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Best Camping Towel of 2024

Gabe Richards

Written by Gabe Richards

Gabe has tackled peaks throughout BC and Alaska, amassing over 15 years of mountaineering and backcountry experience.

This post was last updated on April 22, 2024.

Best Camping Towel of 2024

Camping is all about enjoying the great outdoors, but let's get real; it's also about having the right gear. Good gear can make or break your trip, especially when it comes to comfort. And in the world of camping, few items hold as much weight in the comfort department than a solid, reliable camping towel.

Let us introduce you to the Sea to Summit DryLite, the superhero of camping towels. It outperforms its competitors in absorbency and drying speed; it’s crafted from superlative material; it's ultralight and packs down nice and small, and it's highly resistant to wear and tear—all while offering excellent coverage. Not to forget, it’s antimicrobial to keep those funky camping smells at bay.

A camping towel might not seem like a deal breaker when it comes to preparing for your adventures, but trust us, a quick-drying, lightweight, durable towel like Sea to Summit DryLite can be a game changer. Want tips on other essential gear? Check out our posts on the Best Backpacking Tents, Best Ultralight Tents and Best Camping Sleeping Bags. Following this article, we'll also share a couple of our other favorite camping towels.

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

8.0 /10
Sea to Summit DryLite Camping Towel
Sea to Summit DryLite
Absorbency
9
Drying Speed
8
Weight
7

The Sea to Summit DryLite is our top pick due to its quick-drying microfiber fabric that users rave about and its lightweight compactness, making it a backpacker's dream.

Runner Up #1

7.0 /10
Matador NanoDry Camping Towel
Matador NanoDry
Absorbency
6
Drying Speed
7
Weight
8

Users rave about the Matador NanoDry for its incredible absorption and quick-drying capabilities, comfortably beating out competitors for its compact size that's perfect for tight-pack backpacking.

Runner Up #2

8.0 /10
PackTowl UltraLite Camping Towel
PackTowl UltraLite
Absorbency
7
Drying Speed
9
Weight
8

The PackTowl UltraLite cinches the top spot for its impressively quick drying time and feather-like weight that hikers swear by, making it a gamechanger in the realm of camping towels.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)

Durability

Invest in a durable camping towel that is able to withstand the rough-and-tumble of outdoor adventures but also feel soft and comfortable against your skin.

Absorption Capacity

Choose a camping towel that can quickly soak up a lot of moisture, as this is essential for activities like swimming in the great outdoors or wiping away the hard-earned sweat after a tough hike.

Quick Drying Feature

Opt for a quick-drying towel, since you won't always have the luxury of waiting for it to air dry in time for your next activity or by the time you need to pack up your camp.

Compact and Lightweight

Bear in mind, every bit of weight counts when you're hiking or climbing, so select a compact and lightweight towel that won't be a burden to carry.

8.0 /10

Sea to Summit DryLite

$14.95
The Best Camping Towel

Based on our research and testing, we think the Sea to Summit DryLite is the best Camping Towel on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Sea to Summit DryLite Camping Towel
Absorbency
9
Drying Speed
8
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Quick drying
  • Versatile size options
  • Antimicrobial treatment helps prevent odor
  • Good value for money

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not as plush as some might prefer
  • May feel slightly rough to sensitive skin
  • Could wear out faster with heavier use

Let's jump right in and look at the Sea to Summit DryLite, a standout among its competitors in the camping towel space. It's relatively compact and lightweight, which is a big perk for campers and backpackers who have to watch every ounce they carry.

Boasting microfiber fabric, this towel is quick-drying and as the name suggests, enables you to stay 'dry as a desert, lite as a feather.' The DryLite also comes with a hang loop, handy for hanging the towel out to dry and an added super-saver for those who are often reminded of the adage, 'a place for everything and everything in its place'.

Many folks online endorsed the Sea to Summit DryLite as a reliable option. They love the compact size and surprisingly great absorbency. They mention its solid performance during backwoods camping trips where there's a lot of water play, and they appreciate how fast it dries, saving them from the inconvenience of a soggy towel.

In a pleasant surprise from the usual shades of blue and grey, the DryLite offers a range of color options, permitting users to add a splash of character to their gear - a feature surprisingly well-received by users online. It looks like we all need a little bit of color when we're roughing it out in the wild!

However, it's not all sunshine and daisies with the DryLite. Some users online commented, there may be a trade-off between the lightweight factor and the towel’s robustness. There were remarks about the towel showing signs of wear, particularly around the edges after repeated use. Also, if you're a fan of plush and fluffy towels, then the relatively thin material of this towel may not be your cup of tea.

A few critics also brought up the price tag. They suggested that it could be steep for some users – but often, the seasoned campers were ready to look past this, opting for reliability and performance.

In general, the Sea to Summit DryLite seems to be a champion among campers and backpackers who value the practicality and high functionality of their gear. Despite a few reservations, it seems to hold its own as a lightweight, quick-drying towel, a trustworthy camping companion.

7.0 /10

Matador NanoDry

$17.99
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Matador NanoDry is a great choice if you're looking for a camping towel to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Matador NanoDry Camping Towel
Absorbency
6
Drying Speed
7
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Super compact and lightweight
  • Impressive absorbency
  • Great antimicrobial properties
  • Excellent drying speed
  • Durable and long-lasting

Reasons to Avoid

  • Higher price point than some competitors
  • Could provide more coverage
  • Some people find it too thin for comfort

If you're looking for a top-notch camping towel, you've probably come across the Matador NanoDry. This little gem has been making waves in the camping world and the praises in customer reviews are nothing short of impressive.

The NanoDry is impressively small. It's marketed as a 'nanodry' because it truly is micro-sized, making it a cinch to plop in your backpack and only whip it out when you need it. For all its small size, however, it manages to absorb 2.3 times its weight in water. With this capability, you can splash away at your heart's desire, knowing you've got a reliable towel on standby.

One particular feature that customers can't help but rave about is its antimicrobial coating. It's easy to forget to wash things while camping, and customers appreciated that this towel's 'self-cleaning' coating keeps smells away.

The NanoDry's drying speed has also been praised by users. Given that this towel is designed to be used outthego, quick drying is a bonus. It means you can get it wet, squeeze it out, clip it on the outside of your pack, and it will be dry by the time you set up your tent at the next spot.

The Matador NanoDry also excels in terms of durability. Constructed from ultra-lightweight Nanofiber, users praised how it survived their various expeditions - from hasty clean-ups to the kids using it as impromptu play-mat.

However, this towel is not all sunshine and rainbows. Some users reported that the towel doesn't feel as comfortable against the skin as they'd like. It's a very utilitarian product - more about functionality than luxury. A few also raised concerns about its price point, as there are cheaper options available in the market. But, they note that for the longevity and utility of the towel, they found it was worth the investment.

Additionally, some users noticed that the towel sometimes leaves little lint particles after use. However, many noted that this issue tends to resolve itself after the first couple of washes.

In conclusion, the Matador NanoDry has earned its spot as a standout camping towel for its impressive absorption, quick drying time, antimicrobial qualities, and durability. Its downsides, however, are its slightly higher price point and the initial lint issue. But given the glowing reviews, it seems that most customers agree that these cons are outweighed by the pros.

8.0 /10

PackTowl UltraLite

$15.95
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the PackTowl UltraLite is a great choice if you're looking for a camping towel to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

PackTowl UltraLite Camping Towel
Absorbency
7
Drying Speed
9
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Absorbs water well
  • Dries quickly
  • Compact and easy to pack
  • Durable design
  • Antimicrobial and resists odor build-up
  • Good value for money

Reasons to Avoid

  • Less soft than other options
  • May be too small for some users
  • Not as warm as thicker, plush towels

The PackTowl UltraLite kicks some serious butt when it comes to camping towels. From our hands-on experience, we found it lives up to the 'UltraLite' name, coming in as one of the lightest on our list. Plus, being made of polyester and nylon leaves it not only lightweight, but super quick-drying too. It's compact size when packed is a dream come true for any space-conscious backpacker. Who doesn't like saving space where they can, right?

But don't just take our word for it. The feedback from real-world users echoes our sentiments. One camper mentioned how it has become a staple in their backpacking kit, thanks to its absorbency and compactness. Another hiker pointed out that the towel dried quickly, even in humid environments - talk about a real world testimonial. But, they also mentioned its antibacterial treatment was the real winner for them. Who wants to carry around a smelly towel for days on end? Not us - and apparently not them either!

It ain't all sunshine and rainbows though - we also saw a few grumbles out there. Some felt that the towel wasn’t big enough, which is a trade-off you have to accept for the compact packing. A few felt the material was a bit thin and could wear out with extended use, but this seems to be more of an exception than the rule. If you're using it excessively or not following care instructions, you might see some wear and tear.

Seems like there's consensus from the user community overall. Despite a few grumbles, the PackTowl UltraLite's combo of speed drying, max absorbency, and compactness wins hearts of campers across the board. Plus, that bacterial treatment - it’s the small things that make a big difference on the trail.

7.0 /10

Sea to Summit Airlite

$17.95
Best Ultralight Camping Towel

Based on our research and testing, we think the Sea to Summit Airlite is a solid choice for those looking for a lightweight camping towel option to go play hard outside with.

Sea to Summit Airlite Camping Towel
Absorbency
6
Drying Speed
7
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Super absorbent
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Durable fabric
  • Features an antimicrobial treatment

Reasons to Avoid

  • May be too small for some users
  • Pricey compared to other camping towels

The Sea to Summit Airlite has rightfully earned its place in the big league of camping towels. Based on customers' reviews, it's often lauded as a gem in the Ultralight niche, delivering an unbeatable combination of lightweight, compact design, and strong performance when it comes to drying efficiency.

Portability is the first tick in the box for the Airlite. It comes in a pint-sized pouch that can squeeze into the tightest corners of your backpack. Moreover, it weighs a mere 2.0 ounces, making it a featherweight amongst camping towels; you might even forget you packed it.

But, the Airlite doesn't slack in performance to achieve its minimalist design. The open-weave fabric used is quick-drying, and customers were pleasantly surprised by just how fast. A good number of users went as far as saying it dries in half the time compared to other camping towels they've used. It also resembles the texture of cheesecloth and users have found it to be fairly absorbent for its weight and size.

Despite its practical qualities, the Airlite isn't without its flaws. A reoccurring grievance aired by users relates to the towel's comfort. The material can come off a little rough, especially on sensitive skin. For a towel reputed for its ultralight design, comfort isn't exactly its strongest characteristic.

Furthermore, some users felt the Airlite lacked in durability. It's wise to handle it with care, as a few negative reviews pointed out that aggressive wringing can lead to early wear and tear. The color also seemed to fade much faster than anticipated.

Lastly, some customers noted that the Airlite is best suited for individual use rather than for families. With its compact size comes a smaller surface area, which is generally insufficient for multiple users or extensive drying scenarios.

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