The Best Travel Towels to Bring on Trips

Dry off at the campsite, gym, or beach with one of these handy travel towels.

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

The Best Travel Towel Options

Photo: pexels.com

Whether drying off after a dip in a mountain stream, catching rays at the beach, or keeping the sweat out of your eyes while putting in miles on the treadmill, the best travel towel is a handy partner to have at your side. Unlike a standard bath towel, travel towels feature quick-dry fabrics that are lightweight and compact. They have loops to hang them and come with handy storage bags that keep them tidy for transport. Read on to learn about what features you should consider in one of these useful travel companions and determine which is the best travel towel for you.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Rainleaf Microfiber Towel
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: OlimpiaFit 3 Size Set Microfiber Towels
  3. BEST COTTON: Wetcat Original Turkish Beach Towel
  4. BEST LINEN: ThingStories Pure 100% Linen Bath Towel
  5. BEST BAMBOO: SIORO Women’s Towel Wrap Bathrobe
  6. BEST FOR BACKPACKING: Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel
  7. BEST MULTIPURPOSE: HOEAAS Microfiber Sport Travel Towel Set
  8. HONORABLE MENTION: Sea to Summit Drylite Towel
The Best Travel Towel Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Travel Towel

When shopping for a travel towel, it’s essential to consider certain factors before making a purchase, including the type of material, how you plan on using it, and the number of travel towels you need.

Material

Travel towels come in a wide selection of materials, including cotton, microfiber, linen, and bamboo. While cotton is soft and absorbent, it also takes significantly longer to dry. Microfiber may not absorb as much or be as soft, but it dries up to 10 times more quickly than cotton and resists odor-causing bacteria and mold. Linen is durable and will hold its shape better against repeated washings than cotton and microfiber. Though linen may be scratchy when new, it tends to become softer the more you wash it. Bamboo cotton, meanwhile, is more absorbent and breathable than regular cotton.

Intended Use

Travel towels are handy for a variety of different uses. Their smaller size and quick drying ability make them suitable for camping trips or working out at the gym. Travel towels are also good options for those who prefer their own linens over hotel linens. They’re also suitable for trips to the beach or pool.

Size

Travel towels come in a broad range of sizes, from smaller 20-inch by 40-inch towels for gym workouts to full-sized 32-inch by 72-inch beach towels. Smaller sizes allow these towels to fit easily into a backpack or gym bag, while larger size towels provide more surface area for lounging poolside.

Colors and Patterns

Most travel towels are available in numerous color options and patterns to suit your personal preferences or coordinate with your swimwear, camping gear, or workout clothing.

Number of Towels

The number of towels you need to take with you when traveling depends on the activity you’re doing. For example, a trip to the gym might require two towels—a small towel for cleaning sweat off your face and a larger towel for showering afterward. You may only want to take a lightweight, medium-sized towel if you’re backpacking to save weight and space. A weeklong vacation at the beach may require numerous towels for both swimming and bathing.

Individual vs. Set

Travel towels come individually or as a set of multiple towels. Towel sets typically include two or three towels of varying sizes to suit different needs. If you need more than one towel, purchasing a set of towels is usually more economical than purchasing multiple towels individually.

Portability

Travel towels have convenient features that make them easier to transport. This includes loops that allow you to hang them from a hook or tree branch and mesh carrying cases that keep them in a compact shape.

Our Top Picks

The list below includes some of the best towels made from various materials for a wide range of uses.

Best Overall

Photo: amazon.com

With a wide range of sizes and colors and a handy carrying case, this microfiber towel from Rainleaf makes a great companion for traveling. Its microfiber material is fast drying and super absorbent; it can absorb up to five times its weight. A snap loop allows you to hang the towel, while a compact carrying bag makes it easy to tote this bag.

Rainleaf’s Microfiber towel comes in six different sizes, ranging from 12 by 24 inches to 40 by 72 inches, making it a good option for gym workouts, business trips, or a day at the beach. The larger 40-inch by 72-inch towel includes a corner zip pocket for a smartphone and keys. With more than 10 different colors to choose from, you can color coordinate this towel to match your workout clothing or bathing suit.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Travel Towel Option: OlimpiaFit 3 Size Set Microfiber Towels
Photo: amazon.com

This set of travel towels from OlimpiaFit gives you three different-size towels in one group, including a 50-inch by 30-inch towel that is great for a trip to the beach, a 30-inch by 15-inch towel for the shower, and a smaller 15-inch by 15-inch towel suitable for the gym.

Each towel consists of absorbent, fast-drying, hypoallergenic microfiber that absorbs up to four times its weight. Every towel includes a convenient hanging loop that doubles as a band to hold the towel together when folded. If you lay the towels in the sun, they dry within five minutes. And you can choose from among eight brightly colored options. All three towels fit into a handy mesh carrying bag.

Best Cotton

The Best Travel Towel Option: Wetcat Original Turkish Beach Towel
Photo: amazon.com

Thinner than a terry cloth towel yet highly absorbent, this Turkish cotton beach towel from Wetcat makes a great travel companion. This large towel is 38 inches by 71 inches, making it a suitable beach towel, camping towel, or even a yoga mat. With 100 percent cotton construction, it features the softness of a bath towel. It’s thinner than a standard cotton towel, which allows it to dry more quickly. And it’s less bulky, making it easy to tote with you.

It’s machine washable and will not shrink or become scratchy. This towel features a striped design with tassel accents and is available in more than 30 color options.

Best Linen

The Best Travel Towel Option: ThingStories Pure 100% Linen Bath Towel
Photo: amazon.com

Linen is a durable and lightweight material that can absorb a lot of water while still drying quickly, making it an excellent option for trips to the gym or camping. This flax linen towel from ThingStories is stronger than cotton, meaning it will survive more washings without showing wear.

Not only does it hold up well in the wash, but linen also becomes softer with each washing. This travel towel comes in two different sizes: 14 inches by 30 inches and 30 inches by 60 inches. With its use of natural fibers, it’s also a good option for those with sensitive skin.

Best Bamboo

The Best Travel Towel Option: SIORO Women’s Towel Wrap Bathrobe
Photo: amazon.com

With its elastic top, side pocket, and adjustable closure, this bamboo towel from SIORO is an excellent travel companion to take with you to the hotel. Its bamboo cotton is soft and absorbent, giving it that spa feel. The elastic top fits snugly around your chest, while an adjustable “magic stickers” closure keeps the towel in place.

The side pocket is large enough to fit a smartphone or other small items. This spa towel comes in four sizes that will fit chest sizes ranging from 38 inches to 46 inches. It’s available in 13 colors, allowing you to color coordinate with your bathroom. Machine wash separately on cold and tumble dry low to clean.

Best for Backpacking

The Best Travel Towel Option: Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel
Photo: amazon.com

A damp towel just won’t do on a backpacking trip. With its super-absorbent and quick-dry microfiber fabric, this towel holds five times its weight and dries up to 10 times faster than cotton or terry cloth, making it a great option for backwoods adventures. This material will also wick away sand and dirt from the campsite. With size options ranging from 20 inches by 40 inches to 32 inches by 72 inches, it’s suitable for backpacks both large and small.

A quick-snap loop allows you to hang this from a branch to dry. When it’s time to head out onto the trail, this towel stores in a compact mesh bag that fits neatly in your backpack. It weighs between 5 and 12 ounces depending on the size. With 10 colors to choose from, you can color coordinate this towel with the rest of your gear.

Best Multipurpose

The Best Travel Towel Option: HOEAAS Microfiber Sport Travel Towel Set
Photo: amazon.com

This travel towel comes in five different sizes, ranging from a small 32-inch by 16-inch hand towel to a 72-inch by 32-inch beach towel. Each set comes in two different sizes, making it perfect for everything from lounging by the pool to wiping sweat from your brow at the gym.

Each towel features a strap for hanging when not in use. The two travel bags, including a mesh bag and a waterproof carry bag, keep the towel ventilated when it’s damp or protected from wet weather. The microfiber material will absorb up to five times its weight and dries 10 times faster than cotton. It comes in eight vibrant color options.

Honorable Mention

The Best Travel Towel Option: Sea to Summit Drylite Towel
Photo: amazon.com

Whether heading out on a camping trip, spending the day at the beach, or working out at the gym, this travel towel from Sea to Summit is a great option. It features polyester and nylon microfiber construction with an ultrasuede finish that makes it soft, absorbent, and quick drying.

With six sizes ranging from 12 inches by 24 inches to 30 inches by 60 inches, this towel will meet various uses. A snap button tab allows for easy hanging for drying the towel, and each size comes with a convenient zippered mesh pouch for easy storage. Finally, the Drylite comes in four different colors.

The Advantages of Owning a Travel Towel

Travel towels offer several advantages over a standard terry cloth bath towel, making them excellent travel companions to have with you. They are super absorbent while also being quick to dry. Unlike bulky bath towels, travel towels are compact and lightweight, enabling you to pack them in your luggage or a backpack. Many also use materials that resist bacteria and mold, preventing that nasty mildew smell towels get when they don’t dry properly.

  • Travel towels are super absorbent yet dry quickly.
  • Travel towels are compact and lightweight.
  • They’re usually made of microfiber, which resists mold and bacteria.

FAQs About Travel Towels

If you’re wondering about what the best travel towel materials are or how to best dry a towel, read on for answers to these questions and more.

Q. What material is best for travel towels?

There are a variety of materials for travel towels. Microfiber towels dry quickly and shed dirt, making them the best option for camping trips. Turkish cotton towels are softer and more luxurious while still being absorbent and quick drying, making them suitable for the beach. In contrast, linen towels with their superior durability are excellent for trips to the gym.

Q. Do microfiber towels dry fast?

Microfiber towels wick moisture away, allowing them to dry up to 10 times faster than standard cotton towels.

Q. Is cotton or microfiber more absorbent?

Although microfiber can absorb up to several times its weight, it’s not as absorbent as cotton, which is superior to all other materials in this area.

Q. Should I bring a towel backpacking?

Whether it’s an unforeseen rain shower or a spontaneous dip in a stream, backpacking and backcountry camping afford many opportunities for getting wet. It’s essential to have a towel that allows you to dry off before changing into dry clothes.

Q. What is the best way to dry towels?

To best dry a towel, hang it in a single layer. Towels that are folded and then hung will take longer to dry. If possible, hang the towel in the sun.