The 7 Best Towels for Your Next Camping Trip

Published on 04/24/2023 · 8 min readA good, quick-drying towel is a valuable and versatile addition to any camping gear setup! Read on for a list of the top most recommended camping towels!
Hunter Reed, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Hunter Reed

Photo by Marta Rastovac

tl;dr As any seasoned camper knows, packing the right gear is essential for a successful outdoor adventure. One item that often gets overlooked but is critical to have on hand is a good camping towel. Whether you're drying off after a swim or shower, wiping down equipment, or cleaning up spills, a high-quality camping towel can make all the difference. In this article, we’ll go over the seven best camping towels that can make your next camping trip a breeze.

A regular cotton towel takes a long time to dry, isn’t as absorbent, and is pretty bulky when packed, so a camping-specific towel is a much better option. However, with so many models on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your needs. That's why we've compiled a list of the top recommended camping towels. So, if you're planning your next camping trip, keep reading to find the perfect addition to your gear checklist!

What to Consider When Choosing a Camping Towel

Size

Consider the size of the towel you need for your camping trip. A larger towel is ideal for drying off after a swim, while a smaller towel may be more suitable for washing your face.

Material

The material of the towel will affect its absorbency, durability, and comfort. Microfiber towels are the most common choice for camp towels—as they are lightweight, quick-drying, and highly absorbent—but here are a few of the main material types you may see in camping towels:

  • Microfiber: Nylon microfiber towels are a popular choice for camping because they are lightweight, quick-drying, and highly absorbent.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo towels are eco-friendly and soft, but they may not be as absorbent as microfiber or cotton towels.
  • Linen: Linen towels are lightweight and quick-drying, but they can be scratchy and not as absorbent as microfiber or cotton towels.
  • Synthetic blends: Some camp towels are made of synthetic blends that combine the best features of different materials, such as quick-drying polyester and absorbent rayon.

All the materials mentioned above are machine washable, though ensure you read the particular care instructions on your towel to ensure the longest lifespan possible.

Weight and Packability

The weight of a towel is also important to consider, especially if you will be carrying it in your backpack. Look for a lightweight option that won't add unnecessary bulk to your pack. Some camp towels also come with a stuff sack to make them more packable. Many stuff sacks are made of a plastic material that can both hold your towel for efficient packing and protect the rest of your gear from getting wet.

Absorbency

A good camping towel should be highly absorbent, so you can dry off quickly and efficiently. Look for a towel that can absorb several times its weight in water.

Quick-drying

When camping, you don't want to carry around a damp towel that takes forever to dry. Opt for a quick-drying towel that can be easily wrung out and left to dry in the sun. Further, moisture buildup can lead to a strange smell, and can be an especially large pain in the butt if the rest of your gear starts to stink as well.

1. Matador NanoDry Towel

The Matador NanoDry Towel is a highly recommended camping towel due to its unique nanofiber construction. This material can hold up to 2.3 times its weight in water, making it ideal for drying off after a swim or shower. Additionally, the Nanofiber material is ultra-compact and lightweight, so it won't take up much space in your backpack or luggage.

The Matador NanoDry Towel comes in various sizes—including an extra-large size and a full-body option—and features a hang loop for easy drying. The towel is fast-drying and antibacterial, which means it won't develop an unpleasant odor over time. Another standout feature of the Matador NanoDry is that it comes with a silicone carrying case that clips onto your backpack or luggage for easy transport.

2. Nomadix Original Towel

The Nomadix Original Towel is great for lounging outside or on the beach, drying off after a swim or shower, or even as a replacement for a yoga mat. It’s sand resistant, odor resistant, quick dry, and pet-hair resistant. And because sustainability is a big focus of the Nomadix brand, this towel is made with 90% post-consumer-recycled polyester materials.

One of my favorite things about the Nomadix Original is all the different pattern options they come in. Everything from fun bright flower patterns, to maps of different states or famous trails, state flags, and even specific National Park patterns. The multitude of pattern options make them a practical gift for the camper in your life!

3. PackTowl Personal Towel

The PackTowl Personal Towel is a versatile towel made of soft and absorbent microfiber material. This towel is ideal for camping, backpacking, and travel due to its lightweight and compact design. It is available in multiple sizes, including a full-body option, so you can choose the size that best fits your needs.

Not only is the fabric of this towel made from 50% recycled materials—great for those who value sustainability—but it can also absorb up to four times its weight in water. This means you can dry off quickly and efficiently without having to wring out the towel constantly.

The PackTowl Personal Towel also comes with a convenient snap loop for easy hanging and a mesh carrying bag for storage. The snap loop allows you to hang the towel up to dry or attach it to your backpack for easy transport. And the mesh carrying bag keeps the towel clean and compact when not in use—making it easy to pack and go.

4. PackTowl Ultralite Towel

The Ultralite Towel is another great option from PackTowl. As the name suggests, it is an ultra-lightweight and compact towel that is perfect for backpacking, camping, and travel.

The PackTowl Ultralite Towel is made from a similarly soft, super absorbent, and quick drying microfiber fabric as the PackTowl Personal Towel, but it’s slightly less absorbent and more lightweight than the PackTowl Personal Towel. Despite its lightweight design, this towel is designed to last for many years and can withstand repeated washings and use.

The PackTowl Ultralite Towel comes in multiple sizes, including a full-body option, and features a convenient snap loop for easy hanging. It also comes with the same snap loop and mesh carrying bag for storage and transport.

5. Sea to Summit Airlite Towel

If you’re looking to go super ultralight, check out the Sea to Summit Airlite. It comes with a carrying pouch and packs down to be 50% smaller than the Sea to Summit Pocket Towel. Plus, it dries even faster than Sea to Summit’s other two offerings: the Pocket Towel or the DryLite Towel.

It is made of microfiber and can hold three times its weight in water. Though it doesn’t have an included loop actually on the towel, the carrying case can be attached to a snap on the towel to create a loop for easy hanging. And while it’s not the warmest, largest, or coziest option when it comes to camping towels, the Airlite is perfect for minimalist campers, hikers, and backpackers who value portability!

6. Sea to Summit DryLite Towel

Made from a microfiber material that is soft to the touch and gentle on the skin, the Sea to Summit DryLite Towel is a comfortable option for any outdoor adventure. This towel can also absorb up to four times its weight in water, which means you can dry off quickly and efficiently. Additionally, the microfiber material is quick-drying, which means you won't have to wait long before packing it away.

Similar to the PackTowls, it comes with a hang loop on the towel and a mesh bag, which makes it easy to pack and carry with you wherever you go. Whether you are backpacking, camping, or traveling, this towel is an excellent option for anyone who wants a high-quality camping towel that is both effective and easy to carry.

7. Sea to Summit Pocket Towel

The more lightweight and slightly less absorbent version of the Sea to Summit DryLite Towel, the Sea to Summit Pocket Towel can still hold up to three times its weight in water, and weighs only two ounces (in the full body size option). It comes with a smaller carrying bag than the DryLite, making it easy to toss in a backpack that might have limited space, and is available in a few different sizes and color options.

Connect With a Real Expert

Whether you're heading out on a backpacking trip, a camping adventure, or just need a reliable towel for your outdoor activities, these top camping towels are sure to have you covered (literally)! From the ultra-lightweight Matador NanoDry Towel to the versatile Sea to Summit Airlite Towel, there's an option on this list for every outdoor enthusiast. So pack up your gear, grab your favorite towel, and get ready to make some memories in the great outdoors.

If you still have questions regarding camping towels, or any other outdoor-related equipment, reach out to one of our Camping and Hiking Experts here at Curated. We would be happy to offer free, personalized advice to help you find the right gear for your needs!

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