Feathered Friends 300x250
Superior Down Sleeping Bags & Clothing

Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA)    

Lite Gear Talk

BCG Holiday Sale

Backpacking Forums
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Stay Healthy--Eat Well


Mary Janes Farm Organic Backcountry Meals


Natural High


Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#197796 - 02/25/17 02:50 PM Travel towel
Dre Offline

Registered: 02/25/17
Posts: 4
Hello All,

I'm a fellow avid backpacker, new to this forum, and I've love to ask you guys for some input about travel towels.

The issue that I've had with traveling light is finding a good towel: most of the ones smell over time, don't adequately absorb moisture, and collect lint. After researching, I've found that 100% flax linen towels solve all of these problems, but they are pretty expensive. I'd love to ask you a few questions to better understand if you face the same issues and if it's worth it for me to build an alternative towel that solves these problems:

1) What are the top THREE things you look for in a towel? Examples: Weight, compactness, water absorbability, softness on skin, drying time, lint free
2) What are the top THREE colors that you would prefer? Would you be okay with a natural flax linen color of light brown
3) If you had the best damn towel possible, how much would you be willing to pay a) for a hand towel b) for a full bath towel?
4) Is it important that ties be sewn into the towel so that it can be bound and tied together on the go, or would you prefer to have an external bag to put the towel in?
5) Any other issues that you have with your towel or would love to see in a towel that I have not mentioned?

Thanks for your input. It'll go a long way in helping me create something better.


Edited by aimless (02/25/17 04:03 PM)
Edit Reason: removed link to commercial site

#197797 - 02/25/17 04:18 PM Re: Travel towel [Re: Dre]
aimless Online   content

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2895
Loc: Portland, OR
You seem to have visited so briefly that you missed the fact that this is not a "travel" website but a "backcountry hiking" website. I'm no sure if our feedback is precisely what you are looking for, but fwiw:

I carry a USA-style washcloth when backpacking. I use it first for washing the dust and sweat off me at the end of the day (no soap!). Then I wring it out as much as I can and use it as a 'towel' to mop up as much water as possible. I've experimented with both cotton washcloths and the synthetic "cleaning cloths" that have a terrycloth-like texture. The cotton ones dry a bit more slowly and are a few grams heavier, but they do a better job overall, so I favor the cotton over the synthetics. For me, weight comes first, but all the factors you mentioned get considered as well.

FYI, I am perfectly happy with my current solution and no product you create would be cheap enough, as readily available, or more practical for my purposes than what I now use.

#197800 - 02/25/17 08:35 PM Re: Travel towel [Re: Dre]
Glenn Roberts Offline

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1438
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I use a synthetic Packtowl, hand towel size, and it works fine. I can't imagine any improvements or changes that would make me want to replace it. Like aimless, I think you came to the wrong place.

#197801 - 02/25/17 11:00 PM Re: Travel towel [Re: Glenn Roberts]
balzaccom Online   content

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1742
Loc: Napa, CA
And we use a wonderful old towel one of my sisters-in-law gave to our eldest daughter about 28 years ago. It's a kids beach towel with a picture of Big Bird on it. It's been washed roughly 100,000 times. It weighs nothing, it absorbs water amazingly well, dries in no time on the trail, and makes us smile every time we use it.

I have no idea what we're going to do when it finally bites the dust!

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

#197802 - 02/26/17 12:03 PM Re: Travel towel [Re: Dre]
OregonMouse Online   content

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6426
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
We are normally very welcoming to newcomers, but we frankly lose patience with those who haven't bothered to look at this website at least minimally before making their first post. Even the briefest check would have told you that this is not a budget travel website, but devoted to wilderness trekking (the American definition of "backpacking"). We also have no patience with those advertising or trying to develop a commercial product. Thanks to Aimless for removing your commercial link, which our rules don't allow for new posters.

As for towels, I use a Clorox Handi-Wipe while backpacking, when the most "bathing" I do is a quick sponge-off of "critical areas" while in my tent. It's amazingly absorbent, weighs almost nothing and dries within minutes. I use a whole one for a towel and cut another in half to use as a washrag. While they can be washed a few times before disintegrating, I generally toss them at the end of a trip. I frankly don't give a hoot about color, ties, or the other criteria you mention. I use Handi-Wipes for household cleaning when at home, so for backpacking they're basically free.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#197803 - 02/26/17 02:50 PM Re: Travel towel [Re: OregonMouse]
aimless Online   content

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2895
Loc: Portland, OR
I'm not sure the original poster will return for their feedback, or if they do, whether they'd bother to show their head above ground, or just duck and run, but I thought the subject was one that does apply to backcountry hiking, so the discussion would have some value for our members and visitors, even if it was prompted by a misunderstanding of who uses this site.

#197895 - 03/08/17 08:54 PM Re: Travel towel [Re: Dre]
Dre Offline

Registered: 02/25/17
Posts: 4
Hey Guys,

I'm back. Thanks for the replies. I understand that this is a hiking site. The questions I asked apply to similar overlapping circles in terms of gear -- hikers, backpackers, campers, and light travelers. My apologies if I did not convey this properly.

For those of you that like your towel -- do you use the mesh bag that came with the towel to store it? How important is it to have a bag to store the towel? Would you mind if you bought a towel that can wrap itself together but has no travel bag?


#197896 - 03/08/17 09:08 PM Re: Travel towel [Re: Dre]
Glenn Roberts Offline

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1438
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Mine came in a non-mesh zippered nylon bag, and I do use it - as a travel wallet. (Hand-size towel.

I could care less if it wraps itself together. It's usually hanging off my pack if it's wet, and stuffed in a pocket if it's not.

#197897 - 03/08/17 10:47 PM Re: Travel towel [Re: Dre]
aimless Online   content

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2895
Loc: Portland, OR
I try to keep the number of bags I store my stuff in to a minimum. On the whole, lightweight backpackers of the sort who inhabit this site find extra ditty bags, storage bags and mesh bags for individual items to be highly suspect in terms of their usefulness vs. their extra weight, and we usually find them worth doing without.

#198181 - 04/19/17 02:40 AM Re: Travel towel [Re: Dre]
Jimshaw Offline

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I carry a piece of microfiber "hair drying" towel. It is very good for cleaning glasses too... Jim
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

#198320 - 05/08/17 09:22 PM Re: Travel towel [Re: Dre]
Petro1234 Offline

Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 25
Loc: engeland
I tend to take these, ever so lightweight and small and you can just disguard them so no worrying about drying. I think they are biodegradable too!


Edited by Petro1234 (05/08/17 09:24 PM)
Edit Reason: forgot link


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Are small cheap solar chargers any good?
by Wasatch
03/19/18 01:38 PM
1st synthetic hoodie in YEARS
by MoBetta
03/11/18 06:14 PM
If It's Good, They'll Stop Making It
by Bill Kennedy
03/09/18 04:55 AM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
I chose Sawtooth over Medicine bow
by toddfw2003
03/14/18 11:11 PM
Anyone use Vasque Breeze 3 non gortex?
by toddfw2003
03/14/18 10:44 PM
Packing heat...how do you carry your pistol?
by willie1280
03/14/18 03:55 PM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Whitney Jacket Cuffs
by Bill Kennedy
03/07/18 05:01 AM
Joann fabrics and quilt supplies
by sashurlow
05/02/15 07:32 AM
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 30 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Soughted, Yanksguy, momu119, pinhotiBill, MitchBo
12534 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Family Hiking
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Outdoor Gear Daily Deals
Outlets, Sales, Bargains

Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum.com