*The Total Towel*
By: Palindrome
17 December 2004

When I first saw the Total Towel from Brigade Quartermaster’s catalog, I immediately thought about adding the Total Towel to by BOB. Its small size (27'' x 20'), light weight, and its ability to absorb up to 10 times its weight and then release 90% of the water when wrung out, seemed like a great replacement for the standard cotton towel. It is advertised that it "obsoletes cotton terry cloths for home, travel, sports, swimming, or field use."

So I went ahead and bought one. I tried drying myself off after a shower and was very disappointed with it. Instead of absorbing the water, it seemed to just smear the water around, leaving my skin still wet. It didn't absorb the water like the product description leads you to believe. I thought that maybe it had to be broken in, so I washed it a few times with the same results. I then realized that the Total Towel looked exactly like some drying cloths that I bought for my car a while ago. As I recall, the ones I bought for my car didn't work either. To get the Total Towel to absorb water effectively, you need to force it in like a sponge by squeezing it. Water is repelled even when running the towel under the facet. So, using this as a drying towel was out of the question for me. If I need to dry off in the wild, especially in the cold, I want to dry off quick. So it is back to a small terry cloth for me.

Since I paid a good $7 for the cloth, I sought out to find another use for the Total Towel. When cut into smaller pieces, it can be used as a camp sponge. By cutting it into long strips, and wetted, it could be used as a head band or neck band for keeping cool in the summer. And with its absorbent qualities, I wondered if I could even use it as a rainwater catch. If for some reason I didn't have a tarp to catch water with, the Total Towel just might do the job. To my surprise, when fully saturated, I was able to wring out a little over 1 pint of water from it.

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