When I first started traveling, I never thought about packing my own towel! I knew that the hostels I had booked in Australia either offered them for free or for a small fee. Why would I pack a regular bath towel in my suitcase?!
During that first trip to Australia in 2006, I quickly learned that all of the long term travelers and backpackers had packed their own travel towel. As soon as I returned home, I ordered one.
>> Read more about choosing the right pack towel.
I had already ordered a set of packing cubes from Rick Steves’ website, which I had probably stumbled upon my chance, and I returned to his online store to purchase a king size micronet travel towel. I figured if I was pleased with his packing cubes, why not try his towel instead of the other brands I eventually found. A popular traveler had to know his stuff, right?
Adding a travel towel to my packing list is probably one of the smartest packing decisions I’ve made. While there are a few drawbacks to travel towels, I don’t think they outweigh the positives. I pack my Rick Steves micronet travel towel because it’s:
- Lightweight – even though it’s the “king size”, my towel only weighs 6.25 ounces (less than half a pound)
- Easy to pack – though it’s 50×30 inches, it folds to 6×9 inches and when packed in its zippered pouch is no more than half an inch thick
- Quick drying – after a shower, I hang up my towel and it’s completely dry 15-30 minutes later (maybe sooner depending on air flow)
Using the towel after a shower
While there are several creative uses for a travel towel (e.g., table cloth, tucked into hostel bunk to provide privacy or block overhead lights), I usually use mine for its intended purpose – getting me dry after a shower!
Perhaps the number one complaint about travel towels in general is that they do not leave you feeling as dry as you feel after using a regular bath towel. With the micronet towel (made from a microfiber weave), I found that if I patted my body dry instead of rubbing it (like I would with a regular towel), I soaked up more of the water. Rubbing my body dry with the towel often made me feel like the towel was “sticking” to me. After a once over with the towel, I often have to return to various spots to pat until I feel as dry as one can with a travel towel.
The micronet towel was very absorbent with gently squeezing water from freshly washed hair, but I was left with a very wet spot in my towel that took away precious inches I needed to dry my body. I learned that I need to pack a separate hair towel.
The king size micronet travel towel is more than enough fabric to wrap around me after I’m dry. I love oversize towels as I like to feel sufficiently wrapped up – I don’t want to flash anyone between the bathroom and my dorm room! I’m usually carrying bathroom toiletries and clothes at the same time, and an oversized towel helps me feel more modest and covered.
The towel is machine washable and can be dried on a line or by machine. I’ve never had any troubles washing and drying my towel and it’s withstood many months of use without fading, tearing, or showing any wear.
I’m not sure how my Rick Steves micronet travel towel compares to others, but overall I’ve been pleased with it. My only complaint is the same that exists with every travel towel I’ve ever heard about. If my towel can survive another few years of use, I will be more than happy with my purchase!
>> Buy the Rick Steves travel towel on Amazon
Are you happy with your travel towel? Have you used more than one brand? If you travel with more than one size, let us know!