No one should be surprised that beach towels are used away from the beach. They are used for the bath when the laundry isn’t done. They serve time as capes for the imaginary superhero and make great tents for small children. As disrespectful as it seems, they are even used to dry off the dog. Fortunately for beach towels though, they are most commonly used as intended and though you might not know it, there really is a right way and a wrong way to use one.
In general, American towels are constructed of “loops” which are intended to reach out like fingers to grab onto water. The more loops a towel has, the thicker and heavier it becomes. In the bath, heavier towels are comforting and they will absorb more water but water is heavy. The more water a towel absorbs, the heavier it becomes and the longer it takes to dry out. After a bath, you expect your towel to completely dry you off but you don’t care how long it takes for the towel to dry out.
Beach towels are thinner and even the most luxurious is usually not heavier than “mid” weight but this doesn’t mean they are lower in quality. Beach towels have fewer loops per square inch but a beach towel that gets “most” of the water off is perfectly fine. Any remaining dampness will air-dry in the heat and you want your beach towel to do the same. No one wants to sit on a soggy towel and if it becomes caked with sand – it won’t be good for anything – sitting or drying.
Turn a bath towel over and one side is basically the same as the other. Beach towels, however, have two sides. On one side, the loops are “loopy” but on the other side, the loops have been given a trim. The loop free side is often smooth to shed water and, with half of the loops gone, it is lighter, less bulky and dries out faster. The soft side also makes a perfect canvas for patterns or printing.
If both sides of the beach towel were loopy, it would become waterlogged and heavy. If both sides were velvety, it would never absorb any water. With the beach towel, you get the best of both worlds. So remember, wrapped around your body, print side out -- spread on the ground, print side up.