Best Microfiber & Quick Dry Travel Towels in 2018
Packing for your summer holidays? Getting ready for a hiking expedition?
Either way, you’d better remember to bring a towel.
To be specific, a lightweight, quick-drying travel towel—one that doesn’t start smelling like mothballs because it takes longer than a transatlantic flight to dry and one that won’t take up more luggage space than your clothing.
Regular bath towels (usually made from cotton) are far from ideal for travel because of their size, weight & drying time which is why microfiber travel towels are the way to go.
8 Best Microfiber & Quick Dry Travel Towels in 2018
Even though there are many quick-dry travel towel variants in the market, we found that microfiber options perform very well in terms of how compact they are, how light they are etc. We’ve narrowed it down so that you can’t really go wrong with any of the following picks.
1. Venture4th Quick Dry Microfiber Towel
- Good quality carry bag
- Available in 3 sizes
- 12-Month Guarantee
- Colors may leak on first wash
Venture4th has managed to combine style with practicality in their attractive range of quick dry travel towels. They offer a selection of bold colors with vibrant trims and snap loops. You’ll certainly be able to pick your Venture4th travel towel out in the locker room.
Their attractive design isn’t the only thing we like about this product---it’s also super soft. The high thread count means that it won’t feel anything like sandpaper on your skin.
The Venture4th travel towel packs down to just 9” x 11”. It comes with a zippered carry case which, unlike most, opens on three sides, so there’ll be no more splitting seems to worry about. The case is also fitted with a snap loop for hanging or attaching to a backpack. The durable ripstop nylon fabric makes the case it ideal for outdoor use. Thanks to the odor-preventing microfiber and the bag’s breathable mesh, you’ll be able to pack this towel away just minutes after use.
2. Youphoria Outdoors Quick Dry Travel Towel
- Softer than most microfiber towels
- Available in a variety of colours and size
- Youphoria offer excellent customer service
- Tends to smell like plastic – needs a couple of washes before use
The Youphoria Outdoors Quick Dry Travel Towel is one of the softest and lightest travel towels on the market. Its fine blend of microfiber fabric makes it significantly less abrasive on the skin than other microfiber towels. This doesn’t compromise its functionality either.
Not only does the Youphoria Quick Dry Travel Towel dry up to 10 times faster than a regular cotton towel, but it’s also able to hold 5 times its weight in water, which should be more than enough to dry you off after a shower or a swim in the sea. Its compact packing size and mesh carry bag make it very practical for backpacking and adventure travel when weight and space are essential. The snap loop is a handy addition that makes it easy to hang out to dry almost anywhere.
We also like that the Youphoria Outdoors Quick Dry Travel Towel is available in 3 different sizes, making it suitable for freshening up or a day at the beach. This product also comes in a range of colours, so you’ll be able to tell your travel towel apart from others in a hostel dorm.
3. Rain Leaf Microfiber Towel
- Available in various colors and sizes
- Mesh carry bag with handle
- Lifetime Warranty
- Colors may bleed on first wash
Available in six different sizes from 12” x 24” to 40” x 72” and an assortment of colours, Rain Leaf give travelers the ability to select the right travel towel for personal use.
This item is made from microfiber, so it is lightweight and compact with anti-bacterial properties. Some customers do note that it is very thin compared with other similarly priced microfiber towels. This does make it more compact, but it may well blow away if you take it to the beach.
We like that Rain Leaf has added a snap loop for easy hanging, as well as a carry handle so that the waterproof case can easily be clipped to the outside of a backpack. It is worth noting that the Rain Leaf travel towel tends to leak color on the first wash; however, the company offers to return/replace the product if you’re unhappy with it.
4. ECOdept Microfiber Towel
- Easy hanging
- Quick to dry and ultra-absorbent
- Comes from an eco-friendly company
- Carry case is not the most practical
This towel is a large 52” x 32” size, which should be big enough to cover you completely or to use as a matt at the beach. It also comes with a free 24” x 15” hand towel, making it excellent value for money.
Despite its large size, the ECOdept microfiber towel weighs only 8 oz, so it’s a convenient option to take on a multi-day hiking trip. Meanwhile, the material’s antibacterial qualities mean that you’ll be able to use it multiple times without it developing a nasty odor.
We like that the carry case is both breathable and waterproof, so the towel can be packed away with your other gear whilst damp. Our only criticism is that it features a flap rather than a drawstring or a zipper. This makes it a bit of a squeeze to get both towels inside. We’ve also noticed that the case has no external attachments, so there’s no practical way of hanging it on the outside of your bag.
5. The Camping Trail Travel Towel
- Includes both hand towel and bath towel
- Highly absorbent
- Holds its color well
- Both towels pack away inside the mesh travel bag
- Comes with a lot of packaging
This quick-drying travel towel from The Camping Trail is a lightweight addition to your next camping trip or gym session. The quality microfiber fabric can absorb up to 98% of moisture up to 8 times faster than a regular towel and still be dry in time for its next use.
As well as drying in record time, the microfiber is antibacterial. This means the free 24” x 15” hand towel that comes with the bath towel can double as a dishcloth or cleaning rag while camping. The two towels can be hung using snap loops or packed together into a breathable drawstring bag weighing a total of just 10 oz. Customers have also noticed that vibrant Camping Trail Travel Towels hold their colour very well in contrast to many other microfiber towels on the market, which are prone to bleeding colors on the first wash. It’s also worth noting that with this type of towel, you need to pat rather than rub your skin, which may feel a little odd at first.
6. Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Towel
- Extra soft
- Highly absorbent
- Free hand towel
- 100% money back guarantee
- Stitching around the edge is prone to fraying
- Large company logo can be irritating
This lightweight microfiber travel towel from Wise Owl Outfitters offers a super soft, suede-like feel.
We like their trendy design featuring a colorful trim; however, some users point out that this is prone to fraying after multiple uses. The towel also features a large silk screen company logo, which, while attractive, does render this part of the towel useless.
On the positive side, the Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Towel is available in large or extra-large sizes, both of which come with a free hand towel. The snap loop is convenient for hanging and the mesh carry bag is large enough to hold both towels. The best part is that, if you’re not completely satisfied with your travel towel, Wise Owl offer a 100% money back guarantee.
7. 4Monster Microfiber Towel
- Includes EVA travel case
- Soft microfiber fabric
- Nice size for travel
- Color selection is limited
The 4Monster Microfiber Towel is a nicely-priced addition to your travels. The microfiber fabric is made from a blend of 80% polyester and 20% polyamide which is soft on the skin, although it’s not as gentle on the face as a regular towel.
Like its competitors, the 4Monster is ultra-absorbent and quick-drying, and it stays fresh due to its antimicrobial coating. It’s also available in bold colors and features a snap loop.
The key feature of this lightweight towel is its EVA travel case, which features four air vents and a convenient carry handle. The case is 3” x 6,” so it should fit nicely into the palm of your hand, while the towel itself is 24” x 48”. Despite its large size, many users report that the 4Monster fits easily into its travel case. The hard-shell case protects the towel from rips, as well as dust and dirt, which makes it a good option if you’re looking for a towel to keep in the back of the car on a road trip.
8. Nature is a Gift Turkish Peshtemal
- Large size
- Natural fabric
- Versatile usage
- May shrink if put in the dryer
- Fabric can feel coarse when new
The Turkish Peshtemal Towel is a nice option for anyone looking for a versatile alternative to a microfiber travel towel. Made from a 100% Turkish Cotton, which uses extra-long fibres, the Peshtemal towel absorbs moisture as effectively as a regular cotton towel.
The fabric is also lightweight, and despite its large size (70.9” x 39.4”), it only weighs a total of 8.8 oz.
The Peshtemal Travel Towel may not be as quick to dry as microfiber, nor as compact, but it certainly feels a lot more natural on the skin. Users have mentioned that the towel feels rough when first removed from the packet, but the fabric becomes softer the more that its washed. Meanwhile, its large size means that it will actually cover you and can double as a beach towel, sarong, picnic blanket, or even a scarf or shawl in the wintertime.
How to choose the best travel towel
You’d think that picking an awesome travel towel would easy—and you’d be right, as long as you know what to look for. To help you make your choice, we’ll let you in on a little secret. The following criteria are all factors that we considered when selecting our list, the same should apply when you make your decision.
We can all agree that, lightweight or not, a towel which doesn’t actually dry you is a waste of packing space. We looked for towels made from highly absorbent fabrics, like the microfiber travel towels from Wise Owl Outfitters and Youphoria which promise to hold 5 times their weight in water.
You should be able to use a travel towel multiple times on the same day or pack it away within a half an hour of using it. Therefore, it should be made from a quick-drying fabric that is able to air-dry much faster than a normal cotton towel.
A travel towel is likely to spend a lot of its life inside a suitcase and may sometimes be packed away while it’s still damp. In light of this, we looked for travel towels made from fabric with an antibacterial/anti-microbial coating, which prevents mold and unpleasant smells from developing.
You’ll be using this towel a lot on your travels, so it’s important that it doesn’t irritate or scratch your skin. We selected products with a high thread count to give your towel a softer, suede-like feel.
Compact Size & Lightweight
Ideally, a travel towel won’t take up the bulk of your luggage, but we think a larger size (beach or bath size) is a good choice for beachgoers as well as budget travelers, who will be sharing hostel bathrooms. The travel towel for business users can be a smaller size, as you’ll most likely be using it to freshen up in bathrooms on route to the office.
Many of the products on our list, including the Rain Leaf and Venture4th, are available in multiple sizes from hand towel to beach towel. You can pick the size that best suits your needs.
Like any travel item, the packing size and weight are very important. Even a large beach sized towel shouldn’t take up more space than a t-shirt when folded, and the total weight, including carry case, shouldn’t be more than 10 oz.
Carry Case: A waterproof carry case allows you to pack the towel into your luggage while still damp. It also protects the towel from ripping or snagging. Most of the items on our list come with breathable drawstring, flap, or zippered bags. We generally prefer the zippered option as it easier to access the towel, but drawstring bags can be useful for travelers who prefer to roll their clothes. We also look out for cases with carry handles or loops for attaching it outside of a backpack or suitcase.
Hanging Loops: Having a loop is useful for hanging your towel in the shower and for drying it after. The benefit of a snap loop is that you’ll be able to open and hook the loop around something, i.e. a tree when camping, to keep it from blowing away.
Type & Materials
Travel towels are made from various materials. We expect the best travel towels to be effective at absorbing water, to have a balanced size to weight ratio, and to be quick-drying. For this reason, the majority of travel towels on our list are made from microfiber, but other recommended materials include….
Made from a weave of thin cotton, Turkish Cotton is super absorbent and lightweight. The fabric is very soft on the skin and feels a lot more natural than a microfiber towel. They pack up much smaller than a regular towel and have the advantage of being multifunctional, serving very well as a scarf or blanket. The only downside is that they are slightly bulkier than a microfiber towel and take longer to dry.
Linen is an eco-friendly fabric which dries quickly compared to a regular towel, but still slower than a microfiber towel. The advantage is that linen is naturally antibacterial and odor-preventing. The disadvantage is that it tends to feel a little rough on the skin.
Bamboo is another lightweight and eco-friendly option. Bamboo towels are quick to air-dry, contain natural anti-bacterial qualities, and feel similar to cotton. They are usually a bit more expensive than microfiber, linen, or cotton towels.
Q: Are these towels suitable for pets?
A: Microfiber towels are actually much more effective than a regular towel for drying off cats or dogs (or other furry pets). The high absorbency levels and antibacterial coating let you dry your furry friend with fewer strokes and leaves you with a much fresher smelling towel. Turkish cotton towels are more delicate and therefore not recommended for use on pets.
Q: Is Microfiber eco-friendly?
A: Unfortunately, the verdict is still out on this one. Compared to a natural fabric like cotton or linen, the answer is no. Microfiber is essentially made from tiny plastic fibers, so it’s manufacturing process is certainly not green and the product itself is not biodegradable. That said, many microfiber towels are made from a blend using polyester and nylon fibers, which are technically recyclable. Another green point for microfiber towels is their durability. With the correct care, they can last for years. Likewise, they don’t need washing often, thereby minimizing water wastage.
Q: How do I care for a microfiber towel?
A. A microfiber towel can be washed by hand or machine using a regular detergent, but bleach and fabric softener will make the towel less effective. Avoid washing the towel with light colors or with cotton fabrics as well. It is best to allow the towel to air-dry, but it can be tumble-dried on a low heat. A high heat can cause the towel to shrink.
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