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As everybody knows,

“A towel ... is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have.”

But what about us terrestrial travellers?

Personally I recently found these unprecedented uses for my towel:

  • Since the design is an Australian flag, use it to indicate which tent that “hot Australian hitchhiker” is staying in at a Romanian beach.
  • As custom fit pillow & insulation inside my sleeping bag hood that I could manipulate around to cover most of the face opening when the night got too cold, without sacrificing comfort.
  • When pre-cooked Turkish truckstop food led to an embarassing situation and I didn't have a change of trousers, I could accept a ride offered by strangers without dirtying the car seat by sitting on my towel.

What indispensable uses have you discovered for your towel that wouldn't've been so easy to solve without it?

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I think this question is too open ended and more of a discussion. See meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/2320/… –  Kate Gregory Nov 4 '11 at 17:52
Funny, but not really a question. –  DJClayworth Nov 4 '11 at 19:21
Unless designed for a wiki, perhaps? –  Ginamin Nov 5 '11 at 3:05
Sure let's make it a wiki! –  hippietrail Dec 5 '11 at 8:55
converted for you :) in future - edit the question, and on the right there'll be a checkbox for 'community wiki' :) –  Mark Mayo Dec 5 '11 at 9:09

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

things I do occasionally with my towel while traveling:

  • fold it to a pillow at night, or cover any (stained) pillows i encounter in cheap hostels/motels
  • place wet clothes on one half, then wrap the other half over it and sleep on it, and the clothes should be dry next morning
  • as a beach towel
  • group loose or dirty/wet items together in your backpack
  • fold it a couple of times and rest my arm on it while driving (the armrest in my car door vibrates too much)
  • cover the steering wheel while you park your car in the sun, so it won't get hot
  • use it as blanket so you won't get sunburn
  • make it wet and wrap it around your neck if you go hiking in summer
  • strangle the noisy, drunk backpacker who walks into the dorm at 3am, yelling, slamming doors and waking everyone up
  • or i just dry myself after a shower with it
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Yes I've also used it to shield myself from yucky pillows of course! –  hippietrail Nov 6 '11 at 13:33
You are just so frood! –  Affable Geek Dec 15 '11 at 1:14

I once forgot a towel while backpacking. I was on a minimalist trip, so I didn't want to buy one and as I was traveling with only a schoolbag sized pack, I had very limited absorptive items (only 2 shirts, one pair of hiking cargos, one pair of board shorts total). So, every morning, I would shower, then use the shirt I wore the previous day as a towel, then I would wash it out with shampoo and hang it on the back of my pack to dry. It worked out okay, but I would have smelled significantly better and avoided some unnecessary rashes if I just remembered me camp towel.

Once in Greece, on Corfu, we were at a toga party (... I know) and my brother fell face first into some rocks. Used the towel as a bandage.

Also, towel = great pillow.

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I feel like that was a band camp thing I just did. –  Ginamin Nov 5 '11 at 3:11
Wtf is a toga party? –  RoflcoptrException Jan 18 '12 at 23:09
@Roflcoptr The better parts of American culture are sometimes lost in translation. Here (long... but a classic part of American cinema): youtube.com/watch?v=HFtxLh6Ij9c –  Ginamin Jan 19 '12 at 1:40

Towel? Air dry, if needed.

As for sleeping, I always went with the long johns, ski mask, coat and gloves approach. You can shed those items during the day and take up half the space as a bulky, "look at me I'm obviously a vagrant" sleeping bag.

But yes @Ginamin, towels make amazing pillows.

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Hah +1 for vagrancy –  Ginamin Nov 6 '11 at 0:54
I've had several times, always in Mexico, where laundry took longer than expected and I had to air dry after showers for a couple of days. I don't think a towel makes a great pillow on its own but it makes a great layer if what's below it is rough or cold or unclean. –  hippietrail Nov 6 '11 at 13:31

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