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 (02/25/1704:03 PM) Edit Reason: removed link to commercial site
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.
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!
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
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.
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?
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.