Young woman with green beach towel during tropical vacation
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10 Best Travel Towels: Quick Drying & Lightweight

Regardless of what type of traveler you are, a quality travel towel is a must. Whether you’re preparing to backpack through Jamaica, island-hop between the world’s greatest islands, settle into your London hostel, or anything in between, we want to make sure you’re prepared with one of the best travel towels.

Why do you need a travel towel, you ask? The list goes on and on, but some of the main reasons are knowing your towel is clean and comfortable, avoiding hostel towel rental fees, you’re ready to go when the spontaneous travel bug hits you, and they’re multipurpose (you can use them after the gym, as a blanket, to clean up a spill, etc).

Our Recommendation: If you don’t have time to read the whole article, know that out of all of the travel towels that we have tested the Youphoria Quick Dry Travel Towel is by far the best. It’s super quick-drying, lightweight and it packs down to almost nothing. You seriously can’t go wrong with this amazing microfiber travel towel.

Comparison Chart of the Best Travel Towels

Below is a list of the best towels for travel. Click on the travel towels name to read reviews and check prices.

ImageNameMaterialRating
Youphoria Quick Dry Travel TowelYouphoria Quick Dry Travel TowelMicrofiber
(4.5/5.0)
Wise Owl Outfitters Microfiber Travel TowelWise Owl Outfitters Microfiber Travel TowelMicrofiber
(4.8/5.0)
Rainleaf Microfiber Travel TowelRainleaf Microfiber Travel TowelMicrofiber
(4.5/5.0)
Relefree Microfiber Travel TowelRelefree Microfiber Travel TowelMicrofiber
(4.5/5.0)
Swan Comfort 100% Natural Turkish Cotton Beach TowelSwan Comfort 100% Natural Turkish Cotton Beach TowelTurkish Cotton
(4.3/5.0)
Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach TowelDock & Bay Microfiber Beach TowelMicrofiber
(4.4/5.0)
Shandali Microfiber Travel TowelShandali Microfiber Travel TowelMicrofiber
(4.5/5.0)
Sunland Microfiber TowelSunland Microfiber TowelMicrofiber
(4.5/5.0)
Green Foster Product Linen Flax Bath TowelGreen Foster Product Linen Flax Bath TowelLinen
(4.1/5.0)
Secret Sea Collection Bamboo Beach TowelSecret Sea Collection Bamboo Beach TowelBamboo
(5.0/5.0)

What to Look for in a Good Travel Towel

As you’re shopping, keep in mind that just because a product says it’s the “best travel towel” doesn’t mean it’s actually the truth. We’re going to dispel the myths and get you prepared to buy your new favorite travel accessory. To determine what’s best for you, there are several things you need to consider…

1. Absorbency

This is key because if it’s cute, but doesn’t actually do what it’s supposed to do, then you’ve wasted your money. Be sure the material is something that will actually dry you off.

2. Anti-Microbial

It might be tucked away in your backpack, carry-on, or car for a long time, so you want to make sure that it won’t be collecting germs, growing mold, or giving off a foul odor along the way.

3. Comfortable

Depending on your travel style, you’ll be using this towel pretty frequently. While making sure it dries you off is important, it’s also important that you like the way it feels on your skin.

4. Features

Loop

The drying loop will help the towel dry more effectively when you don’t have access to a traditional towel rack.

Carrying case

A carrying case is beneficial for several reasons. Keeping towels folded neatly while your bag is bouncing around can be challenging, and a carrying case should keep your towel either rolled or folded up nicely. These cases tend to be mesh, so even if your towel is still wet when you have to hit the road, you can put them in your bag without worrying that it’ll get everything else wet. Some carrying cases are designed for the towel to be rolled up, but others are designed for the towel to be folded flat. The shape is very important to some and not important at all to others, so just be mindful of that when picking your favorite travel towel.

5. Material

There are a variety of materials to choose from. The type of material can determine its weight, its effectiveness, and how fast it dries. Here are some of the main materials used to make the best travel towels…

Bamboo

Bamboo towels are eco-friendly, sustainable, and antibacterial. These towels are softer than linen towels and dry easily, but they’re not as compact as some people would prefer.

Linen

The pros for linen towels are that they’re antibacterial, ideal for odor protection, and super absorbent. The cons are that linen towels tend to be more expensive than other travel towels and some people don’t like the way they feel on their skin.

Microfiber

These tend to be the best quick-dry towels for travel because they’re breathable, durable, and lightweight. Some are super absorbent and some aren’t, but they’re primarily designed to wipe the water off of your skin instead of absorbing the water like a typical cotton towel. Microfiber towels are usually very soft, but some people aren’t fans of the way the material feels on their skin. Many of these towels come with a risk-free guarantee, so if you’re not sure about microfiber, you can test it out then return it if you’re not a fan. But microfiber towels are the most popular travel towels, so we’re pretty positive that once you get yours, you’ll be 100% on board.

Turkish Cotton

These are typically the second most popular travel towels behind microfiber ones. The draw for these towels is the unbelievable comfort. The thin cotton means they take up less space in your bag and they’re super absorbant. Because they’re made of cotton they’re not necessary the greatest backpacking or camping towels because they take a bit longer to dry. But if you’ll mainly be using your towel periodically, these are great because they can also act as a scarf or blanket.

6. Reason for Use

The reason you’re using it will determine what size towel is best. If you’re a minimalist and are only packing your backpack with the essentials like some clothes, a water bottle, and your backpacking tent, then a smaller size towel is best for you. If you’re a water lover and are looking for some light beach towels then you should probably be on the lookout for larger towels that let you lounge on them and that dry you off well.

7. Size / Packability

Travel towels come in a variety of sizes. The ideal towel won’t take up too much space in your carry-on luggage or your travel bag, but depending on what you’ll be using it for will determine what size towel you actually need. Towels usually range from around 24” x 12” to 78” x 35”, but can come in an endless variety of sizes. If it’s too small then it may not be very useful, but if it’s too big then it’ll take up the space of other important travel gear like your ultralight laptop or your travel blow dryer. The packability will be determined by the size and material, so keep that in mind as you’re shopping.

8. Weight

This is another thing that varies in importance based on what you’ll be using it for. If you’re headed trekking for a few weeks, then you’ll want to get one that’s as light as possible. If you’re taking the car to the beach then weight doesn’t matter as much.

Best Travel Towel Reviews

We wouldn’t leave you with all of the things that are important in a travel towel without telling you about the greatest ones on the market. So here are some of the best lightweight travel towels…

Youphoria Quick Dry Travel Towel

Youphoria Quick Dry Travel Towel

Your guaranteed satisfaction is why Youphoria has uncontestedly the best travel towel on the market. They come in a variety of sizes (20” x 40”, 28” x 56”, and 32” x 72”) so there’s one for every occasion and location. This microfiber towel can hold 4 times its weight in water and can dry up to 10 times faster than traditional cotton towels. The snap hanging loop makes it easy to hang your towel almost anywhere to dry. It also comes with a mesh carrying bag so if you’re on the go you can still pack it away without everything else in your bag getting wet. When you search for the best travel towel reviews, you’ll see that not only is Youphoria popular because they have an amazing product, but also because of their unbeatable customer service and satisfaction.

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Wise Owl Outfitters Microfiber Travel Towel

Wise Owl Outfitters Microfiber Travel Towel

Wise Owl Outfitters is one of those companies known for producing premium travel gear. Along with having top-of-the-line fast-drying towels for travel, they also produce one of the greatest camping hammocks on the market. Not only do you have the option of two sizes (5’ x 2.5’ and 4’ x 2’), but you’ll also receive a free small travel towel and a carrying case with your purchase. The microfiber material is super soft, obviously quick-drying, and includes a snap loop. Perfect for any type of travel, you can’t go wrong with the Wise Owl Outfitters Microfiber Travel Towel.

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Rainleaf Microfiber Travel Towel

Rainleaf Microfiber Travel Towel

Other than the quality, the best thing about these towels is the variety. They are great beach, backpacking, and camping towels because you have six size options (ranging from 12” x 24” to 40” x 72”) that work for whatever you need. Not only is this microfiber travel towel quick-drying, but it’s also anti-microbial to protect from germs and odors. The mesh carrying bag makes it easy to take wherever you need to go, and the bag even comes with a zipper pocket that acts as a travel wallet to store your valuables. The Rainleaf Microfiber Travel Towel has everything you need in a quality travel towel plus great customer service. So if you’re not 100% satisfied, they encourage you to contact them so they can work everything out for you.

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Relefree Microfiber Travel Towel

Relefree Microfiber Travel Towel

Not only will you get a premium fast-drying beach towel from Relefree, but you’ll also get a free smaller hand towel. Your free towel measures 24” x 15” and is ideal for cleaning your face whether you’re at the gym or in your hostel. The larger towel is easily one of the greatest light beach towels for travel because it measures 60” x 30”, but still packs down and weighs only 10 ounces (including the bag and smaller towel). Not only can you expect a hanging clip, but the towels also come in a variety of bright colors. With the packed mesh bag only measuring 10” x 8”, the Relefree Microfiber Travel Towel is ideal to help you save space for any vacation.

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Swan Comfort 100% Natural Turkish Cotton Beach Towel

Swan Comfort 100% Natural Turkish Cotton Beach Towel

Inspired by Turkish spas, if comfort is your thing, then these amazingly light beach towels are the ones for you. The 100% Turkish cotton means they’re super absorbent and some of the best quick-dry towels for travel; but most importantly, they’re some of the most comfortable towels on the market. In true peshtemal style, your towel will get softer and more absorbent with each wash. Its large size (70” x 39”) makes it the best travel beach towel, while the material makes it easy to roll up into a comfy travel pillow in case you accidentally leave yours at home. Also because of its size, it’s great for a variety of purposes. So while it’s a perfect travel towel, it can also be used as everything from a scarf to a blanket, and even a rug.

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Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towel

Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towel

There’s no way these towels won’t catch your eye. Previously featured on the British TV show Dragons’ Den, Dock & Bay are revolutionizing the industry by creating the absolute best microfiber towel for travel. These brightly striped towels not only come in large (63” x 31”) and extra large (78” x 35”), but you can also get a circular towel (with a 75-inch diameter) that’s perfect for having a picnic in the most beautiful parks in the USA, stopping to stargaze while you road trip through Croatia, and everything in between. While they can be a bit heavy for backpacking (weighing between .8 and 1.9 pounds), if you love large towels, then these make excellent quick-dry camping towels because of their premium quality. Between being compact, sand-free, and colorful, the Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towel will make sure you stand out no matter where you are in the world.

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Shandali Microfiber Travel Towel

Shandali Microfiber Travel Towel

If you’re a minimalist traveler then this is a perfect towel for you. Coming in small (40” x 20”) and medium (48” x 24”) sizes, it’s known as the best travel towel for backpacking because it’s super lightweight, quick-drying, and ideally sized to have countless uses. Tuck it in your travel pants pocket or in your backpack pocket and pull it out quickly after a shower, after a workout, or when you’re drying your camping dishes, then watch it dry super fast when you hang it by its loop. The microfiber is made from 20% nylon and 80% polyester, and the high thread count means you can enjoy its velvety softness for years to come.

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Sunland Microfiber Towel

Sunland Microfiber Towel

When you ask people about this towel, you’re likely to hear things like, “It’s a great towel after a swim” or “It’s the best backpacking towel I’ve ever bought”, and the Sunland Microfiber Towel is well-deserving of its compliments. The company knows travel needs can change as time goes on, so not only can you choose from six different sizes, you can get one towel or a set of two, and choose from a range of colors. The largest towel (72” x 40”) weighs in at 14.46 ounces while the smallest (24” x 12”) weighs just a mere 1.96 ounces. The microfiber towel has a suede-like feel and can even be machine-washed and tumbled dry.

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Green Foster Product Linen Flax Bath Towel

Green Foster Product Linen Flax Bath Towel

Between the comfort and practicality, there’s no better option when it comes to lightweight towels for traveling. Made from 100% linen flax, the towel measures 58” x 28”, meaning it can have a variety of uses. While it won’t dry as fast as a microfiber towel, it still dries quickly enough to earn a spot in your bag. The linen flax material gives you a towel that’s naturally stain-resistant, hypoallergenic, and anti-bacterial. In terms of cleaning, you can take your pick of machine-washing it or hand-washing it without having to worry about it being damaged. If all that isn’t enough to convince you, you should know Green Foster Product is so confident in their product that they even offer a 100% risk-free satisfaction guarantee.

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Secret Sea Collection Bamboo Beach Towel

Secret Sea Collection Bamboo Beach Towel

Combining organic bamboo with turkish cotton gives you travel towel perfection. While the quality and comfort are immediately noticeable in this 69” x 39” towel, the fact that the fringes are hand-knotted by Turkish locals means there’s an added sense of love and detail that goes into your towel. Created with 0 chemicals, the Secret Sea Collection Bamboo Beach Towel is anti-fungal and eco-friendly. When looking for the best towel for travel, there’s no doubt this should be one of your top choices.

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Now that you’ve chosen your favorite from the best travel towels, you can take comfort in the fact that you’ll never have to pay for a hostel towel again and can trust that your towel is comfortable, absorbent, and quick-drying.

The Author

Robin is a Cleveland native by birth, but an adventurer by choice. She looks forward to traveling more of the world and writing each step of the way.

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