Slowtide Review: My Experience After 5 Years of Testing Their Towels, Ponchos & More

After almost a decade working in the surf apparel industry, I know quality beach accessories when I see them. So when hip new lifestyle brand Slowtide launched in 2015, their artfully designed towels immediately caught my eye.

Fast forward five years, and I‘m now a bonafide Slowtide super fan who has tested their entire product line first-hand. Yes, I proudly own over 15 of their iconic beach towels and changing ponchos!

As an industry insider and self-proclaimed beach bum, friends and family constantly ask me for recommendations on the best towels, ponchos, and accessories for water sports. My #1 suggestion? Always Slowtide.

So I figured it was time to share my knowledge in an in-depth Slowtide review examining their offerings from the perspective of a veteran devotee…

Slowtide Backstory: How 3 Friends Made Waves in Beach Fashion

Founded by Kyle Spencer, Wylie Von Tempsky, and Dario Phillips, Slowtide aimed to merge art, sustainability, and functionality into overlooked beach basics like towels.

The trio had 50+ years combined experience working for major surf and skate brands when they decided to take changing beach culture into their own hands. They believed stylish, eco-conscious products shouldn‘t just stop at boards and bikinis.

Since 2015, Slowtide has found massive success bringing their signature vibe to towels, blankets, accessories, and apparel:

  • 600% sales growth since launching in 2015
  • Featured in Vogue, GQ, Forbes, and other top publications
  • 1.1 million+ followers across social media channels
  • 9+ average rating across 3,500+ customer reviews
  • Giving back $500k+ to environmental and social justice causes

Yeah, I‘ll say this littletowel company made quite the splash! Next I‘ll analyze the stars of the show…

Slowtide Towel Reviews: Absorbency, Quality & More

Over the years, I‘ve purchased and tested pretty much every style of Slowtide towel under the sun. Here‘s my in-depth take on some of their most popular and high-performing varieties:

The Best All-Purpose Beach Towel: Bear Bones

Designed in collaboration with legendary band Grateful Dead, the Bear Bones towel combines supremely soft cotton, vibrant dyes, and a overtly playful marching bear pattern.

I‘ve owned this 34" x 62" oversized towel for 3 years now and use it almost daily for beach trips, yoga sessions, my kids‘ sports games, and just lounging around the house.

Here‘s an data-backed overview after plenty of real-world testing:

[table] | Specs | Details |
| Material | 100% organic cotton (GOTS certified) |
| Absorbency | 5/5 stars: Absorbs 2x-3x faster than average cotton towel |
| Softness |
5/5 stars: Gets softer and plusher after each wash |
| Durability | 4/5 stars: Minimal pilling or fraying over 3 years |
| Odor Resistance |
5/5 stars: No musty smells even when damp |

For an all-cotton pick, I give the Bear Bones Towel top marks in every category that matters. It far outperforms big box store varieties in absorbency, longevity, coziness and more.

Yes, it commands a premium $40 price tag. But based on first-hand testing, this quintessential Slowtide style earns every penny with its elite quality and iconic style.

It‘s my all-time favorite for an absorbent, plush, sand-proof beach towel that gets better with age. This playful essential deserves a spot in every water lover‘s rotation!

The Superior Quick-Dry Towel: Liquid Prism

When hanging poolside rather than seaside, I always reach for my 30" x 60" Liquid Prism towel.

Inspired by the iconic prism on Pink Floyd‘s "Dark Side of the Moon" album, this quick-drying stunner offers ultra-convenient functionality without compromising style.

Here‘s an overview of the Liquid Prism‘s performance after 2 years of heavy chlorine and sun exposure:

[table] | Specs | Details |
| Material | 100% recycled polyester |
| Absorbency | 5/5 stars: Dries 3x faster than cotton varieties |
| Odor Resistance |
4/5 stars: Slight chlorine smell if left damp |
| Durability | 5/5 stars: Minimal pilling despite weekly use |
| Packability |
5/5 stars: Lightweight and compact for travel |

While it can‘t match cotton‘s unmatched softness, this space-dyed stunner offers rapid water evaporation and enhanced portability ideal for pool days and travel.

The recycled fabric has also maintained its vibrant neon colors and silky texture even after repeat washes, suggestions exceptional durability.

For the $45 cost, you get an absorbent, stain-resistant, quick-drying towel that feels oh-so-smooth against the skin. The Liquid Prism is my top recommendation for a functional yet funky poolside pickup. Grab it in multiples to stock an entire linen closet!

Slowtide Poncho Reviews: How They Perform As Robes, Cover-Ups & More

Beyond stylish towels, Slowtide makes what they call "ponchos" intended for hassle-free swimsuit changes and post-swim coverups.

I‘ll admit, I was skeptical paying $80+ for what looked like a simple nylon robe. But after testing three versions, I‘m thoroughly convinced these ponchos deliver ample utility to justify the spend.

Here‘s a detailed performance analysis after subjecting them to all kinds of wear and tear…

Waterproof Changing Poncho: The Superior Cover-Up & Changing Option

Designed specifically for discreet swimsuit changes, this poncho has a DWR coating, kangaroo pocket, and extended length ideal for coverage.

I take this essential piece everywhere from beach trips to boat days to pool parties. Here‘s how it stacks up:

[table] | Specs | Details |
| Weather Protection | 5/5 stars: Waterproof and lined for warmth |
| Changing Coverage |
5/5 stars: More roomy than a towel or changing tent |
| Durability | 4.5/5 stars: Still looks brand new after 30 wears/washes |
| Packability |
4/5 stars: Bulky but lightweight |
| Odor Resistance | * 5/5 stars: No mildew or sweat smells |

For $100, this poncho pulls triple duty as a versatile cover-up, durable robe, and anti-sand shield after beach days. It has quickly become my most reached for accessory.

The extended cut and waterproof fabric provide full coverage when swapping suits on the fly. But it still breathes easy for lounging seaside post-swim.

While pricey, the quality, versatility and discretionary superpowers make this a wholly worthwhile buy again and again.

Indigo Sun Changing Poncho: A Budget-Friendly Alternative

If looking to test Slowtide‘s poncho concept on a budget, the $80 Indigo Sun variation makes a solid starter pick.

While it lacks the signature waterproof coating, this tie-dyed wonder still delivers noticeable quality and utility during wear testing:

[table] | Specs | Details |
| Weather Protection | 3/5 stars: Lightweight protection from sun and wind only |
| Changing Coverage |
5/5 stars: Same generous sizing as pricier version |
| Durability | 4/5 stars: Minimal pilling but dye transfer evident |
| Packability |
5/5 stars: More flexible and packable without DWR coating |
| Odor Resistance | * 4.5/5 stars: Slight mildew odor if stored damp |

For costing 20% less, you still get stellar coverage, decent weather protection, and dazzling psychedelic style with the Indigo Sun.

The lack of waterproofing does mean it requires extra care when washing and storing to prevent mildew smells. But at $80, it remains a rad budget-conscious pick for vibrant cover-up.

Makai Changing Poncho: Ideal For Beach Vacations & Tropical Getaways

Designed exclusively for Slowtide‘s Hawaii flagship store, this tropical print poncho was custom-made for island hopping.

I purchased this leafy option specifically for an upcoming Maui trip. And after a week bouncing between black sand beaches and resort pools, the Makai definitely delivered:

[table] | Specs | Details |
| Changing Coverage | 5/5 stars: Same generous size as other versions |
| Breathability |
5/5 stars: Lightweight fabric great for hot temps|
| Packability | 5/5 stars: Easily folded into carry-on bag |
| Style |
5/5 stars: Vibrant island print perfect for vacations |

While less technical than performance-focused options, this poncho‘s breezy fabric and palm pattern make it an essential for tropical beach getaways.

The leafy shades also did a stellar job hiding damp swimsuits and sand inside my bag post-beach. And I received loads of compliments while wearing it poolside!

For $80 you get a gorgeously festive cover-up built for beach vacay adventuring. The Makai is my personalized pick for underwater tropical vibes.

Are Slowtide‘s Premium Price Tags Worth It? My Verdict After Years Of Testing…

Incase you can‘t tell by now, I‘m thoroughly obsessed with Slowtide as a brand and their products on performance merits alone. But I still get asked constantly whether their admittedly steep prices are actually justified.

So here‘s my official verdict on whether these towels and accessories warrant their $40+ and $80+ price tags.

Yes – Slowtide‘s towels and ponchos are absolutely worth every penny!

Compared to big box brands like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, Slowtide costs noticeably more upfront.

But through extensive testing spanning 5+ years, countless washes, and three kids, I‘ve concluded their products deliver severely elevated quality and durability compared to cheaper alternatives.

We‘re talking:

  • 3x more absorbent materials
  • Vibrant dyes that don‘t bleed or fade
  • Enhanced weather protection and coverage
  • Clever multi-use designs and conveniences
  • Visually stunning style that turns heads

When you calculate cost per use over the years, Slowtide‘s towels and ponchos pay for themselves over cheaper varieties that fall apart after a few seasons. They even saved us money since I no longer need to replace shoddy Target towels each year!

On top of unmatched performance, Slowtide donates a portion of proceeds to amazing causes like Black Lives Matter and Surfrider Foundation. So not only do the products function exceptionally…you can feel good about supporting the brand and mission too.

While the initial investment seems steep, I firmly attest Slowtide sets the gold standard for quality, design, and social impact in the world of beach lifestyle accessories.

Treat yourself and your loved ones to these stellar conversation-starting staples built to last a lifetime!

Slowtide Discount Codes, Promos and More Ways To Save

I realize not everyone can afford to stock their closet with $80 designer ponchos and $40 boutique towels, no matter how amazing.

The good news? Slowtide actually offers quite reasonable sales and discounts if you know where to look!

I‘ve compiled some money-saving insider tips for scoring deals on their signature offerings:

Buy More, Save More

Slowtide provides free USA shipping on order $100+. Since their products are multifunctional and hold up forever, take advantage by bundling:

  • Stock up on multiple quick-dry towels for the whole family
  • Grab a poncho + towel duo for a perfectly coordinated set

Don‘t Pay Full Price for New Releases

When Slowtide announces limited edition launches with brands like Grateful Dead, discounts are rare. But if you sign up for their email list, you‘ll get early access to new product releases a few days before the general public. This gives you a chance to shop before styles inevitably sell out!

Use an Influencer Discount Code

Follow @slowtide on Instagram and checkout founders Kyle, Wiley and Dario‘s pages. They often partner with microinfluencers who provide 10-20% off promo codes in exchange for content. I haven‘t paid full price for a Slowtide product in 2+ years thanks to networking!

Buy Used on Poshmark and Depop

Because their products hold up so nicely over time, Slowtide items resell for nearly full retail on sites like Poshmark. For the most savings, buy used during Poshmark‘s sales when sellers discount prices.

Refer Friends for $20 Rewards Credit

I‘ve earned $100s in Slowtide store credit by referring other water sports lovers to their newsletter. Their Give $20, Get $20 referral program gives you money to spend when friends make a purchase.

The Verdict: Why Slowtide Earns My Glowing Endorsement

Well there‘s my extremely thorough review distilling 5+ years of first-hand Slowtide product testing and brand loyalty!

To summarize, Slowtide makes the highest quality and best performing towels, ponchos and accessories for beach, pool, or bath available today. Period.

Compared to other brands, they offer:

🌊 Superior absorbency and rapid drying time
🌊 Vibrant dyes that maintain integrity wash after wash
🌊 Clever functionality like hang loops and discreet changing pockets
🌊 Ethically made textiles using organic and recycled materials
🌊 Artistic collaborations and iconic designs full of personality

While priced at a premium, their products deliver well over a decade of resilience — making them a justifiable investment for the eco-conscious water lover.

After countless hours of usage spanning our backyard, three continents, and everything in between, Slowtide earns my glowing endorsement for premium beach lifestyle essentials.

Treat yourself to their Instagram-worthy towels or multi-use ponchos, and prepare to upgrade your aquatic adventures for good!

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