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Extreme Ultralite Towel from Discovery Trekking

Discovery Trekking Outfitters Extreme Ultralight backpacking towel

The Discovery Trekking Extreme Ultralite Towel has very quickly become one of my must have pieces of gear. In fact I really wish I had stumbled upon this nifty little towel much sooner. I’ve been using it for backpacking and crossfit for the past six months. I recently took it to Texas with me for the ITS Tactical Muster and have used it on several hikes including a short section hike of the AT just last weekend. When I’m not backpacking I carry the Extreme Ultralite Towel in my gym back.

For years I’ve been content to carry around my 36″ x 16.5″ MSR/Cascade Designs PackTowl that weighs 4.25 oz dry (11.5 oz damp), but I’ve now replaced it with the 3 oz Extreme Ultralite backpacking towel.

Discovery Trekking Extreme Ultralight Towel

Absorbent Fabric

The first thing I noticed about the Extreme Ultralite Towel is the fabric. It is extremely soft and smooth. It doesn’t have the typical fluffy, chamois leather feel of my MSR PackTowl or other lightweight backpacking towels that I’ve tried, yet it is incredibly absorbent – even more so than my PackTowl. The best way I can describe the feel of the fabric is to compare it to the  material used to make wicking or Techwick style sports t-shirts or base layers. It feels exactly like a techwick shirt.

Faster Drying

Unlike my MSR PackTowl, the Extreme Ultralite Towel does not retain much water after being used and squeezed out. I don’t know if it’s the fabric, the softness of the material, or the thinness, but I am consistently able to wring out more water from the Extreme Ultralite Towel than I can from the MSR PackTowl. As a result it is much lighter after use, when damp, and dries out far more quickly.

Discovery Trekking Extreme Ultralight Towel

Around camp I hang the Extreme Ultralite Towel from a branch or on the end of my tarp/tent to dry. When I’m hiking I simply tie it to the outside of my backpack or put it in the mesh pocket. Once it is almost dry, I shove the towel inside my pack or in a side cargo pocket of my shorts or pants for easy access when I next need it.

I prefer not to store it in a separate bag or sleeve and feel that keeping it out in the air helps keep it fresh and free from mildew. I sometimes like to use it as a makeshift bandana and a cooling neck scarf when it’s still damp. I wish it had a small loop sewn into one corner to making hanging easier, but nothing I can’t fix myself.

Size and Weight

The Extreme Ultralite Backpacking Towel is easily big enough for drying my entire body, but mostly gets used for face and hands. To be clear, this is not a huge beach towel or bath towel. It’s not big enough to cover me up like a beach towel, but it will dry my entire body despite the compact size. It measures 34″ x 28″ and weighs 3.1oz. (7.2 oz damp). The Ultralite costs between $10-$30 depending on size, comes in several colors, and can by found at Discovery Trekking Outfitters. Oh and it’s made in America!

What do you use for a towel while backpacking? Do you even carry a towel or do you make do with something else?

Extreme Ultralite Towel Flickr Photoset

Disclaimer: Brian’s Backpacking Blog was provided with a complimentary Extreme Ultralite Backpacking Towel for testing and review. The author was under no obligation to post a review of this product.

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  • Audrey LaCrouix

    For day hiking with Izzy, I’ll carry the MSR PackTowl Nano™ Medium that packs down very small (super thin!). It is effective in keeping sweat off my face and neck during summer weather, but I have not used it for any other purpose (i.el, full body drying after a shower). I like that it has the hanging loop for easy access off my bag, and also the little mesh storage bag.

  • Ross Macintosh

    Thanks Brian for the review. After reading it I ordered two Extreme Ultralite Backpacking Towels (so my wife & I will each have our own). Word of mouth on great gear like this is important. If I had seen them in a store I never would have bought them because the fabric really doesn’t look like it is going to be absorbent. Looks can be deceiving! I’m impressed by how light the towels are, how small they pack, and how great they perform – in absorbency & their quick drying.
    I note that Discovery Trekking Outfitters do offer an extra large size that might be suited to someone who wants a wrap or privacy for changing. That extra large size is probably still lighter and more compact than most other manufacturer’s regular-sized towels.

  • Leslie Hanes

    The largest size Is perfect for travel, because it can also double as an airplane blanket, a cover up/shawl/wrap and is great for the beach as sand doesn’t stick to it.