What is a Cam Border?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A cam border is a simple woven design around a bath or hand towel, usually not at the edge of the towel, but an inch to two inches (2.54-5.08 cm) in from the edge. While you can feel the loops on most towels made of terrycloth, the cam border is flat, providing a different texture and interest to the towel. This is achieved by applying a different weave to the border, to produce a flat, non-looped look.

Woman shopping
Woman shopping

Many people confuse the cam border with the dobby border. The dobby border tends to be more decorative, and may feature patterns or designs woven into the flat, separate weave portion. The cam border, conversely, is just a straight line across, generally less than an inch thick, with no specific patterns or designs. Some people prefer cam borders to dobby borders since the simpler design tends not to catch or be scratchy. Yet this can depend upon the quality of fabric used to make either a dobby or cam border.

The standard towel with a cam border usually has two borders, one near the top, and one near the bottom edge of the towel. Some towels may also feature a border that runs lengthwise, providing a rectangle frame around the inside of the towel. This second design is less common.

Preference on whether a cam or dobby border should exist on a towel is highly variable. Some people prefer not to have a towel with an interior border, since this renders some of the towel less usable. Borders tend not to absorb or dry off people or items as readily as do the unbordered parts of a towel. If your towels are on the small side, two borders can minimize effective drying and be a waste of space.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the dobby or cam border is usually more attractive. It adds extra detail and interest to towels, hand towels, washcloths, or dishtowels. Trend in most hotels is to supply towels with borders, since they may look more luxurious and expensive than do simple towels without them, even if they provide less useable surface area to dry the skin.

You can find cam-bordered towels at most major retailers. If you’re thinking of updating your bathroom with new towels and washcloths, consider spending a little bit more, and purchasing slightly more expensive and larger towels. Due to the different weaves of the cam border and the rest of the towel, and sometimes different materials used to construct the border, some less expensive towels may shrink around the borders, causing the towels to appear puckered and unattractive.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Is the Cam Border really just for aesthetics? Did it ever serve a practical purpose?

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