Man standing in front of a waterfall.

The 7 Best Towels for Backpacking in 2021 – Reviews

The 7 Best Towels for Backpacking in 2021 – Reviews

Table of Contents

    Backpacking works up a real sweat. For longer treks, inclement weather can soak hikers and  backpackers who are caught out in the elements. All sorts of situations can leave the outdoors enthusiast damp and in need of drying off. Campsite chores like bathing and washing dishes and other utensils call for wiping down water and grime, and the proper upkeep of backpacking equipment means a versatile, quick-drying implement is essential.

    In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:

    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    • PACK FOR ANY SITUATION: Youphoria all-purpose travel towels come in three convenient sizes, in inches: 20 x 40, 28 x 56, and 32 x 72. Whether you need pack light camping towel, shower gym towel, a...

    7 Best Towels for Backpacking - Overview

    And here’s an overview of the best backpacking towels on the market today:

    Overview
    OlimpiaFit Microfiber Towels - Quick Dry 3 Size Pack (51inx31in, 30inx15in, 15inx15in) Camping, Sports, Beach, Backpacking, Gym, Travel Towels with Bag - Soft, Compact, Lightweight
    PackTowl Personal Quick Dry Microfiber Towel for Camping, Yoga, and Sports
    Rainleaf Microfiber Towel,Gray,24 X 48 Inches
    Sea to Summit Portable Pocket Towel for Camping, Gym, and Travel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Grey
    Sea to Summit Drylite Towel, Lightweight Camping and Travel Towel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Cobalt Blue
    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    Title
    OlimpiaFit Microfiber Towels - Quick Dry 3 Size Pack (51inx31in, 30inx15in, 15inx15in) Camping, Sports, Beach, Backpacking, Gym, Travel Towels with Bag - Soft, Compact, Lightweight
    PackTowl Personal Quick Dry Microfiber Towel for Camping, Yoga, and Sports
    Rainleaf Microfiber Towel,Gray,24 X 48 Inches
    Sea to Summit Portable Pocket Towel for Camping, Gym, and Travel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Grey
    Sea to Summit Drylite Towel, Lightweight Camping and Travel Towel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Cobalt Blue
    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    Price
    Price not available
    Price not available
    $11.99
    $29.95
    $36.95
    $14.99
    Rating
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Overview
    OlimpiaFit Microfiber Towels - Quick Dry 3 Size Pack (51inx31in, 30inx15in, 15inx15in) Camping, Sports, Beach, Backpacking, Gym, Travel Towels with Bag - Soft, Compact, Lightweight
    Title
    OlimpiaFit Microfiber Towels - Quick Dry 3 Size Pack (51inx31in, 30inx15in, 15inx15in) Camping, Sports, Beach, Backpacking, Gym, Travel Towels with Bag - Soft, Compact, Lightweight
    Price
    Price not available
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    PackTowl Personal Quick Dry Microfiber Towel for Camping, Yoga, and Sports
    Title
    PackTowl Personal Quick Dry Microfiber Towel for Camping, Yoga, and Sports
    Price
    Price not available
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Rainleaf Microfiber Towel,Gray,24 X 48 Inches
    Title
    Rainleaf Microfiber Towel,Gray,24 X 48 Inches
    Price
    $11.99
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Sea to Summit Portable Pocket Towel for Camping, Gym, and Travel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Grey
    Title
    Sea to Summit Portable Pocket Towel for Camping, Gym, and Travel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Grey
    Price
    $29.95
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Sea to Summit Drylite Towel, Lightweight Camping and Travel Towel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Cobalt Blue
    Title
    Sea to Summit Drylite Towel, Lightweight Camping and Travel Towel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Cobalt Blue
    Price
    $36.95
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    Title
    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    Price
    $14.99
    Rating
    -
    Details

    No need to fret though, because human technological advancement has reached its absolute zenith in what could possibly be the end-all-be-all of utilitarian efficiency, that simplest of all handy tools: the humble towel. Leisure activities like swimming and fishing expose hikers and backpackers to the wet stuff and an absorbent towel can save you from continuing the rest of your backpacking trip wet and uncomfortable. 

    Microfiber travel towels, terrycloth drying towels, or suede camp towels, there are many types, uses, and constructions for towels. Simple as towels are, manufacturers have come up with lots of nifty design features for backpacking towels. The best backpacking towel should be quick-drying, absorbent, and as soft to the touch as household cotton towels. Odor control and antimicrobial treatments have revolutionized the towel, ensuring that hikers and backpackers can use one, wring it out, leave it out for during a short drying time, and pack it away without fearing a wretched smell or nasty microscopic growth.

    We’ve taken a look at the best backpacking towels on Amazon and compiled this guide so you can pair it with a rain poncho and stay dry through anything on your next backpacking trip. Don’t throw in the towel in the middle of this guide, because our top pick for the best backpacking towel is at the end. 

    Green pine trees field near a mountain.

    With the right backpacking towel you can easily add swimming and watersports to your next backpacking trip.

    1. OlimpiaFit Microfiber Towels

    OlimpiaFit Microfiber Towels - Quick Dry 3 Size Pack (51inx31in, 30inx15in, 15inx15in) Camping, Sports, Beach, Backpacking, Gym, Travel Towels with Bag - Soft, Compact, Lightweight
    • Compact: Because of their compact stowaway design, these 3 micro fiber towels of varying sizes are ideal for any on-the-go activity. They can be condensed in size 4 times smaller than a towel of the...

    The OlimpiaFit is one of our recommended towels with thousands of positive reviews and one of the amazon choices for outdoor towels. This is as a result of its amazing features which make it suitable for outdoor use. You can check it out and see what people are saying about this lightweight outdoor towel. 

    This towel is made of microfiber material that ensures it dries up fast for outdoor use. Besides, it comes in a variety of colors and sizes giving you enough options to pick from.

    Regardless of the size you choose, this OlimpiaFit outdoor towel is lightweight and compact, making it easy to have in your backpack, shoulder, or around your neck. Also, it comes with a carrying bag, to keep you organized while camping. This towel is super absorbent and extra smooth, making it absorb more water, dry faster, and soft on the body. 

    It is advisable to wash this towel before making use of it for the first time. And also wash separately 2 to 3 times to see if other colors may bleed.  Additionally, this towel is treated with antibacterial, to keep you safe and the towel from microorganisms that can grow on it such as mildew and many more.

    The slip-resistant and friendly surface makes it a perfect travel accessory for backpacking, weightlifting, camping, or if you need a beach towel. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Quick-drying
    • Anti-bacteria to keep you safe from multiple uses
    • Comes with a carrying case for better portability
    • Extra layers to absorb more water
    • Ultra-smooth on the skin
    • Resistant to odor
    • Also, easy to clean

    CONS

    • Does not come with a snap loop

    2. PackTowl Personal Towel

    PackTowl Personal Quick Dry Microfiber Towel for Camping, Yoga, and Sports
    • Quick-drying microfiber towel for camp, beach, sport, and travel

    The PackTowl Personal has a few additional design features that merit mention alongside the Nano. It’s constructed of super absorbent microfiber fabric that soaks up four times its weight in water and wrings out easily. The PackTowl Personal dries nearly 70 percent faster and is much more compact than comparable cotton towels. Most critically, PackTowl has built this backpacking towel with polygiene odor control which keeps it fresh, even during extended use. It comes in a variety of different sizes; the body towel measures 25 x 54 inches and weighs 6.4 ounces which makes it really portable for hikers and backpackers. 

    Additional features of the PackTowl Personal include the attached hang loop and the included zippered mesh carry bag. It manages well without collecting tons of lint and sand brushes off the towel easily. Clean it up without much effort after the backpacking trip is over since its machine washable; for longevity it may be wise to hang-dry the PackTowl Personal after each use, although it should be able to stand a fair bit of tumble-dry cycles. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Super absorbent microfiber construction
    • Fast drying
    • Polygiene odor control
    • Different sizes available
    • Hang loop & mesh carry bag included
    • Machine washable

    CONS

    • No antimicrobial or antibacterial treatment

    3. Rainleaf Microfiber Towel

    Rainleaf Microfiber Towel,Gray,24 X 48 Inches
    • FAST DRYING - much comfortable for next use & convenient to pack. SUPER ABSORBENT - capable of repeat use in short time & dry you fast. BEAUTIFUL COLOR - much suitable for multi use daily.

    Rainleaf has crafted this microfiber towel out of high-quality polyester and polyamide microfibers that have a market-leading suede-like softness to the touch. It is fast-drying despite an absorbency that beats most of the competing backpacking towels. It comes in various sizes and colors for many personalization options and a variety of uses. While lightweight, the Rainleaf isn’t as ultralight as some other models in this guide, but that translates into greater absorbency from the microfiber material, which can absorb up to 5 times its own weight in water.

    There is an attached hanging loop on this Rainleaf and it also comes with a mesh bag for transporting. For comfort in buying, the Rainleaf Microfiber Towel comes with Rainleaf’s lifetime warranty. It wrings out easily so this shouldn’t present too many problems, but this Rainleaf does not have any odor control or antimicrobial treatment. With such a brief drying time, it’s unlikely that an odor will develop unless the wet towel is left in the mesh carry case without drying at all. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • High-quality polyester & polyamide microfiber 
    • Various sizes & colors
    • Super absorbent
    • Hanging loop and carry case included
    • Lifetime warranty

    CONS

    • No odor control
    • No antimicrobial or antibacterial treatment
    • Not ultralight

    4. Sea to Summit Pocket Towel

    Sea to Summit Portable Pocket Towel for Camping, Gym, and Travel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Grey
    • Lightweight, portable towel fits in a jacket pocket for camping, backpacking, hiking, boating, travel, and trips to the gym; suitable for bath, kitchen, and beach

    The pocket towel from Sea to Summit is ultralight, compact, and super portable. It’s constructed from a microfiber material that makes it absorbent and fast-drying. Sea to Summit has outfitted their pocket towel with the standard hang loop that secures with a snap and the included carry case is made from a molded semi-hard plastic rather than a mesh material.

    The towel wrings out easily and has a short drying time. It’s also machine washable for easy cleaning when you get back from the trail. The woven microfiber construction makes it really soft to the touch, like you might expect from a regular cotton towel. Sea to Summit advises users to wash it on its own a few times after purchase just in case some of the colors bleed off the towel. It has not been built with any antimicrobial treatment or odor control.

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Ultralight
    • Absorbent & fast-drying 
    • Semi-hard plastic carry case
    • Soft to the touch
    • Quick-drying

    CONS

    • Colors may bleed
    • No antimicrobial or antibacterial treatment or odor control

    5. Sea to Summit Drylite Towel

    Sea to Summit Drylite Towel, Lightweight Camping and Travel Towel, X-Large / Beach Towel, Cobalt Blue
    • Lightweight, packable towel is ideal for camping, backpacking, hiking, boating, and travel; suitable for bath, kitchen, and beach

    There are a few notable differences between this and the last Sea to Summit towel. Both are solid options and will do the job you need them for out on the trail or at a campsite. But the Sea to Summit Drylite towel is constructed out of an ultra-suede finish that makes it one of the softest backpacking towels in this guide. It’s lightweight and compact enough to go along on any backpacking trip, even with ultralight packers. It comes in a variety of sizes and a mesh bag carrying case is included with purchase. The Drylite is fairly absorbent and has a snap loop attached for easy hanging. It’s also machine-washable.

    The greatest advantage to the Sea to Summit Drylite towel over almost every other backpacking towel in this guide is its silver antimicrobial treatment that keeps out unwelcome bacteria and works as a form of odor control. For most of these travel towels where the user simply wrings out the towel and dries it to prevent bacteria and bad odor, the antimicrobial treatment may seem like an extra. But for real rough and tumble backpacking trips, it will make a huge difference. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Ultra-suede finish
    • Lightweight & compact
    • Variety of sizes
    • Mesh bag carry case
    • Antimicrobial & antibacterial treatment/odor control

    CONS

    • Colors may bleed

    6. Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Towel

    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    • PACK FOR ANY SITUATION: Youphoria all-purpose travel towels come in three convenient sizes, in inches: 20 x 40, 28 x 56, and 32 x 72. Whether you need pack light camping towel, shower gym towel, a...

    Youphoria has designed this towel to be top-of-the-line in all the critical areas for backpacking towels, such as absorbency, construction, quick-drying ability, and softness. It’s super absorbent and fast-drying, constructed of a microfiber that has been treated to be suede-like to the touch. Youphoria claims this towel dries a whopping ten times fast than regular cotton towels or terrycloth towels. It has also been through an antimicrobial treatment that makes it resistant to unwanted bacteria and also offers odor control. 

    This Youphoria microfiber towel holds up to five times its weight in water and wrings out easily. The mesh carry bag makes it packable and the quick-snap hanging loop makes it easy to hang it out to dry almost anywhere. Sand, debris, and lint are all easy to brush off this towel. Youphoria also backs this towel up with its customer service promise, which isn’t exactly a warranty or lifetime guarantee but still offers some degree of consumer confidence. Overall, there are few disadvantages to this towel, which is what earns it our top pick for the best backpacking towel. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Super absorbent
    • Suede-like softness
    • Fast-drying
    • Antimicrobial & antibacterial treatment
    • Hanging loop and carry case included
    • Customer service promise

    CONS

    • Not ultralight

    7. Wise Owl Outfitters Backpacking Towel

    Sale
    Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Towel Ultra Soft Compact Quick Dry Microfiber - Great for Fitness, Hiking, Yoga, Travel, Sports, Backpacking & The Gym - Free Bonus Hand Towel 24x48 MB
    • Multipurpose: Whether you're backpacking through the mountains or going to yoga class, our quick dry towels for camping will keep you fresh and clean when you need them the most.

    Wise Owl Outfitters has designed one of the highest-quality backpacking towels in this model. It doesn’t come in a variety of sizes, but between the large size and extra-large it should serve its purpose for backpackers who aren’t planning to carry multiple pack towels with them. It’s soft like suede and the microfiber construction makes it really absorbent. It is also quick-drying, wrings out easily, and hangs up with a nice snap loop. The included mesh bag carry case is probably one of the most durable available on Amazon. They are also designed to be ultralight. For now, Wise Owl Outfitters is offering a two for the price of one deal on this towel. 

    With 20% polyamide construction, the feel of this towel from Wise Owl Outfitters is among the best. The construction also means sand and other particulate matter will brush off without much trouble, especially once the towel has dried. Wise Owl Outfitters has also crafted this towel to be machine-washable, but it might be advantageous to wash it a few times alone or with like colors just in case the colors bleed. The manufacturing process is chemical-free, but that has the disadvantage of leaving the towel neither anti-microbial nor with any type of odor control.

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Suede-like softness
    • Absorbent
    • Quick-drying
    • Wrings out easily
    • Snap loop & mesh bag carry case included

    CONS

    • No variety of different sizes
    • Not anti-microbial or antibacterial, no odor control
    • Colors may bleed

    A girl in a river outdoors.

    Now that you have your backpacking towel, hit the trail with swimming gear.

    Our Winner

    Overview
    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    Title
    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    Price
    $14.99
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    Title
    Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Camping Towel Fast Drying Lightweight - Quick Dry Travel Towel & Sport Towel - 3 Size Options
    Price
    $14.99
    Rating
    -
    Details

    For its versatility, quick-drying capability, absorbency, and antimicrobial treatment, the Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Towel has won our top pick for the best backpacking towel. It packs down compact and is fairly light, which is optimal for hikers and backpackers. It has all the extras that backpackers and hikers really wouldn’t want to go without, like a snap hook for hanging and an included carry case. Most importantly, it’s absorbent, taking in tons of water compared to its weight and wrings out easily. 

    Any kind of maintenance or use you could need a travel towel for out on the trail or at the campsite, this Youphoria will do it ably. It is soft to the skin and sand and other debris shake loose easily. Backpackers couldn’t ask for a better quick-dry towel, which is why we’ve chosen this model as our top pick for the best backpacking towel. 

    Bonus tip: Planning to use your towel as a washcloth? Check out this guide for washing dishes at a campsite!

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    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.

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