Let me start with explaining sand proof beach towels in a nutshell: I guess we’ve all been to the beach with our “traditional” blanket with prints of a tropical island or coconut palm tree. Well, these blankets are usually made from typical cotton containing “big” fiber loops that trap sand and water particles. Sand proof beach towels on the contrary contain microfibers without (or with tiny) loops. Sand won’t be trapped and you can easily remove it with a single swing (or brush). They’re available in cotton as well, but you’ll often find them made from nylon, polyester or a mix of various materials.
Let me explain advantages and disadvantages of sand proof towels first. I’ll cover some available gear later on, together with personal tips like cleaning and transportation.
Advantages Of Sand Proof Beach Towels
Below I’ll summarize the main advantages of a sand proof beach towel compared to a traditional/common towel. I took into consideration that the sand proof version is made from nylon or polyester with microfibers, and that the common one is made out of cotton with bigger fibers. Of course, fabrics can differ between the two, but I had to make this as simple as possible.
They’re Easy To Clean
Think of it this way: The smoother a surface is, the easier it is to actually clean it. Microfibers (which are found in the sand proof versions) are small fibers. Regular or “typical” towels contain way bigger fibers with usually loads of loops, making them less smooth. In other words, cleaning a sand proof towel is a piece of cake.
They Dry Quickly
Like I explained in my introduction, sand proof beach towels are made from microfibers (unlike conventional cotton towels). Maybe you once took a look at your towel after taking a shower? Well, probably many loops of cotton that trap the water particles. That’s cool, because you dry quickly, but the towel needs time to dry. Since the loops contain a lot of water, it takes time. If you grab a towel with microfibers, like sand proof towels, water particles remain at the surface. With a little bit of sunshine (or if you bring a sponge) your towel will dry up to 3 times as fast!
A thin nylon or polyester “waterproof” towel usually weighs less than a thicker cotton one. Especially when your towel is wet, that can make quiet a difference. If you don’t own a beach cart for soft sand, well, you probably need to carry your gear with you. If you bring kids you might end up feeling like a carrying donkey. Of course, weight’s not always an issue, but it’s a thing to take into consideration.
In addition to lightweight, the same goes for how compact they are. If a towel is thinner and lighter, it won’t take up too much space in your luggage. It’s sometimes important to think about size, for example when bringing snorkel gear on a plane. Maybe you only bring hand luggage? Well, a few big towels can add up pretty fast.
They’re Strong and Durable
Nylon is stronger than cotton. Let’s assume that your sandproof towel is made from nylon (like many of them are), you might end up enjoying your product for a longer period of time. For most of us it’s not a big issue to buy a new towel every once in a while, but if you’re looking for something durable, consider a nylon sand- and waterproof towel.
They Resist Stains
Because of the “smooth” surface, you’ll notice drops of water accumulating on your towel. Let’s say you go snorkeling with kids, well, you know what having an ice cream could look like. Nylon is so much easier to clean than cotton. Just take your towel to one of those beach showers and you’re pretty much done. Leave it to dry (which goes fast like I explained) and you don’t have all the washing machine hassle back home.
Disadvantages Of Sand Proof Beach Towels
They’re Not As Comfortable
In my personal opinion, a traditional or common cotton towel feels much more comfortable than the thinner nylon sand proof ones. They don’t have that “caring touch” to them if you know what I mean. I prefer something “thicker” and “softer”, especially when the beach contains a lot of stones or rocks.
They Don’t Really Keep You Warm
Another disadvantage is that these blankets don’t really seem to warm me up after a refreshing swim. Especially on a windy day. Yes, sand proof beach towels are definitely able to get your skin dry in no-time. However, if you’re looking for something to warm you up, maybe this isn’t the best gear for you.
They’re Slightly More Expensive
Well, not always, but most of them are. The average price for a sand proof beach towel is somewhere between 15 and 30 bucks. I recently bought a regular cotton beach towel for 10 bucks. Of course, some regular towels can be up to 30 or even 40 bucks as well, just be aware that budget could be a thing to pay attention to.
Like I said, these types of towels are usually lightweight. Therefore, if you’re using one on a windy day, make sure to fixate it. Many of them come with metal stakes. Some have pockets in the corners which you can fill with sand. Of course, regular cotton towels can be blown away as well, but (especially when wet) the chances of that happening are smaller.
About The Design
I used to never really enjoy the design of sand proof towels that much. The nylon or polyester always reminded me of my camping life with tents and other waterproof materials. These days however their designs have really improved. I guess that if design matters a lot to you, like having that coconut tree print, sand proof towels can be limited. But well…that’s my opinion at the time of writing this article. Here’s an example of a design I usually go for:
For anyone interested, this sand proof towel (and many more) are listed here at Amazon. This specific one is somewhere around 20 bucks.
My Personal Approach
I personally stick with the “common” cotton towels after swimming or snorkeling. I can feel pretty cold like I explained in my article about wetsuits for snorkelers, so I just need something to warm me up a little. We do in fact have a sand proof towel which we usually take with us when we go hiking. A lightweight towel that doesn’t take a lot of space in our snorkel backpack is ideal for picnic breaks or any moment of relaxation really. Not that there’s a lot of sand involved in most cases, but the waterproof characteristics are just as advantageous. But well, that’s just me. I can imagine that for some people they do the trick on the beach as well, especially if you bring kids or pets and you don’t feel like bringing home a good collection of sand.
How To Clean
Make sure to read the instructions on how to clean sand proof towels. Some can be cleaned with a washing machine, usually cold, after which you leave it to dry. Just be aware that the preferred method may be different for your specific brand.
Sand, water and electronics are usually not the best combination. So yes, sand proof beach towels can come in handy for people who bring their electronic gear to the beach. I’m a big fan of snorkeling with a GoPro, but the same goes for other gadgets like laptops for example. Of course nothing protects you from a sudden sandstorm, but every helping hand counts. You can always consider a waterproof bag or case for phones and other sensitive equipment.
Kids and Pets
If you bring kids, especially when they’re young, a beach day could involve some heavy cleaning. Ice cream emergencies, hotdog parts that don’t find their way into the mouth, milkshakes with more shakes than milk, a mars bar that looks like it’s actually from Mars, or maybe even empty sunscreen bottles that you purchased just an hour ago. Then there’s your dog who’s absolutely convinced that there’s a bone right below your towel, after which he (or she) decides that your cooler box is it’s new home. Now, how about a sand-, water- and stain proof towel? You get my point. For anyone interested, feel free to also read my giant guide for snorkeling with kids.
Did You Know?
Did you know there’s a product called “Sandscreen“? It’s a small “sand removal bag” that allows you to easily get rid of sand on your body. I heard someone talking about it, so I haven’t tried it myself, but I found it at Amazon (here’s the link if you want to check it out). So yes, there are other ways to get rid of sand if you visit the beach with a “normal” towel full of sand particles. If not for the beach directly, these could also be of big help to clean kids before entering your car or home after a long and playful day.
Not really…Just my usual reminder to use sufficient sunscreen or find some “beach hacks” like the tents or clothes I discuss in my article about UV protection for beach fans. Talking about “beach hacks”, here’s another article that I found helpful. They cover even more ideas to get the best out of your day.