The Best Packable Travel Towels of 2022

We love a plush, thirsty bath towel, but a campsite or suitcase just isn’t the place for one—there, we want a quick-drying, packable travel towel. After putting 20 such towels through 60 hours of testing—including an intense day of sand and surf at the beach—we’ve concluded the PackTowl Personal offers the best balance of drying time, packability, and odor resistance without compromising comfort and design. A good option for nearly every towel-related scenario, it’s lightweight, extra-large, and supersoft, making it usable for both car camping and travel into the backcountry.

Our pick

PackTowl Personal

Whether used for camping, hiking, traveling, or general outdoor adventuring, this towel is durable enough to handle extended abuse while remaining soft and comfortable.

Scoring well in nearly every performance category, the PackTowl Personal towel consistently surprised us with its ability to handle the elements. It has an antibacterial treatment to help prevent odor, the “Body” size (54 by 25 inches) is large enough to wrap around most folks, and it feels soft against the skin. It’s made of a tear-resistant fabric and was the best towel we tested at absorbing water and repelling dirt. Better still, sand from the beach remained on the towel’s surface so it was easy to shake off, leaving the towel clean after multiple uses. Its drying time was faster than most of the towels we tested and it packs down to a small size in a zippered breathable pouch, making it convenient for travel or camping.

Budget pick

The Rainleaf Microfiber Towel was nearly identical in design to many of the pricier models and scored just as well in our field tests. The only downsides are that its “large” size is smaller than most other large towels we tested and has lighter-feeling fabric. It didn’t handle our day at the beach quite as well and took a little longer to dry, but otherwise it’s comparable in comfort and packability. And, because it’s treated with an antibacterial coating—something not standard on budget (or even some pricey) towels—it passed our smell test with a perfect score. At just a fraction of the price of our top choice, it’s a good pick if you’re the kind of person who goes camping a few times a year and needs something affordable that works well.

Also great

PackTowl Luxe

Good for car camping, day trips, and hanging at the beach, this towel is made of an incredibly soft fabric that also repels dirt.

If packing your towel down into a tiny space isn’t a concern for you, the PackTowl Luxe is about as comfortable as a towel can get. Although it does take up a bit more room and takes significantly longer to dry, its “Body” size has the same dimensions as our top pick, but with a plusher feel against the skin. Unlike similar big and luxurious camp towels, it didn’t smell after being put away wet. It absorbed water off the skin without trapping in the dirt and sand, which left it surprisingly clean for a towel with such a high pile. As it was easy to shake off, we enjoyed having it as a wrap and beach blanket, too.