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What Towel Do You Use?
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Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
What Towel Do You Use? on 04/28/2010 12:01:20 MDT Print View

What towel do you use for wiping off tent condensation and other gear pieces?

I use Lightload towels. They are cheap as heck and amazingly light weight, but they don't absorb a whole lot of water. They can't fully dry off a tent, although wiping will help the tent "air dry" the rest of the way faster.

I'm curious what folks deem to be the "optimal" balance between drying effectiveness vs. super light weight.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Sham Wow on 04/28/2010 12:44:32 MDT Print View

I use a piece of a Sham Wow about six inches per side that I cut from a sample my wife got in the mail. It sucks up the moisure very effectively and wrings out very well.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: What Towel Do You Use? on 04/28/2010 12:54:14 MDT Print View

I use the sleeve of my shirt. Nothing fancy.


Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: What Towel Do You Use? on 04/28/2010 12:57:04 MDT Print View

I wonder about their care instructions “1. Machine washable under delicate and keep dry when possible”

I use my towel (holey car shammy from walmart) as my sweat grabber in the back of my pack. It weighs about 1.3oz. It’s about 14”x14”. I thought it was 2oz (but I weighed it).

So it stays constant wet because of my sweat. It also dries off fast during a break. My back gives it a lot of abuse.

I do use it to dry my self off after a shower; and I do wipe condensation off my tent with it. However, since I switched to the zpack hexamid, I stopped getting condensation. That cuben fiber design is interesting.

Anyway, your lightweight towel find sounds interesting. I also see them at walmart. Since it appears lighter than my towel, I’ll have to do some testing :).


Chad Mason

Locale: Arizona
"What Towel Do You Use?" on 04/28/2010 13:02:02 MDT Print View

I use a MSR PackTowl UltraLite Large Towel. It weighs 1.8 oz and measures 36" x 20" It's very absorbent and wrings out easily. It also has a little loop on one corner that closes with a snap which makes it easy to hang outside my pack for easy drying.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: "What Towel Do You Use?" on 04/28/2010 13:16:49 MDT Print View

I'm using this stuff these days

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
What Towel Do You Use? on 04/28/2010 13:35:47 MDT Print View


Edited by skopeo on 04/29/2015 14:27:54 MDT.

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
cotton hanky on 04/28/2010 13:47:20 MDT Print View

After years trying various synthetic, mini-packtowels, and realizing they are terrible at absorbing water, I went back to using a basic cotton handkerchief.

My ultra-thin cotton hanky is a better towel (absorbs water better) than the synthetic towels, but here's the kicker: It also weighs much less and dries faster! (It probably dries faster because it's extremely thin.)

It's the only instance where I will take cotton into the backcountry.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
What Towel Do You Use? on 04/28/2010 14:30:26 MDT Print View

Handi-Wipes, bought at the grocery store. Amazingly absorbent and far faster-drying than a packtowel. 0.2 ounces each, so I can take several if I want. I usually take one as a towel, a half-sheet as a washrag and two in my dog's pack to de-mud the dog if needed and and to wipe moisture off the tent. Yes, they do have to be tossed after 6-7 trips, but they're cheap! I once tried the MSR UL PackTowl; it wasn't very absorbent and, on a damp night, never dried out at all.

Del Johnston
(deljohnston) - F

Locale: Heart of Dixie
TowTabs on 04/28/2010 14:55:13 MDT Print View

I just ran across this site yesterday. Looks to be a very similar product to the LightLoad towels. Biodegradable too.

I have never used either product and cannot comment on them. Just thought it was one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" products.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: What Towel Do You Use? on 04/28/2010 18:34:02 MDT Print View

Very light flat pink sponge maybe 3" x 2" x 1/2" from supermarket, in packs of 3. Works well, many uses.


James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Re: "What Towel Do You Use?" on 04/28/2010 18:57:53 MDT Print View

I use the WickSilver Towel from Gossamer Gear. Big, light, absorbent, dries fast, & doesn't reek after several days use.

Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
"What Towel Do You Use?" on 04/28/2010 21:09:27 MDT Print View

I take two thin cheap white terry cloth washcloths. I use one as a washcloth and the other for drying. It's not the same as a big dry warm fluffy bath towel of course, but it's good enough.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Kitchen wipe on 04/29/2010 07:07:47 MDT Print View

A kitchen wipe. Super cheap, super light, just the right size and they perform just as well if not better than typical backpacking towels: absorb plenty, dry fast. I use one as regular towel as well as for tent condensation or whatever else and each lasts a couple seasons aprox.

Nathan Baker
(Slvravn) - MLife

Locale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: "What Towel Do You Use?" on 04/29/2010 07:33:49 MDT Print View

For those of you that are looking at the Wicksilver towel from GG they are on sale here for $8 (instead of $20) in the 19"x19" size:

This is the company that makes the towels for GG.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Towels on 04/29/2010 08:33:30 MDT Print View

A bandana can do the job as well as two dozen others.

I do keep a small MSR towel/washcloth in my hygiene kit. This is the small silkier finish model and makes a better washcloth than a towel, but it is okay if wrung out-- more of a squeegee action.

I got a couple large MSR pack towels at a garage sale last year for 50 cents each, making it less painful to cut them into smaller pieces :) These are the thick felt-like ones and absorb the most water. Get a big one and split it with several others, or have a lot of spares.

Handy Wipes are pretty good, light, cheap, and available at the local grocery store. They can be cut down as well and can do most of the things a bandana can. Hmmmm, never tried one for a coarse water filter..... have to try that.

The only time I feel the need for a real towel is after swimming-- full immersion. And I'm not one for full dunking in 35F glacier-fed mountain lakes unless it is 90F out, and then I don't need a towel. For a stand-up "sponge bath" from my cut-off milk jug bucket, I really don't need much more than a small cloth to get that "squeegee" action to get most of the already thin film of water off.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: What Towel Do You Use? on 04/29/2010 08:38:39 MDT Print View

Dr. Caffin added: "Very light flat pink sponge maybe 3" x 2" x 1/2" from supermarket, in packs of 3. Works well, many uses."

I saw that on your gear list-- thought it was your pillow :)

David Dixon
towel on 04/29/2010 09:59:58 MDT Print View

Sham wow

Emmett Lyman
(ejl10) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: What Towel Do You Use? on 04/30/2010 18:50:29 MDT Print View

I cut a small MSR PackTowl Ultralite in half and then snipped off the snap in the corner. It comes in at just under .2oz now, and works beautifully to wipe down my tarptent, and also me after a quick rinse! After using it for my LT thru hike I don't see any reason I'd want a bigger one.