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Best Backpacking Towel: Choosing the Right Towel for Your Travels

a close up picture of bath towels

Would you agree with us when we say that towels are handy when you are backpacking, hiking, or mountaineering and you need to dry off? You are probably aware that whether you are sweating or just taking a dive into a nearby lake, you will need the best backpacking towel you can find, so that you can dry yourself off quickly, but also because they are soft and absorbent.

It should quick drying itself, so that it does not get your clothing or other items wet, inside of your backpack. There are many advantages of using a pack towel, or a backpacking towel. Not only are they light in weight and compress easily into your backpack, but they are quick drying, highly absorbent and made from fabric that is antibacterial.

Plus, when you are back home, it can be machine washed and hung to dry. If you are planning a backpacking trip soon, you will want to bring along one of these towels. All you have to do is choose your size, fabric, and consider a few features, and you will be all set to go!

Take a look at some of the features you should consider, that way you will be informed on what suits you best before you purchase your brand new backpacking towel. And, after you know which features are important, we have prepared a list of some of the finest quality towels on the market so that you can make the perfect choice.

Product NameSpecial FeaturesDimensionsMaterialPrice
Sea to Summit DryLiteAntibacterial treatment, includes mesh bag 8 x 5 x 2 inMicrofiberCheck price on Amazon
Youphoria SportIncludes mesh bag and hanging loop, packs smallSmall 20 x 40 inMicrofiberCheck price on Amazon
PackTowl PersonalAntimicrobial, soft, absorbs 4x its weightSmall 10 x 14 inPolyester / nylonCheck price on Amazon
Raqpack MicrofiberAbsorbs 3x its weight, light weight, antibacterial agents, quick drying60 x 0.1 x 30 inMicrofiberCheck price on Amazon
Wanderluxe MicrofiberSoft, quick drying, compact2.4 x 3.9 x 8.5 inMicrofiberCheck price on Amazon
WildHorn Outfitters MicroLiteVery compact, soft, quick drying, hanging loop included3 x 5.8 x 7.9 inMicrofiberCheck price on Amazon
Sunland MicrofiberLightweight, compact, gentle, includes a carrying bag24 x 28 inMicrofiberCheck price on Amazon
The Friendly Swede MicrofiberComes in a 2 pack, machine washable, absorbs 4x its weight20 x 52 inMicrofiberCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider

There are a few features to take into consideration before you purchase a backpacking towel. You will want to consider the size you need, how much it weighs, how absorbent it is, and more. Read on to discover more.

Towel Sizes

Small towels are for hand use and wiping away sweat, and are not very big. On the other hand, large towels can be used for hair drying or drying off small spots. The extra-large towels are the size of bath towels and are for full body use.

Weight

You will want to take into account the size of your towel to make sure it fits in your backpack with ease. Some users tie their towels around a backpack strap so it does not take up room inside of the pack.

green backpacking small towel

Another aspect of weight is that you will want something that can soak up liquid several times the towel’s weight. This makes it more efficient to use, allowing you to dry off faster.

Absorbency

This is the ability to soak up a liquid in a quick manner. A good towel for outdoor use will absorb water or liquid several times its size. For example, some towels can clean 10 times its size in liquids.

Texture

When it comes to a towel, you want it to be soft, or feel nice on the skin. When it comes to texture, make sure the fabric feels nice to you, so you will want to use the towel.

Quick Drying

Your backpacking towel should dry fast. You can lay it flat out in the sun for faster drying, or hang it up.

The reason it should dry fast is so that you can put it back in your pack without your clothing or other items getting wet.

Fabric

Most backpacking towels are made of microfiber or a polyester and nylon mix. These fabrics are the most useful when drying you off fast and absorbing all of the water.

Top Product Reviews

Below are some of the top product reviews of backpacking towels. Here, you will see the different size and features as well as descriptions on each towel so you can decipher which one may work best for you!

Sea to Summit DryLitesEA TO SUMMIT DRYLITE

Price: Approx. $40

Weight: 0.25 lb

Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 2 in

Specific features: Microfiber, anti-bacterial treatment, includes mesh bag

Best use: Camping, backpacking, travel

Description: The Sea to Summit DryLite is very soft and highly absorbent, and it dries quickly. Users love this towel because it comes in 5 sizes from extra small to extra-large, and there are fun colors like Cobalt Blue, Eucalyptus, Berry and Kiwi.

The downside is that they will emit an odor if not washed within a reasonable amount of time after use. However, users love this towel in all sizes because it soaks up all of the wetness from your body very well. In essence, it does its job.

This microfiber towel has an antibacterial treatment on it so it won’t hold germs or begin to smell. The treatment prevents other bacteria as well. It also comes with a mesh bag that lets the towel stuff in simply.

Users like this towel because it doesn’t need to be washed after each use and it’s a nice size so you can totally dry off. Plus, users like that it dries quickly and doesn’t smell.

PROS:

  • Made of microfiber
  • Given antibacterial treatment
  • Comes in a mesh bag

CONS:

  • Colors can bleed
  • Doesn’t dry super-fast
  • Seems small to some

Related: Store your towel in a dry sack like the Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack.  It does not allow water in and air can be pushed out by simply compressing it down. There is a roll top closure and its waterproof totally.

Check the price on Amazon

Youphoria SportYouphoria Sport

Price: Approx. $15

Weight: 0.25 lb (small)

Dimensions: Small: 20 x 40 in; large: 28 x 56 in; extra-large: 32 x 72 in

Specific features: Includes mesh bag and hanging loop, microfiber, packs small

Best use: Backpacking, camping, traveling, beach

Description: You will love the Youphoria Sport because you can take it anywhere to use it! It comes in a mesh bag and includes a hanging loop. Users love the various colors that this towel comes in, such as Mint and Gray, Green and Gray, and Dark Blue and Gray. This towel is quick drying, and incredibly absorbent.

Since it is made with quality materials, you do not have to worry about damaging it by ripping or tearing it. Users love the incredibly soft feeling on their skin and that the towel dries their body quickly.

Users love this towel because it is useful for many things like the gym, travel and backpacking. It does dry quickly and absorbs water fast too. The carrying bag is also useful as they can stuff it in there and worry about it later. Plus, it is affordable, and you can choose from three different sizes; Small, Medium and Large.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Many colors to choose from
  • Multipurpose

CONS:

  • May have a smell to it
  • The loop is weak
  • Seams can come apart after washing

Related: If you are out on the trail all day, using your towel to wipe the sweat away, then you need to stay hydrated. The Nalgene Tritan Water Bottle is BPA free and holds 32 oz of water. Also, it comes in so many colors and styles, you will surely find the right cup for you!

Check the price on Amazon

PackTowl PersonalPackTowl Personal

Price: Approx. $25

Weight: Small: 0.04 lb; medium: 0.08 lb; large: 0.18 lb; extra large: 0.4 lb; XXL: 0.6 lb

Dimensions: Small: 10 x 14 in; medium: 12 x 22 in; large: 16.5 x 36 in; extra large: 25 x 55 in; XXL 26 x 59 in

Specific features: Antimicrobial, soft, absorbs 4x its weight, polyester and nylon mix

Best use: Hiking, water sports, travel, fitness

Description: The Packtowl Personal is made of polyester and nylon and includes microfiber. Very soft, this towel will not disappoint. Users of this towel love the odor control treatment and the fact that it dries very fast.

Users also love that they can hang it to dry with the loop, and it absorbs so much water so quickly. It comes with a zippered pouch for easy storage. Also, it comes in many colors like Indigo, Citrus, Berry, and Eclipse.

Offering 4 times the absorbency as a normal towel, you can wring it out easily and it will dry about 70 percent faster than a cotton towel would. The Polygiene odor control is something users love, as it does not hold in smells and will keep your towel feeling fresh.

Users also like the color assortment and the handy loop so it can attach to their backpack! Plus, it’s affordable, so it won’t break the bank!

PROS:

  • Many colors to choose from
  • Soft and absorbent
  • Dries quickly, wrings out easily

CONS:

  • May not be super absorbent
  • Zippers can break
  • Needs direct sunlight to dry fast

Related: Attach your new towel to your new backpack! The Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack is made of nylon, has lots of loops, pockets and compartments, plus it comes in 3 colors!

Check the price on Amazon

Raqpack MicrofiberRaqpack Microfiber

Price: Approx. $35

Weight: 0.53 lb

Dimensions: 60 x 0.1 x 30 in

Specific features: Various colors, absorbs 3x its weight, light weight, antibacterial agents, quick drying

Best use: Camping, hiking, beach, backpacking

Description: The Raqpak Microfiber comes in many modern colors like Lavender Mix, Green and Yellow Mix, and solid Lavender. This quick drying towel has antibacterial agents to keep germs to a minimum. This keeps mold away and ensures your towel lasts a long time.

Users love it because it holds a lot of water and it is easy to store away because it compresses. The downside is that users said the ends of the towel began to fray. But overall, users love this towel.

However, users do state that this is a great towel and it works as advertised. They love that it packs away small and can fit in their backpacks or attach to it if there isn’t extra space inside, or for quick use. The large size ensures they can completely dry themselves.

One thing you should keep in mind is that microfiber towels can’t be washed with fabric softener. This can make it absorb less liquid.

PROS:

  • Antimicrobial
  • Many colors to choose from
  • Absorbs 3 times its weight

CONS:

  • Ends can fray a little
  • Rather expensive over others

Related: If you need to wash your new towel or your clothes while on the trail, you can use Tide Travel Packets. This 6 pack is great for washing in sink basins, easy to pack and made for washing items on the go! Under $10, this is a great thing to have when you need fresh clothing!

Check the price on Amazon

Wanderluxe MicrofiberWanderluxe Microfiber

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 0.65 lb

Dimensions: 2.4 x 3.9 x 8.5 in

Specific features: Soft, quick drying, compact

Best use: Backpacking, hiking, camping, travel

Description: You will surely love the soft feeling of the Wanderluxe Microfiber. It feels great on your skin and is super absorbent! This microfiber towel comes in many bright colors including Raspberry Pink and Sapphire Blue.

Users love that this towel is made of quality materials and that they can take it anywhere, even to the gym. It is compact and fits into your pack with ease. Users also state that they love how fast it dries and that they can store it in the mesh sack that comes with it.

So, not only is this towel super absorbent but it is soft on your skin, unlike other, more abrasive towels. Users say the colors stand out and they love the 110% Lifetime Guarantee attached to it. You can’t really lose when it comes to this towel.

Don’t be concerned when it arrives in the packaging, as it is made to pack small, but once you unfold it, you can appreciate the large size.

PROS:

  • Dries fast
  • Affordable
  • Made with quality materials
  • Lifetime guarantee

CONS:

  • Microfiber can feel sticky
  • Can fray at the ends
  • The dyed colors in the towel can run

Related: If you plan on swimming while on the trail, consider the Pardao Aerify Swim Bag. This backpack is made for swimming items and wet clothes. It is waterproof and under $40!

Check the price on Amazon

WildHorn Outfitters MicroLite

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 1.05 lb

Dimensions: 3 x 5.8 x 7.9 in

Specific features: Very compact, soft, quick drying, hanging loop included

Best use: Backpacking, camping, travel, gym

Description: The WildHorn Outfitters Microlite is made from microfiber and is light in weight. It will dry quickly and fit into your pack easily as it will compress to take up less space. Users love that it feels soft on their skin and absorbs water quickly.

Users also state that they love how thin but durable the towel is, as well as it is not bulky. It also does not leave behind lint and users love how bright the colors stay. This towel is technically part of a 3 pack of microfiber towels that come in 3 sizes; a small gym towel, a large towel for your trek, and an extra-large towel for the beach.

There are hanging loops included so you can hang up the towel to dry fast. Plus, users love that all 3 towels are so light in weight, that it’s not a problem to pack them in the backpack or attach them with the loop.

PROS:

  • Very absorbent
  • Comes in a 3 pack
  • Has hanging loops

CONS:

  • Dry stiffly
  • Stitching can come loose, fray

Related: Use your new towel to dry off after you shower with Sierra Dawn Campsuds. Under $6, this item can be used for baths or washing clothing, plus it smells nice!

Check the price on Amazon

Sunland MicrofiberSunland Microfiber

Price: Approx. $10

Weight: 0.25 lb

Dimensions: 24 x 28 in

Specific features: Lightweight, compact, gentle, includes a carrying bag

Best use: Hiking, backpacking, camping, travel

Description: The Sunland Microfiber is very absorbing and can be used for everyday use besides the great outdoors. Many users like them for sports and going to the gym.

Users love that it dries quickly, soaks up a lot of perspiration or water. It can also be washed in the washing machine and tumbled dry or hung dry. Users also love the carabiner that can attach to your backpack, which can allow it to hang dry while you continue your hike. Users did say it is not for heavy duty use, which was the only down side.

This lightweight towel has a carrying bag that is included with it. You will need to wash the bag separate from the towel to get maximum cleanliness. Uses state that it is great for many uses, especially backpacking, camping, and sports.

Overall, users like this towel because it is affordable and does its job. Those who own it said they would recommend it to family and friends who need a quick drying towel.

PROS:

  • Many colors to choose from
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and compact

CONS:

  • The strap can come off
  • Ends can fray

Related: Wash your new towel on the go with the Woolite Travel Laundry Kit.  This set is an 8 pack that lets you get many uses out of it. Not only do you get the soap, but you get a sink stopper, which is helpful to get your items washed effectively.

Check the price on Amazon

The Friendly Swede MicrofiberThe Friendly Swede Microfiber

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 0.7 lb

Dimensions: 20 x 52 in

Specific features: Comes in a 2 pack, machine washable, polyester, holds 4x its weight

Best use: Backpacking, camping, gym, sports, travel

Description: One of the most absorbent towels is The Friendly Swede Microfiber, made from polyester and polyamide microfiber that is woven. Users state that you should wash it separately the first few times as the colors might bleed onto other clothing.

Otherwise, users love the quick drying microfiber material, the fact that it holds 4 times its weight, and you can put it in the included travel sack. It also comes in a few colors like Blue with Gray and Pink with Purple.

Not only is this towel great for sports, but also camping and backpacking. You will notice how compact this set of 2 towels is. They come with 2 mesh bags for storage, and keeping your towels fresh.

Absorbent, this towel set is affordable and can be washed in the washer. It is recommended that you machine wash this towel before using it. This is because the colors can bleed out and stain other things. Remember, do not use fabric softener with a microfiber towel.

PROS:

  • Quick drying
  • Lightweight
  • Made for camping, backpacking

CONS:

  • Is not very smooth, have to pat yourself dry
  • Too thin

Related: Store your towel and some valuable items in the Unigear Dry Bag Sack. This item is waterproof, will float if it gets lost in the water and it’s made for the adventurous! Just over $20, you will have enough space to keep your precious items dry and safe.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping It Up

There are many things to think about when it comes to a good backpacking towel. As long as it is big enough, soft, and super absorbent, you should be pleased with the job it does.

SEA TO SUMMIT - Pocket towel L size

Now that you know which features are important when it comes to picking a towel that best suits your needs, and after you read the reviews of the best models on the market, we are sure that you will definitely make the right choice.

Needless to say is that you should remember to find something that dries quickly and leaves your body dry. And know that, after you use one of the towels we reviewed here, you will not want to go back to the regular ones. Now, it’s your turn to tell us what you think.

What kind of backpacking towel do you use? What do you like about it? Did we miss any towels here? Tell us what is on your mind in the comments! We also want to know if you have any of these towels and how you like them. Tell us about your experiences with it! As always, thank you for reading!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca J. Crawford
Rebecca J. Crawford

Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favourite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another passion of Rebecca is ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy.

  • Nikita Sparks

    I’m going to buy the Youphoria Soft blanket. I always brought my regular towel camping, but guess I was wrong. But can it double as a blanket?

  • Rebecca J. Crawford

    This depends on the size. If you feel it is long enough then it can be used as a blanket on warmer nights. You really should consider the weather and bring along an appropriate blanket, however.

  • Robin Peterson

    I am currently using something that is not really comfortable for backpacking. It is too heavy and I never thought of buying something like this. I found there are so many thing to consider before we buy something. Thank you for your article.

  • Rebecca J. Crawford

    Thanks for reading!

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