Gear Guide: CompetiTowel Retractable Clip-On Exercise Towel


By Su Reid-St. John
Outdoor workouts in the summer in Alabama are steamy affairs. I naturally sweat a good bit anyway; in the summertime, I’m often drenched halfway through my workout. So I was intrigued when a friend sent me a sample of the new CompetiTowel from West Coast Fitness Products, a little retractable device that clips onto your waistband or shirt to hold a small towel you can use for sweat control.

Here’s how it works: Inside the device is a length of retractable cord, with one end attached to a small washcloth-size towel. The towel hangs at your waist until you need it, at which point, you pull it up to wipe your face, neck, or wherever. When you’re done, you just let go and it snaps back into place.

It’s a great idea—to a point. The absorbent towel did a much better job than my sleeve ever did of wiping my sweaty brow. And the whole snapping-right-back-into-place aspect is cool.

But there’s a drawback, and it’s a big one: It looks, well, a little dorky. I showed it to my husband, who promptly said: “It looks useful, but silly—like a pocket protector.” My feelings exactly.

Still, it’s a worthy idea, and I could see overlooking the nerd issues to use it during a really long walk on a very hot day, or even a race. But for everyday workouts? I’m sticking with my sleeve.


Category: Gear

Pros: It’s a handy way to wipe sweat away when you’re on the go.

Cons: It looks a little nerdy.

Cost: $12 at

Extra tip: It works best when clipped to something with a bit of structure, like a waistband or water bottle belt.