The Best Travel Towel for Every Type of Activity
Let’s be honest, choosing a travel towel is probably not the most thrilling part of prepping for a trip. But if you’ve got swimming, snorkeling, hiking, hostels, camping, picnicking, or any number of other adventures on your itinerary, it’s a step you shouldn’t skip. When you’re on the road (or on the water or in the air), the right towel might mean the difference between being drenched and miserable or dry and happy. Finding a towel that’s lightweight, versatile, and quick-drying is key. But with so many options, you might get overwhelmed. No worries, we’ve pulled together the very best towels for every need.
Best Travel Towel Overall
Nomadix Universal Towel
For the multitasking traveler who tries it all, Nomadix made a towel that does it all. Weighing in at under a pound and made of recycled materials and an antimicrobial treatment, this towel is the lightweight, durable, and highly absorbent champ of travel towels. From bath and beach by day to campfires and chilly overnight flights, the Universal is the Swiss army knife of towels.
Best Travel Beach Towel
Club Kokomo Turkish Beach Towel
Woven with 100% Turkish cotton, this towel will be your chic six-foot beach bestie. Free of microfibers and chemicals, the fabric is gentle on both your skin and the planet. Unlike traditional terry cotton, Turkish cotton is lightweight and quick-drying—making it easy to pack. Although, when you’ve got a beach towel that looks this good, you might prefer to show it off rather than stash it away. So, go ahead: Drape it over your shoulders like a shawl, wrap it around your neck like a scarf, or sling it around your waist like a sarong. Even better, Club Kokomo donates 5% of their Turkish beach towel profits to marine conservation.
Best Quick-Drying Bath Towel
JML Microfiber Bath Towel
Bringing a cozy bath towel on your travels doesn’t have to mean sacrificing a lot of luggage space. The JML Bath Towel boasts the benefits of a microfiber travel towel—it’s lightweight (at about 1.5 pounds), quick-drying, and can absorb seven to nine times its weight in water—combined with the generous size and softness you’d expect from a bath towel. Whether you’re stepping out of the shower in a vacation rental or relaxing poolside at a resort, the JML can do the job and get you from soggy to dry in seconds.
Best Backpacking Towel
If you’re hitting the road or the trail with only the pack on your back, consider taking the Nanodry Towel. Its nanofiber fabric behaves like microfiber, easily absorbing water and drying out quickly. The added antimicrobial coating repels bacteria, buying you some time in between washes. And the ventilated carabiner case means you can even tuck your wet towel in on the go, clip the case to your bag, and let the wind do the work.
Best Towel for Road Trips
Dock & Bay Round Towel
You won’t be restricted by airline luggage limits when you head out on the open road. So go big with the Dock & Bay Round Towel. This circular microfiber towel (75 inches in diameter) is made for two—to dry off, lounge around, picnic—wherever the road takes you. The Round resists sand, dries quickly, and packs up easily into its accompanying beach bag.
Best Yoga Towel
Yoga Design Lab Yoga Towel
If asanas are on your travel agenda, put the Yoga Design Lab Towel on your packing list. The non-slip grip of this towel made from recycled plastics provides stability so you can worry less about injury and focus more on being present in your practice. And if you like your yoga with a side of sunrise on the sand, you’re in luck—the Yoga Design Lab Towel doubles as a beach blanket.
Best Travel Towel With a Cause
Can a towel change the world? Well, not exactly. But purchasing the Evolve Travel Towel can help tackle one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time—reducing the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills. Australian teacher and adventurer Wayne Goodwin was inspired by his students' passion to take care of the planet. He created the Evolve Travel Towel, a quick-drying, anti-microbial, sand-repelling towel made of recycled plastic bottles. Another feel-good feature: Evolve donates ten percent of profits to environmental charities. At 5 feet by 2.5 feet, the Evolve Travel Towel offers full coverage yet tucks away effortlessly—rolling up to burrito-size.
And 5 Tips for Drying and Packing Travel Towels
- Read carefully. Usage and washing instructions vary, depending on the fabric. Some require washing or soaking before use, and some cannot be tumble dried, for example. To get the most out of your travel towel, read care information thoroughly.
- Wrap it up. Most travel towels are designed to roll or fold up. If you don’t have a carrying case for your towel, you can roll or fold and tie with a string or ribbon.
- Think outside the bag. If packing space is limited, you can roll up your towel and wedge it in an outside zipper pocket, tuck it into a mesh bottle pocket on your backpack, or strap, tie, or clip it to the outside of your carry-on.
- Prep with a pouch. Bring along a wet pouch to keep your towel from dampening clean clothes in your luggage on days when you don’t have time to dry your towel.
- Keep it free and breezy. Unpack your travel towel whenever possible and drape it over a hook, hanger, or railing to allow it to dry out fully.
All products have been hand-picked by our writers and editors. Items purchased through links may earn us a commission.