Best Towels For Camping (I FINALLY Tested Some)
For years, I’ve hauled a weird combination of beach towels, pool towels, and “dog towels” (aka old towels) to campsites, beaches, and pool decks. Every year, beginning with our spring camping trip, I tell myself I’ll bring less stuff.
Starting with fewer bulky towels that take up far too much space and take days to dry.
Then I pack them all anyway. Because you never know when you’ll need a dry towel, says the paranoid mom-camper in me.
And what if it’s rainy and camping towels can’t dry? Dirty wet towel smell sucks.
A few years ago, I started searching for the best towels for camping that actually feel good, too. It took awhile, but I’m happy to say I finally found some.
Dragging pool towels and fluffy towels camping never works. (It also sucks taking big towels to the beach and pool!) What kind of towel will be comfortable but also thin and quick-drying? I decided to test a few popular brands out to see if a microfiber towel might work.
The best towels for camping are definitely NOT the towels we use at home. The best camping towels are lightweight, quick-drying, and anti-microbial (so they don’t get smelly). After testing out the quick-drying microfiber towels for multiple trips to the beach, pool, and campsite, I found my new favorite best towels for camping!
Testing The Best Towels For Camping
Initially, I was only going to test the microfiber towels during a camping trip in June 2022. We took the towels and honestly, they were GREAT.
Microfiber towels take up a fraction of the space, absorb water, quickly dry, and are easy to stash in your car or at the campsite.
I was sold and ordered two more right away.
But then I wondered:
How would my best towels for camping do everywhere else? At the beach, on the boat, in Costa Rica for two weeks?!?
The biggest plus of switching to lightweight microfiber towels for camping and swimming is that they are SO EASY to shake out and dry. No dirt seems to stick on them because it just shakes off (worst case, when dry).
How We Tested
I ordered three of the most popular lightweight towels: Nomadix, Tesalate, and a brand on Amazon called Eccosophy.
Full disclosure: Tesalate supplied the towel at no cost for my review.
Next we took them everywhere. Camping for ten days, beach vacation in Costa Rica for two weeks, swimming at the pool, out on the boat.
Finally, it was time to decide. Which lightweight, quick-drying microfiber towels makes the best towels for camping?
Clear Winner: Nomadix
The Nomadix towels are our family’s best towels for camping. Modern designs, nice weight but quick-dry, and they also make a smaller, super lightweight towels that has been perfect to stash in the car or use on the dog. Plus, the price is right!
Get it on Amazon here.
As someone who sews, I judge fabrics and finishings to a pretty high standard. Nomadix met or exceeded my expectations, with excellent finishing, stitching, and quality fabric and drape. I even use them like a sarong now at the pool!
Nomadix towels were the least soft of the towels we tested, but the quality and durability makes them our top choice. They’re not rough, though, and I think it’s the super-absorbent chamois-like material. I’ll take a towel that actually dries over one that doesn’t.
Ease of Use
You GUYS! Seriously, these Nomadix towels are the best. Simply hang them up, even covered in sand, and when dry, give it a good shake. EVERYTHING came off, every time. Which was necessary when camping with no washing machine for almost two weeks!
Runner Up: Tesalate Towels
Tesalate sent me the towel for 2, which is a big square, and it is AWESOME. I use it as a sarong or spread it out by the lake and pool. It’s heavier, but it’s larger so, you know, science. This was such a close second to Nomadix. I would be totally happy having Tesalate towels and no others.
Get it on Tesalate’s website.
Same as Nomadix, but a different weave in the material. It has more texture in it than Nomadix towels. Quality is excellent and it came in a really nice carry bag. Stitching and fabric quality are high end. Also, they have tons of sizes and patterns.
So I think the Tesalate towel is the tiniest bit softer than the Nomadix towel. There’s no huge difference, but it’s there. The pattern on the Tesalate towels feels good and doesn’t have a side that rubs the wrong way (like a chamois). In that area, a clear win.
Ease of Use
The Towel For 2 is big, but just as easy to use as the regular sized best towels for camping. Quick-dry, shake it out and pack it away when it’s dry. I see our family using this towel a lot of the beach. It’s both a blanket and a towel. Win-win!
Best Budget Towel For Camping: Eccosophy
The Eccosophy towels are actually two very lightweight layers of micrfiber that are stitched together around the edge. It weighs almost nothing and has performed very well in all our testing. Personally, I prefer a bit more weight and the one layer of thicker microfiber that Tesalate and Nomadix offer, but my sister-in-law has taken this towel as her new favorite.
Get it on Amazon here.
So I’m picky about fabrics and this one doesn’t do it for me. BUT that’s because it is two very lightweight layers. If you like lighter clothes, this might be the one for you. The stitching and finishing was obviously cheaply factory-made, but we’ve been using it with no issues for months now.
Eccosophy makes the softest towel of the bunch, no question. The type of fabric is more like shirting than car-towel chamois. Which is good if you’re not getting soaking wet (lounging, not swimming). If you need towels to truly dry you off, go with one of the others.
Ease of Use
This towel is super easy to stash in a bag and take with you. The two layers of fabric make me think it’ll build up sand in between the layers, but so far that hasn’t happened after being heavily used at the beach. It dries SUPER fast but doesn’t absorb a ton of water.
Will We Keep Using Them?
Will we keep using our new favorite towels for camping? Heck yes. Without question, the Nomadix and Tesalate towels are here to stay.
If you need a towel that can do double-duty as a blanket, go with the Tesalate Towel For 2. Also, Tesalate just has cool vibes. Boho chic all the way.
Car camping? Choose Nomadix Original or Ultralight (the lightweight is good for smaller humans, dogs, and as a spare). Pricing seems very fair for the quality and durability.
Lounge but don’t get very wet? The Eccosophy microfiber towel is a good option that’s budget-friendly.
Stop dealing with smelly bulky towels when you’re camping or near the water. You don’t have to anymore.
The Best Towels For Camping Are Microfiber
After spending multiple vacations and most of the summer testing these towels, I can definitely says microfiber towels are the best towels for camping. They hold up well, don’t take up much room, absorb water, and dry fast.
Nomadix won me over but Tesalate was a close second. And again, if you’re not big on actually swimming, Eccosophy is a great budget option with fun patterns.
The best towels for camping definitely made my life easier. I hope they work for you, too! Let me know in the comments if you have any feedback or additional brands to check out. Happy camping!