Hydryx Workout Towel

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A towel? Why the heck are we reviewing a towel? Understand this: This ain't your mother's towel.

The Hydryx "Hard-Core Workout Towel" is a thick piece of chamois-like cloth that comes rolled up in a plastic tube the size of a large sport water bottle. Instructions are to rinse it out before first use, wring it out a bit, then store it slightly damp in the tube or in a resealable plastic bag.

The first time we used it, it had been sitting in the car trunk for about five hours in the sun. Pulled out of the tube, the towel was initially pretty hot, and we chuckled about the promo line on the tube: "Stay Cool." But -- get this -- within less than a minute of pulling it out of its tube while outside in 90-degree weather, that towel became cold. Yes, cold. Wiping the sweat, trail grime and remaining sunscreen off our face became a refreshing pleasure, and the towel felt so good that after wiping down, we slung it over our back and shoulders for a continued cooling effect.

We've tried it several times since, indoor and out, and it chills down each time the same way, and it's always refreshing. Without added chemicals, the basic concept is simple enough: The cloth is so thick that it holds quite a bit of moisture, allowing it to immediately begin evaporation when it hits the air, which causes the cooling effect. If it dries out, instructions say to rinse it out again and wring out as much water as desired.

We think the appeal of this towel could be much broader than its launch in June directed at health-club users, weightlifters and general fitness enthusiasts. Anyone who sweats or gets hot could use it: Think of cyclists (the tube fits in a bottle rack), runners, paddlers, fishers, golfers, campground campers, hikers, backpackers, heck even construction workers. Of course, depending on its use and user, one could debate whether the 25-by-17-inch towel should be bigger or smaller. One tester wanted to see a larger version.

Now, about its claim that it will "increase performance." Maybe makers should just stick to its cooling and refreshing attributes.

SNEWS Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested retail: $19.99
For more information: www.accufitness.com or 1-800-866-2727

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