Travel Towels Are the Ultimate Accessory

These lightweight, super-packable water wickers deserve a place in your travel bag


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I never understood the need for travel-specific towels. Why would I need to buy a thinner, not-so-plush version of the shower towel I already have? Then I got one as a gift, and now I won’t leave home without one. Like a lot of great gear, travel towels perform double duty, moonlighting as picnic blankets, camp card tables, blankets, yoga mats, washrags, and so much more. They take up less space, weigh almost nothing, and dry quickly. But my favorite feature? They encourage unexpected swims and rainy-day adventures. When you always have a way to dry off, there’s no reason not to.

REI Co-Op Multi Towel Lite ($10 to $25)

(Courtesy REI Co-op)

This towel comes in four sizes, ranging from small (14×10 inches) to extra-large (54×25 inches). Each features a quick-attach loop that makes it easy to hang dry and comes with a mesh carrying case. The soft synthetic fabric is lightweight and has a waffle texture that absorbs up to eight times its weight in water.

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Raqpak Microfiber Towel ($18)

(Courtesy Raqpak)

This towel is the biggest in the bunch, with an extra-large version that clocks in at 70×39 inches. It also comes with a small carrying case and features a special antibacterial coating that keeps the stink at bay—an essential feature for longer backpacking trips.

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Rumpl Original Shammy Clean-Up Kit ($35)

(Courtesy Rumpl)

If you’re looking for smaller towels, this supersoft polyester/spandex set is ideal. It comes with a large 36×20-inch towel and a smaller 14×10-inch washcloth that stuff into the included drawstring pouch.

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