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Best Overall: Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towel at Amazon
"Its extra-large size means you can use it to change into your swimsuit."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Travel Towel at Amazon
"Stands out for its combination of functionality, style, and affordability."
Best Turkish: Nature Is Gift Turkish Cotton Towel at Amazon
"Gets softer and more absorbent with every wash."
Best for Variety: RainLeaf Microfiber Towel at Amazon
"With seven colors to suit all tastes and no fewer than six sizes."
Best Budget: WGOOT Quick Dry Microfiber Travel Towel at Amazon
"You'll have all the benefits of traveling with a conventional terry cloth towel."
Best Multipurpose: Snappy Towels Waffle Weave Microfiber Towel at Amazon
"None of the other travel towels are as versatile as this one."
Best Eco-Friendly: Nomadix Yoga Travel Towel at Amazon
"Made from 100 percent recycled materials."
Best Set: OlimpiaFit 3-Size Towels at Amazon
"You get three, various-sized towels for the price of most individually-bought towels."
Best for Backpacking: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Towel at Amazon
"Its snap loop means you can easily hang it up on a tree or tent."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towel
The Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towel is a travel towel made specifically with seaside vacations in mind. Its extra-large size (78 x 35 inches) means you can use it to change into your swimsuit, and you’ve got more room to sunbathe without getting sandy. In fact, the microfiber fabric repels sand so you can shake it off quickly and easily before packing the towel back into your bag. It’s also quick-drying, super absorbent, and has that smooth microfiber feel.
Despite its huge size, this travel towel is both compact and lightweight. It tips the scale at 1.1 pounds and packs down into a 10 x 6-inch roll. Use the included travel pouch to keep your towel clean and contained within your luggage. The loop sewn into one corner comes in handy when drying the towel after a day at the beach, while a range of bright, summery colors make it easy to find your spot. Patterns include Cabana Bondi Blue, Summer American Dream, and Festival Tomatina.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Travel Towel
The Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Travel Towel stands out for its combination of functionality, style, and affordability. Made from absorbent microfiber, the towel can hold up to five times its own weight in water and dries up to 10 times faster than a normal terry cloth towel. The fabric is also anti-microbial and won’t succumb to mildew halfway through your trip.
There are three sizes: 20 x 40 inches, 28 x 56 inches, or 32 x 72 inches. Whichever you choose, the travel towel rolls neatly into the provided mesh bag, keeping it compact throughout your trip. Use the quick-snap loop to hang it from your hotel shower rail, or to turn a branch into a makeshift washing line when camping. Contrasting hems give it extra style points, with 11 color combos to choose from including mint/gray, blue/green, and gray/pink. Your purchase is protected by a lifetime warranty.
Best Turkish: Nature Is Gift Turkish Cotton Towel
Nature Is Gift’s Turkish Cotton Towel takes inspiration from the peshtemals, or traditional towels used in Turkish hammams. It is made from 100 percent natural Turkish cotton — a premium fabric with extra-long fibers that gets softer and more absorbent with every wash. It dries more quickly than terry cloth towels and is significantly more compact. When folded flat, this travel towel also takes up very little luggage space when traveling.
At 39 x 71 inches, this is a large towel that provides ample coverage, whether you use it as a changing screen at the beach or as a cover-up when walking from your bedroom to a communal bathroom. There is a range of colors to choose from, including grass, lilac, aqua, and rich gray. All colors have statement-making stripes and hand-knotted tassels along the shorter edges. When you’re not using it as a towel, this product also doubles as a scarf, sarong, picnic blanket, or throw for your living room at home.
Best for Variety: RainLeaf Microfiber Towel
If you’re looking for different colors or sizes, consider the RainLeaf Microfiber Towel. Similar to most other travel towels, it's made from fast-drying, absorbent microfiber. There are seven colors to suit all tastes (think army green, blue, rose red, or orange) and no fewer than six sizes ranging from extra small (12 x 24 inches) to an extra, extra-large (40 x 72 inches).
This soft towel is also anti-microbial and folds (rather than rolls) into a breathable, waterproof carry bag that protects the rest of your clothes even if it's still a bit damp. When you get home from your travels, it works just as well as a beach or gym towel. Use the snap loop to hang it up to dry and the corner zip pocket to hide your cell phone or wallet from prying eyes on the beach.
Best Budget: WGOOT Quick Dry Microfiber Travel Towel
Made of microfiber, the WGOOT Quick Dry Microfiber Travel Towel absorbs water effectively and dries quickly, so that you have all the benefits of traveling with a conventional terry cloth towel. A hanging loop expedites the drying process while the fabric’s anti-microbial qualities mean that you don’t have to worry about germs or funny odors.
The travel towel comes with a cleverly designed carry sack. It’s mesh on one side so that the towel can continue to dry if you have to pack it away while it’s still damp. The other side is waterproof so it won’t transfer water onto the other items in your suitcase. The bag’s reflective drawcord makes it easy to locate your towel in the dark. There are four sizes to choose from, ranging from 31 x 14 inches to 72 x 32 inches. Opt for blue, gray, or purple to match your luggage color scheme.
Best Multipurpose: Snappy Towels Waffle Weave Microfiber Towel
The Snappy Towels Waffle Weave Microfiber Towel offers the same properties as other microfiber towels in the market: it’s quick to dry, absorbent, compact, and lightweight. None of the others are as versatile as this one, however, which has clever snaps along its edges. You can use them to fasten the travel towel around your waist as a sarong or changing cover. You can also fasten it around your shoulders as a shade-giving cape or poncho.
If you’re traveling with small children, the towel can double as a stroller cover and offers privacy to breastfeeding moms. You can even connect the snaps to transform the towel into a tote bag for carrying belongings to and from the beach; and at the end of the day, you can fasten it over a deck railing to dry. If you buy more than one towel, they can snap together to create a large beach blanket for your friends and family. Available in green or orange, the sand-free, travel towel measures 54 x 27 inches and there are other sizes offered online.
Best Eco-Friendly: Nomadix Yoga Travel Towel
Environmentally conscious travelers will love the Nomadix Yoga Travel Towel. It’s made from 100 percent recycled materials, including fibers extracted from post-consumer plastic bottles. More than just a gimmick, the travel towel also works well. At one pound, it’s lightweight and compact, dries quickly, and stays fresh thanks to its anti-microbial properties. It’s also slip-resistant, making it ideal for yoga camps and wellness retreats.
The towel’s multipurpose nature is in line with the brand’s “own less, do more” ethos, whereby customers purchase one quality, long-lasting product that fulfills several functions. You can use your Nomadix towel for traveling, yoga, camping, beach trips, and gym workouts. Additionally, the two-sided towel comes in a variety of trendy, travel-inspired prints. The Yosemite towel is a favorite complete with a rendering of El Capitan.
Best Set: OlimpiaFit 3-Size Towels
An excellent value, you get three, various-sized towels for the price of most individually-bought towels with the OlimpiaFit set. The 100 percent microfiber travel towels measure 50 x 30 inches (large), 30 x 15 inches (medium), and 15 x 15 inches (small), making the set perfect for multi-purpose use — whether you're headed to the beach, campgrounds, or gym. They're also all anti-microbial, extremely absorbent, hypoallergenic, and quick-drying, while the lightweight, compact towels can pack four times smaller than terrycloth towels. In addition to a hanging loop, the travel-friendly set also comes with a mesh carrying bag for each towel.
Best for Backpacking: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Towel
From outdoor experts Wise Owl Outfitters, the brand's camping towel is ideal to bring along for your next backpacking trip or adventure. Thanks to the towel's snap loop, you can easily hang it up on a tree or tent. Made of a special microfiber blend, the lightweight travel towel is extremely soft compared to other microfiber towels. It's also extra-absorbent and fast-drying, with an included washcloth and mesh carry bag for convenience. With two sizes available, the large size (24 x 48 inches) also comes with a 12 x 12-inch towel and the extra-large size (30 x 60 inches) comes with a 12 x 24-inch towel. Better yet, Wise Owl Outfitters is a family-owned, U.S.-based brand and makes all of their products in their Nashville, Tenn. headquarters.