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While most of us spend all year dreaming of beach days in the summer — the sand beneath your feet, rocking your new bathing suit and sunbathing on a trendy float — sometimes transporting your beach gear can put a damper on your day in the sun.
When it comes to beach days, most of us can't walk out the door without all of our essentials: a beach umbrella, a portable speaker to play your favorite tunes, a cooler full of beverages, comfy beach chairs, sunblock and of course, beach towels.
One way to consolidate that list is by investing in a few compact options. Beach towels, for example, are usually bulky and take up a ton of space in your beach bag. Instead, consider a Turkish towel — also called a Fouta, Hammam or Peshtemal towel.
Turkish towels have become increasingly popular over the years because they're lightweight, extra soft, dry quickly and absorb just as much water as traditional towels while taking up way less room.
What are Turkish towels?
"Fouta towels are lightweight and versatile towels, originally worn as sarongs or used as towels in Turkish bathhouses and spas," said Karin Sun, textile expert and founder of Crane & Canopy. "They are traditionally crafted from linen or 100% Turkish cotton, as Turkey is known for producing some of the highest quality cotton products in the world."
What makes Turkish towels different from traditional towels?
You can typically feel the difference right away, as Turkish towels feature two different types of cotton on either side.
"Fouta towels have a different hand-feel versus traditional bath towels, as they feature tightly woven cotton on one side and plush cotton terry on the other," Sun explained. "Due to this unique composition, these towels maintain superior absorbency and softness while also being lightweight."
Another huge bonus is that they work well in many settings thanks to the lightweight texture — and they're perfect for travel.
"A soft Fouta towel works well as a beach towel, a bathtime luxury, a casual throw and more," Sun said. "They are the perfect towel if you live in humid, hot weather as they are lightweight and quick to dry."
We rounded up some of the best Turkish towels on the market for both the beach and home.
Best Turkish towels
This extra large towel is perfect for any occasion. It is handwoven, then washed with small stones to soften and give it that worn look. You can choose between six different colors including coral, beige, black, blue, denim and off-white.
There is no shortage of ways to use these Peshtemal towels from The Turkish Towel Company. There's even a helpful diagram with five different ways if you were wondering where to start! These towels are available in five different colors.
You can use this Teema towel as anything from a bath towel to a picnic blanket to living room decor. Have fun with this double-sided printed pattern that comes in four additional colors including Tiffany teal, pink, maroon and stone.
From the kitchen to the bathroom, these West Elm towels blend in with decor in any part of the house. They are made out of 100% organic Turkish cotton and comes in frost gray.
This Turkish towel is an Amazon's Choice product with over 700 verified five-star reviews and an impressive 4.7-star rating. It's also pre-washed, which means the towel is ultra-soft and won’t shrink when you wash it for the first time. It's available in 31 different colors and currently costs less than $25.
TODAY contributor Katie Jackson can't speak highly enough about the Cacala Cotton Pestemal Turkish Bath Towels. Since she usually travels for more than half the year, she particularly enjoys Turkish towels for their travel-friendly design.
"I travel about eight months of the year and always get cold on planes. Sometimes just having a thin layer between you and the AC makes a huge difference. Yet, I can't justify packing a blanket. However, I can justify packing a 'blanket' that weighs a lot less than fleece blankets and also functions as a beach towel and even a wrap if needed," Jackson previously wrote in a post for Shop TODAY.
With over 2,000 verified five-star ratings on Amazon, it doesn't seem like Jackson is the only one loving these towels.
If want to try out a Turkish towel but don't love the traditional fringed edging, consider this modern pick from Serena & Lily. It's made with absorbent terry cotton back and the design includes a combination of wide and narrow stripes that would look great at the beach and beyond.
The Parachute Fouta Stripe Towel is a great hybrid option that is lightweight, absorbent and quick to dry. The simple-line pattern brings a clean minimalistic vibe and they're available as bath towels, hand towels and washcloths.
If you're hesitant to throw out your plush bath towels but are interested in the benefits of a Turkish towel, consider the Crane & Canopy Turkish Cotton Towels. They're loomed from the finest long-staple Turkish cotton to a decadent 700-gram weight and finely combed for a smooth and soft feel. The best part? They can be personalized with a monogram for an extra special touch.
Coyuchi's Mediterranean Organic Towel is another splurge-worthy Turkish option, but according to reviews, it's worth every penny! The towels are made with 100% organic cotton that's grown and woven in the Aegean region of Turkey and available in a variety of colors. If you're interested in more than just a body towel, the brand also offers beach towels and sets that include bath towels, guest towels and washcloths.
This bestselling towel on Etsy is crafted from 100% premium Turkish cotton and costs less than $25! An added bonus? The Etsy shop was created to support organizations that protect and restore the world’s oceans like Oceana and the Whale & Dolphin Conservation.
For a budget-friendly option that can be customized, consider these Turkish beach towels from Etsy. The cute designs can be personalized with a name or initials and are available in six different colors and five different styles.
The Brielle Home Turkish Beach Towel is another great option if you don't want to spend a lot of money. This lightweight and absorbent towel makes it the perfect companion for all of your summer travels.
For more stories like this, check out:
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- These sandals are made from yoga mats — and I wish I'd bought them sooner
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- This sand-resistant towel will revolutionize your next beach trip
This article originally published on July 8, 2020.