Appeared in DIVER July 2020
I love the luxury of a fluffed-up, soft white towel straight from the heated rail in a high-end hotel bathroom, but when diving I’m ready to rough it.
“Nice” towels are heavy and bulky to pack, competing with dive-kit and cameras for space, weight and excess baggage fees.
They often can’t easily be laundered on holiday and, anyway, who wants that hassle?
So they can quickly become smelly and anti-social, or at least other people’s towels can. They take ages to dry, so can become increasingly damp and uninviting as your trip goes on. And they exert a magnetic attraction for sand.
The Red Original Micro Fibre Towel provides a practical alternative. Red Original provides an impressive line of accessories aimed mostly at surface watersports enthusiasts.
The items I’ve tried have all been thoughtfully designed, well-manufactured and, most importantly, useful to divers.
When rolled and secured by the built-in strap, with its non-corrosive plastic snap-fastener, the towel measures only around 22 x 8cm, so it’s easy to stow when space is tight.
But once opened up, it stands its ground against a normal beach towel by measuring a sizeable 150 x 80cm – enough for most people to use for changing.
It’s micro-fibre, so doesn’t have the feel of a sheepskin rug, and I found I tended to dab to get dry, but it’s comfortable enough against your skin and dries you quickly.
The towel weighs so little when dry that I had no scales with which to measure it accurately. It is claimed to hold four times its own weight in water.
I reckon that’s about right, because I soaked it in a bucket. Hanging it in the sun in the late afternoon on a warm Kent day in May, it was dry in an hour.
So if you’re on a trip, you can regularly rinse it out to keep it hygienic, knowing that it’ll be crisp and ready to use when you return from your dive.
The clip that keeps it rolled up also creates a loop for securely attaching it to a rail, so it shouldn’t blow away.
I’m very happy to recommend this towel. And not just for people – underwater photographers often like to use a towel as a clean work surface. The colour will contrast with O-rings, making them easy to see, and won’t leave lint on surfaces to promote camera leaks.
The material won’t scratch most housing bodies, and I’d be happy to gently dab dry ports and lenses with it.