’s Honcho Poncho, right-sized for smaller humans in the 3-to-4.5-foot range, keeping the poncho from dragging on the ground to boost safety and durability while sprinting around camp.  The smaller size also improves fit for more efficient warmth. 

Three people in Therm-A-Rest Honcho Poncho Down taking a dip in a hot springPhoto: Native Release

Choose Your Fill

All Honcho Ponchos have water and wind-resistant polyester shell fabrics that can easily handle a passing drizzle, and adult sizes are available in both Down and Synthetic fill options. For the ultimate comfort and warmth, go for the down. The Honcho Poncho Down is filled with our 650-fill Nikwax® Hydrophobic Down that stays drier longer and dries 50% faster than regular down. Of course, as usual, the fluff of down takes the Coze Factor to an all-new level. And if supporting sustainability efforts is your thing, the down is RDS® Certified and the shell material is 100% GRS-Certified recycled, so you’re helping us work toward making everything we do good for you and the planet.  

If you’re looking for a more worry-free option–something you can use as a blanket at a festival and wear around the fire on a cool fall evening, go for the hollow-fiber EraLoft®-insulated version. Armed with one of those, you can wait out the rain by the fire and know that it will be dry in a jiffy and still provide warmth, even when wet. Because the synthetic fill is more durable than down, this is the best choice for carefree use that might require frequent washing or tossing a stuffed one in the car to have on hand year-round, leaving you optimally prepared should the opportunity for chillaxing present itself.  

Man sitting in Therm-A-Rest Honcho Poncho with dogPhoto: Scott Rinckenberger

Make a Statement in your Honcho Poncho

Be warned: wearing a Honcho Poncho will make you a target for such questions as “Where did you get that?”, “What IS that?” and, “Can I try that?”. You, in turn, will also need to get comfortable asking, “Ummm, can I have that back now?!?”  

Seriously, these things quickly become the talk of the campfire. After an initial bout of skepticism from people, you’ll watch it melt into envy as your friends’ brains begin to internalize the concept, and the logic becomes impeccably clear from the warm smile on your face.   

Add to that cool colors and prints, like the new TOPO Wave to choose from, and…well, let’s say that it’s mostly word-of-mouth that sells these things, no matter how much we try to convince you.

Two women paddleboarding while wearing Therm-A-Rest Honcho PonchosPhoto: Jodie Morse

Years of Fun and Function

Honcho Ponchos are beautifully simple pieces of gear and are nothing short of fun to wear. The synthetic-filled ones are machine washable and dry fast for easy turn-around times between adventures. This makes them great for everything from beach and baby blankets to worry-free, warmth-packed lobster bibs for messy eaters and drinkers. The down ones take a bit of extra care because you don’t want to be washing down every week since it will reduce loft and warmth over time. However, just follow the same tips we have for down sleeping bags, and you and your Honcho Poncho will have a long relationship filled with warmth, friends, and good times. 

Try one and see just how uncommonly good spending time outdoors can be.  

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