The best camping towels 2024: get dry at festivals, camps, and while backpacking

The best camping towels come in many shapes and sizes, from wearable robes and luxurious wrap-arounds to lightweight microfiber products designed for backpacking. In this guide, we reveal our 10 favorites – towels that have served our testers well on many car camping and wild camping trips.

In Douglas Adams' classic sci-fi/comedy series the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a towel was said to be the single most important component in a space traveller's backpack. The sign of a good hitchhiker was someone who "really knows where his/her towel is."

Our tent wielding testers may not have fled the Vogons across the vastness of the cosmos or enjoyed a slap up meal at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but they have well and truly put these towels through their paces in the backcountry – and they've probably hitchhiked a little on the way too.

For total perspective on what to look for when buying a camping towel, see the How to choose section at the bottom of this guide. Otherwise, we kick things off with the very best camping towels. We regard the Lifeventure Lightweight Changing Robe as the best of the bunch.

The quick list

This is the quick list, a snapshot of the best camping towels available in 2024. To delve deeper into the features and qualities of each featured towel, see our more detailed reviews further down the page in this guide.

The best camping towels 2024

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The best camping towel overall

best camping towels: Lifeventure Lightweight Changing Robe

A thin travel towel in robe form, ideal for wild-swimming backpackers (Image credit: Julia Clarke)
The best camping towel overall

Specifications

Size (in use): 109cm x 75cm / 43in x 30in
Packed size: 18cm x 30cm x 8cm / 7in x 12in x 3in
Weight: 555g / 20oz
Material: Polyester (85%), nylon (15%) with Polygiene permanent odor control
Colors: Charcoal gray

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and packable (for a robe)
+
Permanent bacteria / odor control
+
Comes with storage bag
+
Features a huge hand pocket
+
Good price

Reasons to avoid

-
Not especially absorbent
-
Only one size available
-
One color only

Robe-style wearable towels are increasingly popular with campers, wild swimmers and paddlers, but they can be very expensive and extremely bulky and heavy.

Not so this lightweight number from specialist travel and outdoor brand Lifeventure, which has taken the microfiber fabric you typically see used in backpacking towels and shaped it into a changing robe. While it can soak up its own weight in water, and therefore will dry you off to some extent, our expert tester found that "absorbency wasn’t really this robe’s main selling point" – rather it’s a light, easy-to-carry robe for getting changed under and wearing as a bit of protection against sea breezes post swim or after a camp shower.

It features a hood, and the arms are three-quarter length to allow for full freedom of movement and leave your hands unencumbered. The enormous passage pocket passes right through the robe, so we were able to bury both hands deep in the garment when they were getting cold. We also used it for goggles and other items, but be careful if carrying anything vital (like a phone, wallet / purse or car keys), because it’s not a deep pocket, and things can fall out.

Read our full Lifeventure Lightweight Changing Robe review

The best wearable camping towel for warmth

best camping towels: dryrobe Organic Cotton Towel

The summer version of dryrobe’s famous Jedi-style drying garments (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best wearable camping towel for warmth

Specifications

Size (large): 120cm x 85cm / 47in x 33in
Weight (large): 1,133g / 2lb 8oz
Material: 100% organic cotton
Colors: Navy / Royal Blue / Slate Gray / Pink / Red / Black

Reasons to buy

+
Very functional
+
Soft and comfortable
+
Organic material
+
Good looking

Reasons to avoid

-
Carry bag not included
-
No pockets
-
No antibacterial treatment 

In the past few years, the sight of people wandering around campsites, beaches, pools and outdoor events wearing a Dryrobe has become commonplace. The robe-style wearable towel the company came up with has been much imitated, but never bettered.

This version is the warmer-weather iteration of the robe. Made from soft-feel organic cotton, we found it quickly dried us off, and supplied plenty of privacy and space to jettison swimmers and put pants back on. Complete with a hood, it’s warm, "without being uncomfortably hot" according to our expert reviewer, and the generous unisex, short-sleeve design allows for plenty of freedom of movement.

Our only criticism is that, considering how many people keep the robes on for long periods of time, a pocket or two would be handy.

Read our full Dryrobe Organic Cotton Towel review

The best super-soft microfiber camping towel

Decathlon Nabaiji Swimming Ultra-soft Microfibre camping towel

A super-soft, highly practical camping towel for a bargain price  (Image credit: Decathlon)

3. Decathlon Nabaiji Swimming Ultra-soft Microfiber Towel

The best super-soft microfiber camping towel

Specifications

Size (in use): 130cm x 80cm / 51in x 31in
Size (rolled up): 18cm x 16cm / 7in x 6in
Weight: 262g / 9oz
Material: Polyester (90%), polyamide (10%)
Colors: Petrol Blue / Orange

Reasons to buy

+
Great price
+
Extremely soft
+
Big hanging loop
+
Light for its size

Reasons to avoid

-
No bag
-
Collects sand and grass
-
No recycled material
-
No antibacterial treatment 

We found that this camping towel is super soft and very kind to your skin no matter how vigorous a drier you are. It takes in lots of water, and while it doesn’t dry quite as quickly as some others on test, the wait time isn’t too long.

There’s no bag included with this one, but you can wrap the large elasticized hanging loop around the rolled-up towel and that keeps everything nice and tidy. The same loop is ideal for securely hanging the towel from a tree (or whatever else you have nearby) while it dries in the wind.

The large version is easily long enough to wrap around your body while you get changed, and the color schemes and insignia are quite striking. For a budget item, this is a handsome towel: "words I never thought I'd be writing" said our expert tester. There is an XL alternative (175cm x 110cm / 69in x 43in; 476g / 16.5oz; Teal / Pink / Petrol Blue: £14.99).

The fluffy nature of this towel means it does pick up sand, dust and grass, so you need to wait until it’s fully dry and give it a very good shake. There’s no antibacterial treatment in the material, so regular washing is required to prevent it smelling.

The most eco-friendly camping towel

Sea to Summit Drylite camping towel

A large, lightweight, quick-drying and easy-to-pack travel towel (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

4. Sea to Summit Drylite Towel

The most eco-friendly camping towel

Specifications

Size (in use): 85cm x 190cm / 33.5in x 70in
Packed size: 20cm x 20cm x 4cm / 8in x 8in x 1.5in
Weight: 495g / 17.5oz
Material: Recycled polyester (80%), nylon (20%)
Colors: Beach Blue & White (other colors available in smaller sizes)

Reasons to buy

+
Soft, smooth feel
+
Has a hang hoop with popper
+
Dries very quickly
+
Comes with a storage bag

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively heavy
-
Not as absorbent as some pack towels
-
No bacteria / odor control treatment
-
XXL size only available in one color

Made with suede-woven, 80% recycled fabric, this towel from Aussie backpacking and camping specialist brand Sea to Summit is at much at home on the beach as it is hung outside a campsite shower or waiting on riverbank to wrap a dripping wild swimmer in its soft embrace.

With a smooth ultra-suede finish, we found it was super comfortable to lie on, didn’t collect sand and was nonabrasive on our skin when we rubbed ourselves down. But, our tester did admit that "for my money, it isn’t quite as absorbent as some of the more fibrous towels on the market".

Sea to Summit offer towels made with the same fabric in a range of other sizes, from small (40cm x 80cm / 16in x 32in; 62g / 2.2oz; $12.95) right up to this XXL version, which is impressively proportioned and easily large enough to wrap around your body and get changed under, or wear as a sarong.

For its size, this towel is pretty lightweight and very quick drying, and it comes with a carry bag that makes it easy to pack and carry whether you’re hiking a multiday trail or heading to the beach for the day. It also has a handy hoop with a popper, which is extremely useful when you want to hang the towel from a tree branch to dry or to create shade or shelter. It hasn’t been treated with any bacteria / odor control technology (so needs to be regularly washed and stored fully dry), but does come with a lifetime guarantee.

The best camping towel for odor control

best camping towel: Lifeventure SoftFibre Recycled Towel

A super-soft camping towel that's large enough to wear as a sarong (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best camping towel for odor control

Specifications

Size (in use): 150cm x 90cm / 59in x 35in
Packed size: 20cm x 10cm x 5cm / 8in x 4in x 2in
Weight: 203g / 7oz
Material: Polyester (100%, 66% of which is recycled), treated with Polygiene permanent odor control
Colors: Wide range of vibrant patterns available

Reasons to buy

+
Lovely soft feel
+
Permanent bacteria/odor control
+
Hang hook that doubles as a wrap-band
+
Comes in lots of colors & funky patterns

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t seem as absorbent as claimed
-
No carry bag

Each of these beautifully soft camping and travel towels is made from 8.7 recycled plastic bottles, which are rescued from landfill and woven into the yarn, comprising 66% of the overall material used.

We like the patterns creatively splattered across these funky camping and travel towels. "They're are as easy on the eye as the microfiber fabric was on my skin" according to our camping expert. The dimensions are large enough for them to be worn as a wrap-around sarong when wandering along the beach or chilling in the campsite. The finish is smooth, which means these towels are ideal for laying down on beaches and other terrain, and they won’t collect sand or grit. Treated with Polygiene, they boast permanent bacteria control, which will prevent the buildup of bad odors.

Lifeventure state this towel will soak up nine times its own weight in moisture – but on test we didn’t think it was anywhere near as absorbent as claimed. It does dry you off, of course, but not as fast and efficiently as some towels with a more fibrous finish. However, the smooth feel will more than compensate for this for many people.

Read our full Lifeventure SoftFibre Recycled Towel review

The best camping towel for backpacking

Sea to Summit Airlite camping towel

A super-light, multifunctional, tiny towel for fastpacking (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best camping towel for backpacking

Specifications

Size (in use): 100cm x 50cm / 40in x 20in
Packed size: 10cm x 6cm / 4in x 2.5in
Weight: 47g / 1.7oz
Material: Recycled polyester (85%), nylon (15%)
Colors: Sage Green / Moonlight Blue / Baltic Blue / Outback Orange / Desert Brown

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly light & quick drying
+
Easy to pack
+
Comes with a stuff sack
+
Made with mostly recycled material

Reasons to avoid

-
Small
-
Easy to lose & can be blown away
-
No bacteria/odor control treatment

For adventures where every ounce of weight and inch of storage space counts, the ultra-compact, multifunctional Airlite is perfect. Sea to Summit do use the term towel for this incredibly light product, but you could equally call it a face cloth or flannel. In terms of functionality, we found that it comes in useful for everything from patting yourself dry after a wild dip, to washing your face and drying the dishes.

The fabric is 85% recycled and, while we found it wasn’t as absorbent as some microfiber towels made with fluffier materials, it does the job it’s designed for admirably. Sea to Summit state it soaks up three times its weight in water, but then it weighs next to nothing when dry.

Laser-cut edges (instead of over-locking hems) reduce the weight even more. A popper on the towel attaches it to the nifty 15D nylon stuff sack, which is very useful for keeping the two elements together, as "both are easily lost, especially in windy conditions" according to our tester. The stuff sack has a pull cord and external attachment loop, and it’s color-matched to the corresponding towel. The brighter-colored towels make good emergency flags should you ever need one.

Read our full Sea to Summit Airlite Towel review

The best small camping towel

Craghoppers Compact Travel camping towel

A tiny camping towel for the most lightweight adventures (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

7. Craghoppers Compact Travel Towel

The best small camping towel

Specifications

Size (in use): 58cm x 64cm / 23in x 25in
Packed size: 10cm x 8cm / 4in x 3in
Weight: 50g / 1.8oz
Material: Polyester (85%), polymide (15%) with anti-bacterial treatment
Colors: Orange

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly lightweight and packable
+
Handy carry pouch
+
Anti-bacterial properties
+
Hang loop with popper

Reasons to avoid

-
Tiny (obviously…)
-
No recycled content 
-
Easy to lose pouch / towel

"Virtually small enough to have come out of a Christmas cracker" according to our camping expert, this ultralight travel towel is nevertheless no gimmick – it has a multitude of functions, from the alfresco bathroom (face flannel, micro-drying towel) to the outdoor kitchen (dish washing or drying-up cloth).

You’re not going to get changed behind it without shocking everyone else in the campsite, but we found it to be reasonably absorbent and we were able to pat ourselves dry after a wild swim when out on the trails, or when we emerged from the bucket shower (other types of camping shower are available).

The fabric has anti-bacterial properties, which will prevent the buildup of bad smells, and it is extremely fast drying, so you can wash it out in between using it for different purposes. It has a little hang loop in one corner, with a popper so you can wrap it around a tree branch or tent pole without worrying about the towel blowing away in the wind. It also comes complete with a little mesh storage bag with a karabiner that can be clipped to a backpack or belt.

The best wrap-around camping towel

Dryrobe dryrap Hands Free Towel

A wrap-around towel that stays securely in place for getting changed (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

8. Dryrobe Dryrap Hands Free Towel

The best wrap-around camping towel

Specifications

Size: 140cm x 115cm x 80cm / 55in x 45in x 31in (fits up to 46in waist)
Weight: 517g / 1lb 2oz
Material: Organic cotton (100%)
Colors: Black / Gray / Navy / Royal Blue / Red

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent for getting changed
+
Absorbent 
+
Made with organic cotton
+
One size fits all

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively heavy and bulky
-
Takes longer to dry than microfiber towels
-
Collects sand
-
No carry bag included

We’ve all been there – stumbling around in a public place with a towel loosely wrapped around your waist, trying to change into or out of swimmers, with the threat of accidentally flashing everyone around you a constant worry.

The addition of an elasticated band at the top of the towel and a strip of Velcro means this simple but innovative product from Dryrobe instantly makes this predicament a problem of the past. Made with organic cotton and highly absorbent, we found that this one-size towel will stretch around and stay in place on waists of up to 117cm / 46in, which makes getting changed or walking back from the campsite shower a "less fretful experience" according to our tester.

We were able to leave the towel securely in place and wear it kilt-style, with or without a top, leaving our hands free to grab bags, paddles, wash bags and other gear, or to enjoy an ice cream, beach beer or picnic. And when you want to peel it off there’s a fabric pull hoop, which also comes in handy for hanging the towel up to dry.

It won’t dry as quickly as a microfiber towel, and it’s much heavier, but for car camping trips it’s ideal. It is large enough to lay on the beach for sunbathing, but will pick up sand and grit so you’ll need to give it a good shake once it’s dry.

The best standard microfiber camping towel

Snugpak Head To Toe camping towel

A large, lightweight microfiber travel towel with antibacterial properties (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

9. Snugpak Head To Toe Towel

The best standard microfiber camping towel

Specifications

Size (in use): 125cm x 120cm / 49in x 47in
Packed size: 24cm x 15cm x 8cm / 9.5in x 6in x 3in
Weight: 360g / 13oz
Material: Polyester (80%) & polyamide (20%) treated with antibacterial Silvadur
Colors: Olive / Coyote Tan

Reasons to buy

+
Large coverage area
+
Comes with storage bag 
+
Clip for hanging 
+
Antibacterial treatment

Reasons to avoid

-
Not overly absorbent
-
Relatively heavy

While it didn't quite cover us from head to toe, this is a very generously proportioned travel towel "that comes in very useful in a wide range of camping and outdoor scenarios" according to our expert. From lying on the beach or drying ourselves off after a wild swim, to being worn sarong-style as we swished around the campsite, we appreciated this great product.

We found that the antibacterial properties in the fabric are a bonus, especially on longer trips with big gaps between laundry visits, helping to stop the buildup of bacteria and pong. The mixed material means it feels nicer and smoother against your skin than some of the more prickly fibrous towels, but it’s not quite as absorbent as they are. It does dry you off, though, and then dries out reasonably quickly itself, and the smooth finish means it won’t pick up grains of sand.

The bag is great for keeping things neat and tidy in a pack or bag, and you have the option to keep it in a waterproof cover (to prevent it making other items damp) or just in the mesh bag if you want to air it a bit (for example, on the outside of your pack while you walk).

The best cheap camping towel

Mountain Warehouse Micro Towelling camping towel

A super absorbent, fast-drying, reasonably priced microfiber towel (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

10. Mountain Warehouse Micro Towelling Travel Towel

The best cheap camping towel

Specifications

Size (in use): 120cm x 60cm / 47in x 24in
Pack size: 20cm x 13cm / 8in x 5in
Weight: 300g / 11oz
Material: Polyester (80%), polyamide (20%)
Colors: Dark Purple / Navy

Reasons to buy

+
Highly absorbent 
+
Dries very quickly
+
Good price
+
Comes with bag

Reasons to avoid

-
Collects sand and grass
-
No recycled material
-
No antibacterial treatment

A classic no-frills microfiber towel that really is extremely absorbent (taking four times its own weight in water) and genuinely fast-drying (just as it promises to be), our tester found the Mountain Warehouse Micro Towelling Travel Towel was "ideal for camping trips and travelling".

The material mix is soft, but occassionally caught on dry skin. There is no antibacterial treatment in the fabric either, so bacteria can build up over extended periods of time if you can’t get to a washing machine, which we found resulted in the towel getting a bit stinky.

The medium size iteration of this very functional camping and travel towel is just about large enough to cover your modesty if you’re using it to get changed, but it’s also available in Large (£15.99; 130cm x 70cm; 350g; Navy / Dark Purple / Charcoal) and Giant (£17.99; 150cm x 85cm; 400g; Dark Purple / Khaki) versions.

The towelling finish does collect sand, especially if you lay on it when wet. A material hoop on one of the corners is ideal for hanging it up, and the mesh bag keeps it nicely contained in your pack.

The best camping towels comparison table

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TowelRRPStyleWeightMaterial
Lifeventure Lightweight Changing Robe£42.99 (UK)Wearable towel555g / 20ozPolyester (85%), nylon (15%) with Polygiene permanent odor control
Dryrobe Organic Cotton Towel$65 (US) / £50 (UK)Wearable towel1.13kg / 2lb 8oz100% organic cotton
Decathlon Nabaiji Swimming Ultra-soft Microfiber Towel$10 (US) / £11.99 (UK)Microfibre towel262g / 9ozPolyester (90%), polyamide (10%)
Sea to Summit Drylite Towel$41.95 / £40 (UK)Microfibre towel495g / 17.5ozRecycled polyester (80%), nylon (20%)
Lifeventure SoftFibre Recycled Towels£21.99 (UK)Microfibre towel203g / 7ozPolyester (100%, 66% of which is recycled), treated with Polygiene permanent odor control
Sea to Summit Airlite Towel$16.95 (US) / £12 (UK)Ultralight towel47g / 1.7ozRecycled polyester (85%), nylon (15%)
Craghoppers Compact Travel Towel£14.95 (UK)Ultralight towel50g / 1.8ozPolyester (85%), polymide (15%) with anti-bacterial treatment
Dryrobe Dryrap Hands Free Towel£20 (UK)Wearable towel517g / 1lb 2oz100% organic cotton