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Top Picks

How we choose: The best towels highlighted here were selected based on 40 reviews of 13 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a towel that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

The Frogg Toggs Cooling Chilly Pad is amazing. It makes any activity during the warm summer weather more enjoyable, keeping you cool and protecting you from overheating.

Reasons to Buy

  • Works very well
  • Can use any water source (mind you it’s going on your body so choose wisely haha)
  • Easy to maintain
  • Keeps you cool

Reasons to Avoid

  • Sometimes dries a little quicker than expected, so you have to keep rewetting it

The Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad is amazing. I’ve taken this canoeing, backpacking, camping, and hiking. Man does this thing work! You just take the towel, dunk it in some water for a few seconds, and then boom it’s ready to go! You can put it inside of your had or rest it on your shoulders, or whatever else you find comfortable. I love this product. While not in use it’s a hard plastic feeling material. But when it’s wet, it’s a floppy rubbery material. It’s really weird but really cool haha.

Read more: Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel review (1)

PackTowl UltraLite

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Amazing absorbent, quick drying, lightweight, and basically exceeded my expectation on every level. It is a permanent part of my backcountry gear.

Reasons to Buy

  • Absorbent
  • Quick dry
  • Lightweight

Reasons to Avoid

  • Snap-on loop breaks easily

This pack towel lives up to its promised performance. Incredibly absorbent and wrings out almost dry. It air dries very quickly. When dry it is very lightweight. I found this towel to be great for drying off anything wet or to mop up spills. It is also soft to the skin.  The convenient snap loop is great to hang it off of your pack to dry while hiking. Unfortunately that is the weak point of the towel. 1 of 3 towels that I have had the snap broke almost immediately.  The towel performs best if you do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets.

Read more: PackTowl UltraLite review (1)

PackTowl Personal

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

Very lightweight, worked fine!

Read more: PackTowl Personal reviews (2)

Lightload Towels

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Lightload Towels is a one of kind towel. Looking at the package you wonder how can this be a towel because it is so small and compact but once you open it the lightload expands to a 12 by 24 towel. It's a little rough at first opening but getting wet softens it up.I have used it to start fires, clean pots, dry myself, generate insulation, treat cuts, treat blisters, and clean lenses. It is an all and one survival tool. Its great for high altitudes and winter weather because of it's insulation and breathability and it's good in a pinch in spring summer and fall weather.

Read more: Lightload Towels reviews (2)

Discovery Trekking Extreme Ultralight Towel

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

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

Reasons to Buy

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

Reasons to Avoid

  • 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.

Read more: Discovery Trekking Extreme Ultralight Towel review (1)

More Reviews of Towels

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