The 10 Best Cooling Towels of 2022

Beat the heat with the Mission Max Plus Cooling Towel

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Whether you’re hanging at the beach, working hard in the backyard, or pushing through an outdoor workout, a cooling towel offers a quick way to lower your body temperature and beat the heat. Cooling towels are made of high-tech fabrics that are activated with water. Just wet your towel, wring it out, and snap it a few times before applying it for cooling relief.

Reviewed & Approved

Our best overall selection is the Mission Max Plus Original Cooling Towel because its chemical-free and antimicrobial and also provides UPF 50 protection. Another good choice is the Chill Pal 12-in-1 Neck Gaiter can be worn in a number of different styles and stays put on the run.

While cooling towels don't provide hydration or full-body sun protection—two other hot-weather essentials—they can be a helpful tool to have on hand when you are spending time outdoors in hot and humid weather (especially if you are also elevating your body temperature with exercise). We selected cooling towels for our list based on the material, care instructions, size, and affordability.

Here are the best cooling towels on the market.

Best Overall: Mission Max Plus Original Cooling Towel

4.7
Mission Max Plus Original Cooling Towel

Courtesy of Amazon

This highly effective towel from Mission is a top pick because it starts to cool within 30 seconds of touching cold water. You simply soak it in cold water, wring it out, and it’s ready to drape around your neck. It stays cool for two hours, but once it starts to get warm, simply rinse and repeat. The soft and durable antimicrobial towel is chemical free, machine washable, and even provides UPF 50 protection from the sun.

The Max Plus towel is long so it will stay in place when you put it around your neck and it comes in 4 color options.

Best for Running: Chill Pal 12-in-1 Multi-Style Cooling Neck Gaiter

4.8
Chill Pal 12-in-1 Multi-Style Cooling Neck Gaiter

Courtesy of Amazon

For running in hot weather, what could be more convenient than having a cooling towel that stays put on your neck? This Chill Pal Cooling Band can be worn as a neck gaiter, balaclava, headband, bandana, face cover, hair cover, and other variations. You simply soak it in cold water, wring it out, and it’s ready to wear. If it starts to get warmer, repeat the steps, and stay cool while working up a sweat during your run.

Best for Hiking: Ergodyne Chill-Its Cooling Towel

Ergodyne Chill-Its Cooling Towel

This cooling towel can easily be draped around your neck during a hot weather hike for fast, cooling relief. The activated advanced PVA material retains water while remaining dry to the touch, so it keeps you cool without the added bulk. The 29- by 13-inch towel is thicker than most other cooling towels, so it absorbs more water and stays cool for longer.

Best Hoodie Towel: Mission Cooling Hoodie Towel

Mission Cooling Hoodie Towel

Courtesy of Amazon

Sometimes draping a cooling towel around your neck just isn’t sufficient to combat the intense summer heat. With this hoodie towel covering your head, you’ll get even more of a cooling effect when you’re working in the garden or hanging at the beach. It stays cool for up to two hours when activated with water and also has UPF 50 protection.

Best With UV Protection: Alfamo Cooling Towel

Alfamo Cooling Towel

Courtesy of Amazon

Beat the heat and get some sun protection with this lightweight and silky-soft cooling towel. It has UPF 50+ sun protection and a superb cooling effect that lasts for three hours without reactivation. Whether you use it as a cooling blanket at the beach or a headcover during a round of golf, it’s available in four different sizes, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

Best for Tennis: Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel

Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel

When you’re scoring aces on a blistering hot tennis court, a few gulps of water aren’t enough to cool you down. For cold relief, try wrapping this Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad cooling towel around your neck in between sets. Made from a hyper-evaporative material that retains water while remaining dry to the touch, it stays cool for up to four hours.

Best for Golf: Callaway Cooling Towel

Callaway Cooling Towel

Courtesy of Amazon

Stay cool when you’re hitting the golf course with this convenient and dependable cooling towel from Callaway. Measuring 24 by 17 inches, it’s the perfect size to stash in your golf bag (or gym bag) for cooling relief out on the course.

Simply soak the towel in cold water and place it on your head or neck. When you’re not using it, you can keep it in the included sealable container for repeated use throughout your game.

Best for Travel: Tough Outfitters Cooling Towel

Tough Outfitters Cooling Towel

This towel's cooling properties can be activated in seconds by soaking it in water and wringing it out. Made of a polyamide and polyester blend, the breathable fabric is soft, lightweight, absorbent, and has UPF 50+ sun protection. The towel is available in nine colors and even comes with a small mesh pouch for convenient storage, so it’s easy to take on the road.

Best Lightweight: Mission Lite-Knit Cooling Towel

Mission Lite-Knit Cooling Towel

Courtesy of Amazon

If you want a cooling towel that won’t feel heavy around your neck or when you’re carrying it during a run or hike, this ultra-lightweight one from Mission is an excellent pick. Whether it’s wet or dry, the fine-knit texture is very breathable and feels smooth, comfortable, and soft against your skin.

Best for Yoga: Chill Pal PVA Cooling Towel

Chill Pal PVA Cooling Towel

Courtesy of Amazon

For a cooling towel that stays cold for your entire hot yoga class, you can’t beat this thick one from Chill Pal. Just wet it before class, wring it out, and put it around your neck for cooling relief. It even comes with a convenient pouch that can be attached to your gym bag using the included carabiner clip.

Final Verdict

For a highly effective, dependable, and versatile cooling towel, the Mission Max Plus Original Cooling Towel (view at Amazon) is an excellent choice. Made of soft and soothing material, it starts cooling instantly and can last for up to two hours. It’s also extremely affordable and works for a wide range of activities and needs.

What to Look for in a Cooling Towel

Materials

Towels made of PVA (polyvinyl acetate) are extremely absorbent and remain cool for several hours. The advanced fabric won't soak your clothing or weigh you down because it feels dry to the touch even when it’s wet.

Microfiber towels provide reliable cooling, and they feel soft and comfortable against your skin. However, they won't stay cool for as long as a PVA towel, and they're not dry to the touch when wet. 

Size

Extra small and small towels are usually up to 35 inches in length and are ideal to use around your neck or head. Towels around 40 inches in length can be hung around your neck or tied around your waist. Extra-large towels are 50 inches or longer and big enough for full-body use.

Care

Most cooling towels are machine washable, but be sure to double-check the care instructions before buying. You definitely don’t want to hand-wash your towel after each sweaty use.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do cooling towels work?

    Cooling towels are a quick way to cool yourself down during or after a workout. They are made with high-tech fabrics that, when activated with water, draw sweat and moisture away from the body via evaporation. This creates a noticeable cooling effect on the skin.

    Simply get our towel wet, wring it out, and apply to your neck, head, back, or waist. You may have to snap or swing the towel after wringing it out to circulate air through it. For best results, allow your cooling towel to soak in clean water for several minutes before using.

  • What are the best ways to use a cooling towel?

    Unlike a towel you use to wipe away sweat during or after a workout, a cooling towel is designed to reduce your temperature. It can also absorb sweat in the process. Using a cooling towel is simple, though the instructions may vary depending on the brand or manufacturer. 

    The process usually involves getting the towel wet, wringing out the excess moisture, and swinging or snapping the towel for air circulation. Once the cooling towel is activated, you can apply the towel directly onto the skin wherever you need cooling.

    The most popular use for cooling towels is to bring down your temperature from an intense workout. But these nifty towels aren’t just for exercise. You can use a cooling towel any time you feel overheated, such as if you have a fever, during a hike, or anytime you're out in the hot sun.

  • How long do cooling towels last?

    The effects of cooling towels can last for several hours. Though you soak them in water for several minutes before using them, they can feel dry to the touch. This means they don’t get your clothes or skin wet.

    If you take proper care of your cooling towel, it can last for several years. The lifetime of a cooling towel also depends on the quality of the materials. Usually, you can expect your cooling towel to last for up to five years.

  • Can you machine-wash cooling towels?

    The washing instructions of a cooling towel vary by brand and manufacturer. Some cooling towels are machine washable while some are hand-wash only. For best results, follow the instructions on the care label. 

    Using a gentle detergent and hand washing, or machine washing on the gentle cycle, may help extend the longevity of your cooling towel. Cooling towels should not be put in the dryer. Instead, allow to air dry.

  • What are the best ways to keep cooling towels cool?

    Cooling towels maintain their effects for about two hours after activation. Since their cooling effects are partly due to evaporation, swinging the towel around can reduce the temperature further. If the towel is still moist, you can reactivate the cooling effects by circulating air through it.

    To keep your cooling towel cool, give it a couple more snaps. The combination of moisture and air will keep temperatures low.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

An avid runner and marathon running coach, Christine Luff runs and coaches outdoors through the hot and sticky summer months, so she has researched, tested, and recommended lots of hot weather running gear such as cooling towels.

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