Finesse Bamboo Peshtemal TowelI wanted to understand the strengths and weaknesses of hammam towels vs microfibre towels as an ideal travel towel, so I decided to experiment.

This has been in my to-do-list for a long while. Microfibre is unknown territory for me. I used it as a bath towel only once years back and I remember me not using for the second time as it didn’t dry me as I would have normally expected from a bath towel.

However, it has been a long time since the concept of microfibre was new. I wondered how much microfibre technology improved since then. This experiment will hopefully enlighten me and fellow travellers in finding the right towel to suit their needs when they are out and about.

I will assess them on four aspects that are genuinely important to travellers – compactness, weight and quick-drying qualities, absorbency and finally how it feels.

The hammam towel I am choosing for this experiment is Cotton and Olive’s Trendy Cotton Hammam Towel which is one of our best sellers. I am comparing it with a microfibre towel in bath sheet size.


Vintage Compact hammam towel

Vintage hammam towel perfectly fitting into my hat

I do know hammam towels are very compact to pack and carry around in your rucksack. I recommend rolling hammam towels to save space in my bag rather than folding them flat.

From the compactness point of view, I would say both microfibre towel and hammam towel gets the same score: both roll small and compact. This undoubtedly makes them easy to use when you are on the move with limited luggage capacity. It is also greatly appreciated for camping, campervanning, caravanning, yachting and sailing.

The microfibre towel comes inside its plastic bag with a zip. This may keep the towel nice and tidy in its case when packed. Hammam towel has no case. You just need to roll it before putting it in your bag and it will stay rolled until you unpack it. In my opinion, putting the microfibre towel in a plastic cover may make it inclined to keep the mildew in and hence it may develop an unpleasant smell while taking it out of the cover. With hammam towels, I do not remember a time I smelled any mildew, not even once unless you dump it wet and airtight. Being loosely-woven makes hammam towel more resistant to mildew as the air goes through the fabric and let it completely dry in a short space of time. Microfibre, on the other hand, is quite a dense fabric. It is too dense to let the air go through and dry it.

Lightweight and quick-drying qualities

Microfibre towel weighs 353 grams without the case for the size of 184 x 89 cm and the Trendy Hammam Towel weighs 317 grams for the size of 173 x 100 cm.

The microfibre towel is a dense fabric and it feels heavier than it is. Both towels dry pretty fast. They are head to head on this aspect. Having a loop on one cover on microfibre towel is a good addition as hanging the towel accelerates the drying time.

The Trendy Cotton Hammam towel is not the lightest hammam towel of its kind, yet it is still lighter than microfibre one which is a plus in favour of the hammam towel.

Microfibre vs hammam towel

Microfibre vs hammam towel


In this category, the microfibre towel significantly lagged behind the hammam towel.

The microfibre towel dried me after the shower, however, I can’t say the microfibre towel itself was absorbent. It rather wiped off the water on my body rather than sucking the water which is exactly the case with the Trendy Hammam Towel.

When it comes to absorbing the excess water off my hair, that was even a bigger struggle. Microfibre one left my hair almost completely wet after a few rubs. With Cotton and Olive’s Trendy Cotton Hammam towel, it is a completely different story. It instantly sucks water without any effort of rubbing. Cotton simply does what it is supposed to do and instantly dries you.

How do they feel?

This is the area where I am all for hammam towels vs microfibre. It feels so soft, gentle and natural.

It is also visually far more attractive than the plain microfibre ones. A huge variety of pattern and colour options are available for hammam towels to suit your style. Hence you can use the hammam towel in many other ways for lots of different activities.

It is versatile enough to wear it like a shawl, wrap around like a mini blanket while sitting in the garden or lounging in your living room for an extra layer or spread it over your sofa/bed for layering.

With microfibre, on the other hand, the fabric feels sticky, stifling and dense. It is not as inviting and pleasant as the cotton hammam. I used the microfibre towel only once after shower on the day I did my experiment and I felt neither the urge nor the excitement to use it for the second time even though I kept it in my bathroom to try it for a second time.

The great hammam towels vs microfibre debate. Which one wins?

To sum up what I have been arguing in here in a simple sentence, I can say cotton hammam towel is lighter, more absorbent and much more pleasant to handle than the microfibre one. However, the microfibre is as fast drying and compact as the cotton hammam towel. So in the great hammam towels vs microfibre debate, personally, I wouldn’t have changed my hammam towel for a microfibre one.

What would your verdict be?

Ilgen Paydas, founder of Cotton and Olive

Ilgen Paydas, founder of Cotton and Olive