Microfiber backpacking towels aren’t the most exciting subject to talk about, but they are nevertheless vital. If you are heading out on a hike or are going backpacking, you’re going to need the best camping towel.
Towels such as these make life on the trail so much easier. These little pieces of fabric are quick-drying, quite small, and usually quite affordable too.
Backpacking towels are made to be used outdoors, and they’re made for people who take their hiking seriously. However, not every camping towel is the same, which is why this guide has been written in the first place. Some models are cheap, some are more expensive and others come with impressive features.
Now it is time to find the best camping towel. If you’re on the market for a long-lasting travel towel that’s a pleasure to use, read on.
Our Top Pick: PackTowl Ultralite Microfiber Towel.
Specs and features:
- 5.1 oz (largest size)
- Soaks up 4 times its weight in water
- Zippered storage pouch included
Reviews of the Best Backpacking Towels for Camping and Hiking
Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Quick-Dry Travel Towel
- One of the market’s best towels for backpacking
- Works great as a beach towel/bath towel, too
- Dries quickly
- Not really lightweight
The Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Quick-Dry Travel Towel comes in a very nice carry bag that can be hung on the back of your backpack or tied to it. The towel itself is available in 10 different colors and comes with a label in one corner, so you can hook the towel onto something.
Quick-drying and with the ability to hold five times its weight in water, this towel is a pleasure to use. Manufactured so that it does not go moldy or begin to smell, the towel is soft and is ideal if you want to dry off or cool down.
Available in 3 different sizes and machine washable, the Youphoria towel is lint-free, and ideal for use on the trail, at the gym, or even on the beach – in other words, it’s one of the best microfiber towels out there.
Sea to Summit Pocket Towel
- Highly absorbent fabric
- Lightweight & easy to pack
- Accompanied by a storage pouch
- Not the highest absorption rate
While it definitely won’t fit inside your pocket, the Sea to Summit Pocket Towel undoubtedly deserves some praise for its compactness. This camping/hiking/beach towel is available in four sizes (from small size to extra-large size) and has a weight of only 3.8 ounces. Besides this low weight, another great thing about this towel is that it’s accompanied by a zipper EVA storage pouch.
This Sea to Summit towel is made out of fine-knit microfiber material. As such, it is one of those travel towels that provide their users with a super soft, silky feel. Obviously, this camping and backpacking towel is also highly absorbent – it is capable of absorbing three times its weight in water.
The medium-size Sea to Summit Pocket Towel measures 20 inches by 40 inches and is a great choice for camping enthusiasts that are concerned with portability.
Wise Owl Outfitters Microfiber Camping Towel
- Designed in the USA
- Incredibly soft and absorbent
- Carry pack & snap loop included
- Not antibacterial or antimicrobial
The Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Towel is a smart-looking towel that comes complete with a snap loop and a carry case. Available in 7 colors, the towel can be used for a wide range of activities. Working out, hiking, camping, backpacking, swimming will welcome this item with open arms.
Quick to dry, unlike regular towels, the Wise Owl Camping Towel is super soft and will soak up just about anything. This is useful to know if you’re headed out on the trail and are expecting to get wet at some point.
With its ability to pack down to less than half its size, the carry case of this microfiber towel has a convenient hook. This means it can be hung on a backpack, in your tent, or anywhere you please. The mesh cover ensures that any leftover moisture is allowed to dry as air can get to it. Designed in the USA and very soft, this is a great backpacking towel to have with you.
PackTowl Ultralite Microfiber Towel
- Absorbent fabric
- The weight of just 3.4 ounces
- Dries 80% quicker than cotton towels
- Not the best towel if you want durability
The PackTowl company is well-known for making some of the best backpacking and travel towels on the market. Available in five different colors, this camp towel has weight and compressibility as its strongest points. However, the model can also easily handle a fair amount of water, certainly more so than most cotton towels.
Just like all other camping towels on this list, PackTowl Ultralite is available in a few different sizes, including face towel, hand towel, and beach towel. The largest size available (beach towel) has a weight of only 5.1 ounces and measures 36 inches by 59 inches. As such, this is one of the most lightweight camping towels in the industry – hence the name.
The only major downside of this PackTowl model is its durability – it is thin and delicate, as it was designed with portability in mind. Still, it’s a far better choice than your regular cotton towel and a perfect option for those who need a genuinely lightweight model and don’t really care about durability.
Epauto Microfiber Fast Drying Towels (2-Pack)
- Epauto’s best travel towel so far
- Antimicrobial properties
- Excellent hygroscopicity
- May bleed color when wet
The Epauto Microfiber Fast Drying Towels are available in 5 colors. The larger towel measures 60 x 30 inches while the smaller one measures 14 x 13.7 inches. Complete with a mesh carry case, you can be sure that any moisture will be dried even if you’ve rolled them up and left them there.
With antimicrobial properties and excellent hygroscopicity, there will be no smell or long-lasting damp patches. With its ability to dry up to 5 times faster than regular towels, the Epauto Microfiber Fast Drying Towel is a great item to have with you on the trail.
As this pack comes with 2 towels, you can expect to find it very convenient. You can dry your body with a large towel and your face and hands with the other. This means you can get as clean and dry as you wish without limitation.
Compact and with the ability to be folded down so they’re very small, the towels will not get in the way while you’re hiking. Complete with a hanging loop that’s located on each of the towels and the (somewhat flimsy) carry case, you can speed up drying if you wish.
PackTowl Personal Microfiber Towel
- One of the best all-around camping towels
- Lightweight & absorbent construction
- Four sizes (extra-large to small) and 11 colors
- The dye tends to bleed
The goal of PackTowl’s well-known Personal line of towels is to mimic the look and feel of regular cotton towels as much as possible. The model we’re looking at here is undoubtedly one of the best camping towels available on the market – it’s a perfect choice for those looking for a good all-around hiking towel.
The most important feature of PackTowl Personal is its ability to absorb four times its weight in water. Another thing that turns this model into one of the best travel towels is its Polygiene odor control layer, as well as the fact that it dries a lot faster (up to 70% faster, to be more precise) than most cotton-made models.
In terms of towel size, you can obtain this model in four different sizes. The extra-large variant (“beach towel”) measures 59” x 36” while the smallest one (“face”) has the dimensions of 14” x 10”. And, as the name suggests, this is one of those camping towels that are available in a variety of colors – this one, in particular, can be obtained in 11 different shades.
Rainleaf Microfiber Towel
- High-quality, fast-drying microfiber
- Dries much faster than cotton models
- Zippered storage pouch included
- Somewhat bulky
The Rainleaf Microfiber Towel is available in 7 different colors and 6 different sizes. Fast-drying, this particular towel is very convenient to have with you when you’re hiking or backpacking. The handle that is attached to the carry case allows you to hang it on your backpack, in your tent, or anywhere you wish.
The carry cash is partially made from mesh, which allows your backpacking towel to dry as you walk. With a suede-like feel, this microfiber travel towel is very soft and will not irritate your skin as some models do.
While it can certainly be folded or rolled down, this towel is somewhat bulky. Still, it’s pretty good for use on the trail, at the gym, or anywhere that you’re likely to get wet. It can be used multiple times a day.
Made from 200 grams of microfiber, this towel will stay fresh and dry all day, every day. Machine washable in cold water and with the ability to absorb 3 times its weight in water, the Rainleaf towel is a very convenient one to have with you.
REI Co-op Lite Multi Towel
- Material: Polyester & microfiber
- Sizes Available: 3
- Colors Available: 1
- Lightweight & durable
- Holds up to eight times its weight in water
- High-quality microfiber/polyester blend with an antibacterial layer
- Flimsy bag
If you’re looking for the best towel in terms of absorption rate, look no further than REI’s Lite Multi Towel. As it turns out, this model features what is probably the highest absorbability rate on the market – it can hold up to eight times its weight in water. As such, this towel best fits folks who participate in all types of water-related outdoor activities.
Available in four sizes (small, medium, large, and extra-large), this model also dries very quickly and sports a special antibacterial layer. It is made out of 15% microfiber and 85% polyester, and the largest variant weighs mere 2.9 ounces.
As I already mentioned, this towel best fits folks such as kayakers, fishermen, and sailing enthusiasts, but also experienced or intermediate hikers who need a truly absorbent and durable towel that effortlessly handles demanding trekking adventures.
Sumille Quick Dry Travel Towel Set
- An odor-free towel
- Extremely compact & packable
- Hanging loop for easy drying
- Bag takes some getting used to
Sumille Quick Dry Travel Towel Set comes with a large and a small towel and is available in only one color. With the ability to contain as much as 4 times its weight in water, the towels dry quickly, in fact, they dry as much as 10 times quicker than a regular bath towel.
Thanks to its odor-control treatment, this microfiber towel will not smell as it tries to dry. This means you can potentially use the same towel for many years without it smelling bad. A quick wash in cold water is all that it takes to get this towel clean again.
In terms of packing, you may be pleased to know that this model packs up to 3 times smaller than some regular towels. This means you won’t have to worry about it taking up too much room in your backpack.
Ideal for use if you’re hiking, camping, or at the beach, this travel towel set is convenient and ideal if you need a travel pillow or a hand towel.
Active Roots Microfiber Towel
- High absorbability rate
- Lightweight & easy to pack
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Available in only two sizes
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first – this towel is available in only two sizes, which are medium and X-large. This is in sharp contrast with many other models on this list, which are almost always available in “beach”, “face”, “body”, and “hand” variants. The color choice is not too big either, as the model can be obtained only in blue, grey, and purple variants.
Fortunately, there are a lot of good things about this towel. First of all, it is very lightweight, as it weighs just under four ounces. Secondly, it features quick-dry technology and has a high absorbability rate. Finally, just like all other products of this type manufactured by Active Roots, this towel is accompanied by a 100% money-back guarantee.
This towel best fits hikers looking for a reliable model that is easy to pack and effortlessly absorbs water. It’s not the best option on this list, but it’s definitely worthy of consideration.
OlimpiaFit 3-size Towels
- Can hold up to four times its weight in water
- Quick-drying & soft on the skin
- Mesh bag & elastic band included
- No snap loop
The OlimpiaFit 3-size Towels measure 50 x 30 inches, 30 x 15 inches, and 15 x 15 inches, ensuring you always have the right-sized towel to hand. Quick-drying and very absorbent, these are ideal if you’re going backpacking, hiking, or participating in a wide range of activities.
This is a quick-drying towel – it is able to dry so much faster than regular towels and capable of holding up to four times its weight in water, these towels are ideal to use during an outdoor adventure. Complete with an elastic band that helps each of the towels stay folded, they can be placed in their mesh bag which allows for good ventilation.
Soft on the skin and ideal if you want to save space, these microfiber towels are slip-resistant and available in 7 vibrant colors.
ScorchedEarth Microfiber Travel & Sports Towel Set
- A well-made, multifunctional towel set
- Super absorbent & quick-drying
- Convenient carry bag included
- The material could be thicker
The ScorchedEarth Microfiber Travel & Sports Towel Set comes complete with 2 different-sized towels and is available in 6 colors. Complete with a carry case that lets air in, the towels can be hung on a hook or wherever you wish to hang them on.
The bag’s carry handle comes with a clip which makes it even easier to hang on your backpack. The towels are quite thin as they are made from microfiber fabric. The thinness means they don’t take up too much room. This can prove to be very helpful when you’re traveling as light as possible.
This quick-dry, comfortable towel is a great choice if you’re looking for a good quality travel towel, you may want to consider this set.
Backpacking Towel Buying Guide
When it comes to buying the best backpacking towel, you need to make sure that it does everything you want it to. Some towels come with few or no features, whereas others come with almost everything you need. But, getting one on your packing list is a must.
When you’re looking for a towel, you may want to consider the following features. Each of them will make your nice new towel so much easier to use and carry around with you.
The lighter your new camping towel is, the better. Regular wet towels can be quite heavy, so it makes sense to have something that isn’t. You’ll find that many towels are very lightweight even when they’re wet.
When you’re trying to carry as little as possible on the trail, you’ll need a travel towel that’s compact. The good news is you can usually find compact towels quite easily. With their ability to fold up very small, even the larger travel towels do not take up much room.
One of the best tools to have while you’re on the trail is a quick-drying towel. The quicker the towel dries, the better. You don’t want a towel that will stay wet for hours, you need something that will dry quickly so you can use it again.
You need a towel that is able to absorb liquids very well. Please note that not every towel has a good absorbency rate. Some towels may dry very quickly, but they really need to absorb a lot of liquids too. This will make them ideal for mopping up those spillages and help you enjoy having a nice cool towel on the back of your neck.
A Loop or Hook
A towel that comes with a loop or a hook is a very convenient towel to have. You can attach it to your backpack while you’re hiking or drying it out. You can hang it in your tent or wherever you happen to be. Some towels come with hooks in one corner, whereas others come with a hook on the bag. Opt for a towel that comes with a hook or a loop on both the bag and the towel, as they’re much easier to use.
A Carry Case/Bag
When you’re shopping for a new towel, try to opt for one that is accompanied by a carry case or a bag. A bag will make the towel more convenient to use, whether you intend to use it in the backcountry or on the beach, and it will also help to keep it dry. Many of the bags that come with the towel as standard are made from mesh. Mesh bags allow air to reach the towels and dry out those leftover damp patches.
While the color of a towel may not be important to you, it can have its benefits. Let’s imagine everything you have in your backpack is either black or green. You won’t be able to find your towel very easily if it is also black or green. Opt for a color that stands out a little, so you can find your nice new towel when you need it.
There are some very nice backpacking towels on the market right now. I think the above towels are some of the best out there and I’m sure you’ll agree. Use the above guide to help you find backpacking towels that work well for you and enjoy using them on the trail.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.