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Doing yoga and traveling are two of the most rewarding joys in life. But doing both at the same time can be tricky. Finding the best travel yoga mat to take with you on planes, trains, buses and bikes is a challenge because yoga mats can sometimes be bulky and heavy, and they don’t easily fit in bags.
Fortunately, there are enough nomadic yogis these days that the market provides several options which travel well without compromising functionality. Read on to discover our top choices for travel yoga mats on the market, and scroll to the end for a more in-depth discussion about the qualities that make a great travel mat.
Our Top Travel Yoga Mat Picks
This super-light travel mat lives up to its name and is one of the best we’ve seen in terms of packability. The Manduka eKO folds so neatly that it can even fit into most purses! It has a slightly textured surface allowing for decent grip, but is not sticky, so you may want to pair it with a mat-length yoga towel.
It earns good marks for durability, and it’s made from natural tree rubber, making it a good option for individuals looking to reduce exposure to synthetic chemicals. The Manduka eKo Superlight comes in at 2 lb and is 1.5 mm thick.
The YOGO mat is similar to the Manduka, with a few differences that may appeal to some yogis. It’s also made of natural tree rubber, with an additional eco-friendly component in that the company plants one tree for every mat sold.
It features a patented origami design that provides it with great texture and better grip than the Manduka. The tradeoff is that it does not fold quite as nicely and weighs slightly more. The YOGO Ultralight weighs in at 2.6 lb with a thickness of 1.5 mm.
This ingenious combination mat from Yoga Design Lab comprises a tree rubber bottom layer, similar to the Manduka or YOGO travel mats, with a top layer comprised of a highly absorbent microfiber towel. This makes it ideal for individuals who have a sweaty practice and are looking for the ultimate non-slip mat.
It’s also reversible so that you can practice on the rubber side if you’d like. It’s 100% toxin-free and machine washable, and it comes in a huge number of beautiful patterned designs! At 1 mm, it’s on the thinner side but, its 1.8 lb weight makes it ultralight for easy travel.
The Khataland YoFoMat is the optimal foldable travel mat for those who do not want to compromise on mat thickness while on the road. Despite being about four times thicker than the other options listed here, the Khataland travel yoga mat is comparable in weight and folds up nicely for travel.
It’s a high-performance mat with a decent amount of stickiness, and it comes with a sweet carrying case. The Khataland YoFoMat comes in at 2.6 lb and is 4 mm thick.
This product from Thrive on Wellness is designed as a full-length towel to be placed on top of a mat. You can take it to yoga classes on the road and place it over a rented studio mat. However, it can also be used as a mat itself, especially if you’re doing solo practice on carpet in a hotel room or house.
The Thrive on Wellness features grips on its underside. While not ideal for intense practices or headstands, this towel mat will enable you to do a moderate yoga practice on the road without compromising your packing at all. It weighs 1.5 lb and it’s one of the most affordable options for someone looking for a travel mat.
Tips for finding a travel yoga mat that suits your needs
Step One: Be clear on what you need from your travel yoga mat.
Take some time to think about your unique preferences will help to ensure that you purchase the best possible match. There are four yoga mat qualities that you may want to get clear on before purchasing any yoga mat, whether or not you intend to take it on the road.
Thickness is a matter of personal preference and largely depends on your physiology and the types of asana you practice. How comfortable your knees are on the ground without padding can dictate your choice of mat. If you’re into doing headstands, you may gravitate towards thicker mats. If your practice is warrior pose-heavy with plenty of lunges, a thinner mat may be just fine.
Some practitioners strongly prefer a sticky yoga mat, while others are happy to go without. Stickier yoga mats help to provide traction, enabling you to maintain proper alignment as you move in and out of poses.
Texture is the other yoga mat component that helps to provide added grip. Some mats have engineered texture or bumps to help maintain your hold in various poses. Opting for a mat with heavier grip or nonslip texture (like natural fibers) may be something to think about if you practice hot-style yogas like Bikram or sweat a lot during your practice.
Material and Eco-friendliness
While this may not be important to every yogi, many people do take it into consideration. Most portable yoga mats are made of PVC or rubber, which means that they are not ideal for those with latex allergies or who are conscientious of chemical exposure or environmental health.
Step Two: Decide which quality is most important to you.
Decide ahead of purchase time what is most important to you in a travel mat. Are you willing to compromise on thickness so you can get a strong level of stickiness or a certain texture? Or are your top priorities lightness, packability, and the ability for the thin yoga mat to be portable?
Your practice can go anywhere with any one of these options, so grab a yoga mat and hit the road in 2020! Check out our tips for practicing yoga at home or in a hotel while you’re traveling!
Other resources: Consider also non slip yoga socks and yoga gloves, especially if you’re traveling and think you may find yourself without a mat at some point. And when you get back home and want to think about performing some acrobatics, check out our guide to aerial yoga products.