How to choose the best travel towel

How to choose the best travel towel

You know those things that you bring on a trip, but never even use? You lug them around in your bag wishing you had left them at home? This article is not about those things. We’ll be discussing one of the most versatile items that you should carry with you consistently.

The best camping towel

Why should I carry a towel for travel?

Travel towels can easily be overlooked as a key piece of gear in your kit. Obviously, a towels main purpose is to dry, but they do so much more than that. In the backcountry, a camping towel saves you from freezing after an alpine lake dip, it’s a floor mat for your tent, or a compact pillow. When you're headed to the coastline, it’s a beach towel to lay on, a changing towel for putting your wetsuit or bathing suit on, a shade covering, or … we could go on and on, but you get the idea. We even got our car unstuck using them, but that’s a story for a different time. While the multifunctionality of a towel is what makes it such a staple, not all towels are equal.

Best camping towel for travel

Regular towel vs travel towel?

You probably have a regular towel hanging in your bathroom right now. Why is it hanging? Because it’s probably still wet from your shower last night. Standard towels take a long time to dry, tend to trap odor/sand, are heavy, and bulky, making them a nuisance to travel with. They’re not all bad though, they are usually soft and warm and definitely have their place, which is in your bathroom. 

When it comes to the best travel towels, we see a stark contrast. They’re fast drying, lightweight, odor/sand resistant, and pack down small while still being ultra soft and durable. These combined features make for the perfect piece of travel gear that you can keep with you without sacrificing space and weight in your bag. Amongst travel towels, there are several different materials and sizes to choose from.

What is a travel towel?

What’s the best towel material?

  • Cotton towels feel good to the touch, but take a long time to dry and can smell. Turkish towels are usually made of cotton.
  • Bamboo towels are soft, they dry fast, and are made of eco-friendly material. They usually run on the more expensive side and tend to only come in plain colors.
  • Linen towels are odor resistant and soft. They dry quickly, but are not all that absorbent due to its thin fibers.
  • Microfiber towels are soft, lightweight, and very durable. They’re breathable, dry quickly and are extremely absorbent. They basically take all of the good aspects of the other three options while simultaneously eliminating the negative aspects.
Best size travel towel

Which towel size is right for you?

There are a variety of towel sizes out there and sometimes it can seem hard to choose. We will be looking at 3 main microfiber towel sizes.

  • Small towels (under 40”x20”) are perfect as a gym towel, a round of golf, a hand towel, or a dish towel. Because of their absorbency, these towels can also be used for extremely ultralight backpacking where every ounce counts.
  • Large towels (around 60”x30”) are the best all around. They can be used for most of  the activities of the small towel, but are also suitable for laying out, fully wrapping around yourself, and towel changing. This is typically the size you think of a full size towel. Even though this size is quite large, it still packs down very small and is lightweight.
  • Extra large towels (Around 65”x65”) are well suited for two people to lay out on. Most of the time two person towels are a little unnecessary because they are very big, it’s a little awkward to dry off with if you both are wet, and can be a little bit bulky for traveling. 
Lightweight Travel towels


After testing a variety of the best towel materials and sizes, we designed the Adventure Towel. Made from an incredibly soft microfiber suede these towels were designed so you can pack lighter and be ready to jump in at every opportunity. Our absorbent quick drying towels are durable, yet extremely plush to last long and keep you comfortable. These full size towels pack down small so you can bring it wherever the journey leads.


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  • Thank you all for your excellent comments! We just released some new towels; you can find them under the shop tab at the top of our site.

    Jordan Kudla (Owner of Laek) on
  • I like the idea of traveling with two of these towels one for the adventures outside and one to have for whatever comes up!

    Jeff Smith on
  • I travel quite a bit to triathlons the towels seem like an excellent tool especially for the travel athlete. There is not always the opportunity to avail a shower. Fortunately, the opportunity to jump back in the lake and get the grit off with a towel like this is such a great idea. Kudos on this type of towel! Robert

    Robert Vidulich on
  • I never thought of traveling with a towel. Probably because the typical cotton towels I own are big and bulky, take up too much room in the bag. But I’ll definitely get a micro fiber towel because you sold me on the idea! THANKS!

    bontai Joe on
  • Love the hacks. Learned a lot.

    Helene Weissberg on
  • I never even thought to pack a towel when traveling. What great ideas and uses were given. They will be a definite item for future trips. Thanks so much.

    Jay Brun on
  • I never about a towel being a floor mat when you are tent camping. I like this idea so much better than using a couple of blankets . So much handier and so much more useful.

    Laura Emerson on
  • As a wavy haired girl, microfiber towels are also great for preventing frizz!

    Emes on
  • Guilty as charged…I use way too many paper towels. After reading this article, I’m convinced technology and design has finally come to the point that the Adventure Towel could easily replace my paper towel use, even a suburban dad like myself. I could keep one in my car for spills or wiping off soccer balls(or kids) after a rainy game. Throw one in my book bag to take to work for random spills in the classroom. And if I’m lucky take it with on a bike ride or weekend getaway!

    Dustin on
  • I so wish I had owned a small and large Adventure towels as I climbed Mt. Emei in central China. Since we climbed unending stairs every day and spent the night in monasteries along the way, the adventure towels could have served as the single biggest thing to carry in the small bags we were provided. Now, I need to buy some new Adventure towels for my next sojourn.
    Marti DeMoss on

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