Physicists the world over are unable to fathom out why the transfer of heat energy from those little cotton towels you get at the end of any good curry is so quick. Nothing else in existence goes from being the temperature of a fresh lava spill to cold and clammy in the short period of time after you open that magical heat-trapping plastic pouch.
That phenomenon aside, there aren’t many things more pleasant than to wipe away a greasy sheen of Lamb Bhuna from your chin and traces of Mango Chutney from between your fingers than a hygenically wrapped, freshly scented moist towel. And that’s the principle behind Refresh Towels.
At roughly a foot wide and two feet long, what you get inside each plastic pack is a cotton towel, moistened and scented like some sort of shampoo. Think of it like a more permanant baby-wipe.
With this towel you can then clean off your smelly and dirty parts within the confines of a tent, public loo or, if you’re so inclined, full view of a coachload of pensioners.
The advantage over using baby-wipes, which are a perennial festival favourite, is two-fold; Firstly, you get a larger area and better grip with which to prise dirt from your filthy bits. And secondly, when you’ve finished you get a nice cotton towel to wash and use again when you get home.
Of course, there’s a disadvantage that goes hand-in-hand with the latter, which is that once you’ve transferred dirt and smells to the towel, you’re lumbered with a dirty, smelly, wet towel until you can wash it. And if the thought of re-use doesn’t appeal, then whilst cotton can be recycled, it seems a tad energy-intensive to create a one-time-use cotton towel! So, whilst it might be packaged like a baby-wipe and run along the same principles, it’s a different offering entirely.
At £1 per towel, what the Refresh wipe is is an extravagence for festivals for those of you who can’t stomach the queue for a shower but can’t get that squeaky-clean feeling from wet wipes. As a backpacker’s tool, it has limited appeal if you’re going to be really dirty, and it’ll need to be coupled with a re-sealable waterproof bag of some sort in order to store it and keep the rest of your kit from getting wet. Personally I’d stick to wet wipes for travel or backpacking use.
SUMMARY: The Refresh Towels are for those occassions when you want to be clean and have no access to running water. They’re more expensive than wet-wipes (and heavier) but if you have the opportunity to recycle them then you do reap back that expense in the form of a handy cotton towel for mopping-up spills or re-using to dry yourself off.