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Rating and Summary
The Sea to Summit Drylite towel has the necessary qualities to be a decent camping towel. For example, it beats a regular cotton towel in aspects like wringing, drying, odor resistance, dirt repellence and portability.
However, I can’t recommend this towel because it has some pretty severe disadvantages, particularly in the “Quality” department. Here’s a quick summary on my findings of the Drylite’s quality. After just 4 months of light usage:
- The seams have started to fray a bit;
- The Drylite started to lose material;
- Its storage pouch was defective out of the box; and
- It has a severe bleeding issue.
Keep reading for more information on the Sea to Summit Drylite towel, as well as the above flaws.
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Here’s what we’re going to discuss here:
- In the Box
I bought the Sea to Summit Drylite towel from Amazon, in 4 different sizes:
- Large; and
And here’s how much I paid for each size:
- Small: $10;
- Medium: $15;
- Large: $25;
- Extra-Large: $33.
This may or may not be the current pricing. For the current pricing, you can check out the price on Amazon here.
The main towel that I will be using for this review is the Large size.
As I bought 4 Drylite towels at once (in different sizes), they came in an Amazon box:
Here’s what the front and back packaging look like:
This is the Large-sized Drylite towel, in a Gray color.
For more details on the unboxing process, and to see the other towels being unboxed as well, check out the video that I embedded above.
What’s in the Box?
So, what do you get when you buy a Sea to Summit Drylite towel? You get a storage pouch, the towel, and an instruction manual right here.
My personal measurements of the Large-size Sea to Summit Drylite towel differed from the marketed dimensions by about 4-5%, and here are my personal measurements:
- Length: 46 inches / 117 centimeters;
- Width: 23 inches / 58 centimeters;
- Weight of towel: 5.3 ounces / 151 grams;
- Weight of storage pouch: 0.35 ounces / 10 grams;
- Packed size: 6.5 x 6 x 1.5 inches / 16.5 x 15 x 4 centimeters;
- Blend: 70% polyester and 30% polyamide/nylon; and
- Made in: China.
The Sea to Summit Drylite towel has a hanging loop, so you can hang your towel on a hook at home, on a clothesline in the outdoors, or even on your pack when you’re hiking.
For additional convenience, it is machine washable, though you might want to be careful about the colors running, which I’ll explain later in the Quality section.
As for the storage pouch, the front is mesh for ventilation, while the back is made of a lightweight material.
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 Sea to Summit Drylite towel in it.
After the Drylite towel got completely soaked, I lifted it above the water and let excess water drip back into the bucket. When the water stopped dripping, I measured the water left inside the bucket.
From this testing, I found that the Drylite towel absorbed 450 milliliters (or 15.2 fluid ounces) of water. Since it weighs 151 grams, total absorbency is 450 divided by 151, which is about 3 times.
I did the same thing to a similar sized cotton towel and found that it had a slightly higher absorbency of 3.26 times.
After soaking the Sea to Summit Drylite towel, I wringed out as much water as possible.
After wringing, the Drylite towel weighed 294 grams, or 10.4 ounces. After doing some calculations, I found out that 32% of water was left. Here are the calculations in case you’re interested:
Water absorbed before wringing = 450 milliliters (15.2 fluid ounces)
Water left after wringing = 294 grams (weight after wringing) – 151 grams (original weight) = 143 grams = 143 milliliters (4.8 fluid ounces), because 1 gram = 1 milliliter.
Percentage of water left after wringing = 143 milliliters / 450 milliliters = 32%.
As for the cotton towel after wringing, 46% of water was left.
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 Sea to Summit Drylite 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 Drylite towel weights 294 grams (or 10.4 ounces) after wringing.
When left outdoors, the Drylite towel takes about 40 minutes to dry; and when left indoors, it takes about 6 hours to dry.
I weighed the Drylite towel at certain time intervals to determine the percentage of drying, and here they are:
- 0 mins: 294 grams /10.4 ounces (0% dry)
- 15 mins: 238 grams / 8.4 ounces (39% dry)
- 30 mins: 186 grams / 6.6 ounces (76% dry)
- 40 mins: 151 grams / 5.3 ounces (100% dry)
- 0 hours: 294 grams / 10.4 ounces (0% dry)
- 1 hour: 268 grams / 9.5 ounces (18% dry)
- 2 hours: 242 grams / 8.5 ounces (36% dry)
- 3 hours: 219 grams / 7.7 ounces (52% dry)
- 4 hours: 187 grams / 6.6 ounces (75% dry)
- 5 hours: 165 grams / 5.9 ounces (90% dry)
- 6 hours: 151 grams / 5.3 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 Sea to Summit Drylite towel’s original weight is 151 grams, adding 100mL (3.4fl oz) to it will bring its weight to 251 grams (or 8.9 ounces). When left outdoors, the Drylite towel takes about 29 minutes to dry; when left indoors, it takes about 4 hours and 15 minutes to dry.
Again, I weighed the Drylite towel at certain time intervals to determine the percentage of drying:
- 0 mins: 251 grams / 8.9 ounces (0% dry)
- 10 mins: 214 grams / 7.5 ounces (37% dry)
- 20 mins: 180 grams / 6.3 ounces (71% dry)
- 29 mins: 151 grams / 5.3 ounces (100% dry)
- 0 hours: 251 grams / 8.9 ounces (0% dry)
- 1 hour: 221 grams / 7.8 ounces (30% dry)
- 2 hours: 198 grams / 7.0 ounces (53% dry)
- 3 hours: 178 grams / 6.3 ounces (73% dry)
- 4 hours: 156 grams / 5.5 ounces (95% dry)
- 4 hours 15 mins: 151 grams / 5.3 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 Sea to Summit Drylite 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 Drylite had a musky smell. While this musky smell was bearable, it wasn’t too pleasant. Unfortunately, my Drylite towel did not have any antibacterial or antimicrobial coating, so it didn’t fare as well as my other camping towels when it came to odor resistance.
For the second odor resistance test, I took a shower and then dried off with the Drylite once, then sealed it into a plastic bag immediately, also for 4 days.
After the 4 days, the Drylite towel had a faint musky smell. As such, I wouldn’t advise that you pack up your Drylite towel without first drying it. Otherwise, smells could develop.
For the third odor resistance test, I used the Drylite towel every single day for 7 days without washing it. In between uses, I hung the towel indoors on a rack. Thankfully, after the 7 days, there was no smell lingering on the Drylite towel.
In contrast, the cotton towel started smelling like rotten food in the first test, smelled muskier than the Drylite in the second test, and had a musky (but not too strong) smell in the third test.
Grass and Dirt
For the grass and dirt test, I dragged the Sea to Summit Drylite towel along some grass and also stepped on it.
After picking it up to check, I found that the Drylite towel picked up just one speck of dirt.
Then, I shook the Drylite towel to see whether the speck of dirt will fall off. It did, and the Drylite towel was completely clean after just shaking it a few times.
I did the same to the cotton towel, which picked up more dirt that couldn’t shake off easily (there were still tiny pieces of dirt stuck when I got home).
For the sand test, I covered both the Sea to Summit Drylite towel and the cotton towel with sand. Basically, the same thing as the grass test above. Some sand stuck to the Drylite after picking it up from the ground, and here’s what it looked like:
After, I shook the Drylite towel to see whether the sand would fall off. It did, and easily. The Drylite towel was clean after shaking.
The results were the same for the cotton towel.
The Sea to Summit Drylite towel weighs 151 grams, or 5.3 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:
The Drylite comes with a hanging loop for easy carry and drying, and you never have to worry about it dragging on the floor.
As for the storage pouch, sadly, it doesn’t come with a hanging loop.
To fold the Drylite, 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 Sea to Summit Drylite towel is soft and smooth to the touch with a suede finish, and isn’t stiff. However, the Large size is a little smaller than a regular bath towel, and it also sticks to your skin, so you have to pat down instead of wiping.
As for quality, the stitching is consistent with no gaps but started to fray a bit. After about 4 months of light usage, the Drylite went from its original weight of 151 grams to a weight of 149 grams, losing more than 1% of its original material (1.3%, to be exact).
The Drylite colors also tend to bleed a lot. On the first wash, the grey color bled the least, followed by the cobalt blue, and the berry color was the worst, staining my storage pouch and my other camping towels.
The hanging loop is high quality and secure, and your Drylite won’t drag on the ground, whereas the Velcro of the storage pouch seems to be of lesser quality. It started giving way right out of the box, and the tiny Velcro hooks kept dropping off.
To sum up, the Drylite isn’t that comfortable, and the quality seems to be lacking.
Pros and Cons
For pros, the Sea to Summit Drylite Towel is resistant to grass, dirt and sand particles. It did better than most other camping towels in the dirt test, picking up just 1 speck of dirt before shaking. The Drylite is also compact, and wrings out 68% of the water it absorbs.
As for cons, the Drylite has some pretty serious quality control issues, and I was surprised that the storage pouch was defective right out of the box (all the pictures are above). Another 2 cons are that the Drylite sticks to skin (so it’s not that comfortable), and it also picks up odors.
As for absorbency and drying time, the Drylite is just average compared to other camping towels. So, neither a pro nor a con for these.
Would I recommend the Sea to Summit Drylite towel?
Well, it’s a pretty good camping towel, and it beats a regular cotton towel in aspects like wringing, drying, odor resistance, dirt repellence, and portability.
However, I find it difficult to recommend the Drylite towel for 2 main reasons:
- It’s not cheap, yet has some quality issues. So, I don’t think the Drylite offers good value for money.
- The Drylite towel isn’t outstanding in any way. I have other camping towels that are more dirt repellent, more compact, that wring out better, while at the same time being more comfortable and picking up no odors at all.
In that case, which is the best camping towel that I recommend? 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