In my relentless quest for size and weight reduction, I’m considering what to take as a towel. In the past, I tried drying myself with T-shirts, but found that it didn’t work very well. I need a dedicated towel. What could I use that’s small and light?


At the local flea market, they were selling Shamwows at 3/$5, or $2 each. I got one, and plan to use it as my towel. Actually, I cut it in half, to make a towel 14″ x 20″. “Made in Germany” is stamped right on the towel. And you know the Germans make good stuff.


Regular towel on left, hand towel in middle, Shamwow on right

My friend Ahmad advised me never to try something for the first time on a major trip. Respecting that wisdom, I’ve been using this half-Shamwow as my bath towel for the past few days. It seems to be enough. My trick after a shower is to ruffle my hair to get most of the water out, then squeegee as much water as I can off my skin using my hands. That leaves only a little bit of moisture for the Shamwow to pick up.


There are only two drawbacks that I can think of for now:

  1. It’s too small, too thin, and too stiff to use as a wrap for warmth; and
  2. It’s too small to wrap around myself to walk around after a shower, unless I want to give someone an unexpected thrill (or unexpected laugh).


  1. Julie Mac says:

    All of us will be cheering you and Elliot on! We feel confident in knowing that you are thought of every detail 🙂 and have the means to stay dry.

    Travel safely friend,


    • Roderick says:

      Hey, Julie.

      I wouldn’t say we’ve thought of EVERY detail. No doubt, we’ll face some tests of character along the way.

      Thanks for your encouraging words!

  2. Marilyn Lang says:

    We hope you have a wonderful, adventurous trip! My daughter took that kind of towel with her when she went to Japan a few years ago and said that it works very well, so you are all set for showering. I don’t know about staying dry in a Midwest thunderstorm, though!


    • Roderick says:

      Hi, Marilyn!

      Another validation of the Shamwow. Maybe I should make Elliot take one, too, instead of a regular towel.

  3. Lorna says:

    Hi, Roderick.

    You and Elliot are embarking on a huge adventure most of us can only admire. And say, “ouch!” Just a suggestion for a towel that maybe Elliot would like. Have you tried Costco’s yellow microfiber towels–16’x16″ in a pack of 36 in the automobile section? We use them all over our house and I use them to wipe away the stickiness after exercise. They’re as soft as a baby chick.

    Will you be with other people on your tour? Clyde asks if you’re camping out or whether you have accommodations along the way. We’re rooting for you.

    • Roderick says:

      Hi, Lorna and Clyde.

      Good idea, I’ll check at Costco sometime this week. The Shamwow is stiff, like a thin sponge. It picks up the water great, but is no good for blowing my nose, should it come to that.

      It’s just Elliot and me, but I doubt we will be alone very often. This is a sort of popular route with cyclists, so we’ll probably meet transient friends along the way, and at campgrounds. Yes, our plan is to camp, say, 5 days a week, and 2 in motels. We won’t necessarily be in formal campgrounds – many small towns allow cyclists to camp in their city parks free.