We have been busy this winter designing new products for 2016!
When we switched to our unique textured microfiber late last year, this opened up a whole new range of possibilities over our previous cotton fabrics. The new textured microfiber towels allow for highly detailed printing, among the many other benefits of a compact yet comfortable swim & travel towel or microfiber beach towel.
Play Mat Towels for Kids are now available on SnappyTowels.com! They are 50" x 27", the same size as our medium sized adult Swim & Travel Towels, which is big enough to act as a changing cover for kids of any age, but still small enough for a 2 year-old to wear over their shoulders like a poncho or cover-up without tripping on the edges of the towel. After all, something magical happens when you snap a towel on to a youngster and they can run hands-free. So we don't want to trip anyone while they sprint off into their imagination.
The Play Mat Towels, and our other microfiber kids beach towels all have 6 pairs of safe, durable plastic snaps, so that they can be fastened over the shoulders or around the chest or hips of larger kids and teens to dry off, shelter from the sun, cover up, or use as a changing towel. The towel can even be snapped together lengthwise to make a beach bag!
The recent controversy over the failing 20-year-old registration system for the City of Toronto's public recreation programs has added to what was already an uncertain summer for recreation in Toronto, after last week's news of a potential union strike or lockout. City spokesperson Wynna Brown confirmed a CUPE Local 79 work stoppage would postpone registration for spring-summer recreation programs.
What no one seems to be talking about, though, is the real reason why it's so hard to get your kids registered for recreation programs in Toronto: there just aren't enough spots.
Even if you've armed yourself with everything you need to know to register online for summer programs such as swimming and summer camps, you're probably going to be out of luck. For a city of over 5.5 million people, there just aren't enough swimming lessons available at Toronto city pools.
Beyond dated technology, the reason that the online registration system is so stressed is because every parent in the city knows how limited spots are: if they don't make a mad dash to register their kids for swimming lessons on the very second that the online registration opens, they won't get a spot.
There is likely a backlog of years of demand, since it takes years to learn to swim, and there are only 5 sessions all year: Fall, Spring and 3 fast-track swimming lesson session in summer (mostly daytime lessons that working parents can't attend). If you miss a couple of registration dates, you'll be still trying to register for that same class next year.
So, if you are as hell-bent on your kids learning to swim as you should be (for obvious safety reasons), here is a list of places you can go to learn to swim in Toronto when all of the city swimming lesson programs are (inevitably) fully booked. Or when the registration system fails, or the Union craps out, whichever comes first.
9 Places to Get Swimming Lessons Outside of City Pools in Toronto
- Swim Secure (www.swimsecure.ca) Operating out of Central Technical School, located at Bathurst and Bloor, Swim Secure specializes in private swimming lessons, tot lessons and parent & tot lessons.
- Felix's Swim Schools (www.felixswimschools.com) Multiple locations Downtown, Junction, Beach, Markham, Woodbridge and North York.
- Shendy's Swim Centre (www.shendys.com) 22m saltwater pool in North York.
- Zodiac Swim School (www.zodiackids.ca) North York
- AquaMobile Home Swim Lessons (aquamobileswim.com) They teach all across Toronto and the GTA. Private swimming lessons in your own pool.
- Olympian School of Swimming (www.olympianswimming.com) North York, Scarborough and Markham.
- Beach Swim School (www.beachswimschool.ca) Various east-end locations.
- Jack of Sports (www.jackofsports.com) Various locations east, west and central Toronto.
- G.S. Aquatics (www.gsaquatics.com) In Bayview/401 area and Bayview/Eglinton area.
Just in time for Valentine's Day! Order before February 9th to get yours before the weekend!
Our popular textured microfiber swim towel now comes in pink! Meet the newest addition to the Snappy Towels family!
Enjoy the feeling of getting dry instead of just pushing the water around. The same great compact, portable, comfortable, take-it-everywhere swim and travel towel is now available in a rosy, light-red, pink.
Shop swim towels and travel towels now!
We've all grown up with the usual cotton towels at home, but if you've been involved in sports like swimming, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), scuba diving, water polo, kayaking or backpacking you've probably come across many different kinds of sports towels, gym towels, and other technical towels, and even yoga towels and compact travel towels. In this article we explain some of the different towel fabrics and materials, why they are used for towels, and how to choose the best towels for your needs, whether it be for swimming, travel, camping, sports, or just some hi-intensity lounging by the beach or pool.
Hotels towels and spa towels are usually cotton towels because of the luxury and comfort they offer, and because compactness and portability are not factors here. Cotton is cheaper to replace and can be bleached over and over, which most synthetic fibers can't handle. Regular household towels are made of cotton and woven into terry (aka terrycloth) which means a fabric of tiny loops similar to a rug, but two-sided.
Beach towels are usually made of velour, which is simply a terrycloth cotton towel with the loops sheared off of one side. They are less puffy (more compact) than full terrycloth, and the sheared flat side is useful for printing designs on.
The drawback with cotton towels at the pool, gym or when traveling is that they get very heavy when wet (and cold) and take a long time to dry (the ability to hold water is why we use cotton for toweling, so dry time is a bit of a Catch 22). Another drawback with terrycloth cotton beach towels is that they can pick up a lot of sand, even with velour, because the loop side is used down on the sand.
Chamois Towels (Shammies)
Now, at the extreme other end of high-performance sports towels, you may have noticed divers in the Olympics using chamois towels. 'Chamois' refers to the type of fabric (the weave), and come in a soft felt-like finish (chamois or shammy) or a smoother finish.
One drawback with chamois towels is that they feel like you are rubbing yourself with wet blue jeans, and are not big enough to wrap up in like other towels, so have no value in keeping you warm other than to dry you off. If you are a diver or are into ultra-lightweight camping, a chamois towel might be the best towel for you due to its size and the fact that they dry off pretty quickly when wrung-out. They are strictly functional, however, so don't expect this to be anyone's favorite towel around the pool at home.
The actual material used in a chamois (shammy) towel is PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) which must be kept wet between uses, and so are sold in plastic cases. If too dry, they turn into a brittle cardboard-like texture, and if put away too wet, they will grow mildew. They are small, which makes them portable, but once inside their plastic carrying case they are no smaller than most microfiber towels.
Microfiber Beach Towels and Travel Towels
Microfiber towels are made of microfiber, which actually refers to any fiber which is smaller than the diameter of a silk thread. Microfiber towels are usually made of a polyester/polyamide (aka Polyester/Nylon) blend. There are numerous advantages of these fibers over cotton and PVA, which we'll go into in another post. As for toweling, the biggest reason why polyester/polyamide microfiber is used is due to its absorbency, which is a result of the material and the actual structure of the microfiber which gives it an enormous surface area, i.e. a very large absorptive surface in which to interact with water.
There are many different weaves or materials made from microfiber. One is suede microfiber which is smooth like the chamois mentioned above. Even in a bigger towel, smooth microfiber feels uncomfortable to use. Many people can't get past the feel, even though suede microfiber towels are compact and very portable. A full-sized bath towel or beach towel made from suede microfiber can fold up to about the size of a novel, so it's excellent for traveling if you can get used to the feel of it.
Microfiber thread can also be woven into terrycloth. This is a kind of hybrid towel because you have the absorptive properties of a microfiber woven into puffy, comfy loops like a traditional cotton towel. These are nice to use at home, but most aren't any better than a cotton towel if you are travelling, going to the pool, the gym, or the beach, etc. because terrycloth takes up a lot of room and doesn't fold into a compact space no matter what you weave it from.
Waffle Weave Microfiber Towels
We've chosen to make our microfiber towels from a textured waffle weave microfiber. This is the same polyester/polyamide blend microfiber that other swim, gym, travel and compact towels use, but with a texture to it. Waffle weave microfiber feels a lot like a traditional cotton towel because of this texture but is still compact because it's not made of terrycloth loops.
Waffle weave microfiber will give you a good comfy rub and also has enough thickness to make a comfy wrap, which is especially good if you are wearing the towel! Plus, it's sand-resistant, which is great for the beach or camping and makes a great surf towel.
A full-sized microfiber beach towel can fold up to about the size of a novel, so makes a great travel towel, but one that you'll actually be happy to use once you get where you're going because of the comfort it offers.
So there you are: the spectrum of towels from tiny and utilitarian to huge and fluffy; your 'just right' towel is in there somewhere, depending on your needs.
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