Matador NanoDry Towel Large Review
The most compact travel towel I've ever seen. But, does it work? Find out in our review below.
Introduction To The Matador NanoDry Travel Towel
MATADOR is a name synonymous with practicality in travel. Quality, too, it should be said. They made a name for themselves with packable day bags back when it really wasn't that common to be able to get a quality one. Now? You see them everywhere. I'd say they are a big part of that. They made feature rich bags that packed into themselves that were really well made.
Well as initial success often does, that led to expansion into other product ranges - all with a laser focus on not taking up valuable space. In fact I recently tested and reviewed their Flatpak Soap case in my Best Travel Soap Kit article. It's fantastic (the Flatpak, not my article; I mean that's good, too!).
And with that, we're going to be taking a look at their NanoDry travel towel. I've owned quite a few microfiber travel towels over the years, with not much differentiation or innovation, really. This is one of the only innovations in the space I've seen other than the sand-proof towels. But, the two are not competitors.
I'm gonna take a look at how it fits into my packing scheme, the good and the bad, and who I think this is for. Some products are for everybody, some aren't.
This is my review of the Matador NanoDry Travel Towel. This was purchased with my own money and researched on my own time, I've had no interaction with the company about this product. The opinions in this review are my own and it is not sponsored in any way.
Matador NanoDry Towel Overview
Travel towels in general are not new. They are meant to be highly absorbent, highly packable pieces of your travel set up. As noted earlier, I've owned quite a few of different sizes. These are usually microfiber. The NanoDry towel differentiates itself here. Can you get smaller than microfiber? Of course you can! Nanofiber! Stay with me.
NanoDry fiber is ULTRAlight, but still can absorb 2.3X it's weight according to Matador. We'll address that one later. But this is highly absorbent, extremely light stuff here. It's very different from microfiber, which is more velvety to the touch and definitely a heavier weight and hand feel. This is slightly textured (you can see it in the banner pics below) and wicked thin.
It comes in an aerated case for transport made of silicone. This is the little housing you can use when storing it or packing it. It's very easy to store in this case.
It has a button loop in one side, handy for hanging on things. I got mine in the Large size, which is meant as a towel for swimming and showering. And there is a nice and light (aluminum I'd imagine) spring loaded hook on the case itself. This allows you to hang it off of loops on your gear when you're hiking or on the move, etc.
The NanoDry runs a reasonable $34.99 on their site, and you can occasionally find sales by the brand. Be sure to click the links to see if any are on right now.
There are 3 muted colors, so you can find what works for you.
Matador NanoDry Towel Performance
This one is a pretty easy test, really. Was it convenient for travel and did it work? Considering this is the large, I'd say it was perfect for travel. No negatives about it in that category. You can see from the pictures here that you can basically put it anywhere in your pack. Because of the fabric and the silicone, it also can compress more if you need to squeeze it into places, so you're not going to have any issues. People with normal to large size shoes could even shove it in there, then it takes up no more space at all. Unfolded, I'd say it doesn't feel as big as a normal shower towel, but it's not mini, either.
In terms of how it performed in use - I'd say it performed as needed for what it is. I used it as my primary towel all weekend on a trip away, and while it might not have been its designed use case, I was able to dry off with it mostly. It wets out quick, be aware. I mean, this thing is small and light and isn't meant to replace a 5 star hotel towel (No, I was not in a 5 Star hotel, but I'm open to coming to one if any are reading this).
Like microfiber, you don't really use this like a cotton towel. You more so "dab" it on your skin to pick up the water. It definitely absorbs like crazy but had trouble with a full-length body (as opposed to maybe just swim trunks) and full head of hair. My hair was definitely still wet at the end. A lot of people don't like these travel towels because they try and "wipe" their skin like a cotton towel. And frankly, with these, that's kind of hard nor does it feel good on the skin. But that's because they aren't made for that.
For drying itself, this thing is fantastic. In a dimly lit bathroom it was almost fully dry in an hour. In the sun? It would be even quicker. So if you were at the beach, hiking, or just in a well lit hostel near the window, this will dry in no-time. Big points here from a practicality standpoint.
Convenience and size. You can put this thing almost anywhere when you travel (in your bag, in your day bag, glovebox, shoe, whatever). Along those same lines it really adds almost no weight that you'd notice.
The material works. It picks up water quickly, and dries quickly as well. The super absorbency is here.
I like this, so it's not really wicked bad. But, I would say that it wets out quickly because it's such a super lightweight material. I'll expand on who I think this is for in my final thoughts, but just putting this here in case you're thinking about using this as your only towel on your trip. Your tolerance here will vary greatly, I understand that. So might not really be a negative for you. But it also might mean it doesn't work for what you had in mind.
The Improvement Requests for the Matador NanoDry Towel
Nothing really. They've made a great product that I think works as they intended. I have some criticisms for it, but that's mainly because of my use case. I don't think this is really a flawed product.
Final Thoughts On My Matador NanoDry Towel Review
Matador is really growing their product line but keeping it's core in place in the sense that these products are useful but help keep you light and organized. Packable bags and small accessories that serve real purpose are always going to be needed in the world of travel. This NanoDry towel is no exception.
Did I have a few criticisms of it? Sure. But it's a very impressive material, and I think it accomplishes what they set out for it to do. This isn't going to be a fluffy towel or those massive microfiber towels that you wrap yourself in when you're done swimming or in the shower. It's a highly targeted, functional, and minimal piece of fabric that can dry you off and take up absolute minimal space and weight.
With all that said - who is this product for then? I think their product and website images nail it, it's not just a decision their marketing department made. This towel is perfect for adventurers and hikers that are going to be showering in the back country, swimming in rivers and swimming holes, etc. It won't weigh you down or take up room in your pack. Heck it doesn't need to go in the pack it can hang outside of it. It's also going to be dry in an hour or two, and I'm 1000% sure it will be dry over night and ready for your next leg of the Pacific Coast Trail. I'd also say this is for those traveling ULTRA light in terms of Onebagging, and maybe staying in hostels. There's no reason to try and replace a hotel towel here, but no need to pack your own either (I think we've all seen some pretty ratty hostel towels). This would be perfect for that. Further, I also think the smaller version would be fantastic for those out and about in humid climates like South East Asia and just want something in their bag to wipe off with now and then - especially photographers who can be carrying a bit of weight. This would be great for that. Finally, just to have as an emergency or an unplanned swim. Why not. If space isn't at a premium, throw it in. If you're just going on a day hike, yeah why not.
It's a product that might have a smaller target market than 100% of travelers, but I think for the right traveler, this is not only a fantastic piece of kit, it's also probably a necessity.
They sell directly from their website so hop on over:
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