Which towel to choose for swimming?

A towel is a vital piece of equipment for any swimmer to dry off – sometimes more than once in the case of competitions.
Therefore, having a good quality but lightweight and compact towel or towels to fit into your bag is very important.
Ponchos have become increasing popular since the restriction on changing due to COVID 19 as they offer a way to change without using changing facilities.
There are a few types of towel and poncho on the market and each has its’ own benefit. This guide explains the different types and how to choose the best for you.

Microfibre towels

These towels are increasingly popular amongst swimmers of all levels and abilities. Microfibre towels are made of synthetic fibres which are much thinner than traditional cotton fibres with a higher surface area which makes is far more absorbent. This higher surface area also exposes more moisture to the air so these towels dry quickly.

The thinner fibres also mean these towels are very compact when folded meaning you could pack several into your swimming bag, if required.

Sports towel (chamois)

These towels are made of soft polyvinyl and are small squares of extremely absorbent chamois. They were very popular amongst divers to dry off between dives but their popularity has extended to swimmers and other sports.
Their small size means they take up hardly any room in your swim bag and in order to remain absorbent they should be kept moist, therefore they come in their own plastic case.
These towels are commonly used in warmer climates and can be particularly useful in a competition environment.

Cotton and beach towels

These towels are the traditional towel we are used to seeing. They are soft and highly absorbent although due the thickness of the fibres, they are bulky and take up a lot of room in your bag.

Changing ponchos

Ponchos have become extremely popular over the past year with the restrictions on pool facilities due to COVID 19.
Ponchos are oversized robes which offer enough space for you to change underneath easily without the need to use poolside changing rooms.
They are usually made of a soft terry material which is both moisture absorbing in the way of a towel and warm.
Some have a waterproof outer layer which means you can dry off and change comfortably underneath them, even outside in the coldest and wettest of weathers.
Ponchos can be a relatively expensive item to purchase, however the benefits they offer in ability to change indoor, outdoor and remain safe far outweigh this cost, in our opinion.

In summary…

It is hard to go wrong when purchasing a towel for swimming, any towel will dry you sufficiently and they are impossible to break! Preferences are personal and there is no right or wrong, simply consider how you will use a towel and what for and make your choice from there.

We would not recommend choosing a poncho instead of a towel, but to use both together can give you the best level of comfort and convenience.


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4Monster Microfibre Travel Towel Quick Dry, Lightweight Gym Towel Ultra Soft, Super Absorbent Compact Camping Towel for Sports Gym Beach Camping Yoga Swimming Hiking


AmazonBasics Beach Towel – Cabana Stripe, Navy Blue, Pack of 2


Dryrobe Advance SHORT SLEEVE Change Robe – Stay Warm and Dry – Windproof Waterproof Oversized Poncho Coat – Swimming/Surfing/OCR Events


Dryrobe Towelling Robe – Short Sleeve Hooded Poncho Towel Changing Robe


Eono by Amazon – Microfibre Towel, Perfect Sports & Travel & Beach Towel, Fast Drying – Super Absorbent – Ultra Compact. Suitable for Camping, Gym, Beach, Swimming, Backpacking


Flow Swim Chamois – Quick Dry Towel for Swimming, Diving, Triathlons, and Other Water Sports


Frostfire Moonwrap – Adult Waterproof Changing Robe with Fleece Lining


Giwil Microfibre Beach Towel, Travel Sports Towel Ultra Absorbent and Quick Dry Towel, Compact/Lightweight Swimming Towel for Backpacking, Camping, Gym, Bath


Intrepid Outdoors Changing Robe – Premium 100% Cotton Poncho For Beach, Surfing, Swimming, Triathlon, Indoors and Outdoor Activities – Adults


VENTURE 4TH Micro Fiber Travel Towel – Sports Towel: Packtowel for Gym, Beach, Camping, Backpacking, Swimmers – Fast Drying and Lightweight


Vivida Lifestyle – Essential Hooded Poncho Towel Changing Robe with Quickdry Fabric for Beach, Surf, Swim & Triathlon