We ask a lot of our beach towels. They protect us from sand and sun. They dry us off after a swim. They stand guard on our patch of beachside real estate (or poolside lounger). We throw them on over our swimmers as a nod to modesty if we travel more than a block from the sand.

If we’re lucky, they’re also soft and sturdy and kind of stylish. Here are a few of our favourites to invest in this summer.

Hommey

Hommey’s Jelly towels are super-sized and sweetly striped, with colours inspired by wobbly childhood treats. They come from a range of dessert-themed towels that also includes Sherbet and Rocky Road. Like the rest of Hommey’s towel range, they’re extra plush and made from 100 per cent organic Turkish cotton. $99

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Baina

Baina founders Bailey Meredith and Anna Fahey set out to build a brand of “curated towelling”. The brand’s pool towels come in signature checkerboard styles, as well as stripes. The Erin towel in a butter and maroon colourway offers a punchy interpretation of a classic stripe. Double-looped terry cloth construction makes it especially soft and absorbent. $130

Hakea

Look, this offering from Byron Bay’s Hakea calls itself a linen beach blanket, but it’s also perfectly legitimate to use as a towel, sarong or toga, so let’s not get caught up in semantics. Made from 100 per cent linen, these beach blankets get softer with each wear. They scrunch down pretty small in your beach bag, too. $90

Sand Society

Like all Sand Society towels, the Iced Coffee is made from 20 post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and promises to be super-absorbent and sand-free – even if you aren’t. Designed in Australia, Iced Coffee features an understated neutral, checker-board print background think Queen's Gambit but poolside. $69.95

Venroy

Minimalist colour blocking makes Sydney label Venroy’s woven terry border towel a fresh, no-nonsense option for poolside lounging. The brand started in 2011 with a run of swim shorts, so the people behind it have put a lot of thought into looking good near water. $150

Clothing the Gaps

The Gathering blanket from Clothing the Gaps is designed by Gunditjmara artist Laura Thompson on Wurundjeri Country. One side is inspired by traditional possum-skin cloaks and the other celebrates Aboriginal language groups. At 200 centimetres by 150 centimetres, it’s also supersized and quick-drying. $130

Kobn

All towels from Melbourne brand Kobn are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified, meaning they meet certain criteria for organic fibre production as well as ecological and fairtrade concerns. They’re also spunky and stripey, mixing warm neutral tones with bolds, neons and brights. $110

Sir

Sydney clothing and swimwear label Sir’s towel range leans heavily into lush cottons and pleasingly curved woven designs. We especially rate the Mar towel in chocolate terry. It’s 100 per cent cotton, with a woven floral design and low-key logo placement. $160

The Beach People

Looking to bliss out 1970s-style, dig into your astrology charts and maybe eat a melting Golden Gaytime while you wiggle your toes in the sand? The Lune round towel may be the companion for you. Soft, circular and luxuriously fringed, it’s designed in Australia by The Beach People. $129

Mayde

Aussie towel juggernaut Mayde offers a collection of beach towels in bright colours and patterns. Made in Turkey from organically produced Buldan cotton, the Rainbow towel boasts muted retro pastels and a bobbly weave. $149.95

Dritimes

Like all towels from Gold Coast label Dritimes, this stripy number promises to get you dry five times faster than a regular towel. It’s also pretty lightweight, so it can easily double as a gym or travel towel. $69.99

Business and Pleasure Co

Business and Pleasure Co is an Aussie go-to for beach accessories such as umbrellas, coolers, chairs and towels. The velvety beach towel promises a luxury feel with hand-loomed cotton towelling, and a scalloped edge guarantees warm summer vibes. $89.99

Binalong Beach & Co

Want a hefty weave with fine yarn in classic monochrome? The Waubs Beach towel from Tasmania’s Binalong Beach & Co just might fit the bill. Named for a stretch of coast that hosts regular fairy penguin parades, it’s unsurprisingly black and white. The towel is currently sold out but set to be restocked soon. $85

This article was originally published on December 1, 2020 and has since been updated to reflect new styles and pricing.

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