Some carry a packable towel, some do not. It is a matter of personal preference or perhaps steadfast adherence to ultralight principles which simply leave no wiggle room for the extra addition. The Extreme Ultralite Backpacking Towel by Discovery Trekking Outfitters may be the bridge item for both.

Some of the reasons for carrying a packable towel typically are for drying quickly after a summer creek dip (this is a facet that perhaps those of us hiking on the East Coast in ninety degree heat with eighty-five percent humidity may have a unique appreciation of) to drying our gear under a tent vestibule or perhaps dabbing out that residual moisture that joined you in the tent when you entered or exited a little too slowly during that passing shower.  The Discovery Towel offers a little bit more than that. It is designed out of a fabric that is not unlike C9 or perhaps Under Armour Cool Gear fabric. This gives the material a very light flexibility that allows it to be used as a shading head wrap, a kilt-style waist drape or simply an over-sized dust mask or wash cloth.

The Extreme Ultralite Backpacking Towel model that I tested is the 28×32 inch size that weighed in at 3.04 ounces.  For a reference point, I compared it with my Sea To Summit Drylite Microfibre towel which at 24×48 weighed in at 5.08 ounces.  Translated into apples to apples comparison, the Discovery Towel weighs .0038 ounces per square inch and the Sea To Summit was .0044 ounces per square inch.  It sounds like minutia but it is food for thought for those that are ounce conscious.

When I saw and felt the fabric material, I really was skeptical of the ability of this towel to absorb a significant amount of moisture as opposed to just squeegeeing it off of my body.  So I decided to give it the same regimen as a household towel would get….the post shower test.  Surprisingly, no squeegee effect.  All absorption.

One of the other marketing points that the Discovery Towel promotes is the coating of a silver based component on the fibers that are woven into the towel to prevent mildew growth.  To give this assertion a run for its money, I decided to soak the towel and leave it on the floor of my shower…for as long as it took to attain that tell-tale stale mushroom smell of mildew.  But I ran into a problem.  When I came back after 24 hours, the towel (in its crumpled pile on my shower floor) was dry.  No odor.  No mildew.  The material in the construction is designed so that the evaporation process starts almost as soon as the waterworks are turned off.  The weave design allows for a lot of air transfer (even when wet) so that the towel is essentially drying as soon as you are done using it, thus making it challenging for mildew to get a foothold to begin growth.

All in all, a really light and versatile option if you find that you can squeeze in an extra 3.04 ounces.


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