Review of the Discovery Trekking Ultra Fast-Dry Towel

So, as I blogged about previously, the online swim store Aquagear asked me to review an item from their store. I chose the Discovery Trekking Ultra Fast-Dry Towel. I’d been looking for a swim towel, something I could easily pack into my swim bag, something that dries quickly, and dries me quickly.

When the towel arrived, I didn’t even know it was the towel. Usually when mail arrives here, it is an event. My 12-year old loves opening up Mommy’s eBay purchases. I noticed my wife with a purple shawl around her, and she mentioned she didn’t remember buying it. I looked at it and realized it was the swim towel.

The swim towel is large, about the size of a beach towel. But it is very thin, like t-shirt thin. It is 100% polyester, and stretches quite a bit. The color is a nice dark purple. Did I mention it is thin?

I’ve used it a couple times after swimming. I’m not too sure I would have picked it if I’d seen it (touched it, really) in a store. It gets wet incredibly quickly, and remains wet for a while. It does dry your body, but you remain feeling slightly damp, like you tried drying yourself with your t-shirt.

After I am done swimming and return to the car, I “hang” up the towel in the back of the car so it dries. The towel certainly dries quickly. Within about 2-3 hours, the towel is bone dry.

The description at Aquagear says the towel is wicking. Well I guess that is true. The material does feel like those t-shirts you get from some runs and swims that are described as “wicking.” Still, I cannot fail to repeat that the towel immediately gets wet when you start to dry yourself, and remains wet. I guess I describe it thus: You dry off after swimming, then go to the locker room and shower. When you grab this towel to dry off after the shower, it feels like you’re using a wet t-shirt to (try and) dry off your body. I don’t like it.

Rolling up the towel, cinching it to wring out the excess water, does nothing to change the feeling that you’re using a wet cloth to dry yourself. I guess I was expecting a chamois type towel.

I will tell you that the towel does compact down quite well. You could roll the thing up into a very small package, which will not take up much of your swim pack. However, here is one area that a terry-cloth towel wins out. I prefer to roll my suit up into my towel. It dries the suit quickly. I rolled up my suit into this towel twice, and in the time a terry-cloth towel would usually dry my suit, this towel left my suit still very wet.

So, here’s the pros and cons for the Discovery Trekking Ultra Fast-Dry Towel.


-Large enough to dry the whole body quickly

-Dries very quickly (but not quickly enough)

-Nice colors available (aqua, blue tie-dye, purple, dark blue, royal blue)

-Compacts tightly


-Doesn’t dry quickly enough (between getting out of the pool and out of the shower)

-Material not substantial enough (feels like a wet t-shirt)

-Doesn’t dry a swim suit very well

All in all, despite four pros vs. three cons, the feeling of the towel “wins” out in my mind. I would not spend my own money on the Discovery Trekking Ultra Fast-Dry Towel.

Now, the review of the towel for the purpose of swimming complete, let me state that the towel would, in fact, be handy when one is hiking. I could see it being used to mop up sweat quite successfully. I will probably throw the towel in my pack for the spring when we start hiking in the mountains again.

But for swimming? I’ll stick to my generic, white terry-cloth towel.

*Thanks again to the folks at Aquagear for giving me an opportunity to review one of their items. I will order more from Aquagear, even with my own money. 😉 

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