REVIEW – Packing towels for travel is a pain. Most of them need to be fluffy in order to be absorbent, which makes them bulky. Then, they have to flap around in the air to dry. In the last few decades, however, new materials have been developed that give you great absorption without the bulk. These materials also can dry more quickly than traditional towel materials. I was sent a sample from Matador of their Nanodry packable shower towel and would like to discuss it.
What is it?
The Matador Nanodry is a towel made from synthetic material in a silicone case.
What’s in the box?
- Matador Nanodry packable shower towel
- Silicone case
- Aluminum carabiner for hanging
From company website
- Weight: 5.6oz (160g)
- Case Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.2 x 2in (13.21 x 8.13 x 5.08cm)
- Towel Dimensions: 52 x 24in (132 x 60cm)
- Towel: Nanofiber material, PFC-free
- Travel case: Silicone, anodized aluminum carabiner
- Lightweight nanofiber material
- Absorbs 2.3x its own weight in water
- Quick drying
- Silicone travel case with carabiner
- Front release buckle on towel for hanging
- Machine washable
- Three colors: Charcoal + Charcoal towel, Slate + Slate towel, Black Granite + Charcoal towel
Design and features
The Matador Nanodry packable shower towel is 52″ x 24” and very thin – thicker than plastic wrap, but thinner than a slice of bologna. It has a slightly textured surface – not slick, but not enough texture to notice unless you’re looking closely. The fabric is 85% polyester and 15% polyamide. The edges are slightly pinked and (perhaps) cut with a hot knife? They have a slightly raised feel, but – again – not noticeable unless you’re looking. They certainly don’t feel scratchy.
Midway on one of the long sides is a .5” webbing hanging loop that opens to clip around a towel bar with a plastic sewn-in clip buckle. Otherwise, it’s just a large expanse of fabric, the same as any towel.
Shortly after getting the Matador Nanodry packable shower towel and taking photos, I realized I was going to have to dry off with it for testing. It’s cold here right now. I love hot showers, but I also love drying off with a soft, preferably warm, terrycloth towel. Summer dips in the pool, lake, or ocean are OK with just a thin little towel because the air is pleasant and you’re actually more comfortable if you’re not fully dry. Not so in the winter. Brrrr!
But, I persevered and grabbed this towel after a shower. It really absorbs a lot of water and is surprisingly comfortable against wet skin – much more than I imagined it would be. Drying my back by holding two ends and see-sawing it back and forth actually got the water off quickly.
I did notice that the towel became saturated rapidly, but it always seemed to take water off when I passed it over wet skin. It didn’t seem to dry my skin quite as dry, which is actually a good thing. (I have very dry skin and have been told by dermatologists that I shouldn’t scrub my skin with a towel to dry off because it removes oils that my skin has in short supply. So this is probably better for my skin, but I’m not used to it.)
I clipped the Matador Nanodry packable shower towel to the towel bar on the back of the bathroom door, and it was fully dry a few hours later. (The towel bar is over a floor heat register, so towels dry pretty quickly in that bathroom.) It’s very easy to fold up and insert into the silicone case for packing/storage. The carabiner lets you clip it outside a bag if it’s not quite dry. There is an entire side of the case that has perforations to allow moisture to escape. If you’re in a dry environment, you could also connect the towel’s loop and drape it over your pack as you walk to get air moving over it. The thin material dries very quickly with adequate air movement.
What I like
- Very compact
- Surprisingly absorbent
- Dries quickly
What I’d change
- saturates quickly – could it be thicker?
- “Matador” and there’s no red option?
Years ago, I became aware of nano-dry materials while watching the diving competition during the Olympics. (I think Greg Louganis was competing, to give you an idea of just how far back that was!) The drivers would cling to these tiny swatches of fabric the size of a hand towel like they were magic charms right up until they mounted the board/platform, and then grab them as soon as they climbed out of the pool. That image came back to me as I used this towel, and I imagine the next camping trip I’m on using the Matador Nanodry packable shower towel in the shower. I’ll probably like it more in summer, for sure. It’s not a fluffy terry, but it packs down into almost nothing. That makes it worth the trade-off in performance versus size and weight, even in winter.
The title is an homage to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. A towel is the most important thing a hitchhiker can carry.