For camping expeditions, travels, and beach activities, a towel is one of the necessities to pack. But you can’t bring your large, fluffy bath towel along — it is likely bulky and slow drying. You need a lightweight, packable, absorbent, and quick-drying towel like the top ten best camp towels we’ve reviewed below. They roll up or fold into compact packages, aren’t a burden to carry, and their drying performance is impressive. They are ideal for traveling, camping, hiking, backpacking, and all kinds of active outdoor activities.
How To Choose The Best Camp Towel – Buying Guide
This is the number one consideration with any towel. To ensure you get a towel that will do what it is supposed to do well, evaluate its water absorbency. How well it absorbs water will determine how fast and how efficiently it is going to be able to dry you off after a bath. A good camp towel should be capable of absorbing at least 3 to 4 times its weight in water.
Most camping towels are made of microfiber, which is very good at absorbing water. What this material does is hold water in between its fibers. It is also important to note that the correct way to use a microfiber towel to dry off is by dabbing/blotting, not wiping or rubbing back and forth like with a regular cotton towel.
Camping can involve trekking and hiking, and you will inevitably sweat. You may also have to use your towel multiple times without a proper wash. This means that your camp towel provides the ideal conditions for offensive odor-producing bacteria to thrive.
To ensure that this isn’t the case, look for a camping towel that dries quickly and has antimicrobial properties. Some manufacturers use silver ions while some make their towels using materials with natural anti-microbial properties. Some apply antimicrobial treatments.
All of these are aimed at inhibiting the growth of odor-producing bacteria and fungi thus preventing odors and ensuring your towel keeps smelling fresh. However, these treatments wear out with time.
A towel is an intimate item, and it is important that you like the way it feels on your skin. After a bath, drying yourself with a soft towel that feels luxurious on the skin is the best thing. Most people don’t like the way regular microfiber feels on their skin. For comfort, the best microfiber towels utilize a plush microfiber that has a soft and gentle suede-like feel. They still aren’t as comfortable as cotton towels and it may take several uses to get used to the feeling.
When choosing the best camp towel, it’s all about the material. How well a towel performs comes down to what it is made out of. Its weight, absorbency, drying ability, packability, and durability will depend on the material. Here are the typical materials travel towels are made of and what to expect with each:
The majority of camp and travel towels are made of a microfiber fabric that is a blend of polyester and nylon. While thin and lightweight, its absorbency is unbeatable — it can hold three to seven times its weight in water. What makes microfiber so good at absorbing water is that it traps water in the spaces between the fibers. Microfiber is also quick-drying, compressible, soft, and durable.
Though very comfortable and absorbent, cotton isn’t a good material for camping towels because it dries slowly and is bulky.
If you have sensitive skin or just don’t like synthetic materials, linen is a good choice. It is hypoallergenic, absorbent, naturally antimicrobial, and dries fast. However, it is not an ideal camping towel material because it is heavy — even compared to cotton towels.
Bamboo is eco-friendly, antibacterial, quick-drying, and its moisture absorption is superior to even that of cotton. However, bamboo towels are on the bulky side and don’t hold up well through extended use.
Many camping tasks require a towel. How you will be using the towel will determine the best camping towel for you. Do you want one for drying off after a bath, one for drying dishes, or for cleaning spills? Do you want a backpacking towel or one to use when car camping?
For drying off after a bath, you will need a larger camp towel. When you’re not camping or traveling, you can use your towel at the beach or in the gym. You might even find yourself using it to dry off after showering at home. For wiping dishes, spills, or drying your hands, a small towel will do.
Backpacking requires a small, lightweight, and packable towel whereas you have the freedom to bring any kind of towel you prefer on car camping adventures where space and portability aren’t a concern.
You will notice that camping towels come in several sizes to suit different purposes. This is because size is a primary criterion when choosing a camping towel. The function you want the towel to carry out and how you will be carrying the towel will determine what size to choose.
For a camp kitchen, small hand-towel size is sufficient. For drying off after showering, the ideal towel is large enough to be effective but not so large that it takes forever to dry and takes too much space in your pack or bag. If you want a beach towel that you can lounge on, you will need a larger towel. For backpacking and hiking where storage space is a limiting factor, a relatively small towel is required. For car camping, you can choose a large and heavy towel if preferred.
Being a towel to be used when on the move, a camp towel should be easy to transport. A towel’s packability depends on its size and the material it is made of. Camping towels made of synthetic materials weigh less and pack smaller than regular cotton towels.
If you want a backpacking or hiking towel, packability is very important, as every ounce and square inch is precious. If you will be car camping, packability isn’t all that important and you can even pack your regular cotton towel if you don’t mind waiting for it to dry.
Many travel towels are designed to be compressible, and they fold down to a compact package that doesn’t take much storage space in carry-on luggage, backpacks, or travel bags. Some of them even come with compression sacks that compress the towel into a very small size and maintain its compact folded or rolled form.
Weight is an important factor to consider when choosing a travel towel, especially if you will be trekking on foot. Most camping towels are designed to be lightweight, but some will be on the lighter or heavier side depending on their materials and size.
If you will be backpacking, hiking, or climbing, every ounce counts. Since you are going to be on the move with your towel, it is a good idea to invest in a lightweight towel that won’t weigh you down. If you are car camping, then weight doesn’t matter as much, and you can even carry the traditional towel you use at home.
A camp towel should be quick drying. You don’t want to carry a soggy, wet towel as you hike or trek. It would weigh you down and the dampness would promote the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, and musty odor. It is also unhygienic to pack a damp towel together with the rest of your items.
Unlike cotton towels that absorb water readily and take all the time to dry, microfiber towels dry very fast. This is because they hold rather than absorb the water. Once you have used the towel, simply squeezing it will get rid of most of the water.
Camping towels that come with mesh pouches and hanging hoops are also great. If you have a damp towel, all you have to do is place it in its bag and hang the bag on the outside of your backpack, so it continues to dry on the go.
Q: What Are The Differences Between A Regular Towel And A Camp Towel?
A regular towel is typically made of cotton while a camp towel is usually made of microfiber. As such, a regular towel is fluffy and bulky while a camp towel is thin, lightweight, and easily packable. A regular towel is designed to be used indoors. It dries you off by absorbing water and takes a long time to dry. A camp towel is meant for use outdoors and on the go. It dries you off effectively and then dries itself quickly. The way you use the two towels is also different. With a regular towel, you dry yourself off by wiping the water off your skin. With a camp towel, a patting or blotting motion is more effective.
Q: How Do I Wash A Camp Towel?
Washing a camp towel is easy as most camp towels are machine washable on a gentle cycle or hand washed using lukewarm or cold water. It is essential to wash your new camp towel before you use it the first time. This will get rid of the new smell. It is also important to wash it separately the first two to three times because of color bleeding.
Even though most camping towels can handle being tumbled in the dryer on a gentle cycle, hanging them to dry ensures your towel remains in good condition for a long time. To keep your towel in good condition, avoid harsh chemicals such as bleach, fabric softeners, and extremely hot temperatures. It is also important to read and follow the manufacturer's care instructions and recommendations.
Q: Why Do I Need A Camp Towel?
If you love outdoor adventures such as camping, backpacking, hiking, and traveling, you will need to use a towel every time you spend a night away from home. It would be great if you could bring along your regular towel, but it is bulky and cumbersome to carry and it takes forever to dry off.
You need a lightweight, packable, quick-drying towel that is easy to travel with. A camp towel has all these features, which makes it the ideal towel to use outdoors and when on the go. When camping, you won't struggle to get rid of the moisture after a bath. If you're traveling, you won't have to rely on hostel towels. The best thing is that a camp towel is versatile and multi-functional. You can also use it as a gym towel, a beach towel, or as a camping blanket or pillow.
Globo Surf Overview
A towel is a crucial component of your travel, camping, or outdoor gear kit. Being on the go means leaving your large, fluffy, and comfortable towel at home but you will still need a towel. What you need is a camping towel. Lightweight, quick-drying, and packable, camp towels are easy to carry and convenient for travel and outdoor activities.
The best camp towel for you will prove a smart investment. While in the wilderness, you can clean up without the fear of getting wet and cold, as you will have a towel to dry yourself with after cleaning up. If you’re staying in a hostel, you will have a clean towel you can comfortably use and won’t have to pay for one.
It is a multipurpose towel that will come in handy in all kinds of situations. Apart from drying off after a shower, you can use it as a blanket or a pillow. When you’re not camping or traveling, you can use your towel at the beach and in the gym. You might even find yourself using it to dry off after showering at home. You can’t go wrong with any of the top-rated camping towels in our camp towels reviews above. All you have to do is ensure you don’t forget to pack it every time.
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Which of the camp towels on our list is your top choice? We would love to read your thoughts or experience with the camping towels we’ve reviewed! Feel free to share in the comment box below!