Last Updated 12/11/2021.
I have my own microfibre travel towel as does my husband and both of the children. We also own micro-towelling and cotton travel towels. But which is really the best travel towel? A lot depends on your style of travel. We’ve been travelling with them full-time for the last 6 years and before that we’d take the travel towels on shorter vacations and use them for sports, for visiting the pool, we even use them at home. They’re smaller to pack, smaller to store, easier to wash, quicker to dry, antibacterial, and generally all-round fabulous.
I honestly don’t know why people still buy regular full-size towels, they’re that good.
We took a look at what’s on the market (including microfibre cooling towels) and review a few of the best makes and types to help you choose the best travel towel for you. Travel towels are most certainly one of our Travel Essentials.
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Best Travel Towel
Choosing a Microfibre Travel Towel
We strongly recommend getting a large travel towel. We own several and the bigger ones are most useful.
Get one that will at least wrap around your body. Also, don’t share.
We took just one travel towel to Everest Base Camp in an effort to save weight. That was stupid, nobody wanted to share a used towel and we were unable to get it washed.
Luckily, when trekking, you don’t get showers very often.
Which Travel Towel Was Best?
No time to read the whole post? This is the one we chose out of all the travel towels we bought below (currently unavailable – second choice here) as seen in the photo.
It was the lightest and had the softest feel. It also came in a nice rectangular box which you could wrap as a gift and it came with a handy mini towel for hands, feet, or face. The towel itself is a good size and big enough to wrap around me after a shower.
Go ahead and click through above, this is, absolutely, the best travel towel we’ve bought.
What Size Travel Towel to Buy?
This choice is heavily influenced by gender and by the proposed use. My husband is more than happy with a tiny towel to wrap around his waist, these towels are super-efficient at drying so size isn’t really a consideration when it comes to absorbance.
As a woman, I like a larger towel to wrap right around me from armpit to knees. I also have long hair so to wrap and contain it effectively after a shower I do need a second, not quite so large, towel.
The size you buy for your children will be dependent on their age and gender, a medium should be adequate for boys, larger for teenage girls and up.
Some microfibre travel towels come in small medium and large, others come in a good range of accurately measured sizes. We’ll highlight some for you below.
Weight and Size of Towel
If you’re packing ultra-light, maybe travelling carry-on only, you’ll want to minimise size and weight. These microfibre towels are all small and weigh little, but some are significantly heavier than others.
Typical weights we found were 200- 300g for a large size. Know your maximum weight allowance for your airline, these do vary dramatically.
Are Microfibre Travel Towels Environmentally Friendly?
Microfibre is an incredibly fine synthetic fibre which can be found in multiple products these days. A micro-fibre towel usually dries four times faster, is six times lighter, and takes up a 1/8th of the space of a similar size standard towel.
These towels seem to be very much a towel for life. As mentioned, some of ours have been heavily used for 20 years retaining their looks and functionality. I’d say that was a big advantage.
Unfortunately, they are not biodegradable and are made from non-renewable resources. Like most things, it’s a compromise, nothing is a perfect solution to saving the planet.
They come out of the washing machine almost dry, so if you’re the sort to use an electric dryer, no more tumble drying huge heavy towels and wasting the planet’s resources that way.
Cotton Travel Towels May Be More Eco-Friedly
Unfortunately, the world’s waters and reefs are now contaminated with microfibres. And they don’t break down. If I were buying new now I’d give serious consideration to a natural fibre or cotton travel towel like those below.
I have used them in Turkey and we have some at home, they dry well. For travel I still prefer to pack my microfibre travel towels over these.
Cotton is a water-thirsty crop and not generally considered “green”. I don’t know what the answer is.
Manufacturers say these are 6.7 oz and 70 inch by 35 inch. 6.7 oz is under 200 g, making them super lightweight. 70 inch is 177.8 cm. If this is accurate they are bigger than and lighter than our top pick travel towel below.
The jury is out on whether cotton is a sustainable eco product in terms of water use and so on, but these won’t choke up our waterways like microfibres. The cotton towels are certainly more attractive than the microfibre towels and cost roughly the same.
It’s hard to know what is the right decision currently hopefully things will be clearer soon. We certainly do enjoy using our Turkish cotton travel towels and they’re lovely for the beach or as sarongs.
Micro Towelling or Micro Fibre Suede Finish?
The majority of the microfiber travel towels on the market today come in a soft suede finish. Some have a luxury feel, others are too stiff.
The Eco Dept towel below has the nicest feel of any that we tested. Towelling finish (micro towelling) is also available it has similar properties to microfibre but a more traditional feel.
We own some of these too, they are almost 20 years old and still going strong!
We Tested The Following Microfibre Towels for Travel, Sport, Camping, Gym or Home Use
We purchased a wide selection of brands, makes, and types to test them and choose the best travel towel for us. We even weighed them.
EcoDept Microfibre Journey Towel. The Best Travel Towel We’ve Found
- The softest, most luxurious feel of our selection.
- Comes in its own bag, inside a quality box. Great for gifts
- Comes with a free, small (60 x 38 cm) hand towel. Brilliant!
- The soft grey is a lovely choice, also in hot orange and green.
- Embossed Eco Dept logo adds to the luxury image.
- The 132cm x 81cm ( 52 x 32 inch) size, wraps around me with full armpit to knee coverage.
- This is a new purchase, but quality seems excellent.
- This towel costs just a couple of pounds or dollars more.
- Ribbon hanging loop with snap fastening.
- 215 g, weighed by me.
Mountain Warehouse Microfibre Travel Towel in Micro Towelling or Standard.
- We have owned multiple travel towels from Mountain Warehouse for 3+ years, they’ve been used and laundered almost daily, have not faded and are good as new.
- These are some of the cheapest travel towels available
- They come in a range of sizes.
- The large, at
Dock and Bay Gym & Travel Microfibre Towel
- Comes in a neat canvas and mesh zip bag.
- A big range of strong, vibrant colours.
- The embroidered Dock and Bay deck chair logo says “summer holiday”.
- Edges are hemmed rather than overstitched.
- The Large at 160cm x 80 cm ( 63 x 31 inches) is plenty big enough, from armpits to knees. Extra Large also available, Large is plenty big enough for a beach towel.
- Elastic hanging loop
- 308 g weighed by me, excluding bag.
Other Than a Travel Towel, What Travel Gear and Devices are Essential?
We strongly recommend that you pack the following items, and we’ve created the following posts around these travel products. You could also let the following video play!
- Power packs or battery packs of some kind. You do not want your phone to die at the airport!
- Travel organisers of some sort, for passports, electronics, toiletries and your clothes and shoes.
- Travel bags with some anti-theft functionality. Be it a cross-body bag or purse, or a small daypack or backpack.
- Other than this, you need a basic selection of clothes, minimal toiletries and comfortable, practical, often water-resistant shoes. You choose to carry these in a suitcase, backpack or travel pack.
Cool Towels for Travel
I saw these cooling towels while I was researching travel towels and one just flew into my shopping cart. They cost almost nothing and they work!
You simply wet them in room temperature water, dry them slightly, and they stay really cool for hours. Great for after or during workouts, journeys without air-con, hot kids, or for menopausal flushes. Also good for any tropical climate.
We live in the tropics and most of our travels have been tropical. We know these towels work for tropical conditions.
They’re cheap, so why not give one a try? Take a look here at the cooling towels.
- Amazing cooling
- Works instantly
- Tiny and lightweight
- Great for sports, tropical climates and menopausal flushes ( we love it!)
- Low cost
- Choice of colours
- Tiny waterproof carrying pouch.
- Weight negligible
Which in the Best Travel Towel For You?
Our pick is the EcoDept, it wins by a long way, but the Mountain Warehouse towels are solid performers too. Just pick your size, pick your colour and pack your bags. Special travel towels are a travel essential for us, there’s no way we’d ever pack a bulky towelling towel, nor would we travel without one. Happy towelling!