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When traveling one absolutely essential item is a lightweight travel towel. It doesn’t really matter what type of vacation you are embarking on, you are going to need a towel! Even if your accommodation provides towels, you probably can’t take it with you to the beach, the gym or out for a hike. We have found that microfibre travel towels to be the absolute best kind of towel for travel.
What is Microfibre?
Microfibre is a superfine synthetic fibre that is smaller than a strand of silk, or hair. It is most commonly made from polyesters or polyamides and can be manufactured in varying sizes, shapes and combinations to perform different functions.
Why is a microfibre the best travel towel?
Microfibre makes for the best kind of travel towel as it is lightweight and takes up very little room in a backpack or suitcase. In addition, microfibre travel towels absorb a lot of water very quickly. They can dry very quickly and are resistant to getting musty if you have to pack it while still damp.
We bought our microfiber towels for our trip to Colombia when we would be completing the Lost City Trek. For four days we would need to carry everything and towels were not provided. A regular towel would have filled our backpacks alone and nothing else would have been dry enough to pack each morning.
Why do you need a travel towel?
If your style of travel includes hostels then you know towels are not always available and certainly not always free. Even if you book hotels and expect to find a towel in your room, there is a very good chance beach or pool towels are not provided.
If you’ve ever tried to pack a regular bath towel or, even worse, a beach towel in your travel bags then you know how much room they take up. A travel towel will take up less room than your favourite pair of jeans!
Even at home, we found ourselves packing our microfiber towels to the beach as they are so much easier to stuff in a beach bag and carry.
Got a later flight or bus? You can still enjoy the beach, pool or even just a hot shower before you leave as a microfibre towel can be immediately almost wrung dry and packed. The best part: you won’t open a mouldy smelling bag when you get home.
What is there to consider when choosing a travel towel?
Convinced that you should invest in a microfibre travel towel? There are a number of things to consider when choosing the perfect towel for you.
You want your travel towel to be lightweight. This is especially important if you are backpacking as you will be carrying this weight frequently. If you are a more traditional traveler this may not be as important for you. In that case, you will probably want to give more consideration to some of the other criteria.
Microfibre towels come in many sizes. Be careful before you order online as they can be smaller than imagined. Generally ‘small’ and ‘extra small’ sizes are little more than a hand or facecloth size. This is perfect if you want it for ‘on-the-go’ absorption when being active outdoors. Hikers, golfers, runner among others will appreciate this size. However, for the most flexibility I recommend the extra large size. It will take up a little more room in your bag, and cost a little more, but it easily wraps around your body after showering and is also the perfect size for a beach towel or picnic blanket. The extra large towels will even work well as a blanket on those extra cold bus rides.
This is particularly important if you are moving frequently, but really no one wants to pack a wet towel. It’ll add unnecessary weight to your bag and make everything smell bad. Microfibre is a great material for its quick drying properties.
No one wants a suitcase full of musty smelling clothes and laundry is not a feasible option all the time.
If you have allergies or sensitive skin you will need to consider the material your towel is made from. This obviously should be the most important if these are serious issues.
How much room the towel takes up when travelling is key. This is not the same thing as being lightweight.
How easily the towel absorbs waters, and how much it can absorb, is important to consider. Have you ever used a towel to dry off that didn’t actually dry you off? Annoying, right?
What other types of travel towels are there?
Turkish towels are also great for being lightweight and pretty quick to dry. They double as a scarf and sarong and are large enough for the beach too. However, they don’t have the same kind of absorbency as microfibre if you are planning on using them for showers.
Natural fibres such as bamboo can make for great travel towels as well. This is also a particularly eco-friendly choice and the fabrics are naturally anti-bacterial.
The Best Microfibre Travel Towel
The best overall travel towel
If you plan on using your towel for a little bit of everything. This is a great towel.
The Best Backpacking Travel Towel
When backpacking the most important thing to consider is weight.
The Best Beach Towel for Travel
For the beach you need a large towel.