42667FIELD REPORT - Brittane Aquis towel - RNC
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Field Report - Brittane Aquis Adventure Towel
<img src="aquis01.jpg" width=263 height=363 align=right alt="Towels
in sale package">
Manufacturer: Brittane Corp
Manufacturer URL: <a href="http://www.aquis.com/">www.aquis.com/</a>
Year of manufacture: assumed 2003
Country of manufacture: Korea
Listed weight (dry): '<7 oz' (< 198 g)
Actual weight (dry): 6.4 oz (181 g)
Listed Dimensions: 19" x 39" (48 x 99 cm)
Actual Dimensions: 20" x 39.5" (51 x 100 cm)
Review Date: 9-July-03
The initial impressions this towel gave are recorded in the <a
20Caffin/Initial%20Report/">Initial Report</a>: they were good. The
size was large and the surface felt pretty good too.
Impressions from the Field Test period
In the Initial Report I listed some things I would be monitoring for
this Report. The list is reproduced here with comments from my
I will use it after a shower at home.
I used the towel after a shower for many nights. I found that the
towel absorbed just over 50 g (about 1.8 oz) of water per person each
time - off very wet hot-washed skin. This did not seem to make it
very wet, but I was testing the Large size. I had reported that a
completely wet towel held 264 g (9.3 oz) of water after being wrung
out, while still being able to absorb a lot of water off my skin.
This is over five times as much as I put on the towel after a shower.
Clearly, drying one or two people after a hot shower is well within
its scope. I believe that a smaller towel would still work well, but
was not able to test this.
It should be noted here that my skin seems to hold a lot more water
after a hot shower with soap than after jumping in a cold creek
without soap. This means that the towel should cope even better on a
How fast and well can it dry us?
This was a little more difficult to measure. However, I found that
the microfiber towel was noticeably harder to use after a shower than
a cotton terry-towelling one, and this was curious. Imagine I'm
holding the two ends of the towel like a rope and drying my back. The
same can be done with the towel around my legs. When I do this with a
cotton towel, it slides across my back or my legs quite easily, even
if I hold the towel fairly tightly against my body or bend it some
way around my legs. But I found it very much harder and much slower
to slide the microfiber towel across my back or around my legs. Of
course, once I got rid of most of the hot water the rest just
evaporated from the heat of my body, and the towel slid easily.
I puzzled a bit about this, and my explanation (or guess) is as
follows. We know creatures like geckoes can run up walls and across
ceilings. They can do this because their feet are covered in
thousands (millions?) of tiny fibres, and the end of each fibre
clings to the surface with a small force. The force per fibre is very
small, but there are so many of these fibres that the total force is
significant: enough to hold a gecko upside down. The fibres in a
cotton towel are large, and the loops in terry towelling are floppy.
There are not a lot of them in contact with my skin at any time. But
the fibres in this towel are very fine and are presented much more
coherently on the surface, and so there are many, many more of them
in contact with my skin. When my skin is really wet and all the pores
open (after a hot shower), each little fibre sticks to my skin
through the surface tension of the water on my skin. The total drag
ends up significant. Well, that's my explanation anyhow.
I was able to deal with this drag somewhat by holding the towel much
more lightly against my back, or by wrapping it much less around my
leg. That is, I had to reduce the amount of towel in contact with my
skin. Alternately, if I rolled the towel across my skin or patted my
skin with a loose handful of towel there was little or no drag. The
only problem was remembering each time. Once I had got the bulk of
the water off my skin, the amount of drag went right down. This is at
least consistent with the idea that the source of the drag is the
surface tension between the fibres and the water on my skin.
A more serious question for a walker is how quickly can one get dry
after jumping into a cold river. One does not want to have to spend
ages fighting a 'draggy' towel while shivering. However, I found that
my skin did not get as wet from a short swim in a fairly cold river:
the pores of my skin did not open up and I had not stripped the
normal body grease off my skin. This meant there was less water to
get off my skin, less surface tension between the water and skin, and
(I assume) less opportunity for the drag to happen. So it dried both
me and my wife fast enough in practice. In fact, most times on
walking trips neither my wife nor I noticed the drag at all.
Summarising that I would have to say the towel does dry us pretty
well and pretty fast well on trips. If I am right about the mechanism
for the drag, most any microfiber towel would have the same 'drag'
'Especially gentle on hair and skin'?
A strange claim to make for a towel, but after using it for some
time I can see why they claim it. I have to use the towel very
lightly to avoid the drag. So it seems the word 'gentle' may apply,
but not quite in the manner expected.
The web site shows lots of towels and turbans for hair. I found that
the microfibers did dry my hair very well: better than a conventional
cotton towel and much better than the other outdoors towels I have
tried. This is useful, as a wet head in cold weather is not great.
With some of the other towels I found enough water was left in my
hair that drips would still form some time later. With this towel
that never happened.
One of the problems we had encountered on very long trips was that
our older towel picked up body grease and became almost waterproof.
This Aquis towel is made of closely spaced microfibers which should
be very good at absorbing body grease. On the other hand, the surface
area of the microfibers is huge, so the grease should be more spread
out. On short trips (under a week) the effect has not been
noticeable. Testing the behaviour of the towel on very long trips is
something which has not yet been possible. I could try leaving the
towel unwashed over many trips - but my wife won't let me. This will
have to wait for a longer trip.
How easy it is to dry the towel.
The towel dried out reasonably quickly at home overnight. We could
not sling it across the pack every day on every trip as we were often
going through rough scrub, but those times when we were on a track it
was possible and it dried out within a few hours. We also tried
hanging it up inside the tent during the night. Results from this
were a bit mixed - some nights were still and others windy; some
nights were cold and others warm, some nights were humid while others
were dry. In general, a bit of sun and wind worked better.
How well does it last and wash?
Unlike one towel I tried, this towel handle use and washing fairly
well. It did not seem to change its shape, but the size shrank a
little after a couple of washes, down to 19" x 38.5" (48.5 x 98 cm).
After that it stayed about the same size. It was hand washed
separately the first time, and a small amount of dye came out as
expected. Other than that it has been very simple to look after.
On one hard trip we had both the dark towel and a white face washer
or flannel. It was very depressing to see how dirty the washer
became, and how quickly it happened. The dark towel may have picked
up a similar amount of dirt, but we couldn't see it!
The length of the Large size towel (39" or 99 cm) was very good. It
is long enough that I can make a rope of it and dry my back with it
in the conventional manner. The width (19" or 48 cm) was wider than
we needed, and in fact is probably all of twice as wide as we need.
The large area means it is heavier than we would like, but the
smaller size towels are not as long. My solution to this will be to
cut the towel in half lengthwise. This will give two towels for the
price of one(!), cut the weight down to an acceptable level, but give
enough towel volume that it will still dry the two of us well enough
for a day or two before it has to be dried out.
Basically, the towel works reasonable well
It does not seem to pick up grease as badly as our older towel
The safety clip is essential if drying the towel on my pack
The fabric seems to last well
The dark colour is a good idea!
The drag experienced after a hot shower - but this was not
experienced in the bush
The Large size was twice as big (heavy) as needed for walking - but
that's what I asked for!
Would I buy it?
Yes, I probably would. And I would probably get the Large size again
so I could cut it down lengthwise to make two long towels again.
Reviewer: Roger Caffin
Email address: r dot caffin at acm dot org
City, State, Country: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I started bushwalking (the Australian term) when I was about 14 yrs
old, took up rock climbing and remote exploration walking at
University, later on took up ski touring and canyoning. These days I
do all my trips with just my wife. Our preferred walking trips in
Australia are long ones: about a week in the general Blue Mts (east
coast of Australia) and Snowy Mts (alpine region), and up to two
months long in Europe and the UK. Ski touring trips would also
typically last up to a week. We favour fairly hard trips of some
length and prefer to travel fast and light. Many of our trips are
exploratory in wild country which sees few other walkers. In between
these long trips we do some day walks, often exploring the start of
longer trips. On average, we would spend at least two days per week
walking or ski touring. Over the last year or two I have become
converted to the concept of ultra-lightweight walking, and have been
cutting my total pack weight down from 18 - 20 kg (40 - 45 lb) to
about 12 kg (26 lb) for week-long trips. I have been designing and
making our own ultralightweight gear for our own use and maybe for
sale as well. We have been using a PackTowl for the two of us for
some years, but had not been completely happy with it.
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