⬅ Reviews

Amazon Basics Fade Resistant


On July 5th, 1994, Jeff Bezos founded what would go on to become one of the most successful companies in the world. Amazon began as an online book store, but via a winding path that I cannot even begin to fully understand, has gone on to provide groceries, doorbells, web hosting, towels, and all manner of other things to businesses and households across the world. At the time of writing, Mr. Bezos sits comfortably among the richest people to have ever lived. If one was naive enough, they might believe that this goes hand in hand with producing high quality products. As it turns out, that is not at all the case.

Fast forward a few years. On August 13th, 2017, I made a mistake. In my hubris, I decided that I was a talented enough online shopper to pick out some new towels for myself over the internet, making my purchase with only marketing photos and my gut to guide me. I know, I know - I’m an idiot. Money was a bit tight at the time so I went with the “lightweight” and inexpensive Amazon Basics towels sold by the man, the myth, the legend, Jeff Bezos himself. Please heed this tale of my error and make better choices than I did.



Where you can technically search for these towels on Amazon and find that a set of two will cost you just over $20 (about $10 each), I strongly advise against you doing so.


They came in an Amazon box. If you want to see one, you can take a look at the mounting pile I’ve accrued by my front door during this godforsaken pandemic. I hate what you’ve done to me, Jeff.

Materials and Quality

Towel hanging on bar

Let me take you on a journey. It’s 2017, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, there’s no global pandemic tearing the world apart, and I’m waking up at 7:10AM for another day in paradise. I walk into my bathroom and I remember - what a treat! Today’s the day I get to try out those brand new towels. I throw one over the bar and notice that they feel a lot thinner and lighter than I had expected. No matter, I think, and continue to enjoy my morning shower. Once I turned off the tap, I grabbed my towel and started to dry. And dry. And… dry? Still damp, I looked at the towel in my hand and noticed it had become soaked in only a matter of moments. I futilely tried to dry myself again to no avail before finally “throwing in the towel” (please appreciate this joke) in frustration. In what I can only describe as a walk of shame, I returned to my laundry basket and retrieved my old, worn towel. It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.

I gave the Amazon Basics towels another couple of tries over the course of that week, now with other clean towels close at hand as a backup. Each time I was met with the same result: me, wet, reaching for a towel not sold by Amazon. I’m disappointed to say the least, Jeff.

Towel closeup

There are a few reasons why I feel the Amazon Basics towel is inferior to nearly every other I have had a chance to use, but material quality and thickness are two standout failures. While many higher quality towels are made from luxurious cottons, Amazon is tight-lipped about their cotton source. It’s likely that this is because whatever they’re using isn’t particularly good, and insult is piled on top of injury when you see just how little cotton is used for each towel in the first place. These may be inexpensive, but even so, this level of quality may cross the line into absurdity. I’ve gone ahead and held both the Amazon towel and a comparison up to a window so you can take a look for yourself. Even a $10 towel feels like a waste of money when it’s so thin that you can see right through it.

Towel comparison
Pictured left: a real towel. Pictured right: Jeff's poor excuse for a towel.

A Yearning For Years Gone By

I think we’ve all found ourselves in a quiet moment when we wish we could go back to the way things were. Even 2017, a mere 4 year prior to my writing this, feels like another era of my life. I look back at myself and I see someone else. Someone I wish to know, but someone outside myself. As I write this, I struggle to even relate to the man who used that towel beyond simply reciting moments of his life as facts of history. That man lived in another house in another city, he had different friends and a different job. He’s not me, and yet he had my name. In my memories I remember him as happy, though I know that often wasn’t true. The past isn’t rosy, those are just the glasses we wear as we read our stories back to ourselves. Times were just as hard then as they are now, if not moreso. And yet, even so, I feel the ache to return.

I often wonder if, one day, this moment now will live on as a fond memory of better times. Today was a hard day. Most days nowadays are hard days. They are long, and lonely, and quiet, and cold, and I am lost without the world I knew at my feet. This sickness has taken so much from us. For many it was their jobs, for others their homes, for others still, their lives. I myself am fortunate that I have not had to suffer through such tragedy, but rather just feel that my year has been lost. A year lost at the end of my childhood, to ring out the time in my life when things moved fast, and ring in the time when things will move slowly. A time when I will settle down and begin to become whoever it is I will be for the rest of my life. I can only hope that I have learning left to do and walking left to go, and that the me of 2025 will look back on the me of 2021 with exactly the same foreign glance I gave to the me who bought those towels in 2017. A glance of recognition, but not of sameness. A glance with a little knowing smirk at the corner of one eye, because I will know then what I so desperately wish I knew today – that everything is going to be alright.

And also which towels I should be buying.


Look, if it’s not obvious, this towel is terrible. I took it out of the box, used it a few times, hated it, washed it on hot, and grabbed it again only when I needed something I didn’t mind ruining. At one point after it had been thoroughly abused, I decided it wasn’t worth saving anymore and put it in the trash where it belongs.

Final Thoughts

What this towel is not:

What this towel is:


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