While using microfiber towels for traveling aren’t the most thrilling topic, they should be on any traveler’s packing list. Travel pros always travel with a microfiber travel towel, and you’ll never see me travel without one.

Let me tell you exactly why.

Microfiber towels are made of travelers’ dreams. They are made with quick-dry material, they pack super small, and they are relatively inexpensive.

In a nutshell – microfiber towels were literally made for backpackers and travelers.

But in my experience, not all towels are created equal, so I wrote this epic guide so you can quickly and easily find which microfiber travel towel best suits your needs.

Believe me, you’re going to love your new accessory.

Quick Answer: What are the best towels to take traveling?

Real Quick – What is Microfiber Material?

Microfiber is a synthetic fiber, usually made out of polyesters, polyamides, or blends. The grabby texture of the microfiber makes the towel more absorbent which, in turn, makes it great for swimming, traveling, exercising, any activity that makes you wet.

microfibre travel towel
This is the definitive guide to the best quick dry towels!

Microfiber Travel Towel Reviews

Check out our extensive review on our top four favorite quick-drying microfiber travel towels reviews below…

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    Overall Best Travel Towel – Active Roots Microfiber Towel

    Active Roots Microfibre Towel
    Specs
    • Great price!
    • Comes with a loop and packing sack
    • Two towels for the price of one

    Active Roots Travel Towels are one of the best value microfiber towels for traveling around. They come in three sizes – medium, extra large, or the combination set, and each weighs just a few ounces. The combo pack comes with an XL towel and a smaller face towel, a great addition to a toiletry kit. Both will perform wonderuflly as quick drying towel for travel.

    All Active Roots towels come up with snap loops for drying and mesh carrying bags.

    Active Roots offer a 100% lifetime guarantee so if you’re not happy with the product, you can send it back for a full refund.

    If all of the specs weren’t cool enough, your purchase helps support a Great Cause: A portion of each microfiber towel sale is donated to the Elephant Conservation Center in Laos, who are dedicated to protecting and rehabilitating the endangered Asian elephant population.

    It’s an easy pick for the best travel towel. 

    Out of Stock?
    Matador Towel

    If at the time you are reading this, the Active Roots micro-towel is out of stock, then check out our Plan B. The Ultralight travel towel by Matador measures just or 39cm x 39cm and quite literally fits inside your pocket!

    View on Matador

    Best Towel for Backpacking – Sea to Summit DryLite Towel

    Sea to Summit DryLite Towel
    Specs
    • Comes in multiple sizes
    • Very lightweight
    • A bit more expensive

    Sea to Summit is known for making ultralight camping and backpacking gear, so it makes sense that they make a lightweight backpacking towel. The soft, quick-drying towel is compact and comes in three sizes. The small towel is 32” by 16”, the large is 48” by 24” and the extra large is 60” by 30”. All these towel sizes weigh under 7 ounces. This is a good choice for the traveler constantly on the trail when every oz makes a difference.

    The drawback? The XL is expensive for a microfiber towel and pricier than the other towels on this travel towel review.

    Most Compact Travel Towel – Matador Ultralight

    Wandrd Tech Bag
    Specs
    • Tiny and light!
    • Ecological
    • High end quality

    In case space in your backpack is really at a premium, then check out the mini Ultralight travel towel by Matador. Measuring 15″ x 15″ (or 39cm x 39cm) it quite literally fits inside your pocket. It is of course smaller than other towels if this list and it will take some time to fully dry your body using this. However it absorbs 2.3 times its own weight so with a little patience you can work your way around your whole body.

    Both the towel itself and its bag have buckle attachments so you can fasten to your bag or jacket and really maximise storage space. Made from an ultralight (25g) Nano Fibre material it is also fully machine washable and will hardly even fade.

    Best Travel Towel for Yogis – Youphoria Sport

    Youphoria Sport Microfiber Multi-purpose Travel Towel
    Specs
    • Holds moisture well
    • Softer + more comfortable than others
    • Bit heavier than others

    This is a yoga specific towel, but I think it makes great use as a backpacking towel as well because it’s highly absorbent and can hold up to 5X its weight in water. I also find yoga towels to have an extra soft feel and are less likely to attract lint.

    They also tend to pack down even smaller than other backpacking towels. The downside is that its largest size weighs more than the other choices on this list. However, for all the yogis out there who plan to travel with a yoga mat anyway, this is a great choice.

    The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

    Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

    So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

    Buy on REI!

    Best Non-Microfiber Towel for Travel – Nomadix

    nomadix recycled towel
    Specs
    • Made from recycled materials
    • Very tough
    • Very expensive for a towel

    For the environmentally-conscious traveler, the Nomadix travel towel is about as ideal as it gets. This towel is made of 100% recycled materials – fibers from plastic bottles are processed into effective and comfortable nylon and polyester threads. These towels do not involve any sort of polymer-based microfiber yet they are still very good at what they do.

    Nomadix towels are quick-drying, tough, and very packable. Coming in at a very reasonable 1 lb, these make for great towels to take traveling. Thanks to it’s anti-microbial and non-slip qualities, the Nomadix is very popular at yoga retreats and camping but you could conceivably use this towel anywhere: at the beach, gym, kitchen, and more.

    The Nomadix is a bit more expensive than other towels and quite larger as well. That being said, the larger price tag is more than justifiable – this towel will last longer than most and you will definitely get more use out of it.

    Honorable Mention – ECCOSOPHY Microfiber Towel

    best travel towels for the beach
    Specs
    • Very cool designs
    • Double-sided
    • Much larger than other beach towels

    I’d give this beach towel props just for being so damn good lookin’! Look at those patterns! So bold and colorful! Who says a microfiber travel towel has to be flat-colored and boring, anways?

    But it’s not just beautiful; the ECCOSOHPY beach towel is also useful, of course. Since it’s made of microfiber, you’ll get the absorptive qualities as well as the quick drying. It packs well enough although, given it’s size, it’s going to be much larger in your bag than most other towels.

    I would also like to add that this towel would be fine for both sexes. ECCOOPHY markets it has a lady’s towel on their Amazon page but, honestly, I’d rock this anytime and anywhere in the world.

    Best Microfiber Beach Towel – Waves Gear Quick Drying Towel

    Specs
    • Better than a typical cotton beach towel
    • Very packable
    • Perfect size

    I like this towel because it’s big (36×60 inches), but because of the lightweight microfiber material, it packs down much better than a normal beach towel.

    This is a great towel for lounging beachside. While not as lightweight or as the Active Roots or Sea to Summit, the Waves Gear has large dimensions and is still a great choice for  a quick drying towel for travel, and an easy pick for best travel beach towel.

    Why Invest in a Travel Towel?

    It may seem like an insignificant item to pack, but a good towel will be one of the most useful items in your backpacker arsenal.

    In our normal lives, we use towels on a daily basis, really; to wash the dishes, ourselves, the car, when cleaning the house. Yet, we take them from granted because they’re always there and in a multitude! Thanks to industrialization, we have a cloth or rag somewhere nearby, buried in an old drawer or conveniently hanging on a hook or rack.

    Unfortunately, backpackers usually don’t have this option. Because they are constantly going from place to place and because they are living out of a backpack (finite space), they don’t have the convenience of carrying a lot of towels on them. Hell, most backpackers are grateful just to get a free towel at their hostel!

    using a travel towel as a yoga mat

    Having your own towel for traveling the world can be immensely useful. Going to the beach? The towel will keep the sand off your ass and out of your portable speaker. Want to have a spontaneous yoga session? Throwdown your towel and chaturanga away. Need to dry out those hiking boots after a long walk? Use that towel to soak up any leftover moisture in those boots (maybe do that after washing yourself though)

    Trust me: you will get a lot of use out of your towel while traveling, more than you might know right now. That means you need to have a good towel – the tougher it is and the better it is at absorbing, the more useful it will be. Luckily, it’s not so difficult to pick out a good one; you just need to refer below for some tips.

    What to Look for in a Microfiber Travel Towel

    1. Lightweight – As with anything in your travel backpack, it’s important to invest in a lightweight travel towel. Less weight = awesome.
    2. Compact – A microfiber travel towel should take up as little room as possible. They should fold up smaller than a tank-top.
    3. Well constructed – There is such a thing as a good microfiber and bad microfiber.
    4. Quick Drying – The best towels for backpacking and traveling must have quick dry material.
    5. Absorbency – Even if a microfiber travel towel is lightweight and dries quickly, it’s useless if it doesn’t actually absorb liquids.
    6. Special features –  A loop makes it easy to attach the quick drying towel to your backpack as you hike, or hang it on a clothes hanger at your hostel.
    7. Additional accessories – A storage pouch for your microfiber towel helps you keep your backpack organized.

    Towel Sizes

    Quick drying towels range between XS-XL, and the dimensions vary as well! Different brands will have different dimensions of their sizes, so be sure to check the dimensions!

    • Small or Medium: Often used as a washcloth, hand towel, or to bring along for workouts. These make a great addition to your toiletry bag.
    • Large: Hair towel or small bath towel.
    • XL: Best recommendation for a full bath towel.

    It’s worth investing in both an XL towel, and a small washcloth sized towel for your toiletry bag (washing your face, taking off makeup, etc.).

    Product
    Description
    Good value; combo pack; comes with snap loops and mesh bag
    Active Roots Microfibre Towel
    Good value; combo pack; comes with snap loops and mesh bag

    Active Roots

    • Price > $
    • Weight > 1.3 – 8.1 oz
    • Size > M to XL
    Ultra lightweight; great for hikers
    Sea to Summit DryLite Towel
    Ultra lightweight; great for hikers

    Sea to Summit

    • Price > $$$
    • Weight > 1.3 – 4 oz.
    • Size > XS to XL
    Great replacement to beach towel; large dimensions
    Great replacement to beach towel; large dimensions

    Waves Gear

    • Prize > $$$
    • Weight > 10.4 oz
    • Size > XL
    Yoga towel and bath towel; good value
    Youphoria Sport Microfiber Multi-purpose Travel Towel
    Yoga towel and bath towel; good value

    Youphoria

    • Price > $
    • Weight > 2.4 – 12 oz
    • Size > 20-40″; 28-56″; 32-72″

    Other Travel “Towel” Options

    Along with a microfiber towel, it’s totally worth packing a fashion-friendly sarong or large scarf to double as a large beach towel.

    My boyfriend uses his scarf for a beach towel, to protect his neck from the sun, warm up in the cold, shield from dust, etc. I always travel to beach destinations with a sarong to double as a towel and beach cover-up.

    Middle Eastern style scarves, traditionally referred to as keffiyehs or shemaghs, are also super adaptable pieces of kit that can be used as a towel. Granted, their primary purpose is more for keeping sand out of one’s eyes and the cold out at night, but many people also use them as beach towels as well.

    using a scarf for a towel

    FAQ about the Best Microfiber Travel Towel

    Still have some questions? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:

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    Conclusion: The Best Microfiber Towels for Travel

    Microfiber towels are a more logical alternative to your good old fashion bath-towel for a billion reasons, but all you need to know are these five: they’re compact, lightweight, durable, absorbent, quick-drying towels for travel.

    Our favorite microfiber travel towel is the Active Roots because of its quality, price, and combo pack deal!

    Let us know what you think about our epic review to the best quick dry towels for travel in the comments below!


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