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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
Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat
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 Superlite 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 Superlite comes in at 2 lb and is 1.5 mm thick. It comes in 10 attractive styles, including lime marble and fuschia stripe.
Jade Voyager Travel Mat
Jade is one of the top yoga mat names – we love their Harmony Professional standard-size mat. Jade also gets high marks for its Voyager Travel Mat, which is only 1/16 of an inch thick, making it one of the thinnest travel mats on the market. This thing is so small, when it folds up it’s only half the size of a cork yoga block!
That thin-ness does mean that the Jade Voyager doesn’t have the same level of cushioning as some others on this list. But it provides good traction, and the fact that it can be folded up so tightly into a carryon suitcase (it’s only 1.5 pounds!) is a huge bonus. Like all Jade mats, this one is eco-friendly, made from natural rubber rather than synthetic materials such as PVC.
YOGO Ultralight Compact Travel Mat
The YOGO Ultralight 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.
Combo Yoga Mat from Yoga Design Lab
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 portable yoga 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.
Khataland YoFoMat Foldable Travel Yoga Mat
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 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 1/6 inch thick. It’s also 72 inches long instead of the usual 68, so taller folks may want to consider this one.
Liforme Travel Yoga Mat
The Liforme Travel Yoga Mat is quite different than many of the others on this list. It’s bigger and thicker than some other travel mats. That allows it to have superior grip and traction – you won’t have to worry about sliding around on this mat.
The extra-large size of this mat means a higher price tag. But many folks believe the higher cost is worth it. The mat itself has a unique “AlignForMe” alignment system and it’s made from environmentally-friendly rubber. The Liforme travel mat also comes with a free carrying case for easy transport, since this one is a little too bulky to fold up inside a small carryon suitcase.
Gaiam Folding Travel Mat
The Gaiam Folding Travel Mat folds up nice and tidy into a thin square that will fit inside any travel bag or backpack. At just 2 mm thick and 1 pound in total weight, it’s another great lightweight option. It’s also among the cheapest mats on this list.
Gaiam is known for its unique patterns of yoga products, such as the Gaiam print mat, so it should be no surprise that the company’s Folding Travel Mat comes in several cool paisley designs. Just keep this one out of the sun, because these designs and this material can be damaged by extensive sunlight.
Tips for finding a foldable travel 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 folks don’t care as much about thickness – they just want a foldable travel mat that will fit into their luggage.
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, foldable 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 2021! 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.