The Best Camping Towels in 2021

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Do you need a camping towel made of smooth material but dries quickly?

We have got just the option to simplify your search for the perfect product.

Camping towels seem like such a straightforward purchase. Yet, it is best if they don’t take up as much space as a typical towel and dry off much faster. These characteristics make packing much more manageable. 

Read More : 7 Things to Know Before Buying Camping Towels

Other aspects we consider in this article include :

  • Fabric materials. Primary examples include micro-fiber, cotton, bamboo, and linen. They each have pros and cons in packability and drying rate.
  • Antimicrobial treatment. Wet substances attract fungal growth and mold. Treatments help reduce this potential.
  • Sizes. The size of the towel helps determine how fast it dries you and its overall packability. They can come in sizes such as small, medium, or large.

Our top picks

Here’s a quick snapshot of our favorite camping towels. Read on more to know more about them.

Best for Budget : Rainleaf Microfiber Towel
“Dry quickly while also being super absorbent, absorb five times the amount of water compared to its weight.”

Value for Money : REI Co-op Multi Towel Lite
“You can dry the towel quickly by wringing it out almost entirely.”

Compact Sized : Matador NanoDry Towel
“This isn’t a microfiber but a nanofiber towel which is very absorbent.”

Best for Backpacking : PackTowl UltraLite Towel
“Can take in up to 4x its weight in water and wrung out just as quickly.”

Best Luxurious Feeling : Sea to Summit Tek Towel
“A luxury towel from a leading brand for almost any outdoor products you could need.”

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel

Rainleaf Microfiber Towels
Photo Credit : Rainleaf
  • Available Sizes : 6
  • Materials : 85% Polyester, 15% Polyamide

Rainleaf’s Microfiber Towels are a perfect companion for camping or traveling trips, workouts, or a day at the beach. They dry quickly while also being super absorbent, absorb five times the amount of water compared to its weight. It makes it easier to pack it up and a more comfortable use if you need it in a short time.

Whatever color is your favorite, Rainleaf probably has it. It doesn’t fade quickly, either. Do away with scratchy towels when you feel this against your skin. It feels like soft suede. When packing, you will find that it is ultra-compact and lightweight.

A reusable carry bag comes with the Rainleaf Microfiber Towel, partially made with mesh to continue to dry. If you are staying for a while, use the hang snap loop to hang it out. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

What We Like

  • Variety of colors to suit the individual.
  • Lightweight and compact design makes it useful for trekkers.
  • Quick dry and extra absorbent makes it more convenient to use.

What We Don't Like

  • Lightweight feature gets swept away in wind.

REI Co-op Multi Towel Lite

REI Co-op Multi Towel Lite Towels
Photo Credit : REI
  • Available Sizes : 4
  • Materials : 85% Polyester, 15% Nylon

REI Co-op Multi Towel Lite is more about embracing a little bit of luxury on the trail than merely finding the easiest choice. It is designed for long hikes, multi-day treks, or backpackers exploring their way through countries.

REI has done this by creating a towel that is lightweight and comes in different sizes. It dries quickly while still soaking up plenty of water during the drying process. You can dry the towel quickly by wringing it out almost entirely.

The synthetic fabric makes it feel quite soft and also helps it pack down very small in your bag. REI Co-op Multi Towel Lite comes with a quick-attach loop for easier dries and a carry pouch for packing up.

What We Like

  • Sized for trekking with a lightweight, durable design.
  • Soft, synthetic fabric keeps it compact when folded.
  • Carry pouch keeps it in one place.

What We Don't Like

  • Quick hang loop is not a very durable material.

Matador NanoDry Towel

Matador NanoDry Towels
Photo Credit : Matador
  • Available Sizes : 1
  • Materials : 85% Polyester, 15% Polyamide

Matador NanoDry Towel isn’t a microfiber but a nanofiber towel. The difference is a lighter weight than most microfiber travel towels can achieve. With the nanofibers, it also absorbs 2.3x its value in water.

What makes this towel extra handy for backpackers and trekkers is how small and lightweight it is. It travels in a silicone case attached via a carabiner. It can be in the bag or clipped to the outside of it in seconds, and off you go.

The Matador NanoDry Towel only weighs 5oz. For a quick dry, use the snap loop to hang it up. When you get home, throw it in with your clothes’ rest since it is machine washable.

What We Like

  • Silicone case enhances travelability.
  • Nanofiber material makes it even lighter than microfiber.
  • Machine washable for easy after-trip clean.

What We Don't Like

  • Single size cuts down on versatility.

PackTowl UltraLite Towel

PackTowl UltraLite Towels
Photo Credit : PackTowl
  • Available Sizes : 4
  • Materials : 70% Polyester, 30% Rayon

PackTowl claims to have created the lightest weight, a full-size towel with this selection. At 3.4oz, it seems like they are correct. They understand that for some, every ounce counts. It is why they manufactured this towel for backpacks or packing minimalists.

Even though it is small, it is just as capable as any other towels on this list. The fabric is anti-pill, meaning it lasts longer and feels just as good each time you use it and wash it.

Absorbency isn’t affected by the size, either. PackTowl’s UltraLite Towel can take in up to 4x its weight in water and wrung out just as quickly. Faster drying than 80% of cotton towels, you won’t ever want to go back. 

Hang it on its built-in loop for easy drying and toss it into the washer when you get home.

What We Like

  • Lightest weight towel currently on the market.
  • Anti-pill fabric for extra durability and softness.
  • Ultra-absorbent and quick-drying fabric.

What We Don't Like

  • More expensive than some similar products

Sea to Summit Tek Towel

Sea to Summit Tek Towels
Photo Credit : Sea to Summit
  • Available Sizes : 5
  • Materials : Microfiber

Perhaps you aren’t looking for an extremely lightweight towel to get the job done. If you want something that packs easily, dries fast, but still feels great, Sea to Summit’s Tek Towel might be a better choice.

This towel is their most luxurious offering yet. It is also crafted with microfiber, but it is heavier and softer than its previously mentioned product. It is super absorbent, takes in 6x its weight in water, and dries quickly. These characteristics make it an excellent match for camp trips, boating, or going to the gym or the beach.

The Tek Towel arrives in its own zippered EVA case. Hang it up with the handy snap-on hang loop for a faster dry. It is machine-washable as well.

What We Like

  • Softer than lightweight towels.
  • Absorbs 6x times its weight in water.
  • Zippered EVA case included with purchase.

What We Don't Like

  • Heavier than similar products.

Sunland Microfiber Camping Towel

Sunland Microfiber Camping Towels
Photo Credit : Sunland
  • Available Sizes : 6
  • Materials : 80% Polyester, 20% Polyamide

Sunland has crafted their take on a microfiber camping towel. They have focused on keeping it lightweight and compact. Whether you need to use it on a backpacking trip or just want a quick-dry towel to accompany you to the beach, this towel cuts it.

You can dry yourself entirely with the absorption power of the towel. It cuts down your body’s dry time as well if you are on a time crunch. Getting rid of moisture quickly isn’t the only important factor. It also feels great, their design getting rid of the sticky feeling typical microfiber can have.

A carry bag is included in the purchase to make it easy to pack up and store. You can also hang up the Sunland Microfiber Camping Towel from its hang loop to dry if you have time. Although there are many colors available, they do fade quicker than some other products.

What We Like

  • Lightweight and compact for easy portability.
  • Dries quickly for a clean experience.
  • Suede feel more than looped fabric like other microfiber cloths.

What We Don't Like

  • Leach color after too many washes.

PackTowl Personal Towel

PackTowl Personal Towels
Photo Credit : PackTowl
  • Available Sizes : 5
  • Materials : 85% Polyester, 15% Nylon

As a name like PackTowl would suggest, the towel is made for being packed in small spaces for convenient storage. The body size of the towel only weighs 6.4oz and the synthetic mix of polyester and nylon microfiber allows it to pack down very small.

Such a small towel might not seem like it will be very useful, but this is far from the truth. This towel can absorb 4x its weight in liquid. It continues to absorb even when wet and dries quickly since almost all water can be wrung out.

To discourage fungal growth and bad odors, PackTowl Personal Towel has a special antimicrobial treatment on it. Hang it up by a snap loop to dry out or fold it into the included pouch when you are on the go.

What We Like

  • Absorbs 4x its weight in liquid even when wet.
  • Antimicrobial treatment discourages foul odors.
  • Lightweight design makes it easy to store and pack.

What We Don't Like

  • Dry time not as fast as some would like.

Sea to Summit Airlite Towel

Sea to Summit Airlite Towels
Photo Credit : Sea to Summit
  • Available Sizes : 4
  • Materials : 85% Polyester, 15% Nylon

Sea to Summit is a leading brand for almost any outdoor products you could need. They stake a claim in the towel department as well with this first product. It has an ultralight and super compact design made for minimalist packers like long-term trekkers.

This towel is made with microfiber yarn, crafted to absorb 3+ times its weight in water. Since the fabric is so lightweight but has a larger dimension, it has a high surface area, making it a very quick-drying towel.

You wouldn’t consider such a small thing like an edge seem to matter that much, but they do to Sea to Summit in the Airlite Towel. They laser-cut them instead of overlocking, thus reducing the pack size even further. Use the included stuff sack to keep it folded in the pack.

What We Like

  • Extremely compact design aids packability.
  • Microfiber yarn allows high absorption rate.
  • Made for minimalists like backpackers.

What We Don't Like

  • Color and pattern options are lacking.

Rumpl Shammy Towel

Rumpl Shammy Towels
Photo Credit : Rumpl
  • Available Sizes : 1
  • Materials : 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex fabric

Rumpl has combined art with the joy of camping and travel in its Shammy Towel Set. It includes both a wash towel and a drying towel. Both are quick-drying and ultra-absorbent to make staying clean easier than ever.

The material of their towels is unique, partially made with spandex and forming a polyester microsuede material. They are treated with an antimicrobial finish to keep it free of odors and clean for longer.

Pack it up small since it only weighs 13oz, which is, unfortunately, heavier than most of the above products. Throw it in the washer when you get back to keep it clean.

What We Like

  • Towel set comes in handy on any trip.
  • Unique material sets the feel apart.
  • Antimicrobial finish rids it of odors.

What We Don't Like

  • Heavier than similar products.

Camping Towels Buying Guide

Buying a camping towel involves a lot more consideration to individual characteristics than a typical bathroom towel. Some towels are more prepared from materials to antimicrobial treatments than others to take on the great outdoors.

These are 7 characteristics to consider before purchasing your camping towel.

Fabric materials

There are four primary materials that camping towels are made from, including microfiber, cotton, bamboo, and linen.

  • Micro fiber is the most common choice for camping towels nowadays. Since the fibers are so much closer together and higher in number than other fabrics, it has a higher absorbency. Typically, microfiber fabric is made of a mixture of polyester and polyamide or nylon. Some examples of microfiber cloths on the list include the Rainleaf Microfiber Towel and the Sunland Microfiber Camping Towel.
  • Cotton is much heavier and takes a long time to dry compared to microfiber. It can be more absorbent and softer. The feel is often the best part of a cotton towel. Many bathroom towels are made from cotton, so lightweight camping towels are not too often involved in their construction.
  • Bamboo is filled with fibers that have an astonishing amount of uses in the world of production. The fabric made from bamboo is much more absorbent than cotton, up to 4x more. They are also known for their quick-dry ability while still being comfortable and quite soft.
  • Linen is another plant-based fabric, this time made from fibers of the flax plant. It is very durable, strong, and highly absorbent. It dries faster than cotton as well. It is not extremely lightweight. Some camping towels have it worked into their fabric, but not too many anymore.

Absorbent and quick drying

Absorbency and how fast a towel dries are essential traits for a camping or a travel towel.

You often do not have much time to hang it up to dry out. If it isn’t dry by the time you are ready to put it back in your pack, it can add dampness to the clothes or materials around it.

A higher rate of absorbency and quicker drying capacity is why microfiber is a popular choice in camping towels.

For example, the Sea to Summit Tek Towel can absorb up to 6x its weight in water. Even though it is heavier than some of the other offerings, its absorption means quickly getting yourself dry and ready for your next adventure.

Quick-drying is essential, so the towel continues to do its job use after use.

One characteristic that is a good sign of a quick-drying capacity is if the towel can be mostly dried by all the water being wrung out. This capability is decided mostly by the towel’s design and fabric, such as in the PackTowl Personal Towel.

Anti-microbial treatment

An antimicrobial treatment adds a lot of value to a towel.

It helps prevent mold, mildew, fungus, and foul odors from developing in the fabric. Some companies have specialized treatment they put on the towels.

When looking for a towel with an antimicrobial treatment, find out if the chemicals they use are safe and tested to be so. The treatment helps to keep the towels clean for longer, extending their value and longevity. Rumpl treats all of its Shammy Towels with an antimicrobial finish before sending them out to customers.

Comes in various sizes

Most companies offer multiple sizes for their camping towels. It often comes in small, medium, or large forms. The other way that they identify the sizes is through their common use.

Face towels tend to be the smallest, then hand towels, body towels, and beach towels.

Sea to Summit Airlite Towels uses the small to extra large measurements. Their small towels or face towels are 14.2” x 14.2”. The medium size, or hand towel, is 33.1” x 14.2”. The large size, or body towel, is 42.5” x 13.8”. Lastly, their extra-large size, otherwise considered a beach towel, is 51.9” x 21.3”.

Towel comfort

The comfort of a towel is determined by how it feels against your skin, which is down to the fabric’s texture. Check into customer reviews to get the most practical idea about how it felt for them to use it.

Some brands try to get their towels to feel like suede, such as the Sunland Microfiber Camping Towel. It is known to be pleasing and gentle on people’s skin.

Towel design

The design of a camping towel is essential in some aspects and subjective in others. There are not too many details that go into the design. The two largest factors are fabric and seams. The material needs to be designed well, and the seams shouldn’t infringe on packability.

For some, the aesthetic appeal of their camping towel is just as important. If you don’t need to worry about the weight and how small it packs down, then consider options with more colors or patterns.

Another aspect of the design is the shape of a towel. Since it is widely accepted to be the easiest to fold and pack, rectangles are the most common form. Some brands add a unique flair by going with circular or hexagonal shapes. As they don’t pack down very well and aren’t as common, these have not yet found a place on the list.

Easily packable

In theory, it is great if a towel can pack down to a small book’s size. However, if once it is used, it never takes that shape again, it isn’t applicable.

Try to find a towel with some kind of case or bag it fits into. These help to compress them further, so they fit into the same space repeatedly.

Take the Matador NanoDry Towel, for example. It fits into a small silicone case placed in the bag or attached by a carabiner to the outside, always weighing the same and equaling the same amount of space.

FAQ

How do I wash microfiber towels?

Most microfiber towels are machine washable. However, you do need to take care of what you wash with the towels. 

Do not wash them with cotton since it grabs onto lint and ruins the texture of the towel. 

Wash it in warm or hot water and use only a mild detergent. Do not use fabric softeners since they can clog the open spaces between the fibers.

What are the differences between a regular towel and a camping towel?

Regular towels are often made from cotton. The quality of a regular bath towel depends on the type of cotton that is used. 

The most common fabric for a camping towel is microfiber since it is lightweight and highly absorbent. 

If the surface area is increased, it can also be very quick-drying.

Why do microfiber towels smell after sometimes?

Microfiber towels have small gaps between the threads of fabric that allow the growth of mold, mildew, or fungus. 

If they are not cleaned often enough and well, they can develop a musty or foul odor. It happens fastest when they are left wet for too long. 

That is the reason that a quick-drying design is so handy.

Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams is a writer, plant-nerd, and outdoor enthusiast. She has traveled extensively, around the U.S., throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Everywhere she treks, she takes time to enjoy the outdoors. John Muir is her hero. She aspires to inspire people to live better as he did.