5 Best Microfiber Towels for Travel and to Buy Online (Fast Drying & Compact)

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5 Best Microfiber Towels for Travel to Buy Online (Lightweight & Fast Drying)

When backpacking, one of your biggest pain points is going to be space. Damp smelly clothes will be another…

There’s nothing worse than when you have to travel between destinations with a damp towel in your bag (because it didn’t dry in time), leaving you with a bag full of musty odour at your arrival. 

Given the size and weight of traditional towels, they just don’t make good travel gear. They take up too much space, are heavy when wet and take ages to dry. 

They can also be a thriving home for bacteria if damp for an extended period of time or you’re unable to wash them after multiple uses.

In this article, I will be explaining the benefits of microfibre (or microfiber) travel towels compared to normal bath towels, important considerations before you buy and the best microfiber towel for travel.

After hours of research and reviewing many microfibre travel towel brands, I have narrowed the options down to five, which I believe will be the best microfibre travel towels for Australian backpackers to choose from.

Skip to the Winners >

The Benefits of Microfibre Towels vs. Standard Towels

Compared to standard bath towels, microfibre (or microfiber) towels:

  • Have antibacterial/antimicrobial properties which help to prevent the build up of bacteria, germs and other bad odours
  • Are a lot smaller and thinner and therefore take up less space and prime real estate in your backpack
  • Are more absorbent, with some able to absorb around 4-5 times their weight in water
  • Are quick-drying, drying 5-10 times faster than a standard towel
  • Can be used multiple times before washing (which is good when camping or backpacking)
  • Are made from material is that is soft on sensitive skin 
  • Usually come with a small convenient carry back which makes packing easy
  • Can be used as both a bath towel and a beach towel

This is why they have become such an important necessity for travellers. 

After using my microfibre towel for travel and other water adventures, I can confidently admit that I’ll never go back.

They save you from so much pain, especially when moving between destinations rapidly and having little time available to dry.

Best Microfiber Travel Towels to Buy Online

 

Things to Know Before Buying a Microfibre/ Microfiber Towel 

Before you go ahead and buy a microfiber towel, it is really important to consider the following:

  • Material
  • Size
  • Washing requirements

This will help you to find a good quality microfiber towel for travel and your daily backpacking adventures.

 

1. Material

From my research, I have discovered that most microfibre (or microfiber) towels contain a combination of the following synthetic materials:

  • Polyester (a kind of plastic – who knew?)
  • Polyamide / Nylon
  • Polygiene

I’m definitely no chemist or dressmaker, but some sources have mentioned that Polyamide and Nylon can be used interchangeably (Ie. they’re a similar kind of material, if not the same thing).

The term “microfibre” simply means that the fibres within the towel have been split into very fine strands. This tends to make the towel more porous and fast-drying. 

Polyester helps to give the towel some structure while Polyamide adds density and absorption. 

My microfibre travel towel, for example, is made out of Polyester Polyamide, however it doesn’t tell me the exact percentage of each. 

I have come across a few towel brands with the material makeup of around 85% polyester and 15% polyamide.

When looking for the best microfiber towel for travel, the general rule of thumb is to look for a 80/20 or 70/30 ratio of polyester to polyamide. 

This can be tricky to determine, given some brands don’t list the material makeup. Instead, they simply call it “microfibre”. The problem with this is that not all “microfibre” travel towels are the same. 

The best way to tell whether your microfibre travel towel is high quality is by feel. 

 

A high quality microfibre travel towel should:

  • Absorb liquid rather than push it around
  • Feel soft but grippy on your skin
  • Last numerous washes without losing its shape/feel
  • Pickup and hold dirt and dust (except I’m not sure that you’d really want to try this out!)

There are some microfibre towels that appear to be more “sticky” than others. This can be an advantage for drying, but a disadvantage in that they often attract more grass fibres, burs, leaves etc. Especially if you accidentally drop it or drag it along the ground. 

This can create an unpleasant post-shower drying experience! 

 

2. Size

In addition to the material makeup, I feel that the size of your towel is an important consideration. 

Similar to standard towels, microfibre towels come in all shapes and sizes. However, there are sizes that are definitely better suited to backpackers than others. 

Given that space in your bag will be your greatest limitation, I usually opt for a travel towel that is smaller compared to a standard towel, yet large enough to cover all the important bits and pieces.

If you’re a female, you’ll want your towel to be able to comfortably wrap around your body, whilst covering your boobs and hoo-ha – but not down to your knees/shins. 

As a male, you have a bit more flexibility, unless you too are sensitive about your nipples. 

If you’re planning on going to a destination for its beaches, you may want to opt for something that is large enough to sit on – or simply try and borrow one from your accommodation if you can. 

My travel towel has the following dimensions:

  • Large:  27 inches (W) x  52 inches (L) / 68cm (W) x 132cm (L)

My best microfiber towel for travel and backpacking

This size is PERFECT for me – however, my height is on the shorter side of the spectrum. If you’re tall or have a long torso, you may want to go for the size up. 

If you’re unsure which size you should get, I’d suggest getting either a large or extra-large microfibre travel towel between the dimensions of:

  • Width: 24 – 30 inches (60 – 76 cm)
  • Length: 50 – 60  inches (127 – 150cm)

This will ensure that you’re getting a travel towel that is small enough to save space, but large enough to be practical. 

 

3. Washing Requirements

If you’re looking to buy a microfibre travel towel, it is worth buying it in advance of your trip. 

This is because most suppliers recommend that you wash your microfibre travel towel before the first use.

Generally, you should only wash your travel towel on a cold and gentle machine wash cycle to prevent any damage to the fibres. Many also recommend that you don’t tumble dry, however I have one this a couple of times – whoops!

It’s also important to wash the towel on its own for the first 2-3 times, as some products have been known to bleed colour. This can cause devastation if you accidentally wash them with some of your favourite clothes. 

So yeah, definitely wash it at least once before you go, on a gentle cool cycle and not with any other items of clothing.

Skip to the Winners >

 

Where to Buy a Quality Microfiber Towel for Travel

When buying a travel towel, you have a couple of options.

The most popular places are at a travel/outdoor adventure store or online. They both have corresponding pros and cons, so you just have to go for what suits you best.

The main pro of buying in-store is that you get to feel the material and get an idea of the size before you buy it. You also buy it instantly, so it can be handy if short on time. 

However, the con is that you usually pay a premium price (especially if buying from a premium travel brand). 

The main pro of buying online is that you can find cheaper alternatives and get good value for money. It can also be handy if you don’t live close to a store that sells microfibre towels. 

The cons of buying online are that you don’t get to feel the material and it is harder to tell whether you’re getting a quality product. You also have to wait on delivery, which is not ideal if you have left purchasing a towel to the last minute. 

However, this is often overcome with companies offering returns and refunds if not satisfied. 

My favourite online store for travel gear is Amazon.com. They have a great diversity of brands and a good reputation that you can count on. 

My favourite stores to check out in Australia are:

This is what my microfiber towel for travel looks like:

My Microfiber Travel Towel

My microfibre travel towel

I can’t remember where I got my microfibre travel towel from as it was a while ago, but here are the main features:

  • Size: Large:  27 inches (W) x  52 inches (L) | 68cm (W) x 132cm (L) 
  • Brand: Escape Outdoors
  • Colour: Teal
  • Material: Microfibre – Polyester Polyamide
  • Packed size: Rolls up into a 6 x 10 inch mesh bag 

 

5 Best Microfiber Towels for Travel and to Buy Online 

To save yourself the effort of shopping in person or going to multiple stores (because you can’t find what you want)… here are some great options to check out online.

If you plan to travel for a long period of time, every penny you carry is extremely precious. Shopping online can help you save some coin.

After spending hours researching different microfibre travel towel brands and products, I have managed to narrow the options down to these top 5 products. 

I have based my scoring and recommendations on:

  • The material
  • The available sizes
  • Perceived quality and 
  • Customer reviews

Let’s take a look at some of the top online travel towel brands, starting from 5 (good) – 1 (best).

Skip to the Winners >

 

5. Macpac Microfibre Travel Towel

  • Product:  1 x microfiber travel towel
  • Sizes available:    Large (19 x 39 inches) and X-Large (29 x 59 inches)
  • Material:   Microfiber – 85% Polyester, 15% Polyamide
  • Colour:  Two colours – Black and blue
  • Price: ~  $20-30 AUD
  • Reviews:    60% 5 star reviews of  7+ reviews

View on MacPac

Macpac Microfiber Travel Towel Review

Pros:

  • Great absorption and quick-drying
  • Thin, lightweight and compact
  • Contains antibacterial properties to reduce odours
  • Soft on the skin
  • Durable and high quality
  • Fast delivery

Cons: 

  • Only 60% of reviews are 5 stars, however there are only 7 reviews on their website which makes it difficult to judge.
  • Some customers have complained about the towel smelling bad after use and it taking a while to dry (however this is quite subjective)
  • Another customer mentioned that the towel colour ran when washed with other clothes 
  • The towel material attracts and holds onto grass and small leaves like a “magnet”, making it almost impossible to clean. 
  • One customer mentioned that the X-large towel size is too big for backpackers but the large size is too small. 

 

Is this microfibre travel towel good value for money?

Possibly. Macpac is a pretty reliable adventure and travel brand, however this doesn’t automatically mean that they sell the best microfibre travel towels. 

The price and downsides of their towels are similar to the other towels I have reviewed (below) – colours bleeding in the wash etc. However, I do agree with the comment on sizing.

My towel is the ideal travel size at 27 x 52 inches, yet their sizes are only larger or smaller than this. They don’t have an equivalent. This makes it harder to find something that will be both compact and practical. 

To be honest, apart from them disclosing the material makeup of their towels (a big plus) there’s nothing that really stands out to me about these microfibre towels. 

 

4. Venture 4th Microfiber Travel Towel

Overview:

  • Product:  1 x microfibre travel towel
  • Sizes available:   Medium (21 x 40 inches) – X-Large (31.5 x 72 inches)
  • Material: Microfiber
  • Colour: Various   
  • Price: ~  $27 AUD (Large)
  • Reviews:  76% 5 star reviews of 1800+ reviews

View on Amazon AUS | View on Amazon.com 

Venture 4th Microfiber Travel Towel Review

Pros

  • Great absorption and quick-drying – around 10 minutes in the sun and a bit longer in shade. 
  • Thin, lightweight and compact
  • Antibacterial properties 
  • Good range of sizes available
  • Towels have a high thread count and are soft / gentle on the skin 
  • This towel folds down to 11 x 9 inches
  • Some customers have mentioned that they love the compact and handy rip-stop nylon bag that it comes with
  • Fast delivery and durable packaging 
  • Offer a 12 month money back guarantee and customers have raved about the customer service

Cons:

  • Less choice of sizes compared to some other brands, however the main ones you need are there
  • Although they state that their carry bag is small, my current towel rolls up into a 6 inch x 10 inch bag which is much more compact
  • Reports of colours looking different in person (especially the “baby blue and pink” option) and colours bleeding during washing 
  • Some complaints about the towels being poorly stitched, however was fixed by customer service

 

Is this microfibre travel towel good value for money?

Yes, I believe so.

Initially, I was a bit concerned that they don’t list out what the microfibre material is made up of, however a customer has compared the texture to that of a chamois cloth, which from what I know is a good thing.

I also like that they offer a 12-month money back guarantee and actively try to resolve customer problems. This tells me that they are proud of their product and customer service is important. 

In terms of the cons, I feel that the issues relating to colour and size are not a big deal, as this seems to be common to a lot of travel towels. 

 

3. Rainleaf Microfiber Towel for Travel

Overview:

  • Product:  1 x microfibre travel towel
  • Sizes available: X-Small (12 x 24 inches) to XX-Large (40 x 72 inches)   
  • Material: Microfiber
  • Colour: Various 
  • Price: ~  $22 AUD
  • Reviews: 80% 5 star reviews of 10,400+ reviews

View on Amazon AUS | View on Amazon.com

Rainleaf Microfibre Travel Towel Review

Pros

  • Highly absorbent and quick-drying
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Good range of sizes available
  • Over 10,000 reviews on Amazon!
  • Comes with a breathable mesh carry bag to allow for convenient and compact packing 
  • Comes with a hang snap loop so you can tie it down when drying to prevent it from blowing away
  • The XXL towel contains a zip pocket (I don’t understand why they don’t make this standard across the range to be honest)
  • Lots of colour choice if that is important to you 

Cons:

  • They don’t list what the material makeup is, just that it made from “microfibres” 
  • There are mixed reviews about the packaging – some have said it is quite bulky, others have said it is compact. Hard to know without seeing it. 
  • Reports of colours bleeding during washing
  • Some reviews state that the product smells iffy – a petroleum/chemical-like smell. 
  • Some have claimed that these towels aren’t as absorbent as other microfibre towels on the market
  • One customer mentioned that the 3rd party vendor only refunded 80% of the price paid, even within 30 days. 

 

Is this microfibre travel towel good value for money?

For $22 AUD and over 10,000 reviews with 80% of these rated 5 stars, I can’t say that this product isn’t value for money. On paper, it looks to be.  However, popularity isn’t everything, and doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best product out there.

It’s hard to tell from the pictures, however it does look to have a different texture to my polyester polyamide travel towel, which makes me question what it is made of. 

I do like that this brand offers a ton of choice – whether it be the size of the towel or the colour. 

If you will be backpacking, I’d recommend getting either the large (24 x 48 inches) or X-Large (30 x 60 inches) travel towel. That way you can use it as a bath towel and a beach towel.

 

2. Youphoria Microfiber Travel Towel

  • Product:  1 x microfibre travel towel
  • Sizes available:   Medium (20-40 inches) – X-Large (32 – 72 inches)
  • Material:  Microfiber
  • Colour:  Various   
  • Price: ~  $30 AUD
  • Reviews:   81% 5 star reviews of 4000+ reviews

View on Amazon AUS | View on Amazon.com 

Youphoria - Best Microfibre Travel Towel Review

Pros:

  • Great absorption and quick-drying
  • These microfibre towels can hold up to five times its weight in water and dry up to ten times faster than a normal terry cloth or cotton towel
  • Thin, lightweight and compact
  • Antibacterial (expected) to reduce odours
  • A whole spectrum of colours
  • Good range of sizes available
  • Comes with a waterproof mesh carry bag 
  • Has a snap hang loop for easy hanging on a towel rack, branch or a piece of furniture so it doesn’t fly away in the wind when drying  
  • Soft material and gentle on the skin 
  • Fast delivery 
  • These towels keep their shape well after washing 
  • They also have an awesome customer service motto “If you experience any dissatisfaction or inconvenience with your purchase or product, the product is on us. No hassle.”. So, if you’re not happy with the product, they will replace it or refund your money. Well that’s a pretty awesome guarantee. 
  • Half the weight of the “Rainleaf” branded travel towel and packs down to half the size. I have also seen mention that it dries faster than the “Rainleaf” brand as well. 

Cons: 

  • Some complaints about the stitching on the edge of the towel being low quality and unravelling after washing
  • Some customers have claimed that the towel has a bad smell when wet and after the first use. Although not a turn on, this did only come from one person’s comment so it’s hard to know if this is a common thing.

 

Is this microfibre travel towel good value for money?

Yes, I believe so.

Again, they don’t list the material which makes it tricky to comment on this, but I can vouch for the size options and they definitely have an amazing number of positive 5 star reviews, which you can’t overlook.

The recurring comments about the stitching unravelling isn’t great, however given their intense focus on providing good customer service, I think they’d happily replace it if you go a faulty one. 

For $30, I feel like this is reasonable value for money and definitely worth checking out. 

 

1. Kathmandu Microfibre Travel Towels

  • Product:  1 x microfibre travel towel
  • Sizes available:    Large (19 x 39 inches) and X-Large (29 x 59 inches)
  • Material:   Microfibre – 88% Polyester, 12% Polyamide and Polygiene (in some)
  • Colour:  Two colours – Moss and dark blue
  • Price: ~  $50-80 AUD
  • Reviews:   95% 5 star reviews of  17+ reviews

View on Kathmandu

Kathmandu Polygiene Microfibre Towel Review

Pros:

  • Great absorption and quick-drying
  • Thin, lightweight and compact
  • Contains Polygiene™ in the material which provides greater odour control by preventing bacterial growth on the fabric. This means that you can use it more and wash less. 
  • Packs down to the dimensions of 24 cm x 18 cm x 8 cm
  • The advertise it as having no smell
  • No complaints or concerns relating to the colour running/bleeding during washing
  • Free delivery on orders over $50 
  • Kathmandu offer a 60 day returns policy. Therefore, if you’re not satisfied with the product and return it within 60 days, you should get your money back. 

Cons:

  • A lot more expensive than other microfibre travel towels on the market
  • Sizes are similar to the Macpac towels. They have a large (100cm long) and a X-large (150cm), but don’t offer an in-between option (around 130 cm).
  • Similar to Macpac’s towels, there have been complaints that the material attracts and holds onto grass and small leaves, making it hard to clean. This makes for a very scratchy experience during the next use.

 

Is this microfibre travel towel good value for money?

Yes. Kathmandu is one of the most renowned adventure / travel brands out there. They are known for selling premium quality products, however their products usually come with a sizeable price tag.

Their microfibre towel range is no different. Particularly, the Polygiene microfibre towel range.

Considered their “premium” microfibre towel, this range of towels features Polygiene, an odour control technology that keeps the towel fresher for longer. 

But the downside of these towels is that they are incredibly expensive. The X-Large Polygiene microfibre towel, for example, is $80 AUD! 

I don’t think I’ve ever paid that much money for a towel. It’s almost 4X the cost of the other microfibre towels we looked at.

Sometimes paying more can get you a longer-wearing product that you can use for years and years. But, for a towel… ? 

Unless you’ll be using it ALL the time or travelling for a long duration, I’m not sure I’d pay this much. If you have extra money to play with though or aren’t buying other travel gear, it could be worth the money.

 

 My Verdict – The Two Winners! 

All of these towel brands look like great options. Each of the products, look to be good quality and score favourably in the areas of: 

  • The material
  • The available sizes
  • Perceived quality and 
  • Customer reviews

However, the decision on which one I would choose is tricky, because they also have a lot of similarities.

Here’s a summary of what I believe are the best microfiber towels for travel, and ones that I would actually buy myself. 

 

Quality, But for a Price 

If premium quality is important to you and you want to guarantee that you’re getting the real deal (a polyester polyamide microfibre towel), I would go for a Kathmandu Microfibre Towel. In my opinion, this is one of the best microfiber towels for travel and backpacking. 

Yes, the price tag is hefty, but this would be the best way to ensure that you won’t be disappointed. 

I also like that:

  • They’re innovative in this space (adding “Polygiene” into some of the towel)  so that they have very little to no smell after use, and
  • They offer a 60 days return policy

The main downsides that I see are related to the lack of sizes and colours available. But, if you’re not concerned about size, space or colour, then it shouldn’t matter much. 

Kathmandu Polygiene Microfibre Towel Review

Kathmandu Microfiber Towel for Travel

  • Product:  1 x microfibre travel towel
  • Sizes available:    Large (19 x 39 inches) and X-Large (29 x 59 inches)
  • Material:   Microfiber – 88% Polyester, 12% Polyamide and Polygiene (in some)
  • Colour:  Two colours – Moss and dark blue
  • Price: ~  $50-80 AUD
  • Reviews:   95% 5 star reviews of  17+ reviews

 View on Kathmandu

 

Inexpensive and Practical

If you’re NOT wanting to create a big dent in your travel budget, then I would suggest checking out the Youphoria microfiber towel for travel.

Personally, this would be my choice as a backpacker and is definitely a top contender for the best microfiber towel for travel.

This towel has rave reviews and many great features including a great range of sizes and colours, exceptional customer service and reviews, a hanging loop, fast delivery, soft material and a mesh carry bag.

It is also big enough to wrap yourself in and cover all the important bits. 

There also doesn’t seem to be any negative reviews about colour running during or after washing like the other brands, however, I would still recommend that you wash these travel towels on a gentle, cool machine wash without any other clothes. 

Youphoria - Best Microfibre Travel Towel Review

Youphoria Microfiber Travel Towel

  • Product:  1 x microfibre travel towel
  • Sizes available:   Medium (20-40 inches) – X-Large (32 – 72 inches)
  • Material:  Microfiber
  • Colour:  Various   
  • Price: ~  $30 AUD
  • Reviews:   81% 5 star reviews of 4000+ reviews

View on Amazon AUS | View on Amazon.com 

 

In Summary:

So, there you have it. 

5 Best Microfiber Towels for Travel and to Buy Online (Fast Drying & Compact)

  1. Kathmandu Microfibre Travel Towels
  2. Youphoria Microfibre Travel Towel
  3. Rainleaf Microfibre Towel
  4. Venture 4th Microfibre Travel Towel
  5. Macpac Microfibre Towel

I hope that this review has helped to give you some guidance on the best microfiber towels for travel. Particularly for backpackers who require a towel that is compact, durable and quick-drying. 

Happy travelling!

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Hey guys, I’m Ash & welcome to Adventure Travel Pro!

As a seasoned traveller, I share knowledge, advice and inspo for newbie solo travellers and thrill seekers.

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