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Discovery Trekking Extreme Ultralight Towel

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Discovery Trekking Extreme Ultralight Towel towel
Version reviewed: Large

Ultra lightweight towel made of the lightweight polyester fabric like our favorite quick dry tee shirts.


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Wrings out well
  • Collects water well


  • Potential of poly to snag
  • A little large

Tale of the Tape

The Extreme Ultralite backpacking and travel towel is a polyester towel treated with Polygiene, a silver salt treatment to inhibit the growth of germs and keep the towel smelling fresh longer.

It currently comes in the following sizes:

  • Ultralite Mini 19" x 19"
  • Ultralite 34" x 28"
  • Ultralite Large 34" x 58"
  • Whale Tail Large 34" x 58"

The sample I tested actually was advertised as 34”x54” and measured 34.75”x55”. It was advertised as weighing 162 grams, but measured 181.5 grams.

Upon opening the towel I have to say I was skeptical that a towel made out of the same material as my quick dry tee and golf shirts would be of much use as a towel. This would prove to be a mistaken impression. After my initial testing I have to say I was pretty impressed.

Smell Test

It was cooler than when I usually backpack when I received the towel, so I decided to test it at home first, just as I have every other piece of gear I use. My first test was to use it daily until it began to smell. This test was never completed, not because the towel failed but because I called it after two weeks when the towel still smelled new.

During the two weeks of daily use I was surprised that the towel would fully replace the functionality of my oversized cotton towel.

I did find that the towel performed best when using it with a firm pressure and pulling it across the skin holding a small portion of the towel until it’s saturated. The towel is impressive and functions well. This full sized towel is not required to dry fully.

Here is what Discovery Trekking says about its silver salt treatment:

The fabric in Discovery Trekking fast-dry towels utilizes Polygiene technology. This is a Silver Salt antimicrobial treatment that is extremely safe and effective. Silver Salt is naturally present  in drinking water and soil, and does not have adverse effects on the environment. This process uses recycled silver…the equivalent of 2 silver rings is used to treat over 5000 towels.  Polygiene is Bluesign approved, the highest standard of safety recognition.

In the Field

In the field I tested the towel on an overnight to Kings Mountain National Military Park (S.C.). Conditions were highs in the upper 60s and lows in the mid 40s, overcast with moderate winds.

The towel worked well. I used one corner to enjoy a refreshing sponge bath. I used the the adjoining corner to rinse and the opposite end to dry. I could have used half and it would have been more than adequate.

Drying Test

Discovery Trekking claims "this fabric dries 3 times faster than cotton."

After soaking the towel and wringing it out by hand and then hanging it out to dry, each time the towel weighed 14 oz when hung outside to dry.

  • Test 1 – hung out when 40° with a recorded low of 30°,
    7 hours later the towel was quite damp and weighed 10.6 oz
  • Test 2 – hung out when 50° with a recorded low of 40°,
    7 hours later the towel was mostly dry and weighed 7.2 oz


If you’re backpacking or traveling in warmer weather and able to dry the towel in camp the towel compacts well. It will almost fit inside a Snow Peak 450 Cup. Not too bad for size-to-weight ratio.


In the picture: top Extreme UL towel, UCO Clarus lantern, REI Microfiber towel 24” x 52”.

The Discovery Extreme UL towel is a worthy addition to my pack, but I plan to cut it in half, since the larger size is not really necessary for my use.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Discovery Trekking for testing and review)

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Ultralite Ultralite Mini
Price MSRP: $19.95
Historic Range: $10.93-$26.95
Weight Under 3 oz / 90 g 1.3 oz / 37 g
Length 34 in / 86 cm 19 in / 48 cm
Width 28 in / 71 cm 19 in / 48 cm
Product Details from Discovery Trekking »

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