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Why a lightweight, absorbent Turkish towel is worth the upgrade

These towels are perfect for everything from the beach to the bathroom.
Parachute; WETCAT; Coyuchi

While most of us spend all year dreaming of beach days in the summer — the sand beneath your feet, rocking your new swimsuit 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, plenty of sunscreen 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 high-quality 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 percent 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, which makes them perfect for your next vacation.

"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, according to shoppers

Glamburg Peshtemal Turkish Towel

If you're hesitant to throw out your plush towels but are interested in the benefits of a Turkish towel, consider this oversized version. Whether you're bringing it to the beach or wrapping yourself in it after a post-workout shower, these peshtemal towels are equally absorbent and quick-drying, according to the brand and dozens of Amazon shoppers.

Lands' End Turkish Cotton Beach Towel

Lands' End's Turkish terry cotton 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.

Mark & Graham Striped Turkish Lightweight Towel

Woven from 100 percent Turkish cotton, these colorful towels from Mark & Graham are sure to start some lively conversations while you're lounging seaside. The best part? They can be personalized with a monogram for an extra special touch.

InfuseZen Stonewashed Turkish Towel

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.

Wetcat Original Turkish Beach Towel

This Turkish towel is an Amazon's Choice product with nearly 7,000 verified five-star ratings. 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 30+ different colors and currently costs less than $25.

Cacala Cotton Pestemal Turkish Bath Towel

One Shop TODAY contributor 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," she wrote.

With almost 3,000 verified five-star ratings on Amazon, it doesn't seem like we're the only ones loving these towels.

Parachute Fouta Stripe Towel

Parachute's striped Fouta 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.

Personalized Turkish Beach Towel

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.

Peshtemal Stripe Bath Towel

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 three different colors.

Teema Tribal Towel

You can use this double-sided printed towel as anything from a bath towel to a picnic blanket to living room decor.

Organic Turkish Tassel Towel

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 percent organic Turkish cotton and comes in various colors like dark olive, copper and marina blue.

Serena & Lily Fouta Bath Towel

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.

Coyuchi Mediterranean Organic Towel

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 percent 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.

TheLongestThread Turkish Towel

This bestselling towel on Etsy is crafted from 100 percent premium Turkish cotton and costs less than $25!

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