Best Sailboat Towels For Fast Drying

Best Sailboat Towels For Fast Drying | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 30, 2022

Not all towel materials are ideal for marine use. So, which sailboat towels are the best for absorbency and fast drying?

The towels that dry fastest (and dry out best) are made of cotton and polyester. The most absorbent cotton towels use microfiber, and the most absorbent and fastest-drying towels are sheepskin and synthetic marine chamois cloth.

In this article, we’ll review three of the best cotton marine towels and three of the best natural and synthetic chamois towels. These materials serve different purposes, but they’re both highly absorbent and great for fast drying.

We sourced the information and technical specifications used in this article directly from the manufacturers and distributors of marine cotton and chamois cloths.


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Fastest Drying Towel Materials

Surprisingly, natural materials have somewhat of an advantage when it comes to fast drying. When you think about it, the idea makes sense—who better than nature to design a material that quickly disperses humidity and rainwater?

Cotton is the fastest drying natural material. As you know, most towels are made at least in part from cotton. Next to cotton, silk also dries quite fast. But silk is pricey, and so the best sailboat towels are often made of cotton.

The fastest-drying common synthetic material is polyester. But polyester alone doesn’t make a very good towel, so it is often combined with cotton to increase its absorbent qualities.

Best Sailboat Towel Materials

A blend of cotton and polyester makes the strongest, most absorbent, and fastest-drying sailboat towels. This is why the vast majority of marine towels are made of conventional materials. But what about boat drying towels and detailing rags?

 As it turns out, better options exist if high absorbency is your primary concern, with fast-drying coming in second. Chamois (or shammy)-type materials make the most absorbent marine towels, which is why they’re commonly preferred for cleaning up spills and wet decks.

Chamois towels are the cloth equivalent of sponges, and they have a remarkable ability to absorb liquids. They can absorb many times the volume of any other common material type, and they dry rapidly once the majority of the liquid is squeezed out.

Chamois towels are also used extensively in the automotive world, as they can dry metal, glass, and plastic without streaks and leave a finish similar to an air-dried surface. That said, they’re costlier than cotton, polyester, and microfiber varieties.

Do Chamois Towels Need to Be Wetted to Work?

The one caveat to chamois material is that it works best when already wet. It’s not a good idea to wet them with saltwater, as the presence of salt and other impurities will leave residue and defeat the purpose of using a chamois. Cotton and polyester towels can be used dry, which is one benefit of conventional materials.

Cotton Microfiber Blends

Microfiber towels are a good medium between a cotton/polyester blend and chamois material. Like cotton towels, microfiber cloths can be used dry, and they dry out quickly. And like chamois towels, microfiber cloths absorb a lot of liquid for their size and leave fewer streaks.

Fastest Drying Cotton Towels for Sailboats

Cotton towels, which are often mixed with other materials like polyester in a 70/30 blend, are the most economical and fastest-drying boat towels on the market. Here are 3 of the best options available.

1. Laguna Beach Textile Company Cabana Beach Towel

The Laguna Beach Textile Company’s Cabana Beach towel is one of the most attractive and highest-quality marine towels on the market. But why a beach towel and not a regular utility towel? Beach towels are a great value, and they’re usually thicker and more durable than other kinds of cotton towels.

The Cabana Beach towel is made of thick 630 GSM material, which is made of a carefully considered proprietary cotton microfiber blend. This material is considerably more dense than most. It offers superior softness and a weight that feels similar to heavy-duty tarp canvas to cheap cotton.

The Cabana Beach towel is available in several striped pattern colors, and it’s highly absorbent. It won’t dry as fast as thinner cotton towels, but its drying time is more than acceptable given its absorbency. Additionally, this large 70” by 30” towel is ideal for both utility and recreational use.

2. Green Lifestyle Bulk Cotton Shop Towels

Are you looking for affordable and reusable cotton shop towels? If so, there aren’t many better options than the Green Lifestyle 150-pack of white cotton shop towels. These high-quality towels can be used and reused, thrown away, burned, or used as interior towels—it doesn’t matter because, for the price of one premium towel, you get 150 of these.

Shop towels are ideal for boats for several reasons. For one, they’re inexpensive. Also, they’re durable and highly absorbent, as shops rely on a steady supply of cotton towels to clean up everything from dirty surfaces to large oil spills. They can be used for the same purposes on a boat.

These shop towels measure 12” by 14”, making them similar in size to the classic red shop towels all mechanics are used to. They’re made of 100% cotton, which gives them a superior dry time. These towels are an excellent and environmentally-friendly alternative to paper towels or larger beach towels.

The primary downside to these towels is that they’re a bit small for some uses, and repeated machine washing will thin them over time. But with 150 per pack, a few worn-out or ruined towels won’t make much of a difference.

3. Zeppoli Classic Kitchen and Dish Towels

Here’s a reasonably-priced alternative to bulk shop towels if you’re looking for better quality and a longer useful lifespan. The Zeppoli classic kitchen dish towels are made of 100% cotton and machine-washable. These towels use tighter weaving than shop towels, which reduces absorbency speed but increases lifespan and usefulness.

These plain-colored towels look and feel much nicer than shop towels but aren’t as limited by size or cumbersome as beach towels. It’s a good medium between the two, especially on a sailboat where storage space is limited. They’re lightweight for their size and larger (14” by 25”) than your typical shop towel.

These towels are designed for kitchen use, so absorbency and fast drying are key. That said, they also work great on the deck, in the bathroom, or in the engine compartment. And since they’re reasonably priced and available in a pack of 15, you’ll have enough to spread around the boat for detailing, dishwashing, engine work, and other purposes.

Best Chamois Towels for Sailboats

Chamois towels don’t dry quite as fast as cotton blended towels, but they have remarkable absorbency and are designed to be used damp. Here are the best and most economical fast-drying chamois cloths for marine use.

1. Better Boat Ultra-Absorbent Marine Chamois

Better Boat produces an ultra-absorbent and fast-drying marine chamois cloth at an affordable price. This economical chamois is designed specifically for marine use, setting it apart from some of the competition.

So what makes this chamois marine-grade? For one, it’s more durable and made with thicker material than garden-variety chamois towels. Additionally, its synthetic blend allows it to remain softer and more flexible when dry than rock-hard automotive chamois cloths.

Chamois cloths like the Better Boat product are designed to absorb vast amounts of water without lint or scratching. They work better when damp, but they dry out fast—and dry the boat off much faster and more effectively than cotton.

This durable cloth is available in both drying versions (fast absorbency, quick-drying) and wash versions (great for soaking and distributing soapy water, along with absorbing dirty water). Both versions of the Better Boat marine chamois are machine washable.

2. Mighty Cleaner Multi-Purpose Chamois

This economical chamois by Mighty Cleaner is a multi-purpose towel designed for fast drying and incredible absorbency. Though not designed specifically for marine use, this chamois towel is large and durable enough to work well on sailboats.

The 17” by 30” Might Cleaner miniature chamois comes in a two-pack, allowing you to use one for cleaning water and another for oil or engine room messes. And for the price, it’s an excellent value for a thick and durable machine-washable chamois cloth.

3. Sheepskin Elite Natural Chamois Cloth

This is the traditional chamois that has been preferred by automotive detailers for years. This durable, no-frills sheepskin chamois cloth measures 7.25 square feet overall. It’s a proven towel for an economical price, and with durability that outlasts even the highest quality competitors.

These name-brand chamois towels are made of real leather, which has superior durability and absorbency to synthetic materials. It’s also significantly softer when dry than many less premium materials, including other natural leather chamois cloths.

So, why choose real leather chamois cloths over less expensive alternatives? For one, leather chamois clothes last much longer than some synthetic materials. Leather is stretch-resistant and reusable and won’t decay or tear easily. Additionally, it’s better for streak-free drying and dries out fast when damp.

Best Sailboat Towels For Fast Drying
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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