Wise Owl Towel Review: I Bought & Tested It
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Rating and Summary
The Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Towel is an inexpensive, dirt repellent and durable packable towel. It’s of good quality and has decent overall performance, all for a super affordable price. It’s no wonder that the Wise Owl Towel has one of the highest ratings for packable towels on Amazon, and I couldn’t resist getting one for myself.
It is, however, a little lacking in terms of comfort because it sticks to your skin, and does pick up odors depending on how you treat it.
Nevertheless, at its inexpensive price point, the Wise Owl Towel a great pick for the occasional camper, or even the frequent one on a budget. After all, it’s held up well after I put it through 4 months of use.
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Check out the Wise Owl Towel:
Here’s what we’re going to discuss here:
- In the Box
I bought the Wise Owl Outfitters Towel from Amazon in a Large size.
Here’s what the Wise Owl Towel (still wrapped up) looked like after removing it from the Amazon plastic packaging:
And here’s what you see when you remove the white Wise Owl plastic from the towel:
For the unboxing, you might want to watch the video embedded above instead; it’s much nicer there.
In the Box
So, what’s in the box? If you decide to buy a Large-size Wise Owl Towel, take note that there are 3 different pricing options.
- The first is buying a single Large towel – this comes with a tube-shaped mesh storage pouch.
- The second option gets you the same Large-sized towel, an additional face towel measuring 12 by 12 inches, and what I think is a higher quality rectangular storage pouch.
- The third option is buying 2 Large-sized towels at a steeper discount, but without a storage pouch.
The one I chose and paid $14 U.S. dollars for comes with a product tag, a thank you note, and of course, the storage pouch, the Large-sized towel, and a smaller face towel. (Product tag and thank you note are pictured above.)
My personal measurements of the Large-size Wise Owl Outfitters Towel differed from the marketed dimensions, and here they are:
- Length: 46 inches / 117 centimeters;
- Width: 23 inches / 60 centimeters;
- Weight of towel: 149 grams / 5.3 ounces;
- Weight of storage pouch: 14 grams / 0.5 ounces;
- Packed size: 7 x 5 x 1.5 inches / 18 x 13 x 4 centimeters;
- Blend: 80% polyester and 20% polyamide/nylon; and
- Made in: China.
The Wise Owl 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.
It also turned out fine when I put it into the washing machine for cleaning.
As for the storage pouch, there’s a little bit of ventilation in the front, and the rest of the pouch is made of a lightweight material.
The storage pouch 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 Wise Owl Outfitters towel in it.
After the Wise Owl 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 Wise Owl towel absorbed 450 milliliters (or 15.2 fluid ounces) of water. Since it weighs 149 grams, total absorbency is 450 divided by 149, 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 Wise Owl Outfitters towel, I wringed out as much water as possible.
After wringing, the Wise Owl towel weighed 311 grams, or 11 ounces. After doing some calculations, I found out that 36% 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 = 311 grams (weight after wringing) – 149 grams (original weight) = 162 grams = 162 milliliters (5.5 fluid ounces), because 1 gram = 1 milliliter.
Percentage of water left after wringing = 162 milliliters / 450 milliliters = 36%.
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 Wise Owl Outfitters 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 Wise Owl towel weights 311 grams (or 11 ounces) after wringing.
When left outdoors, the Wise Owl towel takes about 45 minutes to dry; and when left indoors, it takes about 6.5 hours to dry.
I weighed the Wise Owl towel at certain time intervals to determine the percentage of drying, and here they are:
- 0 mins: 311 grams / 11 ounces (0% dry)
- 15 mins: 252 grams / 8.9 ounces (36% dry)
- 30 mins: 200 grams / 7.1 ounces (69% dry)
- 45 mins: 149 grams / 5.3 ounces (100% dry)
- 0 hours: 311 grams / 11 ounces (100% wet)
- 1 hour: 281 grams / 9.9 ounces (19% dry)
- 2 hours: 253 grams / 8.9 ounces (36% dry)
- 3 hours: 230 grams / 8.1 ounces (50% dry)
- 4 hours: 207 grams / 7.3 ounces (64% dry)
- 5 hours: 185 grams / 6.5 ounces (78% dry)
- 6 hours: 161 grams / 5.7 ounces (93% dry)
- 6.5 hours: 149 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 Wise Owl Outfitters towel’s original weight is 149 grams, adding 100mL (3.4fl oz) to it will bring its weight to 249 grams (or 8.8 ounces). When left outdoors, the Wise Owl towel takes about 29 minutes to dry; when left indoors, it takes about 4 hours to dry.
Again, I weighed the Wise Owl towel at certain time intervals to determine the percentage of drying:
- 0 mins: 249 grams / 8.8 ounces (0% dry)
- 10 mins: 212 grams / 7.5 ounces (37% dry)
- 20 mins: 182 grams / 6.4 ounces (67% dry)
- 29 mins: 149 grams / 5.3 ounces (100% dry)
- 0 hours: 249 grams / 8.8 ounces (0% dry)
- 1 hour: 214 grams / 7.5 ounces (35% dry)
- 2 hours: 192 grams / 6.8 ounces (57% dry)
- 3 hours: 166 grams / 5.9 ounces (83% dry)
- 4 hours: 149 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 Wise Owl Outfitters 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 Wise Owl towel had a sour smell. Compared to the other camping towels that I tested, this sour smell is one of the more unpleasant smells. Unfortunately, Wise Owl towels aren’t chemically treated with any antibacterial or antimicrobial treatments, so it didn’t fare well in the odor resistance tests.
For the second odor resistance test, I took a shower and then dried off with the Wise Owl towel once, then sealed it into a plastic bag immediately, also for 4 days.
After the 4 days, the Wise Owl towel had a faint musky smell. As such, I wouldn’t advise that you pack up your Wise Owl towel without first drying it. Otherwise, smells could develop.
For the third odor resistance test, I used the Wise Owl 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 Wise Owl towel.
In contrast, the cotton towel started smelling like rotten food in the first test, smelled muskier than the Wise Owl towel in the second test, and had a musky (but not too strong) smell in the third test.
Bottom line: Don’t go soaking your towel in seawater, and please dry it before packing up.
Grass and Dirt Test
For the grass and dirt test, I dragged the Wise Owl Outfitters towel along some grass and also stepped on it.
After picking it up to check, I found that the Wise Owl towel picked up a few specks of dirt.
Then, I shook the Wise Owl towel to see whether the specks of dirt would fall off. They did, and the Wise Owl towel was completely clean after 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 Wise Owl Outfitters towel and the cotton towel with sand. Basically, the same thing as the grass test above. Some sand stuck to the Wise Owl towel after picking it up from the beach floor, and here’s what it looked like:
After, I shook the Wise Owl towel to see whether the sand would fall off. It did, and easily. The Wise Owl towel was clean after shaking.
The results were the same for the cotton towel.
The Wise Owl towel weighs 149 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:
Both the Wise Owl and its storage pouch come with hanging loops for easy carry and drying. Unfortunately, if you’re not tall like me, the Wise Owl will drag on the ground if you hang it on your pack.
To fold the Wise Owl, half it three times until it becomes a square, then third it, then half it again, then put it back into the pouch. Or you can just stuff it back in without folding.
Comfort and Quality
The Wise Owl 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. It is one of my “stickier” camping towels.
As for quality, the different colored stitching is consistent with no gaps, and the material is intact with no loose threads or fraying. After about 4 months of light usage, the weight of the Wise Owl towel was still the same, so no material was lost. The stitching throughout the towel after 4 months is still holding up.
However, the color tends to bleed quite a bit, especially on the first wash.
The hanging loop is high quality and secure, and the storage pouch is strong, lightweight, with relatively smooth zippers.
To sum up, the Wise Owl towel isn’t that comfortable, but the quality is pretty good.
Pros and Cons
For pros, the Wise Owl towel is compact and lightweight, and is one of the lightest camping towels I have. The quality is good, and the towel has been holding up over 4 months of usage. It’s also resistant to grass, dirt, and sand, and most importantly, it’s inexpensive.
As for cons, the Wise Owl towel tends to pick up odors, and did not perform well in my odor resistant test. It’s also one of my “stickier” towels, and I didn’t like the feeling of the logo when I was drying off.
As for absorbency, wringing and drying time, the Wise Owl was average compared to other camping towels that I bought. So, neither a pro nor a con for these.
Would I recommend the Wise Owl towel?
Well, I think it’s a solid choice for a camping towel, because it beats a regular cotton towel in almost all aspects, like wringing, drying, odor resistance, dirt repellence and portability. However, it isn’t as absorbent and isn’t as comfortable as a cotton towel.
Compared to other camping towels on the market, the Wise Owl towel has a slightly higher than average performance. It’s not the best in anything, but did perform better than some of the more expensive towels.
I think the main selling point of the Wise Owl towel is that it’s inexpensive. For $14 U.S. dollars, I got the Large-sized towel, a free wash cloth, and a storage pouch. In contrast, most of the other camping towels that I bought cost at least $20 U.S. dollars, up to almost $40 U.S. dollars.
Even though the Wise Owl towel doesn’t have an expensive price tag, I found that it has better quality than some of the more expensive towels I bought, and is definitely good value for money.
So, if you’re looking for a camping towel on a budget, I think the Wise Owl towel is a great pick. In fact, it’s one of my top picks (the Best Budget Pick, to be more specific).
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 Wise Owl Towel: