Best Travel Towel for Every Activity

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.

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Best Travel Towel Overall

Universal Towel - Zig Zag By Nomadix

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.

$54.95 at The Grommet

Best Travel Beach Towel

Club Kokomo Turkish Beach Towel - Eco Friendly Quick Dry 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.

$19.95 on Amazon

Best Quick-Drying Bath Towel

 JML Microfiber Bath Towel, Bath Towels

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.

$19.99 (for two) at Amazon

Best Backpacking Towel

NanoDry Travel Towel

NanoDry 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.  

$34.95 at Uncommon Goods

Best Towel for Road Trips

Dock & Bay Beach Towels Oversized Circular Travel Towel

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.

$25.99 at Amazon

Best Yoga Towel

 The Tribeca Sand Hot Yoga Towel. Eco-Friendly, Mat-Sized, Lightweight

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.

$39 at Amazon

Best Travel Towel With a Cause

Sand Repellent Microfiber Beach Travel Towel by Evolve (Maui)

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. 

$55 at Amazon

And 5 Tips for Drying and Packing Travel Towels

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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