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Rating and Summary
The PackTowl Personal is a wonderful camping towel that did well across almost every single test that I threw at it. It has excellent odor resistance, is my second fastest drying camping towel, is super dirt repellent, and much, much more.
Unless you’re looking for something super specialized (like the most lightweight towel for backpacking, etc.), the PackTowl Personal probably has everything and more to suit your needs. This is because unlike all the other camping towels that I tested, the PackTowl Personal has no obvious flaws.
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Here’s what we’re going to discuss here:
- In the Box
I bought the PackTowl Personal towel from Amazon in a Body size, so it came in an Amazon package, and taking it out of the package looked like this:
Here’s what the front and back packaging of the PackTowl Personal looks like:
For the unboxing, you might want to watch the video embedded above instead; it’s much nicer there.
In the Box
A storage pouch, the PackTowl Personal, and the instructions are printed on the packaging itself.
The marketed dimensions given by PackTowl for the PackTowl Personal towel are pretty accurate, but I’ll just give you my personal measurements anyway. These are for a Body size:
- Length: 53.75 inches / 136.5 centimeters;
- Width: 25.25 inches / 64 centimeters;
- Weight of towel: 6.53 ounces / 185 grams;
- Weight of storage pouch: 0.32 ounces / 9 grams;
- Packed size: 7.5 x 6 x 1.5 inches / 19 x 15 x 4 centimeters;
- Blend: 85% polyester and 15% nylon; and
- Made in: Korea.
The PackTowl Personal has a hanging loop, so you can hang it on a hook at home, on a clothesline in the outdoors, or even on your pack when you’re hiking.
If you’re at home, it is machine washable, and can be tumbled dry.
The storage pouch is made of a lightweight material, and also comes with a hanging loop, so you can use a carabiner to hang it outside your pack.
Testing and Performance
And now, moving on to the meat of this blog post, here’s what we’re going to discuss next:
- Drying 1
- Drying 2
- Odor Resistance
- Grass/Dirt Repellence
- Sand Repellence
- Quality and Comfort
To test absorbency, I measured the amount of water in this blue bucket, and soaked the PackTowl Personal towel in it.
After the PackTowl Personal got completely soaked, I lifted it above the water and let excess water drip back into the bucket. When the water stopped dripping from the towel, I measured the water left inside the bucket.
From this testing, I found that the PackTowl Personal absorbed 610 milliliters (or 20.6 fluid ounces) of water. Since it weighs 185 grams, total absorbency is 610 divided by 185, which is about 3.3 times.
I did the same thing to a similar sized cotton towel and found that it had a slightly lower absorbency of 3.26 times. So, the PackTowl Personal beats the cotton towel by a very narrow margin.
After soaking the PackTowl Personal towel, I wringed out as much water as possible.
After wringing, the PackTowl Personal weighed 411 grams, or 14.5 ounces. After doing some calculations, I found out that 37% of water was left. Here are the calculations in case you’re interested:
Water absorbed before wringing = 610 milliliters (20.6 fluid ounces)
Water left after wringing = 411 grams (weight after wringing) – 185 grams (original weight) = 226 grams = 226 milliliters (7.6 fluid ounces), because 1 gram = 1 milliliter.
Percentage of water left after wringing = 226 milliliters / 610 milliliters = 37%.
As for the cotton towel after wringing, 46% of water was left. So, the Packtowl Personal does quite a bit better than the cotton towel in wringing water out.
Drying Test 1 (With Wringing)
To test drying time, I conducted 2 separate drying tests.
This first drying test measures how long it’ll take the PackTowl Personal Towel to dry after being completely soaked and wringed out as much as possible (this is to mimic the situation where you’re drying your towel after you wash it while camping).
As mentioned above, the PackTowl Personal weights 411 grams (or 14.5 ounces) after wringing.
When left outdoors, the PackTowl Personal takes about 50 minutes to dry; and when left indoors, it takes about 7 hours to dry.
I weighed the PackTowl Personal at certain time intervals to determine the percentage of drying, and here they are:
- 0 mins: 411 grams / 14.5 ounces (0% dry)
- 15 mins: 334 grams / 11.8 ounces (34% dry)
- 30 mins: 265 grams / 9.3 ounces (65% dry)
- 45 mins: 198 grams / 7.0 ounces (94% dry)
- 50 mins: 185 grams / 6.5 ounces (100% dry)
- 0 hours: 411 grams / 14.5 ounces (0% dry)
- 1 hour: 378 grams / 13.3 ounces (15% dry)
- 2 hours: 351 grams / 12.4 ounces (27% dry)
- 3 hours: 316 grams / 11.1 ounces (42% dry)
- 4 hours: 284 grams / 10.0 ounces (56% dry)
- 5 hours: 244 grams / 8.6 ounces (74% dry)
- 6 hours: 212 grams / 7.5 ounces (88% dry)
- 7 hours: 185 grams / 6.5 ounces (100% dry)
On the other hand, the cotton towel took 2 hours and 15 minutes to dry outdoors, and a whopping 27 hours to dry indoors.
Drying Test 2 (100mL)
This second drying test measures how long it’ll take for 100 milliliters / 3.4 fluid ounces of water to dry off. This is to recreate a situation where you take a shower and dry off with the towel while camping, and also to conduct a more fair drying test (where all the towels that I test absorb the same amount of water – 100mL).
As the PackTowl Personal towel’s original weight is 185 grams, adding 100mL (3.4fl oz) to it will bring its weight to 285 grams (or 10.1 ounces). When left outdoors, the PackTowl Personal takes about 24 minutes to dry; when left indoors, it takes about 3 hours to dry.
Again, I weighed the PackTowl Personal at certain time intervals to determine the percentage of drying:
- 0 mins: 285 grams / 10.1 ounces (0% dry)
- 10 mins: 241 grams / 8.5 ounces (44% dry)
- 20 mins: 199 grams / 7.0 ounces (86% dry)
- 24 mins: 185 grams / 6.5 ounces (100% dry)
- 0 hours: 285 grams / 10.1 ounces (0% dry)
- 1 hour: 243 grams / 8.6 ounces (42% dry)
- 2 hours: 211 grams / 7.4 ounces (74% dry)
- 3 hours: 185 grams / 6.5 ounces (100% dry)
In contrast, the cotton towel took 40 minutes to dry outdoors, and 7 hours to dry indoors.
For the first odor resistance test, I went to the beach and soaked the PackTowl Personal towel in seawater. After, I wringed out as much seawater as I could, and sealed the towel in a plastic bag for 4 days, or 96 hours.
After the 4 days, the PackTowl Personal had absolutely no smell at all. The Personal is treated with Polygiene odor control, so that explains why it did so well in the odor resistance tests.
For the second odor resistance test, I took a shower and then dried off with the PackTowl Personal once, then sealed it into a plastic bag immediately, also for 4 days.
After the 4 days were up, again, the PackTowl Personal had no smell. This means that if you’re in a rush, and you need to pack your Personal towel without first drying it, the Polygiene odor control will prevent odors from developing, and fantastically at that.
For the third and last odor resistance test, I used the PackTowl Personal every single day for 7 days without washing it. In between uses, I hung the Personal towel indoors on a rack.
After the 7 days of continuous usage, the PackTowl Personal had no smell at all. I’m absolutely sure that I could have gone weeks without washing it at all, but I decided not to (for hygiene reasons).
In contrast, the cotton towel started smelling like rotten food in the first seawater test, smelled musky in the second shower test, and had a musky (but not too strong) smell in the third continuous use test.
Grass and Dirt Test
For the grass and dirt test, I dragged the PackTowl Personal towel along some grass and also stepped on it.
After picking it up to check, I found that the PackTowl Personal picked up only 2 specks of dirt.
Then, I shook the PackTowl Personal to see whether the 2 specks of dirt would fall off. They did, and easily at that. The PackTowl Personal was super clean after shaking. (You might want to check out the YouTube video embedded in the beginning of this post for this test.)
I did the same to the cotton towel, which picked up more dirt. In addition, this dirt couldn’t shake off (there were still tiny pieces of dirt stuck when I got home).
For the sand test, I covered both the PackTowl Personal towel and the cotton towel with sand. Basically, the same thing as the grass test above. Some sand stuck to the PackTowl Personal after picking it up from the beach, and here’s what it looked like:
It was easy to shake the sand off after, and the PackTowl Personal was clean after shaking.
As for the cotton towel, the results were the same.
The PackTowl Personal weighs 185 grams, or 6.5 ounces, whereas a similar-sized cotton towel weighs 337 grams, or 11.9 ounces.
It is also significantly more compact. Here’s what it looks like beside the cotton towel from the side:
Both the PackTowl Personal and its storage pouch come with hanging loops for easy carry and drying. Unfortunately, if you’re not tall like me, the PackTowl Personal will drag on the ground if you hang it on your pack.
To fold the PackTowl Personal, simply keep halving it until it fits back into the storage pouch. You can also just stuff it back into the pouch easily without folding.
Comfort and Quality
The Packtowl Personal is very soft and smooth to the touch, and it’s not stiff at all. It’s true to size, its dimensions are accurate, and the Body size is the perfect size for a shower towel. It did stick to my skin a bit, but not as much as other camping towels. Most importantly, it did not leave my skin feeling like it’s still damp after drying off. Overall, I find it to be comfortable.
As for quality, the stitching is consistent with no gaps, and the light green color against the charcoal is a nice touch. After about 4 months of usage, the weight of the Packtowl Personal was still the same, so no material was lost. The stitching throughout the Packtowl Personal after 4 months is still holding up, and the material is entirely intact with no loose threads or fraying. However, the color does tend to bleed quite a bit for the first 2-3 washes.
The hanging loop is useful, secure and high quality, and the catch does not feel stiff. The storage pouch is lightweight and strong, and the zippers are smooth and don’t snag.
When it first came out of the box, I noticed white specks on the towel, which was weird, but these came off easily, so it’s not an issue. To sum up, the Packtowl Personal is very comfortable and the quality is amazing.
What Other Reviews Say
I read the reviews on Amazon and REI, and here’s what I found.
Positive reviews said that the Packtowl Personal is fast drying, lightweight, compact, absorbent, dries you off well, and wrings out well at the same time. It’s also durable, soft, comfortable, sand repellent and does not smell. From my experience and testing, I actually agree with all of these points.
On the other hand, negative reviews said that the stitching at the corners tend to unravel, and the hanging loop breaks off easily. It’s also not as thick and not as comfortable as a cotton towel, and it sticks to your skin, so you have to blot instead of wipe. Lastly, there’s a bleeding issue. From my experience, my Packtowl Personal has been durable despite numerous machine washings and even scrubbing with an abrasive brush. The stitching on all corners are still intact after 4 months, and my hanging loop is still functional.
It’s definitely not as thick as a cotton towel, and feels different on the skin, but I still find it to be more comfortable and less sticky than your average camping towel. The color does bleed quite a bit for the first 2-3 washes, so you might want to wash it a few times before using it.
Pros and Cons
As for pros, the PackTowl Personal has excellent odor resistance because of its Polygiene technology, and it did not smell at all even after I soaked it in seawater and sealed it in a plastic bag for 96 hours. The PackTowl Personal is also extremely fast drying, and is my second fastest drying camping towel. The stitching and material is high quality and durable. It’s also a great size for a shower towel, while being soft and more comfortable than your average camping towel.
It’s slightly more absorbent than my cotton towel, and did not leave my skin feeling like it’s still damp after drying off. It has good dirt and sand repellence, packs down much smaller than a cotton towel, and weighs half the weight.
As for cons, the Packtowl Personal bled quite a bit for the first 2-3 washes, and while it’s not that expensive, it’s a little bit pricier than average.
Would I recommend the Packtowl Personal?
A 100% yes. The Packtowl Personal is a phenomenal camping towel that did well across almost every single test that I threw at it. It was outstanding in the odor resistance, drying, quality and dirt repellence tests, and did well (but not outstanding) in terms of absorbency, portability and comfort.
Compared to a regular cotton bath towel, the Packtowl Personal has it beat in every single test, except for maybe comfort. Compared to the 9 other camping towels that I bought, the Packtowl Personal is one of the best performing.
The Packtowl Personal may not be the lightest, the most compact, the most absorbent, or the most comfortable towel in the market, but I think it strikes the perfect balance between functionality, portability, and comfort. In other words, it performs fantastically and has great portability, while not sacrificing too much on comfort. In fact, over the past 4 months of intensively using camping towels, the Packtowl Personal was one of my favorites, and I even enjoy using it at home as a regular shower towel.
Bonus: Must Read!
If you want to check out other camping towel options in the market, I do a complete review on the 10 Best Camping Towels out there, so you could consider check out this post: 10 Best Camping Towels.
Or, check out the PackTowl Personal: