13 Best Cooling Towels To Keep You Chill During Summers

Written by Priyam Gupta
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Keeping cool is a year-round priority with only 3 major exceptions — you’re in a sauna, at the beach, or in the middle of an intense workout. But if you think about it, even those aren’t total anomalies because your body temperature does need to be regulated once you’re finished. Without proper cooldown, you can find yourself at risk of overheating, which takes the form of heavy sweating, muscle cramps, or fatigue. If you keep wanting to dunk yourself in an ice bucket after particularly sweat-filled workouts, there’s a way better solution — find the best cooling towels and reclaim your natural chill.

Cooling towels are a constant in every athlete’s (and heat-sensitive individual’s) life. They are designed to offer your body much-needed relief in situations where its cooling system has been working overtime and releasing sweat to maintain the optimal temperature. Whether you’re running on the treadmill or scaling a mighty hill, going through menopause, or feeling overwhelmed by an unforgiving summer, a good cooling towel can calm you down instantly. What’s a good cooling towel, though? After rigorous tests, we can tell you that it’s absorbent, lightweight, and super-soft with tons of breathability. Before we get to the 13 best cooling towels of 2021, here’s a quick guide on how they work.

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Ergodyne Chill-Its 6602 Evaporative Cooling Towel
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Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel
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Chill Pal PVA Cooling Towel For Neck
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Sukeen Sport Cooling Towel
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Your Choice Cooling Towel
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Icseio Microfiber Cooling Towel
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Ailawuu Cooling Towel For Sports
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Ideatech Instant Cooling Towel UPF50+
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Mission Cooling Hoodie Towel
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RiptGear Instant Cooling Neck Towel
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How A Cooling Towel Works

  •  Through evaporation

The idea behind a cooling towel is to use evaporation as a technique to reduce surface temperature. Made out of either polyvinyl acetate (PVA) or microfiber mesh, it essentially causes sweat to evaporate into the air, which creates a cooling sensation that mimics the mechanism of sweating itself. The only difference is that towels facilitate the moisture from their surface to evaporate at a quicker rate, which intensifies the cooling effect.

  •  Through soaking

Now that you know the physics behind a cooling towel, it’s time to understand how one actually works. Simple: you just need to soak it in or run it under some water of any temperature to activate instant cooling. For the next step, wring out any excess water to avoid dousing your clothes, and finally, place the towel against warm areas on the skin. Different towels promise different degrees of cooling, with the really good ones chilling you down by anywhere between 30° and 40° below ambient air temperature.

13 Best Cooling Towels To Beat The Heat (With Buying Guide)

1. Ergodyne Chill-Its 6602 Evaporative Cooling Towel

Packing an impressive 4 hours of cooling capacity, this PVA-rich cooling towel is a great way to cool off on hot, sunny days. Its chilling effect starts the second it comes in contact with water — all you need is to soak it under a tap for about a minute and wring out any excess water before placing it on the heated area, like your neck, shoulders, arms, or head. The material absorbs water and reacts with body heat to create a cooling sensation. Once the towel dries out and stiffens, you can repeat the wetting process to make it soft and soothing all over again.

PROS

  •  PVA material
  •  Lasts up to 4 hours
  •  Machine washable
  •  Available in 5 colors

CONS

  •  The size is slightly small.

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2. Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel

Easily the best in its class, the Frogg Toggs towel uses an exclusive hyper-evaporative material that retains enough water to help you stay cool for 4 hours in a single soak. Promising to regulate temperatures by a whopping 30 degrees, it’s more durable than most options in the market and can pull you through the hottest of days with ease. In addition to instant cooling on impact, the towel offers a versatile UV protection mesh of UPF 50+ to prevent 98% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays from penetrating your skin. It’s highly absorbent and can retain up to 8 times its weight in water, keeping you sufficiently chill for hours without irritating your body.

PROS

  •  Cools up to 30 degrees
  •  UPF 50+ UV Protection
  •  Cools for 3 to 4 hours
  •  Ideal for extreme heat
  •  Available in 6 colors

CONS

  •  May stiffen when dried, making it slightly difficult to fold

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3. Chill Pal PVA Cooling Towel For Neck

This towel will mark the end of a long search for cooling towels that are high-grade, cool quick, and don’t dry out too soon. The fact that it’s built thicker than usual allows the Chill Pal to hold moisture for longer, which makes it an ideal companion for long-distance hikes or a whole day at the amusement park. Along with durability and thickness, you’ll fall in love with its vibrant colors and skin-friendly texture. Take care not to press it on your skin constantly for longer than 30 minutes, though. Being highly absorbent, excess use might strip your skin and leave it dehydrated.

PROS

  •  PVA material
  •  Extra-thick
  •  Cools up to 20 degrees
  •  Available in 4 colors

CONS

  •  Slightly bulky

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4. Sukeen Sport Cooling Towel

Don’t want anything to get in the way of you and the hike? This towel comes with a carrying pouch that’s compact, waterproof, and attachable to your backpack with a carabiner clip. Its cooling power lasts for up to 3 hours, after which it’s a simple matter of re-wetting, wringing, and re-pressing until you feel perfectly cool. What sets it apart from other cooling towels is the mesh construction, which increases breathability as well as evaporative capacity, resulting in a 40° cooler you. Whether you’re doing sweaty workouts at the gym or playing fetch with your dog, the soft towel will keep you (and your furry pal) cucumber-cool.

PROS

  •  Hyper-evaporative materials
  •  Breathable mesh design
  •  Machine washable
  •  Cools up to 40°
  •  Comes in a 4-pack
  •  Available in 10 colors

CONS

  •  The pouch might not be as durable.

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5. Your Choice Cooling Towel

Lightweight, breathable, and instantly chilling, this one’s a high-quality sports towel that is comfortable to wear and won’t soak your clothes while you cool off. Made from polyester, it has the ability to wick away moisture and force it to evaporate more quickly, making it ideal for athletes. Simply wet, wring, snap, and press it against the warm skin on your face, neck, and arms to feel post-shower levels of refreshed almost immediately. The super-absorbent material is completely free of harmful chemicals and safe for everyone from adults and babies to your pets. If you’re heat-sensitive or prone to sunburns, the UPF 50+ protection will shield your skin against the brutal summer sun.

PROS

  •  UPF 50+ sun protection
  •  High-density cooling mesh
  •  Free of harmful chemicals
  •  Available in 6 colors

CONS

  •  It might dry out a bit too quickly.

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6. Icseio Microfiber Cooling Towel

This is exactly the kind of breathable mesh design that makes workouts easier and cooler. The lightweight microfiber material molds to your body and stays put even as you run or move around. It provides 3 hours of cooling before you need to re-soak it, which makes it the best cooling towel for humidity (as long as you have some water around). The towel’s 3-layer mechanism keeps you extra-cool by absorbing sweat, letting water molecules cycle efficiently, and trigger evaporation to rid your body surface of up to 40° of excess heat. Being lightweight and skin-friendly allows it to be worn in multiple ways, while the anti-UV fibers maintain a healthy distance between you and the sun’s radiation.

PROS

  •  Microfiber material
  •  Chills up to 3 hours
  •  Skin-safe and eco-friendly
  •  Available in 4 colors

CONS

  •  Slightly expensive

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7. Ailawuu Cooling Towel For Sports

Feel rejuvenated within seconds of a hot flash with this incredibly convenient and absorbent towel. At 39 inches by 11 inches, it’s the perfect size for your gym bag, which means no more waiting for your turn to hit the showers before ice-cold water can relieve you of all the prickly sweat. The hyper-evaporative fiber is so flexible that you can wear it in 10 different ways — around the head like a bandana, tied to the neck like a scarf, wrapped around your forearm like a sleeve, and so on. Along with cooling properties, it also provides UPF 50+ sun protection and is completely safe for all skin types.

PROS

  •  Long-lasting cooling
  •  UPF 50+ protection
  •  Super-lightweight
  •  Comes in a 6-pack

CONS

  •  It might stretch out slightly after frequent washing.

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8. Ideatech Instant Cooling Towel UPF50+

If you want a cooling towel that feels as big and wrappable as a bath towel, we’ve got you covered. With a surface area of 40 x 12 inches, this cooling towel can be wrapped around the body like a cape to provide instant cooling to your entire back at once. All you need to do is run it under water for a few seconds and wring it to avoid oversaturation before placing it on the heated area. In case there’s too much sweat, make sure to wring out the salty water before repeating the process until you feel calm and comfy again. Unlike so many towels that focus more on function than feel, this brings you the best of both worlds with its soft, gentle, and durable fabric that doesn’t just absorb sweat but also feels like cold satin against the skin.

PROS

  •  Double layer fabric
  •  Chemical-free
  •  Super-soft and breathable
  •  Expertly-sewn seams
  •  UPF 50+
  •  Available in 6 colors

CONS

  •  They might dry out quickly in extreme heat.

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9. Mission Cooling Hoodie Towel

Let’s face it, most cooling towels don’t look cool. This Mission towel is decidedly not one of them as it’s designed to resemble a hoodie and protect your head from intense heat. Crafted with proprietary cooling fabric, the towel is quick to activate and even quicker to chill you down by about 30°. The soft and lightweight knit construction won’t feel heavy on your head, making it easier to wear during a run or hike. Its UPF 50+ protection effectively shields you against harmful UV rays, while the chemical-free fabric is reusable and a breeze to wash in the machine. You can tuck it under a nice hat or drape it over the head to keep your hands and neck free all the time.

PROS

  •  Hoodie design
  •  Chemical-free cooling fabric
  •  Cooling effect starts in 30 seconds
  •  Stays cool for up to 2 hours
  •  Available in 2 colors

CONS

  •  The cooling effect lasts relatively shorter.

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10. RiptGear Instant Cooling Neck Towel

This large microfiber towel has a polyester-nylon fabric blend that brings you the softest and most comfortable downtime experience. What makes the towel unique is its high-quality seam that increases durability, along with the instant cooling technology that pulls your average body temperature below 35°, keeping you sweat-free for hours. It’s super-easy to activate — just wet, wring, snap, wave it in the air for a second, and you’re ready to chill. The breathable mesh rapidly absorbs sweat while retaining more water, allowing the effects to last longer. It’s the best cooling towel for sports, yoga, and everything in between!

PROS

  •  Larger coverage
  •  Easy to activate
  •  Soft and lightweight
  •  Doesn’t stiffen on drying
  •  Available in 4 colors

CONS

  •  Not machine washable

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11. Mission Max Plus Cooling Towel

For a highly effective, durable, and versatile sports cooling towel, this is a great choice. Constructed with a soft, smooth fabric that stays gentle to the touch whether dry or wet, its cooling effect begins instantly and lasts up to 3 hours without needing a re-soak. With UPF 50 sun protection and antimicrobial properties, you’ll be protected from the blistering heat and sweat-related odors all at once. A pull-through corner loop helps the towel sit securely around your face or neck, so you can just place it on and forget it’s there.

PROS

  •  Cools up to 30°
  •  Effect lasts up to 3 hours
  •  Patented soft-knit fabric
  •  Machine washable
  •  Available in 2 colors

CONS

  •  Slightly expensive

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12. Hibiker Microfiber Cooling Towel

Head down to the beach with all the confidence and none of the sunburn-fear with this ultra-lightweight towel that boasts microfiber cooling. Not only does it provide you with an instant cooldown but it’s also quick to dry and repels sand, which means you won’t have to wash it countless times only to find beach residue stuck to the sides of your machine. Along with a Double layer fabric that retains moisture for a long time, it also features a delicate lock edge that prevents wear and tear, increasing its shelf life. Available in 2 sizes and 3 cute colors, this cooling towel will make all your beach days more refreshing.

PROS

  •  Sand-resistant
  •  Microfiber material
  •  Comes in a 2-pack
  •  Medium and large sizes
  •  Double layer fabric
  •  Extremely lightweight

CONS

  •  Needs to be re-soaked more often

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13. Callaway Golf Cooling Towel

While you’re out on the golf course trying to hit a hole-in-one, this towel is busy hitting it out of the park. Keeping your head cool the entire time you play is easy when you’re a pro, and effortless when you’re the Callaway Golf towel, thanks to its super-absorbent polyester material combined with the thin, breathable mesh design. It takes mere seconds to activate a cooling effect that lasts for hours, letting you focus on the game without constant re-soaking breaks. If you don’t want to hang it around your neck as you play, you can just fold it up and tuck it in the accompanying air-tight container, which will maintain its coolness for a long time.

PROS

  •  Soft and lightweight
  •  Breathable mesh material
  •  Comes with an air-tight container
  •  100% polyester
  •  Machine washable

CONS

  •  Slightly expensive

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Whether you are an avid runner or simply live in a hot, humid location, mastering the art of cooling down is an absolute necessity to prevent heat exhaustion. To make the selection process easier, let’s look at the criteria you need to consider.

What To Look For In A Cooling Towel

  •  Absorbing materials

When it comes to cooling towels for sports or heavy-duty workouts, polyvinyl acetate (PVA) is the real MVP. It’s a highly absorbent material whose coolness lasts for several hours due to superior evaporative functions. Once you wring it out, the towel won’t drip down your back and only cool the area on which it is placed. It’s lightweight and absorbs water so well that it feels dry even after soaking. However, it has a rubbery texture and isn’t as soft or breathable as microfiber, which is another material that keeps you cool for a significant period. However, it’s less absorbent than PVA and does not feel dry to the touch.

  •  The right size

Your choice also depends on how large or small a towel you’re looking for. Smaller towels in the 30 to 35-inch range of length are ideal for storage in case you don’t want to wear something around your neck the whole time. Mid-sized towels measuring about 40 inches can be draped around the neck or waist for easy access while you are exposed to heat and sweat. If you’re looking for full-body coverage the likes of a luxurious bath towel, you can opt for extra-large sizes. They tend to be packaged with a carrying pouch, so you don’t have to worry about them eating up space inside your gym bag or hiking backpack.

  •  Sun protection

If you want the biggest bang for your buck, go for instant cooling towels that come with an inbuilt UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of over 50. They block 98% of the sun’s radiation from entering the skin and prevent sunburns, so you can enjoy a whole day out at Disneyworld or hike up that hill without worrying about extreme heat — as long as you have plenty of water at hand.

How To Use A Cooling Towel

  •  Step 1: Soak in water

It only takes a few seconds of contact with water to activate the cooling towel, and they can go hours without reactivation. You can run it under hot or cold water, though you are more likely to have access to the latter.

  •  Step 2: Wring it out

To keep the towel from oversaturating or dripping water all over your clothes or down your back, be sure to wring it out well after soaking. Depending on the type, you may also be required to snap it before use.

  •  Step 3: Place it on

Regions like the neck and back have larger muscles that emit a lot of heat and sweat. A cooling towel can calm the nerves and help you experience some much-needed downtime, not just in those 2 areas but pretty much any warm and sweaty location on your body.

While standard towels are temptingly plush, reaching out for one after a long day at the gym or out in the sun won’t help you regulate temperature as well as your body needs to avoid heat exhaustion. Cooling towels imitate the natural process of sweating to chill you down, working faster than your system because of their evaporative technology that rapidly brings down your body temps by a minimum of 30°. Having the best cooling towel on hand is like walking around with your own portable air conditioner, except it’s chemical-free and recyclable, so there’s no harm to the environment! Still skeptical? Allow us to clear any doubts you might have about the magic of cooling towels.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do cooling towels last?

It depends on how frequently you use the towel and whether or not you follow the care instructions well. On average, a top-rated cooling towel lasts anywhere between 3 to 5 years with its cooling ability intact.

Are cooling towels reusable?

Yes, a majority of cooling towels are reusable and machine washable. However, do check the instructions on the best way to wash, as some towels require hand washing.

Do cooling towels make your clothes wet?

Not if you wring them out well after running under water. If you place them on the skin immediately after soaking, your clothes are likely to get drenched.

Do cooling towels work in humidity?

Yes, cooling towels are specifically designed to shield your body against extreme heat and humidity. They use evaporative technology to retain moisture and use your sweat to create a cooling sensation. However, if the humidity is too high, you might have to soak the towel more often to maintain its effectiveness.

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