If you're anything like me, images of beach towels drying in the breeze conjure up past memories of great holidays. A good beach towel will last years, but what makes a beach towel great?
How do YOU pick a good beach towel?
The qualities that will make a beach towel great for you depends on what you're looking to get out of it. Are you looking for a towel that has good water absorbency and doesn't just pretend to wipe water away? What about a towel that is fast drying? Do you want something that is soft even after a few washes? Then there's getting value for money.
To me, a great beach towel is something that absorbs the water, is soft and fast drying. It also has to last more than one season. If you invest in a quality beach towel, you will have it for many years.
Which is the best beach towel material - Cotton, Egyptian Cotton or Microfiber?
Microfiber is a man made product that is especially absorbent. it is very soft, long lasting and durable. Many cleaning cloths including chamois used for drying motor cars are made of microfiber because of their ability to absorb water really well. As well as being extra absorbent, Microfiber towels dry three times faster than cotton.
Cotton is a natural material but this will not last as long, feel as fluffy, or retain its color as well as towels made from Egyptian Cotton or microfiber. This is usually reflected in the price. Regular cotton towels can start to show signs of fraying after only a few washes. When folded, cotton towels take up a lot more room than microfiber ones. This is why microfiber is very popular for camping, hiking, and many holiday activities where how much space a towel takes up can be important.
Egyptian cotton is finer than cotton so when woven, there are more threads per square inch. This makes for a much softer feeling material - especially for sheets. Egyptian cotton is also a stronger weave so these last much longer than a regular cotton but it's difficult to find quality Egyptian Cotton beach towels.
Although Microfiber towels are very soft, they lack the full fluffiness of cotton towels.
What is the best beach towel size?
Beach towels serve more than one purpose. Not only do they dry you after a swim, they act as a barrier between you and sand or a lounge chair, and also come in handy for keeping the sun off when there is no shade about.
Just as no one likes a scratchy towel, no-one wants a small towel either. Compact yes, small no. When it comes to beach towels, the larger the dimensions the better. The size of course, needs to be balanced with how small these become when folded.
By far the best towel when traveling is a microfiber towel. These are so compact when folded, and also have anti-bacterial properties that help out if washing it everyday is out of the question. Although microfiber towels don't look as fluffy as a regular towel, they are VERY soft and absorbent. They come is a huge range of sizes and many are available as sets that range from a face washer, to a hand towel, and big beach towel.
Best XL and Large Microfiber Beach Towels
Dock & Bay Cabana Collection Microfiber Beach Towels
If you're looking for a nice oversized beach towel, then the Dock & Bay Microfiber Cabana Towel Collection is hard to go past. The towels in this collection come in a big range of Cabana colors, and a choice of 2 sizes. These are soft and absorbent, and have a hook to allow for quick drying.
The XL Beach Towel measures 78" x 35" (or 200 cm x 90 cms), and the Large size measures 63" x 31" (or 160 cm x 80 cms).
With all the qualities of microfiber, these are great value for money.
To see how good these really are, check out the video below - Dock & Bay Cabana Collection - Sand won't stick.
Wildhorn Outfitters Akumal Microfiber Beach Towels
Wildhorn Outfitters have built a strong reputation in providing quality, lightweight outdoor equipment and products. The super absorbent Akumal microfiber beach towel is no exception. It holds several times its weight in water and dries 3 times faster than traditional cotton. Sand or grass won't stick to this towel, and are very easy to shake off after using it.
The Akumal microfiber beach towel is super absorbent without the bulk. It takes up to five Akumal towels to take up the space of standard one cotton beach towel.
Wildhorn Outfitters Akumal Beach Towel comes in one XL size measuring 78" x 35" (or 200 cm x 90 cm). This folds down into its super portable 10” x 3.5” (25.5 cm x 9 cm) stow case. These come in 6 different colours and patterns.
Best Mid-Sized Microfiber Beach Towels
Mid sized beach towels have their place. These are great for younger children so they don't get swamped in a huge towel. They're also perfect for hiking or bike journeys, and wherever a mid-sized towel will do just as nicely when space and weight are important factors.
er Journey Towel
The EcoDept Microfiber beach towel has all the anti-bacterial, super fast drying and absorbency qualities of microfiber towels. This is a mid-range sized towel that comes in 4 colors, and includes a face towel in the package.
The beach towel measures 52” x 32” (or 132 cm x 81 cm), and the hand towel measures 24” x 15” (or 60 cms x 38 cms). Together these weigh only 8 ounces (226 grams) making them ideal for outdoor activities and travel.
Best Round Beach Towels
Just for something a little different - round microfiber beach towels. Round beach towels started becoming popular last summer with a lot more designs available now. It's still very easy to spot the round towels in a sea of rectangles. The round shape gives a more generous surface area than a rectangle and is ideal for sharing with friends and picnicking.
Dock & Bay Cabana 75" Round Microfiber Beach Towels
These make a great gift for anyone who likes something just a little bit different.
General Washing Care of Microfiber Beach Towels
To get the most out of microfiber towels, always wash separately from cotton. Microfiber has a tendency to pick up lint from cotton. Lint over microfiber doesn't look nice, and can affect a towel's absorbency. Microfiber beach towels need to be washed separately for the first few washes as the color can run.
How to make beach (and bathroom) towels more absorbent
New towels can look and feel fluffy but they are often not very absorbent when it comes to water. This will go against what you'd think, but Fabric Softener is not a friend to towels. Fabric softener puts a coating on towels that stop them from being absorbent - fluffy yes, absorbent, no.
When new towels arrive, wash them before you use them with washing powder, and with white vinegar in the softener compartment of your washing machine. You can try this on your bathroom towels too. It will work. The towels will not have a vinegar smell after being washed - they'll smell fresh from the washing powder detergent.
Your towels will now be absorbent, thanks to a little vinegar.