The 11 Best Cooling Towels of 2021

Beat the heat with an inventive sports 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 cool off. Cooling towels are made of high-tech fabrics that are activated with water, so you just wet it, wring it out, and snap it a few times before draping it around yourself for cooling relief.

Here are the best cooling towels on the market.

Our Top Picks
An upgrade from your typical towel, this water-activated option is easily worn across your neck to cool you down in seconds.
If you're skeptical of cooling towels, this budget find is a great way to test out the technology without emptying your wallet.
You're guaranteed to get a lot of use out of this neck gaiter, which can be worn 12 different ways, from a mask to a headband.
Available in vibrant colors, making it hard to lose, this towel stays cold for up to four hours without needing a re-soak.
Part hoodie, part towel, this choice is designed to contour to your head and can be tucked into your top or draped over your neck.
Best with UV Protection:
Alfamo Cooling Towel at Amazon
A combination of high temperatures and bright rays calls for a cooling towel that also has UPF 50+ sun protection.
When you're on the courts for a long match, as a spectator or a player, this cooling towel can keep you cool for up to four hours.
A splash of cold water in fabric form, Callaway's towel promises to help you beat the heat before, during, and after your rounds.
The towel conveniently fits into the palm of your hand and is ideal for when you want to pack light.
If you're after a natural, chemical-free option, Mission delivers just that with a lightweight towel you can tote outdoors.

Best Overall: Mission Max Plus Original Cooling Towel

Mission Max Plus Original Cooling Towel

This highly effective towel from Mission starts to cool as soon as it touches 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.

Best Budget: Frogg Toggs Chilly Mini Cooling Towel

Frogg Toggs Chilly Mini Cooling Towel

If you’re a bit skeptical about cooling towels, these mini ones are an inexpensive way to give the technology a try. Just wet the towel and wrap it around your neck before, during, or after a workout to feel instantly cooler. Unlike a large towel, it’s a convenient size (3 by 29 inches), so you can easily stash it away until you need it during a hot walk, run, or hike. It’s also washable and reusable, making it a great value find.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 at least. 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. Since they’re all reusable, you definitely don’t want to hand-wash it after each use.

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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