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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Towels > Sea to Summit Tek Towel > Owner Review by Andrea Murland

Sea to Summit Tek Towel
OWNER REVIEW by Andrea Murland
February 3, 2010

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 24
Location: Rossland, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 125 lb (57 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.

Product Information

Tek Towel

Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
Manufacturer's URL:
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Model: Tek Towel
MSRP: Not Available
Colour Reviewed: Jade Green
Other Colours Available: Cobalt Blue, Outback Red, Eucalyptus
Size Reviewed: Large
Listed Dimensions: 24 in x 48 in (61 cm x 122 cm)
Measured Dimensions: 23 in x 47 in (58 cm x 119 cm) spread out
8 in x 4.5 in x 3.5 in (20.3 cm x 11.4 cm x 8.9 cm) in pouch
Listed Weight: 10.0 oz (283 g)
Measured Weight: 10.1 oz (286 g) towel only, 11.0 oz (312 g) with pouch


Wearing the Tek Towel in Karijini National Park
Wearing the towel
The Sea to Summit Tek Towel is a microfiber towel, intended to be very absorbent, quick drying, and light-weight. Sea to Summit indicates that the Tek Towel is “ideal for travel and all outdoor activities like traveling, camping, boating, taking to the gym, pool or beach, or drying the dogs off after a swim.” Unlike most microfiber towels that I’ve seen, the Tek Towel has a rough surface which feels somewhat like terrycloth. The towel comes with a zippered mesh and nylon pouch for packing it, and is machine washable. There is a nylon hang loop on one corner of the towel which says “Tek Towel” and has the Sea to Summit logo on one side, and says something on the other side – I’ve sewn a name tag onto the loop and covered the text on that side.

Field Conditions

I purchased the Tek Towel in Australia in 2007 while hiking and travelling, and since then it has been my travel towel as well as being brought on some day hikes and backpacking trips. As a wild guess, I’d say that I’ve used this towel about 200 times to dry off after showering or swimming in lakes, rivers, or oceans. In Australia, it was used extensively as a towel for hostel-based travel, both for showering and for short day hikes that I knew were going to involve swimming somewhere. It was also used periodically as a beach towel. In 2008, I carried this towel on a 4.5 month trip which involved 2 months of hiking-backpacking and another 2.5 months of hostel-backpacking. It got used mostly for showering in hostels, but occasionally I’d find a lake and jump in. It’s also been carried on isolated backpacking trips in British Columbia and Alberta; I tend to carry the Tek Towel only on hikes where I know there’s going to be a lot of swimming and I’ll want something a little larger than a facecloth.


The large size Tek Towel is pretty big, so I’ve never had a problem with how much water it could absorb. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times in a day I jump in a lake or the ocean or how damp this towel is when I start to dry off, I always end up dry at the end. It’s great.

Feel of the Towel:
The Tek Towel feels a little bit more like a regular towel than other microfiber towels I’ve used. The terrycloth-like surface is kind of fuzzy like a normal towel, but the material does catch and drag like a microfiber towel. Although I’m not fussy about what my towel feels like using it once in a while when hiking, it’s definitely nice to have an almost-normal-towel when using it daily on long travels.

Odour & Washing:
I have a bad habit while travelling of showering in the morning and then promptly packing up all my stuff to change locations. That means that I use my towel, pack it up and shove it in my pack, and leave it there all day. Over about a week (depending on humidity and how badly I’m treating it), the towel develops a noticeable mouldy odour. However, the odour comes out upon washing, assuming that it gets dried after getting washed (yes, I’ve washed it and promptly packed it up again still damp...).

Over 2.5 years of use, I have to say that I have absolutely no concerns about durability. The towel still absorbs water wonderfully. It is a bit faded, but not a lot. I wash the towel in the machine and hang it to dry, though it has gone through the dryer once or twice by accident.

Packing in the Pouch:Towel in Pouch
Naturally, once I unpacked the towel for the first time I couldn’t figure out how to get it back in the pouch. I have found a procedure that works nicely for me after a lot of trial and error. I fold the towel in half end-to-end, then in thirds the other way, and then roll it. It fits easily into the pouch with room to spare. I keep another hand-towel-sized towel folded in the same pouch when at home or on a trip where I’m carrying both.

Other Assorted Topics:
This towel makes a decent pillow in a sleeping bag. At least, it’s better than nothing, and a nice addition to the pile of clothes that I usually use.

I have to say that I avoid using the Tek Towel as a beach towel if I have any other options. Although it works fine for drying off and laying on, it doesn’t deal particularly well with salt and sand. Salt makes the towel salty and a bit stiff. Sand just doesn’t come out. The rough surface of the towel picks up and holds sand, and it takes shaking, washing, beating, or all of the above to get it out. In desperation, I used a lint picker once after washing to help get the little grains of sand out. If the towel was a dedicated beach towel, it would be fine, but trying to use it as a beach towel and then a normal clean towel again after doesn’t work very well.


The Sea to Summit Tek Towel is a microfiber towel with a terrycloth-like surface finish. It comes with a zippered carrying pouch and is an excellent choice for a microfiber towel which feels almost like a normal towel.

Thumbs Up:
Terrycloth-like surface
Comes with a packing pouch

Thumbs Down:
Collects sand
Smells mouldy if it gets packed damp

Read more reviews of Sea to Summit gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland

Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Towels > Sea to Summit Tek Towel > Owner Review by Andrea Murland

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