My cat Kady wrapped in a cotton towel

Kady wrapped in towel
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

What Mom wants

Decent towels or a wrap

We all know that Mother's Day[1] is celebrated in May, but I bet some of you didn't know that Towel Day[2][3] is too.

Towel Day began in 2001 as a tribute to the late Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001),[4][5] author of the wildly popular cult sci-fi series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

A fan, D. Clyde Williamson, proposed that a special day, two weeks following Adams's death (May 11th, 2001), should be declared Towel Day.[6] Well, it caught on and fans of his work all over the world celebrate Towel Day on May 25th every year.[7]

How, you might wonder? By carrying a towel with them throughout the day - kinda like Linus van Pelt (from the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz).

Purportedly, on Adams's tomb it states, "Never go anywhere without your towel."[6] Yet, when I researched Douglas Adams's grave, I found only the description Writer on it. (Perhaps there's some fictional message or inside joke I'm not getting).

And Towel Day isn't limited to mere humans, all life forms[7] in the galaxy are encouraged to celebrate. Sure, there are a number of ways that Towel Day is observed[6] - but the crucial point is that you must have a towel.

As a mother, I love to be treated to Sunday brunch on Mother's Day (and you know I won't complain about anything - even the under cooked eggs). But what I really want is a decent towel wrap.
Remember, Towel Day invariably falls after Mother's Day, on May 25th. So, if your gift to Mom kinda sucked (or God forbid, you forgot to treat her on Mother's Day), you can make up for it by giving her decent towels or a comfy towel wrap.
At last! My very own copy. | Douglas Adams' gravestone (Wikipedia)
Credit: (Left photo) cell105 on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | (Right photo): aeropagitica / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Why a towel wrap?

The following 14 second video illustrates my reason:

This just seems so wrong

Both people had to grasp their towels (52 sec mark):

Forget Velcro (too risky)

Go for snaps

Now, if there's one thing that really chaps my hide is Velcro (not the company, but any type of hook-and-loop fastener) that gets loosey goosey after a few washes. 

Often, it's a dryer sheet, loose threads, or lint that sticks to the hook part and renders the whole fastener system useless. And I'm far too lazy to pluck out those threads or lint or whatever. That's when I risk the dreaded nipple slip.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands - and find a decent towel wrap (for all the moms out there).

Boca Terry Women's Spa Wrap - 100% Combed Velour Cotton

Boca Terry Women's Spa Wrap - 100% Combed Velour Cotton RoseWrites 2014-04-05 5.0 0 5

For the gym, beach, or getting the door

Boca Terry Women's Spa Wrap - 4XL - 100% Combed Velour Cotton - White
Amazon Price: $50.00 $28.00 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 1, 2016)
This wrap is by far the best one I've ever owned. It has 3 snaps and an elasticized back for a perfect fit and comfort when you move. (It was ideal when I was breastfeeding, as I was at my largest cup size then). It's 32-inches long and actually falls mid-knee level on me (I'm 5' 7" tall). Comes with a handy right-sided pocket and is available in larger sizes too. Made from 100% combed cotton velour.


Need-to-know facts

After 20 years of buying towels, I can safely say that 100% combed cotton is my favorite. Combed cotton has the shorter threads or bits of fabric literally "combed" out of it. But what about all the newer types, like bamboo, microfiber, or modal?

Here's the gist:

Bamboo is a highly renewable source, however, when it comes to towels most are actually bamboo rayon.[8] Textile professor Matthew Gerring (Academy of Art University) confirmed in The Sweethome article by Melissa Tan The Best Bath Towel for Your Wet, Naked Body that the process of making bamboo rayon fiber releases dangerous levels of pollution (which is actually worse for the environment than cotton).[9]

Microfiber is usually a blend of polyester and polyamide fibers (in an 80/20 ratio).[10] They are touted as good for travel since they pack thinner - but I feel they are best for dusting and polishing. They are just too thin for my vote and it isn't a natural fiber.

Pima (aka Supima) is made from the same plant used for Egyptian towels.[10] In an HGTV article by Katie Allison Granju A Basic Guide to Bath Towels, Carla Sanclemente, an interior designer, explained that towels advertised as "made with" Egyptian or pima cotton often have other synthetic materials in them. She advises checking that the label states either 100% Egyptian cotton or the Supima trademark (indicating it is 100% American pima cotton).[11]

Modal is made by spinning cellulose fibers from beech trees. It's actually a type of rayon.[12] I personally am not keen on it, but claims are that it's more absorbent than cotton.

Turkish towels are made from cotton grown in the Aegean region.[13] While considered luxurious, they are not as absorbent as 100% Egyptian cotton towels.[10]

Peruvian pima cotton is grown - you guessed it - along the coast of Peru. It's less likely to shed, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin.[14] (It's hard to find, at least in my area of Canada).

Zonked - Fluffy the cat
Credit: Average Jane on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Density (or Weight)

The weight is measured in grams per square meter or simply GSM. Some sources state the higher the GSM, the better the quality.[14] However, really thick towels can be quite heavy when wet (and don't air out as quickly). A lighter towel made of high quality cotton may feel nicer than a heavier towel made with a lower grade cotton[10] or cotton blend.

Opinions certainly vary, some feel that GSM 500 - 800[9] is best. Others state that towels with a 500 to 600 GSM are adequate, but not ideal.[15]

My personal preference is 650 GSM - it's thick enough to dry me off and keep me warm.

And just to confuse you, towel weight is also measured in ounces. Luxury spa towels usually weigh between 24 and 28 ounces.[10]

13 Colors of Combed Bath Towel Set 100% Egyptian Cotton by sheetsnthings
Credit: Amazon

Colors and Care

I almost always buy white towels so that I can add a little bleach to the wash water. Bleach kills bacteria and helps remove stains - but too much bleach, too often, is also hard on fabrics.

If you choose colored towels, Judith Wilson, an LA designer, recommends adding 1 cup of [white] vinegar to the first wash cycle. She claims it helps to set colors and prevent fading.[11]

Danielle Travali states in her article How to Pick the Best Towels - The Ultimate Guide that once a month, you should add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle because it helps to remove detergent (which impedes absorbency).[14]

6pc Solid Jade Combed Bath Towel Set 100% Egyptian Cotton by sheetsnthings

6pc Solid Jade Combed Bath Towel Set 100% Egyptian Cotton by sheetsnthings RoseWrites 2014-04-05 4.5 0 5

My all time favorite towel specs

100% Egyptian Combed Cotton (650 GSM)

6pc Solid Jade Combed Bath Towel Set 100% Egyptian Cotton by sheetsnthings
Amazon Price: $129.99 $34.99 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 1, 2016)
Available in 13 colors, these towels by sheetsnthings are my top pick. (Sheetsnthings also makes my Queen-size deep pocket fitted bed sheets and bedding for my daughter's crib). This set is perfect for two people, it provides: 2 washcloths (13" x 13"); 2 hand towels (16" x 30"); and 2 over-sized bath towels (30" x 56"). These towels get softer with each wash. At this low price, only the solid Jade color is available. Solid Ivory costs about $10 dollars more last I checked.

Don't panic

Never go anywhere without your towel

Bandit wanted to know if I had my towel ready!
Credit: Jinx! on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic