Peshtemals, hammam towels, turkish towels. Call 'em what you like. We love them, and have done since our first Turkish baths as young backpackers in Istanbul, 1996.
We've long used turkish towels as bath towels - being fast-drying, stylish, and large in size, turkish towels are are a practical and superior (in our opinion!) alternative to traditional terry cotton towels. Being fast-drying means they don't smell, and their ability to roll or fold up small means they are easy to wash, and don't fill up the washing machine!
Jump forward twenty years or so, and with four kids and a beach lifestyle, we quickly discovered we had become packhorses for every trip to the beach or swimming pool - lugging six towels, shade, sunscreen, hats, waters, snacks and so on. We started used our turkish towels as beach towels, and never looked back. We can fit towels for everyone into the smallest of bags and there is still space left over for everything else. Their fine weave and fast-drying ability means that it's easy to shake off any sand, and they are light-weight enough that even our younger kids don't mind carrying them.
Living in the beautiful beachside city of Fremantle, we found we were constantly taking impromptu trips to the beach, or to the fabulous public swimming pool. Because our turkish towels roll up so small and weigh so little, we can keep them in handbags and school bags and bike panniers all the time, so we're always up for a quick dip!
When we travel (which we love to do), there are never enough towels provided, if any. Carrying a bunch of turkish towels means we've got full-size bath and beach towels for everyone, without sacrificing too much luggage allowance. Plus we use them on flight and long journeys: as blankets, rolled up into pillows. as scarves, and as sleep-sheets.
But still, there was room for improvement. Trips to the beach could be better. We still found ourselves having to lug around all the shells, bits of driftwood, and other precious beach finds our kids had collected - plus having to carry their ice-cream money, lip balm etc. And when we all wanted to swim at once, we were still hiding the car key, phones and wallets in shoes and hats, or coming back to find seagulls had gotten into the snacks!
So we added a discreet pocket to our turkish towels. It's just large enough to hold your keys, your phone, your ice-cream money, and your sunglasses. Or your sunscreen. Or maybe that trashy beach-read novel you don't want anyone to see you with. Or the endless amounts of shells the kids want to bring home. Or the spare nappy for baby.
Ethically made Freostyle Turkish Towels with pockets also make handy travel towels, travel scarfs, picnic blankest, sarongs, baby blankets, and a whole heap of other uses. Once you've discovered the joyous convenience of the built-in pocket, you'll want to put pockets on everything!