Buy the Best Travel Towels – Reviews & Comparisons [2019]   Recently updated !


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Whatever your travel style a travel towel is a key item in your travel packing list.  Whether you need a backpacking towel , a towel for an overland adventure, or just a lightweight, compact towel to take to the gym you’ve come to the right place.  You’re likely to use this type of towel each day while you’re travelling, so you should make sure that it’s the best travel towel you can buy to suit your needs.

Best Travel Towels at a Glance

We’ve hunted out, bought and tested the worst and best travel towels to bring you a selection of the top travel towels.  Our criteria for a great travel towel is that it should be compact, lightweight and quick drying.  It also needs to be effective in drying the user too!

Quick Comparison of the Best Travel Towels

Which Travel TowelSizeWeightFabric ExampleFabric/MaterialBuy on Amazon
Mountain Warehouse Clip Large Travel Towel130cm x 70cm
50 in x 27.5 in
110 grams
3.9 oz
travel towel softfiberSoftfibreCheck Price Now
Mountain Warehouse Microtowelling Travel Towel150cm x 85cm
59 in x 33.5 in
400 grams
14 oz
travel towel microtowellingMicrotowellingSee it Now!
Lifeventure Softfibre Travel Towel 150cm x 90cm
60 in x 35 in
280 grams
10oz
travel towel softfibre materialSoftfibreGet latest pricing!
Green Foster Linen Towel150cm x 71cm
59 in x 30 in
190 grams
6.7 oz
linen travel towel materialFlax LinenCheck Pricing now!
Cacala Turkish Cotton Towel175cm x 95cm
69 in x 37 in
290 grams
10 oz
turkish cotton travel towel materialTurkish CottonSee your options now!
Fit Flip Microfiber Towel200cm x 100cm
79 in x 39 in
410 grams
14.8 oz
microfiber travel towel materialMicrofiberGet Pricing and Availability
Trespass Bamboo Travel Towel120cm x 60cm
47 in x 27.5 in
365 grams
12.9 oz
bamboo travel towel materialBambooCheck Reviews and Pricing Now!

 

How To Find the Best Travel Towel

I’ll be upfront.  I hate travel towels.  With a passion.  I like nothing better than wrapping myself in a big huge white fluffy Eygptian cotton towel.  But that’s usually bigger than my backpack, so for me, finding not just a good, but a great travel towel was really, really important.

So the qualities that quick drying beach towels need to get me on the road are:

  1. It needs to dry me.  That’s the most important criteria to me.  I positively detest the old travel towels that were just like suede and moved water around, got very wet and then just smelled.
  2. After it’s dried me it needs to dry quickly. I don’t mind carrying it on the outside of my backpack, but a quick drying towel is absolutely key.
  3. It can’t weight much. While I love thick heavy towels when I’m in a really nice hotel, I don’t like carrying them.
  4. It needs to be both big enough to wrap around me and small enough to pack into my 40-litre Osprey Farpoint backpack with all my other stuff.
  5. It needs to be anti-microbial. It’s going to live with me and in close proximity to me and in my bag for months at a time.

PIN FOR LATER

Best Travel Towel

Best Travel Towel Reviews

 

Best Softfibre Travel Towel Review – LifeVenture Travel Towel Review

At 150cm x 90cm (60 inches x 35 inches) this is a decent sized towel.

The Lifeventure Towel packs down relatively small too, to 19 x 12 x 5cm (7.5in x 4.7in x 2 in) and weighs 280 grams (10 oz).  The material is silky, it dries really well and is a good cover up too.  The zip container keeps it all together and away from your other items.

The loop of fabric lets it attach to your gear or a washing line easily.    Click for pricing, more information and other reviews

 


Best Compact Travel Towel Review – Clip Travel Towel Review

 

This is the best-damned towel that you can fit in the palm of your hand.  Seriously.  You wouldn’t believe how good this towel it.  And how small it is.  The Mountain Warehouse Clip Travel Towel weighs 110 grams  (3.9 oz) including the mesh bag and clips to carry it in.  It attaches to the bag, so you won’t lose the bag.  You can clip the whole lot onto a backpack or a washing line.  It rolls out to 130cm x 70cm.  ( 50in x 27.5in) It dries seriously quickly and yes, it does dry you too.I honestly don’t know how it does it.  And yes, it does fit into the palm of your hand when back in its bag.  The fabric is silky to the touch.  I use it as a scarf, you can sit on it on the beach or grass and it doesn’t pick up bits.  We travelled across Central Asia with this, overlanding, space was at a serious premium and now we take this as our primary towel when travelling.  Click for pricing, more information and other reviews

Best Microtowelling Travel Towel Review – Mountain Warehouse Travel Towel Review

A really great option for a travel towel if you prefer a towel like material.  Great as a swimming towel or for the gym.  Dries fast, 4-6 times faster than a normal towel, weighs just 400 grams (14 oz) for the giant size.  The giant size Mountain Warehouse Microtowel is 150 cm x 85 cm (59 in x 33.5 in)   It folds into a mesh bag.    This travel towel dries me really well.It’s the closest to a real towel that we’ve found.  Has a fabric loop and clip, so it won’t fly away if you attach it to anything!  Packs small, but if you are really tight for space this isn’t the one for you.  That said we easily carried it around Central America for four months as our only towel.  It’s big enough to wrap around you (carefully), has good drying capabilities.  Downside:  Not great as a beach or outdoor towel as it picks up bits easily.  Click for pricing, more information and other reviews


Best Bamboo Travel Towel Review – Trespass Bamboo Travel Towel Review

At 365 grams (12.9 oz) this is a little heavier than other types of travel towels.  It measures 60cm x 120cm. (47 in x 27.5 in)  the material is soft and absorbent.  It does take a little longer to dry than other towels, but the natural antimicrobials in the material mean that it won’t smell.  It needs a loop to attach to washing lines/backpacks though.  Click for pricing, more information and other reviews.


Best Turkish Cotton Travel Towel Review – Cacala Cotton Turkish Towel Review

If you’re looking for a travel towel that’s also a fashion accessory, then the Cacala Turkish cotton travel towel is a great option.   It weighs 290 grams (10 oz) and at a size of 175cm x 95cm (69 in x 37 in (its great to use as a sarong, a window covering, an all-encompassing scarf and a skirt if you need to!  The Cacala towela are hypoallergenic and fast drying.   It’s good on the beach or grass as it doesn’t pick up “bits”. Click for pricing, more information and other reviews.


Best Linen Travel Towel Review – Green Foster Linen Travel Towel Review

This linen flax towel is completely natural.  At 71cm x 150cm (30 in x 59 in) it’s a good travel bath towel.    It weighs 190grams (6.7 oz), so won’t burden your bag with unnecessary weight.  The Green Foster Linen travel towel is lint-free, which makes hair drying a breeze – no bits left behind.  It’s an attractive towel that you can also use as a sarong or a wrap if needed.   Click here to get reviews and prices on linen travel towels

Best Microfiber Travel Towel  Review – Fit Flip Travel Towel Review

Rated as the best microfibre travel towel in Germany, the Fit Flip Towel  comes in a variety of sizes from 50cm x 30cm up to 200cm x 100cm and a huge variety of colours.    Two small 50cm x 30cm towels including the carry bag weigh 140grams.   There’s a hanging hook on these towels and they come with a bag to keep them in.  Click for pricing, more information and other reviews. 


How to Pick the Best Travel Towel

There are a number of criteria to review travel towels against when you’re ready to buy one.  The weighting you apply to each criterion depends on your ultimate use for you.  These key buying criteria for travel towels are:

Will a Travel Towel Dry Me?

Does the travel towel just move water around?  Is a travel towel actually going to dry you?  Is it absorbing the water?  > For me this is hugely important.

How Long Does a Travel Towel take to dry?

How long your travel towel takes to dry is key.  Most folks will shower in a morning, dry themselves, have breakfast and then stuff their travel towel in a bag.  Wet towels in bags stink after a short time.  The smell also invades other items in your bag.  Then they start to go mouldy.  For us, a quick-drying travel towel is key.  Cut to the chase and check out our best quick dry towels for travel   This compact quick dry towel takes just 15 minutes to dry when left outside in the UK (no sun).  Obviously that time reduces in warmer, dryer climates.

What Are You Using your Travel Towel for?

Travel towels aren’t just for travel!  We use our travel towels to go to the beach – we sit on them, wrap them around us to keep the sun off, and then dry off on them.  Our travel towels become the best camping towels when we camp, when they’re dry they’re an extra blanket or a pillow.  We use travel towels as window coverings, as sarongs, to sit on on the beach or as a table cloth on benches.  We think the prettiest ones for multi use are made of turkish cotton  – Click to see more information on Turkish Cotton Travel Towels 

Many folks also take travel towels along as it saves the environment – most hotels wash towels every day.  You can find out how much this costs here.

Alternative Uses for Travel Towels

Travel towels, because they tend to fold down quite small are also great for swimming, diving, snorkelling and any type of water sports.  They’re great for hiking, as they take up little space and can dry off the back of a backpack while you’re trekking.

Travel towels can become yoga towels, gym towels, pillows and sarongs.  They don’t have to just stay in your travel gear!

Don’t forget to check out our Guide to the Best Filter Water Bottles Too!

Top Travel Towel Brands

You’ll find endless numbers of travel towels to buy on the internet or in stores.  However, the top 9 travel brands around the world are (in no particular order)

  1. Lifeventure – See Reviews & Information on Lifeventure Travel Towel
  2. Youphoria – Find out more about Youphoria Travel Towels
  3. Mountain Warehouse – Explore Mountain Warehouse Travel Towel Options
  4. Cacala – for Turkish Cotton – Find More About Cacala Travel Towels in Turkish Cotton
  5. Dock & Bay Beach Towels – See Reviews for Dock & Bay Towels
  6. Fit & Flip Towels – See Reviews on Fit & Flip Travel Towels 
  7. PackTowl – See More Information on PackTowl
  8. Sea to Summit – Click here to see reviews on Sea to Summit Travel Towel
  9. Shandali – Find more Information on Shandali Travel Towels
  10. Linen Towels from Green Foster – find out more

Travel Towel Material

Travel towels have changed significantly in the last few years and there’s now a wide choice of materials to select from.  I’m generally a travel towel hater and have been through ALL of them until I found a type that I could live with.  Strike that, actually I love my travel towel now, but it took me years to find it.

The best travel towel material is a VERY personal choice.  What do you like?   Here are your options.

The majority of travel towels in 2019 are made from microfiber.  This is a quick drying and extremely lightweight material.  It’s synthetic and they tend to be the cheapest towel material to buy.    There is some difference in terminology, so you’re going to want to look at the texture of the towel.  Some brands call it microfiber, some call it soft fibre and some call it micro towelling.  The terms are often used interchangeably.  Here’s our explanation of which is which.

You can also buy travel towels made from cotton, linen and bamboo.  Read on for more on each of these travel towel material options.

Microfiber Travel Towels Travel Towels

This is the material that the majority of travel towels are made from. Microfiber is synthetic and very lightweight.  Sometimes they take a little getting used to after normal towels, , although the material is soft.  They dry quickly.

Get the best prices on the top microfibre travel towel

Soft Fibre Travel Towels

This is a lighter weight than microfibre, although you may find the terms used interchangeably between manufacturers.  Think of microfibre as more of a suede type feel and softfibre is a more silky feel.

Best soft fibre travel towel Lifeventure Towel reviews

Microtowelling Travel Towels

Micro towelling travel towels are similar to microfiber travel towels but have a more traditional towel feel.  Microtowelling is the terminology used by Mountain Warehouse to describe what I think are their best travel towels.  This material is also called microfiber by some other brands.   This is my favourite fabric for travel towels, if I have space for it.

Get pricing for the Mountain Warehouse Microtowelling Travel Towel

Turkish Cotton Travel Towels – Peshtemal Towels

Turkish cotton travel towels are the most popular type of travel towel after a microfiber towel.   They’re made of very thin cotton.  I think of them more like a tea towel.  Turkish cotton towels are also known as Peshtemals.  They take up a small amount of space because they’re so thin.  They don’t dry so quickly though.  Turkish cotton travel towels are great for absorbing water and getting you dry.   You can also use them as a scarf or a wrap and if you get a big one they’ll wrap all the way around you.  It’s pretty similar to when I use my thin cotton sarong as a towel for my hair.

Best Turkish Cotton Travel Towel –  Best Peshtemal  Prices 

Linen Travel Towels

Linen travel towels tend to be thin, but fast drying.  They’ll pack down small and are naturally antibacterial towels – so they’re good on not smelling.  They will also take moisture off you very well too.  You may find the surface a little uncomfortable, especially when they’re new.  Linen towels tend to be more expensive than other materials.

Our recommendations for the best linen travel towels are here

Bamboo Travel Towels

Bamboo is naturally antibacterial and a sustainable material.  Despite what you’re thinking bamboo is actually a lot softer than linen.  Bamboo towels dry easily and quickly, but they don’t compact too well and they are usually a more expensive option when it comes to purchasing a bamboo towel that compacts well.

Find the best bamboo travel towel

Travel Towel Size

There are two sizes of travel towel that you need to consider when you’re buying one.  The size that it extends to when you’re using it and the size it packs down to in your bags.  Most folks will just look at the size it extends to, but if you can’t pack it down small, then you’re taking up valuable space in your luggage.

Unfortunately, there are no standard sizes for travel towels, in terms of actual measurements.   The primary buying decision to make when looking at the size of a travel towel is how and what you’re going to use it for and how you will manage with it.

If you’re ok coping with a hand towel sized travel towel for all your dying needs, then that’s easy.  We find the bath towel sized travel towels are the most flexible so aim for that size and then ensure that we’ve bought ones that pack down small, dry quick and dry us quickly.  If size is of a premium, then look no further than our best compact travel towel – Check out prices and sizes of the best compact travel towel. 

If this towel is going to be your main towel then go big.  It gives you more flexibility.  At the end of the day, you can always cut it down to size if the larger size is too much for you!  We travelled for 4 years backpacking with a 40-litre Osprey Farpoint (amazing backpacks, check them out now!) with a bath-sized travel towel as part of our luggage.

Travel Towel Packed Size

Packing down to a small size is a requirement for travel towels.  The smallest pack down sized towel is our compact travel towel, which fits in the palm of my hand. Buy yours now.  We took our travel towels with us when we trekked to Everest Base Camp – they were part of our Trek Gear List – check that out too if you’re hiking in Nepal.

Travel Towel Size in Use

For general travel, I like a bath-sized towel.  I like one that I can wrap around me so that when I come out of the shower, it wraps around me.  When I’m travelling and don’t have access to regular showers, I prefer smaller travel towels, as I won’t be jumping out of the shower most days.  My compact towel still fully wraps around me in the bathroom.

Travel Towel Weight

The weight of your travel towel is also important.  There’s no point packing it down to a small size if it’s adding a kilo to your bags.  The lightest material for travel towels is soft fibre..  The best lightweight travel towel we found was the Clip Travel Towel from Mountain Warehouse – click here to see latest prices.

It weighs just 110 grams (3.9 oz) including the mesh bag and clip that comes with it.

Travel Towel Additional Useful Features

A Loop Of Material or a Clip

After 4 years on the road, I would NOT buy a travel towel that didn’t have a loop of material on it.  Preferably 2 loops.  I’ve trekked in Nepal, New Zealand and Central America with my travel towel.  I’ve spent many days with it attached to the back of my backpack.  It’s hung from a hook inside a tent in Central Asia.  And throughout SE Asia, it’s been attached to an elasticated washing line by the loop, so that it didn’t blow away while drying.  If you’ve bought one without a loop on, just sew one on, it makes a huge difference! > a carabiner clip is one of the items in our list of things to pack.

A Stuff Bag for your Travel Towel

I don’t always use my travel towel stuff bag, but if I do need to put a slightly wet towel into my bag when travelling, I always use the stuff sack, to ensure that the towel and any potential stinkiness is kept separate from everything else.

 

How to Clean a Travel Towel

You still need to wash your travel towel.  While bamboo and linen travel towels are naturally antibacterial and certain synthetic travel towels contain antimicrobial materials they still need to be cleaned.

  1. Always wash your towel before use. Separately from other clothing. It ensures that any colour doesn’t run.  It also increases any water absorbency that the towel has.
  2. Wash your towel as you do your other clothes.  We recommend the Scrubba Laundry System, which saves us a fortune on laundry around the world.  Be sure if you’re using laundry services that you ask them to use a low dryer setting, or natural drying, especially if you have a microfiber travel towel

I hope you’ve found our reviews and comparisons of the best travel towels useful.  Which is your favourite?  Do you just have one?  Or do you have mulitple towels for different uses?

PS If you’re wondering if using and reusing towels does make a difference to the environment, then read this article.  And buy your own towel.

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About Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter is an avid reader, writer and traveller. She loves hiking, sailing, skiing and exploring the world through food. She left a successful career in IT security and compliance in both the UK and US to travel the world with husband and partner in adventure, Nigel.


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