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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Towels > REI Multi Towel Lite > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

REI Multi Towel Lite
By Raymond Estrella
March 16, 2008


NAME: Raymond Estrella
AGE: 47
LOCATION: Huntington Beach California USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.

The Product

Manufacturer: Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI)
Web site:
Product: Multi Towel Lite Medium
Year manufactured: 2005 and 2007
MSRP: $ 10.00 (US)
Weight listed: 2 oz (57 g)
Actual weight: 2.2 oz (62 g)
Size listed: 15.5 x 27.5 in (39 x 70 cm) Verified accurate
Color reviewed: Curry (also comes in Beige, more a khaki, which I owned also)
Made in Korea
Warranty: (from web site), "100% satisfaction guaranteed".


Product Description

(Note: I recently lost my first REI towel and bought the one in the pictures to replace it. The descriptions are of the new one, the observations are from a few years use of the first one. Pictures are of both.)
The REI Multi Towel Lite (hereafter called the towel) is a polyester (85%) and nylon (15%) towel aimed at backpackers, travelers and the fitness crowd. Mine is Curry (orange colored).

It is rectangular in shape with rounded off corners as can be seen above. The edge is serged to keep it from unraveling. The REI logo is in the lower right corner. A hang loop is sewn to the upper left corner. This loop closes with a tiny sliding buckle. This is new; my first towel had a snap.

The material is extremely soft to the touch and very absorbent. It feels like a piece of good chamois. It has an anti-bacterial treatment to help keep it odor free.

The towel is machine washable and will become softer and more absorbent with washing.

It comes inside a 0.8 oz (23 g) storage case that I throw away as soon as I get it home. The case is mesh with plastic on one side under the mesh, and has a zipper on it. It also has a hang loop as seen in the picture here.

According to REI up to 90% of the moisture can be rung out of the towel to speed drying time, they claim that it dries three times faster than a cotton towel. I have never brought a cotton towel hiking so can not verify that claim…

Field Conditions

I have used the towels in Canyonlands, Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks along with many National Forests and Wilderness areas. It has probably been along with me on at least 1200 miles (1900 km) of backpacking trails and has dried me after rinsing off in countless rivers, lakes, and creeks.

It has been as high as 14497' and as low as 1000' (4418 to 305 m) in elevation. Temperatures have ranged from a frigid 17 F to well over 100 F (-8 to 38 C). I have used it to wipe condensation from tent walls in snow and rain storms, but most use has been on great sunny days. It has been dried on rocks and boulders, draped over bushes and hung from a multitude of high elevation pine trees like the one in this picture at Crabtree Meadows in the eastern Sierra Nevada range.

on tree


I have been using the REI towels for over three years. They seem to me to be made of identical material as a more expensive name-brand alternative which I also own a couple sizes of. The REI version works exactly the same, which is quite well.

They absorb water very well. I have used this little towel to dry my hair and face many, many times. And it has dried my entire body probably 20 to 30 times over the past few years.

On a spring hike with more creek and river crossings than I have ever done on one trail I just left it attached to the back of my pack as I was drying off my feet and legs every hour or so. It just kept on sucking up water.

I have used it to wipe off the inside of my tent a few times also. A memorable occasion of this was a surprise snow storm in the high Sierra Nevada using a Henry Shire's Tarptent. I was forced to button the tent up tightly as the snow kept alternating with wind driven rain and back to snow. I did not know that a tent could get as wet inside as mine was. I had to wring the towel out in the middle of wiping the tent out the next morning.

The towel dries very fast, usually overnight unless the humidity is very high due to weather or proximity to rushing water, a condition that I am near quite often. On the times that it does not dry (or had to use it in the morning as described above) I just clip it to my backpack and it will be dry before I stop again for the day. Here is a shot of the beige towel the day before I lost it. I am staring at a beautiful class 5+/6 rapid in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park

on back

I have found nothing to complain about my towel. It works great, dries fast and lasts. (As long as I don't leave it on the trail.) I look forward to using it on many trips in the future..

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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