My lightweight backpacking towel is a staple of my backpack whenever I'm headed outdoors in the summer months. After sweating all day I'm eyeing every stream and lake to jump in to. It feels great to cool off after working hard and it feels even better to go to bed clean, and not all sweaty and grimy from the day. And of course after you jump in that water what do you need? A small, lightweight towel of course!
Recommended Backpacking Towels
|REI MultiTowel Lite||Packtowl Ultralite||Sea To Summit Dry Lite Antibacterial Towel|
|1.4 oz (medium)||0.8 oz||3.6 oz (medium)|
|4.8 avg stars||Polyester / Nylon Microfiber Blend||Antimicrobial Treatment|
|Lowest Price!||5 Sizes||5 Sizes|
|See Price and Reviews||See Price and Reviews||See Price and Reviews|
What to Look forThere are a couple important features that you want to keep an eye out for when looking for a new towel to take camping or backpacking. These are the things that separate your bathroom towel at home from a towel that you can shove in your backpack and it won't take up a quarter of the available space.
Quick DryingWet gear is a recipe for being miserable in the outdoors. Anyone thats spent a couple days in a rainstorm while backpacking knows the special pain of being covered, head to toe, in wet gear, and how amazing getting dry feels. Well a wet towel isn't as bad as that, but the point is that anything you take backpacking should be able to dry quickly. Maybe you only get a couple hours of sunlight. You want your towel to be dry as soon as possible!
Fortunately, most backpacking towels are made of nylon microfiber or a nylon / polyester blend. This material is about as good as it gets when it comes to drying super quickly. Some towels also come embedded with silver threads, which not only helps them dry faster but adds an anti-microbial feature too. I personally I have one of these towels but I don't really see them sold in too many places. If you find one I can definitely recommend it.
AbsorbancyMost of the backpacking towels that you will find on the market make claims about being able to absorb 4 times their weight. I've never tested that claim out but it sounds about right. My camping towel can get all the water off of me after taking a dip, and it's not very big. It also feels quite a bit heavier afterwards.
The added bonus about this level of absorbancy is that you can actually wring a lot of the water out of the towel and go back to wiping down your body or the inside of your tent or whatever, and the towel will continue to absorb more water. Super useful.
SizeWhen buying a towel to take backpacking or camping your thought might be that you need a towel that is comparable in size to the towel you use at home. Resist this instinct! Honestly, the towel that I take camping is maybe a 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet. Tiny. But just that tiny amount of towel allows me to dry off completely after I take a dip in a lake or stream.
And when you go for a towel that small you save big time on weight and bulk. Your towel will be something lightweight that you can shove in to a little nook or cranny in your backpack, rather than something that's taking up big amounts of space.
Backcountry Bathing AccessoriesA backpacking towel isn't of much use if you don't have a few other things to go along with it. Optional, but definitely recommended is a good camping soap. Even just a dousing in water will do wonders for most sweaty backpackers, but soap will get you a lot closer to clean.
But even before you apply the camping soap, you will need some way to get the water to you. A warm creek or river is ideal, but just in case you aren't so lucky, a lightweight pocket shower is a great way to give yourself a good cleaning when you're in the middle of nowhere. It's lightweight enough that you will hardly even notice it in your backpack, and it will hang from just about anywhere strong enough to support the weight of the water. Best of all, it's black, so you can leave it to sit in the sun for a bit while you set up camp, and while the water wont be warm, it wont be frigid cold either.