Testing travel towels – may the best towel win!

Are you one of those people who didn’t realize that travel towels exists?! Did you use to pack those fluffy thick ones in your bag and curse the fact that it was taking so much space you could only bring one pair of shoes?!

Personally I hold no judgement against you. I myself never knew there was such a thing as travel towels that have been designed using ultra-light, absorbent and quick dry materials that is amazing for travelling. I only found out when I was travelling in Australia in a tour group. As we were walking to a waterfall for a swim, I noticed one of the British tourists carrying this small square piece of material. I was fascinated as she walked out of the pool of water and could easily dry-off. Then she tucked away this small little thing into the corner pocket of her pants and walked away. Later in the bus, she folded up the now dry towel and popped it straight into her bag.

Fascinating! Especially since I was lugging around a big fat towel that I didn’t even bother bringing with me to the waterfall because it was so fat.

Anyways – after all this time, technology has made some advances in the smallest things, like travel towels. I, as truly a child of marketing and mass consumerism, have three! (well my bf has one that I got for him) and so, its time to rate the towels!

photo(Left to right The MSR Pack Towl, The Sea To Summit Tek Towel, the Hamammas, and my usual fluffy towel)

Competitor 1: MSR PackTowl

Competitor 2: Sea to summit Tek Towels

Competitor 3: Hamammas travel towels (note, they only sell these in Australia. You can only buy it using an Aussie credit card. I literally had to ask my colleague to buy it for me, have it delivered to his house, then his mother brought it over the next time she visited. They now ship to New Zealand as well)


Test 1 – Absorption: Now I would say, easily, all three of these do pretty well on absorption. As in, they will get you dry. The difference I would say is more in the feel of it. If you are more a fluffy towel kind of person, the Tek Towels feels closest to a fluffy towel compared to the other two. The PackTowl tends to stick to your body as it absorbs, so instead of rubbing a towel against your body you basically dab it onto your body and wait for it to absorb. The Hamammas is actually the only one not built using microfiber materials, but instead uses the lightweight hamam towels. And so feels much more like if you took a piece of cloth – i.e. your shirt and were using it to wipe yourself.

Winner: Sea to Summit’s Tek Towel

photo2(The Pack Towel wins the packing light category)

Test 2 – Packing light: As I mentioned earlier, travel towels were built for exactly that, to help you when you travel. Do note though, travel towels tend to come in a smaller size – an S is like a slightly bigger face towel so you would need to get an L or an XL to make sure you can fully cover your body. For this comparison, both Tek Towel and Pack Towl are size large (and I can wrap myself in it comfortably). The Hamammas is actually the biggest one in size and is also designed for the beach – trust those Aussies, but in a folding test, the clear winner is …..

Winner: MSR PackTowl

Test 3 – Quick dry: In a world of microfiber elite, these towels are all designed to dry quickly. But not all towels were made equal. This was tested by fully soaking all three towels in water (not by choice mind you, the wind blew over all our towels into the pool) and drying them all out under the same heat. Winner by a mile! Was the PackTowl towel. Surprisingly, the Hamamas was the second quickest to dry, with the Tek Towels taking a (surprisingly) long time – i.e. > 4 hours under the hot sun

Winner: MSR PackTowl

IMG_4580(I mean seriously, come on! which would you rather bring to the beach)

Test 4 – Style level: This being a style/fashion + travel blog, of course! I have to comment on this. Without doubt, the clear winner here is the Hamammas. I mean, I bring this out to the beach to use as a beach towel, then I twist it up and use it as a wrap like a pareo. Walking around wrapped in the other two, well pretty much looks like you were walking around wrapped in a towel. Also, the range of colors and design is wonderful. Who says towels are meant to look like towels?

≈ Winner: Hamammas – by like, the longest mile

So you have it, I think it’s quite tough to make a judgment call on which would be the best of the best, but I think it does also depend on where you’re going. If for an island getaway, I would truly recommend the Hamammas, but for everything else, perhaps the old school microfiber travel towels and depends on whether you want a fluffy feel good towel, or one that dries much faster.


Note: All towels under review were bought on my own. I was not paid for any of this writing (unfortunately) =)