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For HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY Towel Day, a Definitive Ranking of Towels

For HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY Towel Day, a Definitive Ranking of Towels

All smart intergalactic travelers know two things: 1) don’t panic and 2) at all times carry a towel. That’s why every year on this date, May 25th, fans of Douglas Adams‘s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy novels carry one with them everywhere they go, to pay tribute on what is affectionately known as Towel Day.

Well since we here at Nerdist are absolute devotees of the late Adams’ work, we have decided to pay homage to Hitchhiker’s Guide today with a definitive ranking of–what else?–towels. Sure, such a list may seem random and pointless, but it just might come in handy one day if your world is about to be destryed by Vogons and you have to quickly decide on which variety of cloth to grab before beaming off the planet.

11. Foot Towel

floor-towelImage: Webstaurant Store

These are the stupid things they give you in hotels to step on after you get out of the shower. They’re always way too tiny and instantly become drenched when a single drop of water hits them, rendering them somehow worse than useless. These towels are never stolen because they are dumb.

10. Gym/Pool Towels

gosling-crazy-stupid-loveImage: Warner Bros. Pictures

Public use towels range from awful to fantastic in terms of drying you off and comfort, but feel inherently filthy because of the fact that you just know at some point they cleaned some gross guy’s armpit…or worse. All of great Neptune’s ocean couldn’t get those things truly clean. (Sorry, but your gym towel was not previously used by Ryan Gosling.)

9. Towelie  from South Park

towelieImage: Comedy Central

Look, there aren’t as many types of towels as you think, and Towelie is without question the most famous talking towel in pop culture, so he makes the list. He’s a great option if you like to get high, but a pain in the ass for anyone else. You can’t even use him to dry off. Not without violating the laws of gods and men.

8. Sports Waving Towels

terrible-towelImage: NFL

These are the cheap, flimsy ones they give you at sporting events, where you and thousands of other sheep wave them around when the big screen commands you to. They’re great in the moment for wiping sweat off your neck during playoff games (and how!), but are essentially useless anywhere else. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Pittsburgh’s famous and aptly named Terrible Towel, the worst version of this stupid thing. –signed, a Patriots fan

7. Bar Towel

michael-sheen-passengersImage: Columbia Pictures

“Hey, can we get a towel specifically designed only to wipe up spilled liquor on a disgusting bar?”

“Uh, won’t literally any small towel do?”


“Okay fine.”

Hey bartenders, at least you get to throw that filthy, disease-ridden piece of cloth over your shoulder all night while some drunk jerk screams for another Bud Light. Wait, that makes it worse.

6. Dish Towel

dish-towelImage: Target/Room Essentials

Long, thin, and often adorned in a hideous pattern or dyed an unnatural color, a dish towel is fine for drying off plates or quickly wiping down your counter, but not much else. Also, they usually look like they’re 50 years old after one use.

5. Wash Cloth

washclothImage: Lasting Color/Bed Bath and Beyond

Like a thicker, smaller dish towel, but for your face… which sounds weird because it is. Get a cheap one and it feels like sandpaper, get a nice one and it’s basically a mini hand towel–which you’d rather use instead. A wash cloth gets the job done in a pinch, but has a short lifespan.

4. Paper Towels

paper-towelsImage: Bounty/Walmart

They might be single-use and wasteful, but man paper towels are great at what they do. Absorbent, versatile, and (once they realized they should put the tear-away line in the middle of them) way more efficient. Not great for intergalactic travel, but ideal for the home.

3. Hand Towel

hand-towelImage: Matouk/Neiman Marcus

A miniature bath towel, but for your hands. And maybe your face. And honestly, if you use them for any other body parts, that’s your business thank you very much. Hand towels are great, but lose points for how many of them are relegated to decoration of your aunt’s bathroom.

2. Beach Towel

beach-towelsImage: KINGLY

Have you ever gone to the beach without a beach towel? If so, you are a sociopath. The rest of us love having an oversized, colorful towel that protects us from the hot beach while also keeping our personal items sand-free. But a beach towel does so much more, like drying us off after a dip in the ocean or pool. The only negative is they tend to be a little thin, so they aren’t the best options for drying off inside where the sun can’t help. But you wouldn’t want to be either place without one.

1. Bath Towel

fletchImage: Universal Pictures

The clear number one thanks to its size, comfort, warmth, versatility, and effectiveness at drying us off. A good bath towel is like a hug, and it’s also the best option when we spill something and react like we accidentally launched nukes. Their size and strength also makes them perfect for zipping around the galaxy, as they are the most adaptable towel of them all.

Honorable Mention

Bathrobe: A towel-turned-coat–worn indoors by sane people and outdoors by lunatics–and number one in my heart.

Bath Mat: A warm towel for the bottom of your feet, but a bastion for germs.


So that’s our definitive ranking, though we bet whatever towels they use at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe are simply divine. Which kind of towel is your favorite? What did we get right and what did we get wrong in our rankings? Travel to our comments below to let us know.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Images: Buena Vista Pictures

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