Testing And Finding The Best Quick Dry Towels

Packing for a new adventure is equally as important, and possibly stress-inducing, as actual travel. I choose to pack light every time, and it does mean picking and choosing substance over style. Towels are essential to any traveler’s list as they can be a timely lifesaver, so let’s find out the make-up of the best quick dry towels!

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**Below, you find more detail reviews, but you also can click links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

What’s The Difference Between This And A Traditional Towel?

When you are at home, you will probably pick the towel that feels best on your skin. This towel may be thick, warm, and might even have a fancy design! You dry yourself off, hang it overnight/over time to dry, and there’s no issue with reusing many hours later.

The thing when traveling (traveling light, in particular) is you obviously need it to be as light as possible. This means no fuzzy, cute towels that take hours to dry. You need one that is thin, fast-drying while being absorbent and large enough to towel dry your entire body.

This is why I’ve chosen to talk about this, as it took me forever to find the best fit for my travels. I like staying in the outdoors, or barring that, with as little amenities as possible. I don’t have space or time to waste in packing and waiting for a thick towel to dry off before I head out.

Functionality over form every time, for me. Check this out for a little checklist of the properties of a quick dry towel, or read on below.

What Properties Should A Good Quick Dry Towel Have?

Well, first things first, they need to ring true to their name, that they need to dry quickly. There are many materials that can be made for this, but not all of them are suited for long term use. Even in weather that is not so great, you need to be able to hang it out for a few hours and have it dry and ready to go.

Next is durability, which is equally important to a travel towel. Ever had a towel that starts losing fibers after a few uses? That must not happen in a quick dry towel, as the last thing you want would be to open your bag and see those fibers all over your clothing. These need to last despite being lightweight as you would not want one breaking down in the middle of a trip, would you?

While there is a need for a full sized towel, it is also very important to ensure that it can be compacted down. You do not want your towel taking up a majority of the space in your bag, especially if you are like me, and enjoy traveling light!

Finally, they need to be highly absorbent, machine washable, and still retain anti-bacterial properties! There is nothing worse than having to pack a wet towel (in the case of emergency) and having the rest of your bag stink to high heavens! It needs to be sanitary.

Quick dry towels can come in many different materials, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Hence the following question…

What Should They Be Made Of?

Traditional towels are usually made of cotton or cotton blends. These are super absorbent and can keep you warm. Quick dry towels, much like quick dry sports clothing, are made of an entirely different material.

Many quick dry towels are made of unconventional, non-towel materials. Linen is a great example of this. It is highly absorbent, quick to dry, and is odor resistant! Bacteria also has a very tough time multiplying on its surface, allowing it to be anti-microbial in nature. As it is regarded as the top of the range when it comes to fabrics, linen towels may be a little pricier, but definitely worth the investment.

Check this comparison of regular cotton and linen towels out!

Microfibers, such as nylon and polyesters, are also very popular as a quick dry towel material. Their industrial uses as cleaning cloths and filters have translated into a thin, lasting, and absorbent towel. Unfortunately, due to its range of materials, not all microfiber towels are made equal, and many polyester towels push water away rather than absorb, which can make it quite hard to dry yourself.

If you are looking for a widely-available towel that has its quality almost entirely dependent on its price, microfibers are your friend. Check this out for maintenance of these towels!

Rayon is a rarely used material for quick-dry towels due to its complicated formation process. It is quite absorbent and comfortable, and yet ranks quite low on durability. If you want a bunch of towels that are cheap but need disposing of every few uses, rayon towels are go-to for you.

**Below, you find more detail reviews, but you also can click links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

Quick Dry Towel Reviews!

Right, enough talk, time to go check some quick dry towels out! In this section, I take a look at microfiber towels available out there as it is the most widely available.

Youphoria “Outdoors Travel Towel”


Pros

  • Well made – Seams look very well done and uniform, no frays in sight. Very soft to the touch and when I got to test it, it actually held up to its claim of holding up to four times its weight in water!
  • Very lightweight and packable – Says it all, really. The soft fabric packs down very tightly and only weighs a few ounces, allowing much more stuff to be packed in with it, compared to a regular cotton towel!
  • Huge – It does come in three sizes, but I would suggest going for the largest one. The packed size is just a little longer than the others, its weight difference negligible, but rolls out into a ginormous towel.

Cons

  • Absorbance – Does it absorb a lot of water? Sure. But does it dry you as well as you would hope? Unfortunately, this microfiber towel seems to be leaning more toward polyester, and you will need to pat rather than rub.
  • Clingy, not well on hair – A lot of friction created when drying yourself and doesn’t do well with hair, which could be a deal breaker.

Bodi Hut “TOWL”


Pros

  • Good with hair – Unlike the towel from before, the TOWL does very well when drying hair, and absorbs water at an alarmingly fast rate.
  • Quick drying – This is no surprise with microfibers, I had this one tested as it has the specific claim. It was soaked, wrung out, and hung to dry. After about 20 minutes on a moderately warm day (no direct contact with the sun) it was 80% dry!
  • Handles stress – Has to be the most stretchable of all the towels on this list. Good for durability’s sakes.

Cons

  • Not textured – Its lack of texture lets it down, like the one before this. Unfortunately, you will never get the fully dry feeling as with a textured or a traditional cotton towel. Fine for outdoor use and air-drying, otherwise could be a hindrance.
  • Stiff – Feels like it was made from a fancy washcloth. This towel is very thin, which is awesome but does not feel much like a towel.

FOX Outfitters “MicroDRY Towel”


Pros

  • Repels dirt – True to its microfiber material, the microDRY does an amazing job at helping you get dry without any dust or dirt getting on it! This would probably be a good thing to have for toweling off after a day at the beach.
  • Drying – Finally, a microfiber towel that helps you feel dry! I did not test the water absorbance of this one (as I did the previous two), but I tested it by wiping off water from my skin. This one left me feeling drier than the other two did.
  • Attachable – There is a little attachment to the pack that it folds into. This is purely for design but can come in handy if you have run out of room in your bag and need it to hang out of your bag.

Cons

  • Colors seem to bleed –The instructions do tell you to pre-wash it and tumble it dry before your first use, but nonetheless is something worth mentioning. Some color ran onto my arm when I was testing it, but I was assured that it would be fine after the pre-wash.

Sunland “Personal”


Pros

  • Colorful – This is obviously a purely aesthetic reason to purchase these towels, but they do come in the most vibrant colors! If you do see these anywhere, I will bet that the colors will attract you to them first, so their advertising is definitely doing something right.
  • Anti-bacterial – Most microfibers (other than polyester) are advertised as anti-bacterial, but this one is aggressively advertised as such. Will help with avoiding a smelly towel situation if you ever pack it in damp.
  • Feels warm – The closeness of the threads and the seams will be a great help to keeping you warm if you choose to use it as such. This one felt a lot warmer on the skin when wrapped around my body compared to the others.

Cons

  • Bad stitch-work – Maybe I was unlucky to get one bad one, but the zipper and carrier for the towel’s bag seem quite flimsy. Plus, the inseams of this towel didn’t look very well done, unfortunately.
  • Not as fast drying – Could be a deal-breaker. This towel took a lot longer to dry than the others did, which was tested as I browsed the store for about 20 minutes.

Wildhorn Outfitters “MICROLITE Travel Towel”


Pros

  • Lint-free – Obviously I did not get to wash it personally, but this came with the salesperson’s assurance. Keeping in mind that this was the most expensive one in the store, maybe take it with a pinch of salt.
  • Comes as a set – Not only do you get a regular body towel at the price, however, you will get a face towel and an even larger body towel! If you are in the market for a full set of microfiber towels, this is the one for you, for sure. Multiple towels do justify the higher price.
  • Seems to be durable – One gripe about microfiber towels are it’s droopiness when it’s wet, but the MICROLITE does not seem to have that problem. I got the towel completely soaked and it still stretched and went back to its original shape afterward.

Cons

  • Heavy – This is by no stretch of the imagination a heavy towel, but for its microfibers and its thickness, it is surprisingly heavier than the others.
  • Polyester – They do not specifically say that this is polyester, but it definitely feels that way. There is almost no way to dry yourself because polyesters repel water as opposed to soaking it up, and that is what it feels like on the skin, just pushing water around. Could be a deal breaker, despite being made of the most common of the microfibers.

Personally…

I think that I will be going for Fox Outfitter’s microDRY towel. Its colors may bleed, but with enough washes or rinses, I do believe that it will stop, and is not a deal breaker. It is the one out of the five that feels most like an actual towel on your skin, which gives it a high score on comfort points, which is quite rare for a quick dry towel.

Both Youphoria and Bodi Hut have made amazing quick dry towels, but I cannot get over how much friction is produces being dragged across the skin. Sure, it is not uncommon for microfibers to do so, but I expect it to be a little better and put at least a little thought into the form to compliment the already phenomenal function.

Sunland was nice and comfy, which would’ve been great for a cool day, but its poor inseams make me doubt the strength of the stitching, and therefore its durability. Wildhorn Outfitters’ MICROLITE would have probably been my go-to towel, if not for the polyester feel.

Towels are undoubtedly an important part of travel. Hopefully, my trying of these different towels will have helped you form an informed opinion on which one to get next!

P/S: If you found this article helpful, click on the link to purchase your items (whatever brand you go with) and no extra cost for you. The small commission helps me keep the website running, community supported, and advertiser free.

About the Author James Wilson

Hi! My name is James Wilson, adventurer and traveler. I was born in New York City, am 28 this year, and have been traveling since I was 19. New places fill me with an unexplainable joy, so let me share some of my experiences with you!

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