Whether you're spending hours snaking through lines at Disney, or out for a grueling run on a summer day, a cooling towel can make the experience of being outside in the hot sun way less miserable. After all, the best cooling towels are a convenient, cheap, and portable way to keep cool when the weather gets balmy.And, after hours of research into cooling towels, I can tell you there are a few things you should know before picking one out.
Know that most cooling towels operate very similarly. They're made from evaporative materials that absorb water and turn cool to the touch, remaining that way for minutes or hours depending on how well they work. That being said, there are some towels, and one on this list, that doesn't need water to activate, and can cool simply when you snap them in the air.Beyond that, the big differences you'll find in cooling towels are price, size, and bonus features, like UPF protection from the sun, or extra-thick fabric for increased moisture retention.
And I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't include at least one cooling bandana on this list, which provides less coverage than a towel but easily wraps around your forehead.This instant cooling towel is actually one of the most protective — and cheapest — options you'll find. Built with UPF 50 sun protection, the fabric blocks ultraviolet light and radiation, keeping you cool and protected from harmful rays.
To use it just get it wet, wring it, and snap it to activate its cooling properties, which reportedly can last for several hours. While you should avoid machine washing this (with some towels you can, but this isn't one of them), it's durable enough to last through repeated reuse. "I was actually surprised at how long it stayed cool, even after it was essentially dry," raved one reviewer. "Add more water and it activated again right away." Best of all this comes with a tiny carrying pack, so you can easily stuff it in your bag if the weather cools off a bit.