Best towel for travel

Travel Essentials

Originally invented in Turkey, towels were originally made to operate light like a sheet. In some countries today, national towel day is observed on the 25th of May.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which towel is the best for travel?

A towel that is perfect for travel needs to be big enough to lay on at the beach and small enough to fit compactly in a backpack for camping. It needs to be lightweight but able to absorb a lot of liquid. It needs to dry you off while drying itself out quickly. A good travel towel needs to be versatile for all types of traveling, no matter where the adventure takes you. When purchasing a towel that you will take with you on your travels, consider size, material and absorbance. 

If you are looking for a soft, lightweight and absorbent towel to take with you on your next adventure, the Sand Cloud Turkish Towel is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a towel for travel 

Size 

Larger towels are great for picnics, camping and lounging at the beach. However, bulky towels are inconvenient and hard to store when traveling. When purchasing a towel for travel, find one that is lightweight and folds easily. Some towels come with carrying cases and can be wrapped compactly. You do not have to compromise size for portability if you purchase a large towel made with lightweight material.  

Material 

A concern that should be at the top of your list when purchasing a towel for travel is the material. Since you will be using this object directly on your skin, the towel must provide maximum softness and comfort while compact. Microfiber towels feel good against the skin and dry faster than cotton towels. Cotton towels are extremely absorbent and safe to use on the skin when purchased organically and sustainably. Some towels even use materials that repel sand at the beach. If you are looking for a more compact towel, microfiber is the lightest for travel. 

Absorbency

When purchasing a towel for travel, it is essential to consider how absorbent it is. If you plan to spend the day at the beach or go camping, this towel style will be the most convenient. No one wants to carry around a soggy towel all day. Towels with maximum absorbency will be made with cotton or contain a cotton blend. Though these towels tend to be on the bulkier side, lightweight, compact cotton towels exist. The more a towel absorbs, the quicker you can move on to your next activity without having to wait for the towel to air dry or put it in the dryer. 

What to look for in a quality towel for travel 

Quick Dry  

A good towel for travel will be quick drying. Microfiber towels tend to dry faster than cotton towels, but cotton towels absorb more liquid. When purchasing a towel for travel, consider a product made of microfiber and cotton so that it dries quickly and is also absorbent. If a towel can dry quickly while traveling, it will be more convenient to store.

Odor Resistant

A few travel towels use odor-control fighters made from 100% recycled silver and used in towels much like dye is used in clothes. Consider this if you have sensitive skin. Though a towel that is odor resistant poses a great benefit when storing the item, this chemical could irritate the skin. 

Carrying Case

Towels strictly made to be convenient to travel with will provide a carrying case or bag to store the towel separately. A good lightweight towel used for camping and other outdoor activities will come in a carrying case that can be attached to a backpack or a purse. With this added feature, users can carry the towel more compactly and save room for other items when packing the towel. 

How much you can expect to spend on a towel for travel

Shoppers on a budget will find travel towels between $15-$20, while towels in the $25-$30 range offer durable fabric and a convenient, lightweight and moderately sized model. Premium towels that include all of the best features and come with a compact carrying case are between $40-$60. 

Best towel for travel FAQ

What makes a towel durable for travel? 

A. When buying a towel online, check the photograph and description for double-turned edges with double stitching. This feature means that the material and makes it more durable and reduces fraying, allowing your towel to last longer. 

How can I know if a towel is absorbent enough before buying it? 

A. You will know a towel is absorbent if it contains combed cotton. This will ensure shorter threads are removed, which prevents fuzz and lint from gathering on the clothing. If the stitch is thick and it has tightly woven loops, the towel will be more absorbent. If this detail is not in the online description and you cannot tell by the photograph, find a number to call and ask the company that makes the towel for this information.  

What’s the best travel towel to buy?

Top towel for travel 

Sand Cloud Turkish Towel

Sand Cloud Turkish Towel 

What you need to know: This towel is soft and absorbent. It is for many different activities, including the beach and regular use at home.

What you’ll love: The material of this towel is lightweight and durable. It is a perfect size to travel with and can be stored anywhere. The fabric gets softer with each wash. 

What you should consider: Some users noticed runs in the fabric after a couple of washes.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top travel towel for the money

PackTowel Personal Towl

PackTowel Personal Towel 

What you need to know: This lightweight towel is quick-drying and soft. It is excellent for on-the-go activities.  

What you’ll love: Its soft microfiber blend is extra soft, smooth and soaks up to four times its weight in water. The odor-control fights off bad smells. 

What you should consider: Some users found the towel larger than expected and not easily stored on backpacking trips. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

Travel towel worth checking out

Sea to Summit DryLite Towel

Sea to Summit DryLite Towel

What you need to know: The Sea to Summit DryLite Towel dries quickly and is easily stored for all types of travel. 

What you’ll love: This microfiber towel is soft and comes with a press-stud hang loop. There are multiple sizes, so you can purchase one to dry your body and one to dry dishes and other miscellaneous items. This product is machine washable. 

What you should consider: This town is not absorbent enough to be used at home as a regular towel. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.