Rurrenebaque. A small town deep in the Bolivian jungle where we spent a couple of days before making our way up river to an indigenous community for a week. We’d been travelling for 4 months already and were down to our last pair of socks which weren’t so much as clean, but hadn’t yet developed the ability to walk on their own. We discovered a launderette where the lady assured us through a mixture of gesticulation and pigeon Spanish that her super-machine was more than a match for any backpacker’s towel. Even one, she assured us, which had been wet for weeks and smelled so bad that we usually opted to drip-dry instead of touching it.
So this reminds me, a good travel towel is amongst my top tips for backpackers, gap year students and anyone likely to find themselves in the jungle, and this Hydro Fibre Towel from Lifeventure is very interesting indeed.
The XL size when unfurled is a whopping 124 x 80cm, which is proper bath-towel size and big enough to shield modest blushes when used to hide behind in a communal changing area. And yet it is so thin that it easily rolls up to just a bit bigger than a can of beans.
In fact, it’s so thin that it’s sort of see through like a summer baselayer top and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’d never be able to dry you properly. Well, it does. And it does so pretty well too. It is made from polyester (a wicking material) which sort of pulls the water off you and traps it in between its fibres. I wonder if this is why it dries so quickly, because there’s plenty of space between those fibres for things to evaporate nice and quickly.
Lifeventure state that it will absorb 6 times it’s weight in water. It weights 180g, so that’s (quick sum…) around a kilo of water sucked off you. That should be enough to dry all but the hairiest of bodies and thickest of manes enough to pass muster.
And in order to stop your towel – should it remain damp and covered in your skin cells – from stinking the coach out, Lifeventure have coated it in something called Healthguard Antibacterial Technology, which they say lasts up to 2 years or 35 washes. And let’s face it, anyone travelling for 6 months or so is unlikely to wash it 35 times!
The towel is packaged in a mesh roll-up case so that you can hang it on the side of your pack and it will evaporate as you wander.
SUMMARY: A very, very lightweight towel which wicks the water off you and dries very quickly. Coated in antibacterial stuff to keep it from stinking, and supplied in an easy to use and handy mesh roll-up case. Clever stuff, and works well.