We developed a new ultra-tough hydrogel with programmable toughness by incorporating nanoporous particles (NpP) into the conventional hydrogels. The proposed methodology develops a functional gel system with several stages of reserve toughness that can be activated at a specific activation load. For example, we can use the gel for the body armors and program its toughness to be activated right before the yield stress of the skin. When loads are smaller than the activation load, the material will behave like unfilled conventional hydrogels. When it exceeds the activation load, the hybrid hydrogel will absorb a considerable amount of energy before any major deformation, which makes the material ultra-tough against catastrophic failure. Consequently, the reserved toughness and the constitutive behavior of the introduced hybrid gel can be precisely designed to fit specific applications. Such a design mainly takes place at compounding level through changes in the morphology, surface properties, types and load fraction of the nanoporous particles.