How To Pick The Best Camp Towel

A good camp towel can make your trip into the backwoods a much more comfortable experience—in more ways than one.

campsite by a lake
Don't sleep in stinky tents. Take a bath. Just bring the right towel.Daan Weijers via Unsplash

If you’ve ever tried to break camp only to be held up by a wet, heavy towel that you brought from the rag drawer at home, you know why having a high-quality microfiber camp towel is important to an enjoyable trip. Towels designed for camping far outperform any other type of towels on the market when it comes to hiking, camping, canoeing and many other outdoor recreational activities. To pick the best camp towel for your purposes, consider weight, absorbency and how fast the towel is likely to dry after use.

Weight

Rainleaf microfiber towel
The 12x24-inch model of this towel weighs just 2 ounces and folds down to 1.45x6x8.25 inches.Amazon

There's nothing heavy about most true camp towels, and most are weighed in ounces rather than pounds. In fact, small towels can weigh as little as an ounce, and large ones as little as 8 to 12 ounces. That's important, because when you're climbing a big hill with a full pack on your back, every ounce counts. Compactness goes hand in hand with weight. Try folding or rolling a regular bath towel and sticking it in your pack, and you'll take up way more space than it's worth. A lightweight microfiber towel can be folded or rolled into a very compact package, leaving more room for other important items.

Absorbency

Blue microfiber towel
This super-absorbent towel comes in a set of three in different sizes.Amazon

If you haven't seen it with your own eyes, you won't believe how much water a lightweight camp towel can absorb. The best towels can absorb up to 5 times their own weight, be quickly wrung out and do it all over again. This comes in handy for a variety of camp chores including bathing, taking care of dishes and cleaning various camping equipment. Look for a light towel that can absorb at least 3- to 4-times its own weight.

Drying Speed

Green quick drying camp towel
The manufacturer says this microfiber camp towel will dry up to 10-times faster than some competitors.Amazon

How quickly a camp towel dries is directly proportional to how useful it is. If you take a quick dip in a stream before breaking camp, you won't want to wait 30 minutes for your towel to dry so you can pack it and get moving. In warm weather, even large microfiber camp towels can dry in minutes. That's handy for campers who like to travel to many different campsites.