The 9 Best Travel Towels of 2022

Use the Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towel on your next trip

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Travel towels testing

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

TripSavvy's Pick

A travel towel should be large enough for your needs but still compact, like Sea to Summit's Drylite Towel. The microfiber is quick-drying, super absorbent, and soft. Rumpl's Everywhere Towel is our runner-up and is a close second to the Drylite Towel.

In the midst of packing all of the other essentials in your luggage, it can be easy to forget those last-minute items like certain beauty products for your toiletry bag or even a travel towel. While it might be easy to treat them as an afterthought, travel towels are a handy necessity whether you're roughing it in the woods while camping or leisurely sipping cocktails on the beach. An excellent travel towel is fast-absorbing and fairly sizable depending on what activities you'll be getting into. It also has to be compact and foldable.

To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best travel towels.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Sea to Summit Drylite Towel at Amazon

"This towel comes in five sizes, eight colors, and its own carrying case."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Rumpl Everywhere Towel at Amazon

"This packable towel was one of the softest we tested."

Best Budget: RainLeaf Microfiber Towel at Amazon

"This towel has seven colors to suit all tastes and no fewer than six sizes."

Best Eco-Friendly: Nomadix Original Towel at Nomadix

"The towel isn't just colorful and functional; it's also made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials."

Best for Backpacking: PackTowl UltraLite Towel at Amazon

"This ultralight towel is your perfect backpacking companion."

Best Turkish: Nature Is Gift Turkish Cotton Towel at Amazon

"The material just gets softer and more absorbent with every wash."

Best Multipurpose: Snappy Towels Waffle Weave Microfiber Towel at Amazon

"This towel is as versatile and functional as it gets."

Best Set: OlimpiaFit 3-Size Towels at Amazon

"You get three various-sized towels for the price of most individually-bought ones."

Best Linen: Goodlinens Lightweight Linen Travel Towel at goodlinens.com

"The 100 percent linen towel measures 36 x 56 inches but folds compactly for travel."

Best Overall: Sea to Summit Drylite Towel

Sea to Summit Drylite Towel

Sea to Summit

What We Like
  • Super absorbent

  • Soft

  • Comes with its own carrying case

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing yet

Sea to Summit's Drylite Towel is our overall top travel towel pick. We love that it has a case for storage, its soft suede finish, and lightness (the size large weighs just over 5 ounces). We love that it comes in five sizes ranging from a hand towel to a beach towel. It's incredibly absorbent and quick-drying. And it's machine-washable and features primarily recycled materials.

Price at time of publication: $25 (size large)

Dimensions: 24 x 47 inches (L) | Weight: 5.1 ounces (L) | Materials: Microfiber with suede finish | Sustainability: Made of 80 percent recycled polyester and 20 percent nylon

Sea to Summit DryLite Towel

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Rumpl Everywhere Towel

What We Like
  • Super soft

  • Quick-drying and packable

  • Lots of colors and comes with a hang loop

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing yet

Rumpl is popular for its puffy camp and travel blankets, which we like a lot. But if you haven't tried the brand's travel towels, now's the time. These extremely packable towels are incredibly soft thanks to its polyester microsuede material. It's quick-drying and highly absorbent. And thanks to a microbial finish, we were able to use this towel multiple times between washes, prolonging the lifespan of the towel.

Price at time of publication: $37

Dimensions: 72 x 29.5 inches | Weight: 0.8 pounds | Materials: 95 percent polyester, 5 percent spandex | Sustainability: Not listed

Rumpl Everywhere Towel

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

Best Budget: RainLeaf Microfiber Towel

What We Like
  • Waterproof carrying bag

  • Extremely soft

  • Has a zippered pocket

What We Don't Like
  • The color can bleed when washing

If you're looking for a wallet-friendly towel that comes in different colors or sizes, consider the RainLeaf Microfiber Towel. Like 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.

Price at time of publication: $9

Dimensions: 48 x 24 inches (L) | Weight: 0.4 pounds (L) | Materials: Microfiber (polyester, polyamide) | Sustainability: Not listed |

Best Eco-Friendly: Nomadix Original Towel

What We Like
  • Made with post-consumer recycled materials

  • Great colors and prints

  • Super soft and absorbent

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Environmentally conscious and sustainable travelers will love the Nomadix Original Towel. It features 90 percent post-consumer recycled polyester and packs down very small. We've been loving it so much; we've also been using it as our regular shower towel in addition to a travel towel, beach towel, and post-run and bike ride towel.

Nomadix claims this towel absorbs four times its weight in water and dries four times faster than cotton towels. It's also "funk-resistant," sand-resistant, and pet hair-resistant. So far, we can confirm the affirmative for all of those claims.

Price at time of publication: $40

Dimensions: 72.5 x 30 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Materials: Recycled polyester, nylon | Sustainability: 90 percent post-consumer recycled polyester

Nomadix Original Towel

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

Best for Backpacking: PackTowl UltraLite Towel

What We Like
  • Many different sizes

  • Weighs just about 5 ounces

  • Ultra moisture-wicking

What We Don't Like
  • Normally expensive, but currently on sale

PackTowl is probably one of—if not the best—backcountry and wilderness towel brands. Its UltraLite Towel is excellent for backpacking as the largest beach-size towel weighs just 5.1 ounces. It's soft, thanks to anti-pill fabrics. And it claims to have four times the absorbency of ordinary towels and dries 80 percent faster. We also love that it has a hang loop to hang from your tent or a tree and is machine washable.

Price at time of publication: $12 to $41, depending on size

Dimensions: 54 x 25 inches | Weight: 3.4 ounces | Materials: 70 percent polyester, 30 percent nylon | Sustainability: Not listed

PackTowl UltraLite Towel

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

Best Turkish: Nature Is Gift Turkish Cotton Towel

What We Like
  • Quick drying

  • Organic material

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Can shrink over time

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 you're on the go.

At 70 x 37 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 are various 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.

Price at time of publication: $18

Dimensions: 70 x 37 inches | Weight: 0.37 pounds | Materials: Cotton | Sustainability: Organically dyed yarn

Best Multipurpose: Snappy Towels Waffle Weave Microfiber Towel

What We Like
  • Versatile snaps

  • Lightweight and compact

What We Don't Like
  • More expensive than similar styles

The Snappy Towels Waffle Weave Microfiber Towel offers the same properties as other microfiber towels: it’s quick to dry, absorbent, compact, and lightweight. However, none of the others are as versatile as this one, 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 50 x 27 inches, and other sizes are offered online. 

Price at time of publication: $20

Dimensions: 50 x 27 inches | Weight: 0.65 pounds | Materials: Microfiber (polyester, polyamide) | Sustainability: Not listed

Best Set: OlimpiaFit 3-Size Towels

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Great for a range of uses

  • Includes an elastic band

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't hang well

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.

Price at time of publication: $25

Dimensions: 50 x 30 inches (L) | Weight: 0.75 pounds (all) | Materials: Microfiber | Sustainability: Not listed

Best Linen: Goodlinens Lightweight Linen Travel Towel

lightweight linen travel towel

Goodlinens

What We Like
  • Highly absorbent

  • Durable material

  • Easy to clean

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Doesn't come with a carrying bag

Measuring 36 x 56 inches, Goodlinens' travel towel is pretty sizable whether you want to use it while enjoying a picnic or wrap yourself up after taking a dip in the ocean. Despite its size, it folds compactly to fit in a backpack. The towel is made from 100 percent linen, is easy to wash, and even gets softer over time. The design is a natural or beige hue, and the single blue stripe adds a fun touch but can also distinguish your towel from everyone else's.

Price at time of publication: $52

Dimensions: 56 x 36 inches | Weight: 0.61 pounds | Materials: Linen | Sustainability: Not listed

What to Look for in Travel Towels

Material

The choice of material is usually at the top of the list when determining which travel towel is the best option for you. Microfiber towels will feel great against the skin and stand up pretty well to tons of washing. Some even repel sand, which is great if you're a frequent beachgoer. Other options can include cotton or the luxe feel of natural, organic Turkish cotton.

Packability

Long towels are great and provide tons of function, whether you plan to use them for a picnic, at the beach, or drying off. However, bulky towels can be pretty inconvenient when traveling. Opt for a towel that's lightweight and folds easily. Some towels come with carrying bags and even elastic bands to keep them tightly wrapped while traveling.

Absorbency

An absorbent towel will be useful for activities like beach days or camping. Look for a towel with a high absorbency so you can dry yourself off quickly and not carry around a soggy towel.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How should I pack a travel towel?

    Rolled towels take up less space than folded towels, so keep that in mind when packing. If you are carrying a smaller bag or a backpack, place the rolled towel at the button of your bag because it can be compressed to fit larger things on top. Since travel towels can dry fast, you don’t have to worry as much about finding a spot for a damp towel on your return trip home. 

  • Do travel towels have to be anti-microbial?

    When traveling, sometimes things can be forgotten about when they’re tucked away in a bag or a car. Antimicrobial towels help to prevent those forgotten towels from smelling bad and becoming moldy. A towel that is not antimicrobial can get the job done, but it will be important to be diligent about drying, cleaning, and storing the towel properly after use. 

  • What is the best size for a travel towel?

    Most towels range from 20 to 70 inches in length. Having a towel that won’t take up too much space in your luggage is ideal, so you will need to determine which size towel works best for your needs. Opting for a larger towel could be the best option if you are planning to spend time at the beach and will need to dry off. 

Why Trust TripSavvy

Author Jessica Macdonald is a freelance writer specializing in travel, scuba diving, and wildlife conservation. She is a two-time winner of The Telegraph's Just Back travel writing competition and has written extensively for various magazines, travel agencies, websites, and PR companies. 

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