In sticks-and-bricks life—whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment or a huge house—you probably never gave much thought to drying a towel. I know I never did. You shower, dry off, then hang the towel on a hook behind the bathroom door, over the towel rack, or maybe drape it over the piece of exercise equipment that never gets quite as much use as you intended when you bought it. It’s one of a thousand mindless tasks we do every day.

But in RV life, you give thought to lots of things you never gave thought to in sticks-and-bricks life. And a dry bath towel is one example. I cannot say if all RVers think about it but in my tiny space, I certainly do and there are two reasons why. First, in a small space you don’t get as much air flow. And, second, there are very few places to hang a towel that isn’t in the way. Combine the two and it can really be a challenge to use a towel for your morning shower and have it dry by the next morning’s shower.

So, I thought I’d try to tackle the topic, figuring that everyone likes a dry towel after stepping from the shower. I started by including this with last week’s post on fast and easy hacks but it got so long as I shared ways I’ve tried or learned from others on the subject, I decided it was worthy of its own post. I hope you agree.

Selecting a Right Towel

Before we talk about ways to dry a bath towel, let’s first talk about the towel itself.

In a post about showering in campground or RV park bathhouses, I trumpeted the fast-drying Pack Towl. It doesn’t need as much time to dry as the standard fluffy bath towel. Once I discovered the Pack Towl (from another RVer) and accepted that the payoff for giving up the fluffy bath towel was a compact fast-drying towel, I thought I’d never go back to the fluffy towel.

Then I workamped on the Oregon coast in December. The campground had a decent bathhouse. However—and this is a big however—it was not heated. And many mornings were in the 40s. Even the high 30s. In other words, it was nippy. Not Alaska winter cold, but nippy nevertheless. The showers ran hot but I still had to get undressed before stepping in. And, of course, when I finished the hot shower, I had to step out again.

I share all of this to say, the Pack Towl just didn’t cut it in Oregon. In December. In an unheated bathhouse. I pulled out the fluffy bath towels once again. I still dried and dressed as quick as humanly possible and maybe the towel didn’t make a bit of difference in keeping me less cold, but I was at least a little comforted by the fluffiness.

I stayed with the fluffy towel after leaving Oregon and the unheated bathhouse. But now I’m in the south with temperatures and humidity rising with the change of seasons. And I’ve really started to notice that no matter what I do the fluffy towel just isn’t drying as much as I’d like. So, it won’t be long before I’m back to the Pack Towl.

Five Ways to Dry a Bath Towel Outside

In my first fast easy RV hack post, I shared a quick hack to make sure the contents of kitchen drawers don’t end up on the floor during travel.  You put suction cups at the top and bottom of the drawers and connect them with a bungee cord for a fast, easy solution.

Gray towel draped over a camp chair, sitting in the grass.
Drying a towel by draping it over a camp chair in northern Alabama.

A reader and fellow Oliver trailer owner sent me a follow-up email saying he does the same. But he took the hack to another level by making use of the suctions cups and bungee when stationery. He adheres the suction cups to the side of his trailer, level with each other, connects them with the bungee cord for an instant towel rack. You can use the rack for drying swimming suits or towel, or just to keep a hand towel easily accessible for outside projects. (Thanks, David.)

Another outside option is to hang it over a camp chair. Whether you use a a standard camp chair or a camp rocking chair, it works especially well in hot dry weather. Not as well in cold or muggy weather. And you must remember to bring it inside if the rain starts. Once or twice, I’ve forgotten that.

Towel bar suctioned on side of an RV with a blue towel hanging on it.
Suction cup towel bar placed on the outside of an RV is an excellent way to dry a towel. It’s out of the way inside the rig and gets good air flow.

And still another outside option I learned at the Oliver rally last year when we toured each other’s rigs. It’s the same idea as the bungee between two suction cups. This is a towel bar held to the outside of the trailer by heavy-duty suction. This is nice because the bar sits a bit from the trailer which helps with air flow. Also, it prevents the towel from brushing against the trailer and transferring dirt or dust buildup. I looked for a link to one like this but didn’t have any luck, either on Amazon or on the Fastcap site.

Pink towel on drying rack behind a pop up trailer.
A collapsible drying rack behind a pop up trailer.

If you are in a Class A or C and have the big side mirrors, I have seen people drape towels over those. As long as the mirrors are clean, it’s a pretty good idea because you get air flow all the way around. You would have to be careful on windy days so you didn’t find your towel in the neighbor’s space or in the dirt. I suppose it would work for Class B and tow vehicles like my van as well. Though, honestly, I’ve only ever seen the bigger rigs use this method.

Finally, you can use a collapsible drying rack. I wouldn’t have thought about this had I not seen it recently. The campers were in a little teardrop trailer so you know they had no room for a towel inside. It’s another good option that provides a lot of airflow. The fact that they are collapsible makes storing it pretty simple. But they are pretty flimsy and lightweight so you’d have to be cautious on windy days.

Two Ways to Dry a Bath Towel Inside the Rig

Let me back up a tad to acknowledge that you might be saying to yourself as you’ve read this, why not hang it over the towel rack in the RV bathroom? And, for sure, that works. And I cannot make a list of ways to dry a bath towel without including that one. But in a small space, it works less well than you might think. Lack of air flow combined with folding the towel to fit on the towel bar, means it’ll likely be damp the next time you want to use it.

In fact, the towel rack in my rig is the whole reason I embarked on the search for ways to dry bath towels. That, in turn, lead me to the Pack Towl. This has been an ongoing challenge since I started the journey.

The final way to dry a bath towel is by using a tension rod between two walls or a doorway. Even though my bathroom has a towel rack, I put a tension rod in there to dry my towel. The reason is that the tension rod is longer so I don’t have to fold the towel in half. Additionally, I position the rod to optimize airflow. Now, the downside is that I have to adjust it a bit every time I want to use the restroom.

I met someone else with an Oliver who showers at night. Then she puts a tension rod in the entryway. It’s completely out of the way during the night. If you have a dog that needs out in the middle of the night, this is probably not a good option. She uses a Pack Towl (in fact, she’s the person who introduced me to it) which is then dry by morning. She folds up the towel and puts it in a cabinet and doesn’t give another thought to her bath towel.

My Current Method of Drying a Towel

Right now, I primarily use a combination of two methods. When weather allows, I like the outside option of hanging the towel over the camp chair. If it gets chilly overnight, I bring it inside and hang it from the tension rod in my bathroom. If the weather doesn’t allow for it to be outside, I keep it on the tension rod in the bathroom. Then before bed, I flip the towel around to help both sides get dry.

As these ideas grew from last week’s post, I questioned the usefulness of an entire post about drying a towel. On the one hand, it’s just silly. But, on the other hand, it truly is an everyday aspect of RV life. In the end, practicality won out. So, I hope you found it useful, even if you also found it a little silly and eye-roll worthy.

No doubt, there are other methods I haven’t thought of or seen yet from other campers. If you want to add to the list, please do so.

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