Travel towels are among the bulkiest items to pack when traveling around the world. They take up too much space and take forever to dry. That is why I recommend the best microfiber towels — also known as quick dry towels. They really work!
One of my sons uses his as his everyday shower towel at home. It’s absorbent and dries quickly. We also bring them camping and when my kids go to overnight camps. Smaller ones are ideal for drying dishes when camping. Large travel towels are fantastic for the beach and pool days as well.
I particularly like them for the beach because they dry so quickly, you can shake out the sand. Also, my kids always go in the water and come out to play in the sand. Usually, the water is cold so they can wrap themselves in the towels to get dry again and again.
What are the Best Microfiber Towels
The major difference you will find from a regular towel is that microfibre towels are quick-dry towels. They pack down so small and take up much less space in your backpack or luggage. If you are traveling and shower at night, you can leave it on the towel hook or shower bar, and it will be dry by morning.
If you shower in the morning and then pack up your stuff to go, it will already be partially dry by the time you leave. Most of the brands include a carry bag with a strap. This makes it easy to fold the towel down and clip the towel bag on your backpack or luggage.
They pack down so small. Microfiber towels are very quick drying. However, not all travel towels are the same. Pay attention to the sizes so you can be sure to get one that wraps around your body. We have the largest sizes available.
Gear Aid Microfiber Towel
It’s amazing how just a name can persuade people into buying an item, but this towel is great, and I can understand why it’s The Rick Steve’s Choice.
It’s exactly what you would ask from a travel towel or camping towel. It:
- Absorbs really well
- Takes up almost no space at all
- Dries quickly
- Comes in different colors so you can keep track of everyone’s
- Comes with a lightweight, breathable storage bag with a strap so if your towel isn’t dry when you pack it, you can clip it on your backpack for it to air out
It’s not like a big bath towel but larger than most other travel towels. You won’t have to worry about the towel not wrapping the whole way around your waist (if you buy the XL size) – which often happens with other travel towels.
The only downside would be that it kind of sticks to your body when you dry yourself and the material isn’t the softest. Two nice details is the snap loop on the towel and the storage bag to put it in.
Gear Aid Microfiber Towel Sizes
- Medium: 20″ x 40″
- Large: 30″ x 50″
- X-Large: 35″ x 62″
Aquis Travel Towel
Aquis Travel Towel can absorb A LOT of water, although if drenched in water it can take some time for it to dry. It’s also lightweight and has a little snap loop to hang it up (perfect so it doesn’t blow away in the wind).
It is the towel that feels closest to a real towel, and unlike many other towels you can actually dry it in the drying machine – if you would ever need to.
Be careful though, as it can bleed in the first few washes! The sizes come in: M (15″ x 29″), L (19″ x 39″) and XL (29″ x 55″), and you can choose between 3 colors.
The XL size would be more like a bath towel and you can wrap yourself up in it, the L size is narrower but long (perfect for using at the gym), and the M is more like a hand towel.
Sea to Summit DryLite Towel
I’ve always had a good experience with Sea to Summit DryLite Towel brand, and the towel didn’t disappoint me. This towel stands out from the rest because it’s so soft on the skin, softer than the other ones. It’s lightweight, absorbs a lot of water and dries quickly.
Another good thing about these towels is that there are so many different sizes to choose between, so you can get the one which suits your needs the best. The fabric is slick, not fluffy (terry), and the best way to dry it to simply pat on the skin.
Benefits of Sea to Summit quick dry towels
- Soft and smooth on the skin
- Made with 70% polyester and 30% nylon Microfiber and detailed with supreme suede linings
- Highly efficient at both drying and absorbing water
- Can be washed in the machine
- Available in different colors, including Kiwi, Green and Orange
- Soft brushed feeling when using it after a bath
You can use the Sea to Summit DryLite travel towel to wipe dishes when on a camping trip.
They are perfectly suited for your travel and are extremely light to pack. Since they are multipurpose towels, you won’t have to pack 2 or 3 towels. And the best part is that these towels are available in a whole range of different sizes which makes packing easier and hassle-free.
- Extra Small, (30cm x 60cm), Weight 37g
- Small, (40cm x 80cm), Weight 62g
- Medium, (50cm x 100cm), Weight 100g
- Large, (60cm x 120cm), Weight 145g
- Extra Large, (75cm x 150cm), Weight 200g
The Sea to Summit DryLite edition is available in different colors including cobalt blue, outback red and jade green. If you choose one of these quick dry towels in the small or medium sizes, they are great to use as a hair towel.
They are great microfiber towels for exercise and sports. Using a microfiber hair towel will be light on your hair when it’s wet and more fragile. They are great to bring when traveling.
Surf Poncho Changing Microfiber Towels
We tried the Surf Poncho Changing Microfiber Towels and found many great things about it. This is quite a bit different than most other options on our list. It’s actually a wearable poncho made with microfiber materials. It can be worn, used as a towel, used to wear while you’re changing into surf gear, and much more. Its unique functionality earned it a spot on our list.
This poncho whisks away water easily and wrings out well, thanks to its microfiber material. When traveling, it’s essential the gear you bring air dries quickly. This one does. It must serve many functions if you are bringing a travel towel with you while swimming, at the beach, hiking, backpacking, camping, road tripping, or traveling the world bringing a travel towel with you while swimming, at the beach, hiking, backpacking, camping, road tripping, or traveling the world, it must serve many functions. You can just as easily lay it on the ground and use it as a normal towel.
A great travel towel (or travel poncho!) can serve as a pillow, a blanket, ground cover for the beach or for picnics, and as a wrap to keep you warm or protected from the elements.
The Surf Poncho Changing Towel does these things well and even more. It is great for use as a swimsuit cover or after showering. No matter what your size, you can get a perfect fit without worrying about the towel coming undone. It’s oversized to fit loose on most people, so you can throw it on over your bathing suit to change (and dry off in the process).
It’s easy to put on, just slide over the top of your body, and you’ll find there are holes for your head and your arms. There’s even an attached hood, which is great for extra absorption, or for keeping warm on cold days after you take off your wetsuit.
It eliminates the traditional worries of a travel towel “slipping off” while you’re changing. Since you’re wearing it, you don’t have to loosely and unreliably tie it around your waist.
This towel was designed by a surfer with the idea that one can change under this poncho, right on the beach or parking lot if necessary. Again, practically everyone can get a great fit without worrying about the towel slipping off. The poncho will stay in place. And you definitely don’t have to be a surfer to benefit from this poncho – it’s great for any day at the beach.
The poncho is machine washable, and comes in a variety of unique colors. We won’t say it’s “stylish”, but it’s definitely loose and relaxed, so it fits right in with classic surf culture at least!
You can also fold it down and pack it very compact. We were surprised with how small it packed. We wish it came with a travel bag, but it’s hard to expect that given the low price-tag.
Another thing worth noting is the extra warmth provided by this poncho. Even on summer days, it can be quite cold when you get out of the water, and you’ll appreciate having something to throw on that keeps your whole body warm. You’ll definitely appreciate the hood on colder days too!
Surf Poncho Specs
This unique travel towel measures approximately 42.5 inches in length x 35” inches wide. The hood measures in at 17.5”. It’s large enough to fit most people due to its oversized nature, but might be quite baggy on some.
Surf Poncho Cons
The Surf Poncho Travel Towel review isn’t complete without a “cons” section. While it was difficult to come up with a negative thing to say about this unique travel towel/poncho, our only wish would be that it came with a small travel bag to carry it and keep it clean.
Additionally, some people may prefer a more traditional travel towel design. If you aren’t looking for a wearable travel towel, then it’s unlikely that this towel is for you.
Having said this, we do appreciate having a variety of choices at our disposal, so it’s good to know that there are options for all sorts of activities. We’d recommend this poncho not only to surfers, but anyone who might need to change for the beach in an area where changerooms aren’t available.
We will enjoy using this Surf Poncho for upcoming trips. In the meantime, we are keeping it in the car for “just in case” situations. It’s practical and well-made and is sure to serve us well in many capacities for years to come.
Vivote Microfiber Towels
These Vivote microfiber towels have been my kids’ favorite travel towels and bath towels. I asked my 10 year old why he only wants to use this towel, and he said, “You just put it on a spot and the water is gone!” Perhaps best of all, this comes in an affordable 4 pack!
My older son brings these microfiber travel towels for his Boy Scout campouts. He uses the larger ones for swimming and showering. They pack small for his backpacking trips and dry quickly while at camp.
He’s even used them as an additional blanket covering on one campout when it was in the 40s overnight. I asked him why he likes bringing these towels with him, and he said “They are light and when I’m backpacking, every ounce counts.”
He’s had to carry 19 pounds in his backpack for an 18 mile hike over two days, so light towels are essential. He also said, “It absorbs your sweat.”
I learned he’s using the smaller microfiber towel (16″ x 32″) to wipe his neck and face when camping. It came in the Northbound Train towel set. They call it a Microfiber Sport Towel.
It would be great for hiking, yoga, exercising and working out, etc.
- Soft; it’s not at all scratchy
- Super absorbent
- Dry quickly
- Easy to pack, lightweight, compact
- Antibacterial: This is an added bonus that I didn’t realize when I ordered these towels.
- These microfiber towels have a skin-safe zinc oxide coating which repels germs and prevents odors.
- 16” x 32”
- Packs small
- They are all-around easy-to-use towels. These have been our favorite microfiber towels.
- I love them because they dry quickly hanging after a shower, especially in one of our bathrooms that is small.
- They also dry fast in the dryer if I don’t air-dry them.
Shandali GoSweat Microfiber Travel Towel
The Shandali microfiber towel has been rated as the best travel towel. Preferred by many for long or short distance travels, the towel is made of microfiber material which is soft like velvet and smooth like a baby’s skin.
Officially made for hot yoga, it dries quickly and absorbs water quickly, making it ideal for travel as well. The Shandali UltraSport Travel Towel – #1 Rated Travel Towel, Sport Towel, Beach and Microfiber Towel. Super Absorbent!
- It is a big towel but when you fold, it becomes compact and you can store it anywhere easily.
- You can carry it around as a gym towel, put it in your suitcase, or keep it in a bag and even a purse!
- You can use the towel anywhere.
- Comes in two sizes, small and medium (or “hand towel” and “standard”).
- It is lightweight and weighs just a few ounces.
- The towel is coated with silver-ion antibacterial.
- It offers protection against bacteria.
- The silver-ions prohibit the formation of germs and bacteria on the towel.
Lightload Travel Towels
With regards to space and the weight of towels, nothing can beat Lightload travel towel. You can store them anywhere, even in your back pocket when folded.
Once you unpack them, they turn out to be really big and have efficient water absorbing capability and you can use them anywhere you want to.
- Once unpacked, the Lightload travel towels expand to a large size, measuring 60 inches x 36 inches. Consider it a large beach towel.
- Super water absorbent ability.
- The towels are made with viscose fibers which can absorb up to 10 times the towel’s weight.
- Dries really fast.
- You can re-pack it into its packing size and fit it into your back pocket.
- Available in assorted colors.
- Lightload towels are machine washable.
- Lightload Travel Towels Three Pack are best used for camping, trekking and general travelling purpose and come in a three towel pack.
CHARS Camping Microfiber Towels
The CHARS Microfiber towel is manufactured using fine quality microfiber material and is a fast drying towel. It is made with millions of micro-woven rings which are attached to the towel.
The micro-woven rings eradicate the largeness and bulkiness of traditional towels.
- Fast drying, smooth and extremely soft on the skin.
- Can be used and stored anywhere easily.
- The towel measures 30” x 63” and can be repacked and folded much smaller for easier transportation.
- Antimicrobial treatment on the towel prevents bacteria from forming on the towel.
- It also keeps the towel fresh and sterile all the time so you can it whenever you want.
- Available in several cool colors.
- The CHARS Microfiber towels can be used for many things including as a hot yoga towel, a yoga mat and it is great when you finish a gruesome cardio workout.
- It can absorb sweat really fast and dry off just as fast and doesn’t give out any bad smell.
Rainleaf MicroFiber Towel
The Rainleaf MicroFibre Travel Towel is one of the most popular travel towels on the market. Made with 80% polyester and 20% polyamide, it’s offers the perfect mix of size, functionality, and portability that you’ll be looking for in a travel towel.
It’s a quick dry towel that is also super absorbent. It’s made with a good amount of depth to really soak up moisture in a short period. It resembles and feels like a traditional towel, but packs the functionality of a travel towel. In fact, Rainleaf claims that this towel will dry 3 times faster than a cotton towel.
Compared to most other travel towels, this one definitely emphasizes added comfort. It’s slightly thicker, and more comfortable to the touch. Rainleaf designed this towel to be “softer than silk”, and I think they did a pretty good job here. It won’t pack down quite as efficiently as other travel towels, but it really depends on what you want to emphasize.
The towel comes in three size options, so your can pick and settle on your ideal ratio of size to portability. The bigger the towel, the more surface area for drying, but will also be more difficult to pack away. But regardless of size, each towel comes with a convenient zippable travel bag, allowing you to pack it down as small as possible.
Overall, I was very impressed with the RainLeaf towel. As far as travel towels go, it was definitely among the most comfortable. It’s absorbent, dries quickly, and feels great. The travel bag is super handy, and I could see myself bringing it on vacation, to the gym, to the beach, and more.
PackTowl Personal Towels
The PackTowl Personal Towel really emphasizes the “pack” part of its name. It’s built for portability above all else. And while I didn’t find it the most comfortable towel on this list, it’s still a solid choice if you want an ultra-portable towel.
This microfibre towel is quite thin, which allows it to pack down very easily while staying quite absorbent. PackTowl claims that this towel can soak up 4 times its weight in water. While I didn’t use a scale to verify these claims, it is quite absorbent.
The PackTowl comes in a few handy sizes, depending on what you need it for. There’s a face towel, head towel, body towel, and full-sized beach towel. The smallest measures in at 10 x 14 in., while the largest measures in at 36 x 59 in.
The PackTowl also features “Polygiene silver-ion” technology which is designed to control odor and keep the towel fresh longer. I’m no scientist, so I can’t tell you exactly how this works. But I can tell you that the towel dries quick, and seems to stay quite fresh even when packed away into its carrying case.
Overall, it’s easy to see why this towel is so popular. It’s super thin, which makes it very portable (among the most portable options on our list). It’s also very absorbent, dries quickly, and is quite comfortable to the touch. As a travel towel, it checks just about every box and is priced fairly to boot. It comes in a variety of super cool patterns and designs that let you show off your flair.
Ice Mate Cool Towel
This Ice Mate Cool Towel SAVED ME the summer I spent in Tucson, AZ. Yes, it’s a dry heat, but 100 degrees is 100 degrees, and it was hot morning, noon, and night. And we were outside a lot.
I am so very glad I remembered to pack it for my trip.
There are other brands of microfiber towels like this available but what makes this one different is that it is described as not being chemically treated. In the product description it also explained the 2-sided feature.
The mesh side is for fast cooling and the cloth side for soft drying. Meaning, it doesn’t dry hard, like a car shammy would when dry. It is soft and comfortable and the perfect length.
While on my trip, I actually ordered this for the two friends I went to Tucson with because I felt guilty that I wasn’t as hot as they were. And the funny part was that the couple we were staying with – Tucson natives – had never seen these quick dry towels.
I ordered them each one as well, and they loved them. Finally we would all enjoy some relief from the heat! Just put this cooling towel in water and place it around your neck. You won’t believe how wonderful it works.
Another time I put it in ice water, and it was even better. A third way I tried was using regular tap water and putting the towel in the refrigerator. All offered cooling relief from the desert heat. I used this towel every single day.
Most of the time I wore it, rinsed it at night, and then instead of letting it dry, I just kept it wet in the refrigerator for the next day’s adventure because I wanted it to be as cold as possible.
If I weren’t using this in such extreme temperatures, it would not need refrigeration, but being it was 100+, every bit of coolness helped.
I recently bought one for my mother-in-law who is hot a lot of the time. This would make a great gift for people who work outside in the summer, wherever they live. I also could see sports teams using this, especially for those hot weekend soccer and Little League games.
This is great for hiking, camping, fishing, anywhere really. It comes in five colors which is great if you are buying several for a family for each person to keep track of. It’s even machine washable.
Chawel Hybrid Basic Towel
Until recently, I always brought towels from home when camping or using my RV. I never really thought of there being a better alternative. I have seen travel and fast-drying towels before but hadn’t realized how practical they could be when traveling. I tried one from Chawel Towel which is a 5-in-1 towel. I used it on two trips and have since been keeping it in my car for emergencies.
I suppose all towels can serve dual purposes: You can fold them up in place of a pillow or spread them out to use as a blanket. This one from ChaWel is that and more.
It is fast drying, lightweight and also cozy. It’s unique in that you can change your clothes under it and also use it to line your sleeping bag while camping.
I enjoyed using it to keep warm in the evenings. My kids have enjoyed it in the car as a pillow too. The best way to describe it is that it’s cozy like a blanket but absorbent like a towel. It makes a great gift for someone who hikes, camps, or RV’s.
It is great to pack when you need each item to multi-task. It has its own small, drawstring bag to keep it clean which I really like. It also has an elastic loop for keeping it bound which I also used for hanging it to dry.
When you’re in a pinch, you can wear it to change under – there is a hole for your head and the bottom is open. Their other styles of towels have armholes too but I didn’t miss them when using this to change under.
It measures 36” x 58”.
Buying Travel Towels
Travel towels are generally small in their sizes, so you most often have to go up a size larger than normal to get the size you want.
XL isn’t a plus-sized beach towel, but a smaller one that just wraps around your body. Nearly all travel towels are made in some type of microfiber material, and that tends to stick to the skin. This problem is hard to avoid. They start smelling easier than a traditional towel, so make sure to clean them every so often.
If you pack the towel down when it’s wet, it may get moldy or gross – as any other towel would. Be sure to use the bag it comes in and strap it to your bag, backpack, suitcase, or something so it can dry out until you reach your destination.
Do you use travel towels? If so, what do you think of them, and do you have a favorite?
What’s So Great About Microfiber Towels?
Through this article, I’ve sung the praises of microfiber towels several times. So, what exactly is so great about these towels? It’s all thanks to their design, which gives them very effective absorbency in a very small package. Not to mention they are usually very comfortable to the touch. Put all these factors together, and it’s easy to understand why microfiber is so perfect for a travel towel.
Microfiber is defined as being thinner than one denier or ten micrometers. Microfiber can be made with a variety of different materials, including polyesters, polyamide, polypropylene, and more. This allows them to pack in many individual fibers into a very small package, increasing their absorbency while keeping the overall size quite small and compact.