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Beach towels are a personal choice. Some people like their towels to be big and fluffy, others prefer them small and thin. For beach-going, we like the thin, fiber reactive towels for several reasons: they take up less room in a beach bag, they tend to dry faster, and sand sticks less easily to dry towels than to wet ones. If you bring a big, thick towel to the beach, remember that it will weight much more when it is wet, and that you run the risk of bringing home a lot of sand. Fiber reactive towels also retain their bright colors after many washings. Nevertheless, beach towels remain a persona choice, and you should simply choose what suits you best from the many available styles and sizes.
Remember the old riddle – what gets wetter and wetter as it dries? The answer is a towel – but probably not a towel that has been treated with fabric softener! While the idea of a soft, fluffy beach towel is very appealing, using fabric softener actually decreases the absorptiveness of fabrics. Fabric softener temporarily seals fibers, limiting their wicking ability, and making them much less effective in getting the water off of you. To get maximum drying power out of your towels, wash them in a little detergent and skip the softener. If insects are bothersome on your beach, skipping the fabric softener may have the additional benefit of eliminating a perfume-y, bug-attracting scent. Try unscented detergent if you think it's still a problem.
A beach towel is a piece of beach gear that lets you express your personality a little – and kids like to have the opportunity to do that, too. Rather than just picking something up for them, bring them with you to the store and let them decide whether they want a solid color, or stripes, or one of the many character-themed kids' beach towels that are available. If your child picks out his towel, he or she is more likely to like using it and to keep track of it during a busy day at the beach.
Laying on the beach all day can be a pleasure, but laying flat can cramp your style – and your neck, and no one wants to lug a pillow to the beach, get one of his favorite headrests all sandy and salty, or reserve a whole extra beach towel for wadding up under his head! Now, you can get a neoprene or microfiber beach pillow – a pillowcase that folds up to go into your beach bag, and that you just fill with sand when you get to the beach. If you cannot find one of these, you could make your own – just use a fabric that is tightly woven so that the sand does not leak out or get lodged between the fibers.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|