10 Best Microfibre Towels for Travelling

Dog on a towel

Backpacking around Southeast Asia means spending a lot of time at beaches, taking dips in waterfalls and showering after hot sweaty days taking in the sights of the city! This makes a travel towel is an essential item for your packing list!

Whether you’re camping under the stars or staying at hostels, the availability of towels and especially clean ones isn’t likely to be reliable. You’ll feel more comfortable knowing you’ll always have a towel with you when you need it and one that’s only being used by you!

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The Best Travel Towels – Quick Answers!

What is a Microfibre Travel Towel?

Microfibre can be made of different materials depending on the purpose of the product in question but it always follows the same construction method. 

The fibres used are even thinner than a human hair, up to 90% thinner in some cases!The material has several qualities which make it the number one choice for travel towels: it’s tough, soft, absorbent, water repellant (quick dry), light-weight and often, antibacterial.

QuickDry: If you’re on the go all day and take various swim breaks, you don’t want to deal with carrying around a soggy towel. A microfibre travel towel will dry you off in seconds and won’t weigh heavy in your bag.

Multipurpose: You will find that you can use your towels for more than just drying off after a swim. You can use them after bathing, to clean up spills, to dry dishes or even as a blanket when the bus driver has cranked the air-con just a little too high.

Lightweight,Compact and Easy to Transport: Many travel towels are designed to fold down tiny and weigh very little. Many of them come in their own carry cases to help compress them even more. It might surprise you how little room these lightweight towels take up!

Various Sizes: What makes a travel towel unique is its multipurpose features, which is why you can find them in different sizes. You may want to carry a travel towel mainly for bathing and drying off at the beach, and another one for things like hands and dishes. Be aware, each manufacturer has a different size guide so be sure to check that the size of the towel you are ordering is large enough to do the job!

Antibacterial: Rewind a decade and lightweight travel towels often smelt god awful. This was not really a fault with the towels but mainly down to them not being dried properly before being packed away.

They would get a strong musty smell that would take multiple washes to get rid of and let’s be real, backpackers don’t have the time or inclination to wash the same towel two or three times between uses! These days, a lot of quick-drying travel towels come with an antibacterial treatment that keeps them hygienic and smelling fresh for far longer!

Hydrofibre and Softfibre Materials

While looking for a quick-drying travel towel, you are likely to not only come across microfibre but also Hydrofibre and Softfibre materials. So what exactly are these new exotic materials? 

In a word, Microfibre. 

Yes, that’s right, they are microfibre masquerading under a different name. You will only find one company selling, Hydrofibre and Softfibre and that is because they own the rights to use those names. 

Whilst Hydrofibre and Softfibre do differ slightly in the materials used in their construction, they do perform the same job in almost the exact same way. Don’t be fooled by the impressive-sounding names, it’s just marketing. 

Now that you’ve learned why you should consider adding a travel towel (or two!) to your backpack, let’s check out your 10 best options.

The 10 Best Travel Towels

1. Youphoria Outdoors Quick-Dry Travel Towel with Carry Bag

  • Price: $19.99
  • Size: 81cm x 182cm (32’’ x 72’’)
  • Weight: 340g (12oz)
  • Antibacterial: No

  Grab a Youphoria travel towel and you will find you’re prepared for anything! There are many colours to choose from, so pick one that stands out if you want to avoid the confusion of hostel washing lines! 

Made using only the finest fibres available, this microfibre travel towel is as soft on your skin as the fluffiest hotel towels and still provides excellent drying capabilities. When you hold this compact travel towel in your hands, you won’t believe that it can actually absorb up to 5 times its weight in water.

That means it will dry you off well after a shower or dip in the sea. Youphoria cares about their customers and will deal with any issues your experience quickly and effectively. Due to this towel not having any antibacterial treatment, be careful to dry it fully after each use and wash it regularly to avoid bad smells.

The towel is also available in a 71cm x 142cm (28’’ x 56’’) variation for $14.99 and 50cm x 100cm (20’’ x 40’’) for $9.99. There is a size to suit every type of traveller.

2. Sunland Ultra Absorbent Travel Towel

  • Price: $22.00
  • Size: 101cm x 182cm (40’’ x 72’’)
  • Weight: 425g (15oz)
  • Antibacterial: No


If you’re looking for a top-quality microfibre towel, one thing that will surely be of importance to you is how fast you will be able to dry off after bathing or swimming. The Sunland Microfibre Sports Towel makes that happen faster than you’d imagine, the trick is in your technique.

Don’t rub the towel back and forth to dry off, instead lightly place the towel over your body and let it soak up the moisture on its own. If it is not working fast enough like this then gently dab it over your body until you are dry. 

This towel is a solid choice for ladies (or men) with a lot of hair to dry. This quick-dry travel towel will absorb the extra water from your hair in seconds. Available in multiple sizes and the price differing drastically from the largest to the smallest, this travel towel provides something for everyone.

The largest would make a perfect quick dry beach towel whilst the smallest is more than enough to dry you off after a shower if you are packing extra light! 

3. 4Monster Microfibre Towel

  • Price: $20.99
  • Size: 67cm x 140cm (26.7’’ x 55.1’’)
  • Weight: 218g (7.7oz)
  • Antibacterial: Yes

  The lightweight, quick-drying towel from 4monster is a great addition to your backpack. It comes in its own unique hard case that makes it easy to compress to its smallest size. You can then shove the case into your pack, or attach it to the outside. 

In its largest form, this towel is plenty big enough for almost everything you could ask of it but if you are planning on using your microfibre towel solely as a quick-drying beach towel, one of the smaller options from this list might be a better idea. 

For those of you looking for a smaller towel, this also comes in a 60cm x 120cm (24’’ x 48’’) variant for $12.99 as well as a 38cm x 80cm (15’’ x 31’’) model for $9.99. The towel has an antibacterial treatment, so even if you do not have time to fully dry or wash it, there should be no bad odours!

If you are going to be travelling with family or friends, then 4monster offer a 4 pack of their 60cm x 120cm towel for just $37.99.

4. The Friendly Swede Microfiber Towel 2 pack

  • Price: $18.99
  • Size: 76cm x 152cm (30’’ x 60”)
  • Weight: 307g (10.8oz) per towel.
  • Antibacterial: No

  The Friendly Swede designed their version of a quick-drying travel towel using a blend of 80% polyester and 20% polyamide microfibre for total comfort.

These towels are soft on your skin while still absorbing water and leaving you dry in a matter of seconds. 

This set of two quick dry travel towels comes with 2 mesh carry bags so you can keep them compressed to fit in your bag or attach them to the outside of your bag for times when you are running out of room! There is also a slightly smaller version of these towels available which is perfect for drying your hair, dishes or just wrapping your wet swim gear in while you carry it back to your hostel. 

The downside of these towels is that they have no antibacterial treatment, so make sure you dry them completely and wash them regularly to avoid the pong! 

5. Camping Towel by Wise Owl Outfitters XL

  • Price:$16.99
  • Size: 76cm x 150cm (30’’ x 60’’)
  • Weight: 307g (10.8 oz)
  • Antibacterial: No

  Wise Owl Outfitters claim that they have produced the best towel for travel because unlike some other microfibre models, the Camping Towel by Wise Owl Outfitters is as soft as a baby’s butt! 

The snap loop makes it simple to hang your towel to dry and the carry bag will keep it tucked away in your backpack. Wise Owl Outfitters is a family-owned business of people who spend their time outdoors and know what is and isn’t functional.

The large version of this travel towel is (24’’ x 48’’) and costs $13.99. Wise Owl Outfitters gives you two quick-drying travel towels for the price of one, the XL option comes with an additional 30cm x 60cm (12’’ x 24’’) hand towel and the large version includes a 30cm x 30cm (12’’ x 12’’) ultra-lightweight towel.

They offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you find you’re not satisfied with their quick dry towel for travel.

6. Microfibre Travel Towel by Active Roots

  • Price: $18.75
  • Size: 76cm x 150cm (30’’ x 60’’)
  • Weight: 232g (8.2oz)
  • Antibacterial: Yes 

  Our pal Will Hatton, AKA The Broke Backpacker, has recently started his own brand of outdoor backpacking gear and his new microfibre travel towel deserves a mention! His brand, Active Roots, have created a travel towel that’s 100% microfibre, weighs just a few ounces and comes in a mesh carry bag.

You can feel good about buying this towel too, as a portion of the sales goes to The Elephant Sanctuary in Laos. Plus, if you’re not happy with your purchase, Active Roots offer a 100% money-back guarantee!

7. Rainleaf Travel Towel

  • Price: $15.95
  • Size: (34’’ x 60’’)
  • Weight: 500g (1.1lb)
  • Antibacterial: No

  The Backpacking Travel Towel from Rainleaf differs from the others on this list in the fact that it looks and feels much more like a normal, cotton towel.

Whilst it is still made using microfibre construction techniques, it has deliberately been designed to have a more bobbly look and feel to it.  This towel is a great choice for people who do not like the look or feel of other microfibre products. The downside of this towel is that it weighs significantly more than some of its competitors and doesn’t fold down as small.

If you can afford the weight and space sacrifice, then it’s a great fast drying towel but if you are travelling light, this is not the towel for you.  There are smaller sizes available that would weigh less and take up less room if you really have your heart set on a towel like this.

Rainleaf also produce a very well rated “normal” microfibre towel that is much lighter and more compact. 

8. LifeVenture Hydrofibre Trek Towel XL

  • Price: $25.00
  • Size: 130cm – 75cm
  • Weight: 130g
  • Antibacterial: Yes


Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t you tell us not to fall for the marketing trick of hydro fibre? Yes, I did say that but bear with me!

The Hydrofibre Trek Towel from Lifeventure is the lightest towel of its kind, making it a great addition to your backpack. It compacts down to almost nothing and dries at an almost unprecedented rate. The breathable travel case means you can pack it away easily while the antibacterial coating means you don’t have to worry about bad smells emanating from your pack.

There is also the Softfibre towel available, which absorbs even more water but takes a tad longer to dry. Some users report that the Softfibre version feels nicer on the skin!

The Lifeventure towels are only available in the UK and come at quite a high price so many travellers would argue the extra weight and space-saving isn’t worth the extra cost.

9. Starwood Microfibre Travel Towel

  • Price: $7.99
  • Size: (60’’ x 30’’)
  • Weight: 272g (9.6oz)
  • Antibacterial: Yes

  Starwood Sports are a brand who create towels more specifically for the gym than for travelling but that is not to say the towels are useless for backpackers. 

On the contrary, these budget-friendly towels are available in a variety of sizes and are treated with antibacterial properties to keep them smelling fresh for days!  Each microfibre towel, no matter its size, folds down to fit into a compact carrying case, which is small enough to sit even in your carry-on luggage.

These towels are super lightweight, so adding them to your daily backpack won’t leave you feeling overloaded.  Let your mind expand when it comes to the multipurpose uses for these towels, they’re even a great option for doing yoga on the beach!

10. Nomadix Towel

  • Price: $39.95
  • Size: (27.5’’ x 72.5’’)
  • Weight: 453g (1lb)
  • Antibacterial: No

  Whilst Nomadix makes the most expensive quick-drying towel on this list, it is for a good reason.

This eco-friendly towel is made of recycled materials and the company is a member of 1% for the planet. So do your conscience and the world a favour, spend the extra and know it’s going to a great cause! With its slip-resistant design, this towel is perfect for yoga but it is versatile enough to use on the beach or after a shower.

Some travellers have even used it for an extra layer when on those cold overnight bus rides! Available in many designs this towel will fit in wherever you are and it is always going to be easy to find on the washing line!

Let’s wrap it up!

Unless you want to rely on the communal towels available at the various hostels you stay at, investing in travel towels is a logical choice. The convenience of having a fast-drying towel on hand at all times, combined with the enhanced hygiene, makes the travel towel a must-have for all backpackers!

Tim Ashdown | Gear Specialist

After a life-changing motorcycle accident, Tim decided life was too short to stay cooped up in his home county of Norfolk, UK. Since then, he has travelled Southeast Asia, walked the Camino de Santiago and backpacked South America. His first book, From Paralysis to Santiago, chronicles his struggle to recover from the motorcycle accident and will be released later this year.

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