First things first. This post is not sponsored. No one from the company that makes this towel has any idea I’m this obsessed with it. It’s just true that it’s the best microfiber towel for travel in the entire universe of travel towels, and I decided it’s time I wrote about why. Second, there are a lot of travel towels out there. And there are a lot of travel bloggers who own and recommend their own travel towel. But I guarantee you’ll never find one as obsessed and in love with their travel towel as I am. So much so that I even use my travel towel at home. Voluntarily. As in, I prefer my travel towel to my regular towels, that’s how much I love it.
What I Need in a Travel Towel
The characteristics of a good travel towel seem like they should be obvious, but after using a sub par one for a few years, I knew what I needed my new one to be. When I set out to travel full time, this towel had to be a lot of things and I had to like it. Who wants to have their main towel, the one they use day in and day out, suck? There’s no quicker way to ruin a nice, long, hot shower than by wrapping up in something damp or too small. In my opinion, these are the properties that make the best travel towel:
Absorbent without Feeling Overly Damp
You want your travel towel to be able to really dry you off, but you don’t want it to feel sticky and damp after just a bit of moisture. It’s important your travel towel can absorb as much as a real towel without leaving you feeling gross.
Unlike a normal towel, your travel towel needs to be able to dry as fast as possible. Sometimes you’ll be traveling from place to place too quickly, and nothing is worse than having to pack a damp towel in your backpack. A quick dry travel towel will eliminate the chance that you end up having a damp, musty towel stinking up your backpack.
If you’re backpacking, especially if you’re traveling carry-on only like I tend to do, you will want your towel to weigh as little as possible. Nothing is worse than finding out your carry-on is overweight and having to pay extra to check it (or toss something to get it under weight).
Being able to fold your towel up very small is also incredibly important for anyone trying to travel light. It’s important that your towel fold up small so that it doesn’t take up excess room in your luggage.
Comes in its Own Pouch or Case
I make sure my backpack or checked bag are organized during my trip. Keeping things organized makes it easier to move from place to place. To achieve this, I use packing cubes, cosmetic bags, small ziplock bags, and a few gallon ziplock bags. A travel towel needs to come in its own pouch, otherwise, you’ll have to find a bag that your towel can roll up into. The hard part about finding one that doesn’t come with the towel is getting a perfect size. It should be the exact size of your towel when it’s folded up as small as possible. Having a towel that comes with a pouch that is the perfect size is much better than having to work to find one.
Loop for Hanging Up
Not every accommodation you stay in will have a rack to hang your towel on. A great travel towel will have a loop or piece of elastic on it so that you can hang it almost anywhere, allowing it to dry quickly in any circumstance.
Best Backpacking Towel
Not everyone is a backpacker, but I go back and forth between backpacking and traveling with a checked bag. The best quick dry towel for backpacking will have all of the other properties mentioned, but there are a few more qualities that make a great towel for backpacking. You need one that stands out from the crowd, so you’re not worried that someone else’s towel is actually yours. If your towel goes missing, it’s nice to have a distinctive, easy to describe one to help people look out for it. And it should be large enough that you can wear it if you need time to air dry in a communal bathroom before putting on your clothes.
Doubles as a Travel Beach Towel
A great travel towel should transition seamlessly to being a travel beach towel. After all, you don’t want to pack two, but who wants to go to the beach without a beach towel? A great beach towel is large enough that you can nap on it or throw it over a beach lounge chair. If you’re traveling solo, you’ll also want it to be a distinctive, bright color so that you can keep an eye on your stuff when you’re in the water since no one will be staying back to watch your spot. Since your travel beach towel is also compact and folds up small, you can easily throw it in canvas tote bag or beach bag. If you’re looking for a day bag that also makes a fantastic beach bag, I use a large Longchamp as a purse/day bag but it also is awesome to take to the beach because it dries fast, holds a ton, and cleans out easy.
Another important property for a great travel beach towel is one that doesn’t let sand stick to it. After two years of taking my towel to the beach on four continents, I can attest it shakes clean of sand super easy, which means I’m not trekking as much sand back to my hotel or into my rental car either.
I think it’s important to love your travel towel, but most bloggers and travelers hate theirs. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that most travel towels are extremely ugly. Mine is gorgeous. The large white and red stripes scream “beach day,” and it’s just as colorful and bright as it was when I got it two years ago even though I’ve washed it over a hundred times. It comes in a ton of different colors, so you can find one that you love.
I recently did a round of replacing a lot of my travel essentials. I am a loyalist to my travel gear, but when your shoes have holes in them from walking everywhere or when you’re ready for a traditional backpack instead of winging it with a normal one, it’s time to do a little shopping. I thought about buying a new towel, but I realized my towel is as beautiful and fresh as the day I bought it. There was no reason to upgrade to a brand new one (which obviously would have been a new version of the exact same towel). A lot of my original travel gear has worn out or needed upgrading since I left two years ago, but my travel towel is practically still brand new.
The Best Microfiber Towel for Travel is…
Folds out to 78×35″ (200x90cm) – covers your whole body or the sun lounger
Packs down to 10×6″ (weighs 1.1 lbs) – travel pouch included
Folds out to 63×31″ (160x80cm) – if you need something more compact (still big!)
Packs down to 8×5″ (weighs 0.8 lbs) – travel pouch included
How to Take Care of Your Microfiber Travel Towel
Taking care of a microfiber towel is a little bit different than caring for a normal towel. Remember these three rules, and your towel will serve you for years:
- No Fabric Softener
- No Bleach
- No Heat
Heat can melt the fibers in the fabric. Fabric softener and bleach can mess up the fibers, too. Bleach will also ruin the coloring of your towel (unless it’s pure white). Your best bet is to tumble dry on low heat or hang dry (which is what I typically do).
It’s also recommended that you wash separately from your other clothing, but this might be difficult on the road. I usually just wash mine with soft clothing, avoiding washing it with towels, denim, or heavy fabrics. This has worked well for me, but be aware that it’s usually recommended to wash microfiber in microfiber-only loads.
This video goes way, way, way deeper into caring for microfiber towels than you can imagine (it’s geared for people who use microfiber towels at their job, but the info also applies to travelers). Like I said, I just wash mine with my clothes and then hang it dry, but use this info if you want your towel to last as long as absolutely possible.
Ready to Pack Your Bags? 3 Things You Need on Every Trip
Before you leave, triple check that you have these items with you. It’s easy to overlook them, but leaving any of these three items behind could be a disaster for your trip.
- Your Passport (if traveling internationally) or Your ID (like a Driver’s License) if staying within your home country. Have quick access to a soft copy or a couple of hard copies. If you need your passport, bring it in a passport holder. I don’t have a waterproof one, but FYI if your passport gets water damage, you can be stopped from leaving. I saw this happen to a couple at the airport. Never let your passport get wet. If you’re worried about it, get a waterproof passport holder.
- Your Travel Insurance Policy Information: I never leave home without travel insurance. You just never know what kind of trouble you’ll run into on the road. I’ve had several broken phones, a nearly stolen wallet, car rental accidents, etc. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. I always get the higher level so that I have coverage for more of my technology in case anything gets lost or stolen. Have your travel insurance available in a soft copy, and forward your policy info to your primary emergency contact.
- Your Credit & ATM Cards (make sure to call your banks to let them know you’re traveling if they require it). Never travel with only one account or one card. You never know what can happen on the road. Know ahead of time if there will be access to credit card terminals where you’re going or if you’re going to need to get out cash as your main source of payment.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them. Travel Insurance is crucial to protect against unforseen accidents, if someone steals your stuff, or if you get sick on the road.