It is excellent that you have decided not to compromise on your health and weight loss goals while on the road. A lot of frequent travelers struggle to stay fit and healthy. Yoga is one of those exercises that does not require a lot of accessories. All you need is a five-yard clean space, and you are good to go. A travel yoga mat can add a lot of value to your away-from-home workouts. In this post, I have shared the six best travel yoga mats.
Best Travel Yoga Mats
1. Manduka eKO
Manduka eKO Superlite is the best travel yoga mat available in the market. It is an environment-friendly and lightweight yoga mat designed for those who travel regularly. For a seasoned traveler or a backpacker who also likes to stay fit and healthy, it can be quite challenging to carry all the exercise equipment in the backpack. This is where the Manduka eKO Superlite yoga mat comes into the picture.
You will be surprised to learn that this mat weighs not more than 2 lbs. Further, you do not necessarily need a large travel backpack to carry this mat. A small purse or a suitcase can accommodate this product without any issues. You will have plenty of room left in your luggage to keep the essential items.
Also, note that–just like every other travel yoga mat–Manduka eKO Superlite too is fully foldable. Since the mat is made from biodegradable rubber, you don’t have to worry about fabric getting damaged due to keeping it in a folded state for long periods. Also, this mat is 100 percent free of latex or PVC. Synthetic material can cause skin abrasion in those with allergies. Such is not the case with this natural tree rubber mat.
Furthermore, this mat offers an orange peel-like surface texture grip. Meaning, even after you get all sweaty, the mat will continue providing an excellent grip. You will never slip or topple over while executing your favorite hot yoga poses.
The material used in the making of this mat does not absorb or retain the sweat, dirt, or grime. The closed-cell surface keeps all the solid and liquid particles on the surface. You can clean the mat with a dry cloth or simply spay some all-natural yoga mat cleaning solution.
Manduka eKO is Suitable For –
This mat is perfect for travelers who do yoga while on the road. No matter which part of the world you plan to visit next, taking this mat with you would be a massive boost for your health and well-being. Not all hostel rooms have even-kneeled and clean floors. Why take a risk with germs and diseases when you can practice yoga on a clean and smooth surface.
- It is thin and lightweight.
- It can fit well even in a small backpack or a purse.
- It is made with 100 percent biodegradable material.
- It has an orange peel surface texture.
- The closed-cell surface does not absorb bodily fluids.
- It is not suitable for Bikram or hot yoga. Not enough grip when wet.
- It does not have enough padding. It can be an issue for those with joint pains.
Best Overall Runner-Up
When it comes to budget-friendly mats, Gaiam is a name that pops up naturally in most people’s minds. In case you haven’t heard much about this company, it is a Boulder, Colorado-based fitness accessory manufacturer known as affordable and eco-friendly products. The travel yoga mat from Gaiam is 68-inch L x 24-inch W x 2mm Thick. To travel with this mat, you don’t need a carry case, but regardless Gaiam provides one with the mat.
Unlike other travel yoga mats, Gaiam’s travel mat has a sticky texture. The stickiness of the mat makes executing the most challenging hot yoga poses easy and worry-free. No matter how sweaty you get, the mat will hold your body and let you perform your craft as if you are standing on a patch of dry grass. No exaggeration!
Although, you should note that this mat is a bit thicker than most other travel mats. You can carry it in a suitcase or a backpack but expect the mat to occupy a minimum of one-fourth of the total space. In addition to that, this mat is not made from 100 percent organic materials. It does contain traces of tree rubber, but for the most part, the material feels like PVC or any other synthetic easy-to-clean fabric.
Although yoga practitioners have a few doubts about synthetic travel mat, it is worth noting that a synthetic material also offers some benefits. For instance, you can easily use this mat in outdoor venues. This mat retains its shape, tension, and structure even when placed on a patch of inland grass or sun-heated hard concrete.
Gaiam Yoga Mat is Suitable For –
This mat is for those who care about having stable footing during strenuous workouts. Sweat is the biggest enemy of indoor yoga practitioners. It can also be a significant detriment if you are planning to travel to a country with hot and humid weather. You don’t want to cut your journey short by getting injured.
- It is thin and lightweight. Suitable for traveling.
- The grip tends to get stronger with usage.
- It is fully foldable.
- It comes with a unique sticky texture.
- It fits in a backpack, purse, or a carry-on bag.
- It has traces of PVC material in it.
- It has a new mat smell for an initial couple of weeks.
Do you care about the aesthetics of your travel mat? Maybe you are planning to capture your best yoga moments while on the road? The manufacturer brings to you one of the most aesthetically pleasing travel mats for yoga practitioners. You have a choice to pick from 15 of the best designs. Also, this is not just a yoga mat. It is a combination of a mat and a towel.
The absorbent suede microfiber is made from recycled plastic bottles. You will also find traces of natural rubber in this mat. The combination of a natural rubber mat and towel-like fabric makes it one of the best travel yoga mats for Bikram, hot yoga, and pilates practitioners. Furthermore, you will also be glad to know that this product is built to withstand the elements of nature. It is suitable for all weather conditions.
The water-repellent surface keeps both solid and liquid particles on the surface. For those who travel extensively, it is advisable to machine wash this mat every once in a while. Also, to increase the skid-resistance, simply spray some water on top of the mat before beginning your workout. The moisture will change the texture of the mat from smooth to sticky.
Yoga Design Lab is Suitable For –
As I mentioned before, this mat is designed for Bikram yogis. You can sweat all you want; the microfiber material will retain its non-skid texture. On top of that, Bikram or hot yoga studios are known to turn up the temperature of the room. The more humid the environment, the stickier this mat from Yoga Design Lab gets.
In addition, you can also use this mat in light rain. After usage, you can leave the mat open to dry under a ceiling fan or an air conditioner.
- It comes in a combination of a mat and a towel.
- It is the best travel yoga mat for Bikram and hot yoga.
- It is easy to wash. Washing machine compatible.
- The prints do not come off even after months of rough use.
- This mat is designed for strenuous workouts that make you sweat. Without the moisture, the surface loses its stickiness.
Best Value Runner-Up
For beginner yoga practitioners, it can be challenging to know precisely where to place their hands, feet, or other body parts during a yoga pose. For instance, most people struggle to stay on the mat while performing postures such as downward dog, low lunge, or trikonasana (triangle pose). Also, the ones who are into power yoga may not make the best use of the mat while performing the Vinyasa flow.
Just like its standard version, Liforme Travel Yoga Mat comes with the unique and patented Alignment System. Meaning, the mat tells you where to place each of your body parts. The alignment marks are a part of the fabric, although they are slightly raised so you can locate them without intuitively finding it. Some people complain of the alignment marks not being raised enough, but I reckon it takes a few days to get hold of them.
Notably, this mat is a lot thinner and lighter than the standard version. Also, the material is biodegradable and free of synthetic materials like PVC. However, unlike other travel yoga mats like Manduka eKO, this one cannot be folded like a blanket.
To maintain the shape and elasticity of the mat, it recommended to roll it up. Even in the rolled-up state, the mat can fit in a standard-sized backpack or a duffle bag. Either way, Liforme has provided a carry case with this product.
Liforme Travel Yoga Mat is Suitable For –
Yoga is all about precision, accuracy, and correct form. To execute perfect postures right from the get-go, you need a trainer by your side all the time. Needless to say, this is not feasible while on the road. This is where the alignment markers come into the picture. Even if you roughly remember the postures, you can rely on the alignment markers. They will transform the way you perform yoga.
- It is easy to clean. It does not retain dirt or body fluids.
- It is portable and lightweight.
- It has a unique “GripForMe” material that offers more grip during yoga poses.
- It comes with a revolutionary Alignment Marker System.
- The alignment markers are not raised enough. It can be a problem for some people.
There are a growing number of yogis who prefer to use American-made products. In case you didn’t know, a lot of American companies outsource their manufacturing to other countries like China and India. Or, they import the raw materials and put the product together in American soil. Such is not the case with the Voyager Travel Mat from JadeYoga. It is a 100 percent American product.
Unlike the yoga mat from Liforme, this product from Jade Yoga can be folded like a blanket. It is 1.16-inch (1.4mm) thick and weighs about 1.5 lbs. While this product is thin and lightweight, it won’t give the same amount of comfort you get from a standard all-purpose yoga mat. This is where you have to make a compromise. Having said that, a thin mat offers more grip, especially when performing mountain pose, tree pose, big toe pose, low lunge, etc.
Furthermore, by purchasing this product, you also have an opportunity to give something back to nature. Jade Yoga plants a tree for every travel mat your purchase. To date, they have planted over a million trees. This act shows their commitment to protecting and helping the environment. Lastly, this mat is easy to clean. Simply sprinkle some water or an organic yoga mat cleaner spray and rub the fabric with a piece of dry cloth. The mat will appear as good as new.
JadeYoga Voyager Yoga Mat is Suitable For –
Jade Yoga Voyager Mat is meant for the environment-conscious yogis who like to travel. The manufacturer has gone out on a limb to make this product as portable as possible. As stated on the product package, the mat (when folded) won’t need much space than a standard-sized yoga block.
- It can be folded like a blanket. It fits in tight spaces.
- It is made with 100 percent organic materials.
- It provides an excellent grip.
- You get to contribute to nature.
- It has a new mat smell that will persist for a few days.
- It can be too thin for people with joint problems.
Best Budget Runner-Up
How about a travel yoga mat that is as thin as a credit card? This mat from June and Juniper has a thickness of 0.059-inch (1.5mm). It weighs about 2.8 lbs. The manufacturer recognizes the need for additional cushioning for those with joint problems. This is why they have provided a knee pad along with the mat.
The knee pad has the same width as that of the mat. The good news is, this knee pad comes separately, so you can avoid carrying it if you don’t feel the need.
This mat is six feet in length. There is plenty of room to stretch your body further than you usually do. June and Juniper have made no compromise when it comes to the size of this mat. You can even perform the most challenging of the yoga poses and sequences. Whether you are into Bikram or Vinyasa Yoga, you will find this mat beneficial and suitable.
Furthermore, the fabric is made from a porous material that is also highly absorbent. During hot yoga or strenuous Pilates sessions, you can rely on this mat for comfort and stability. It will absorb bodily fluids without bunching up or becoming too squishy. You will also be glad to know that this mat is reversible. Meaning, the black rubber side offers exceptional grip while the soft microfiber side has fast-wicking properties (perfect for hot yoga).
June and Juniper Travel Yoga Mat is Suitable For –
This is one of the best travel yoga mats under $70. If you are one of those people who cannot do without aesthetically pleasing products, this might be the right travel mat for you. On top of that, it is made from natural tree rubber and is also budget-friendly.
Did you know that this yoga mat was hand-painted by a New York-based artist? It is a reversible mat. Before you begin your session, you can switch sides to see which suits better.
- It comes with additional cushioning for the knees.
- It is made with moisture-wicking microfiber.
- It is as thin as a credit card.
- It is a hand made design by a New York-based artist.
- Those with knee problems cannot use this mat without additional cushioning. It consumes some more space in your baggage.
- The knee pad needs to be softer.
How Do You Travel With a Yoga Mat?
It is not uncommon for people who travel a lot to be overweight and unhealthy. Traveling may be fun and engaging, but it also saps up a lot of energy. Not to forget, seasoned travelers love to try out different cuisines and dishes, which adds to the unsightly extra pounds.
So how does one keep fit during travel?
The answer is quite simple; practice yoga once a day.
If you are one of those people who cannot perform the yoga poses on the floor, you must get yourself an ultra-thin travel yoga mat. A regular mat offers excellent cushioning, but it is generally heavy and takes up a lot of space in the backpack. Such is not the case with a travel mat.
Foldable mats like Manduka eKO and June & Juniper are capable of shrinking down quite a lot. When folded, these mats are even thinner than a standard-sized laptop. Hence, they can be easily carried in a carry-on bag or a travel trolley bag.
Another thing that concerns a lot of traveling yogis is how to carry a yoga mat in an airplane? Are there any restrictions concerning traveling with a mat made with natural rubber? Generally speaking, most airline companies won’t have any problem with you carrying a travel yoga mat in your carry-on bag. These mats are compact. They don’t stick out of the container or appear bulky.
That being said, it is best to confirm with the airline beforehand. You will be surprised to know that some countries in Middle-East Asia do not allow an airline passenger to carry poppy seeds (bakery item) on them. These seeds are harmless, but the Middle-Eastern law prohibits its usage. Hence, it is always advisable to confirm with your airline company.
Things to Look for When Choosing a Travel Yoga Mat
1. Grip and Texture
Indeed, travel mats do not come with a lot of cushioning, but there is no reason for it not to have a good grip. In fact, due to the thinness of a travel mat, it is expected to offer more grip. There is a thin layer separating the feet with the floor. Hence, when choosing a travel yoga mat, make sure that it provides a good grip. Some materials are more sticky than others.
Some people prefer carrying their yoga mat in a tote bag, whereas others prefer to fold it like a blanket. A foldable yoga mat can fit in easily with your clothes. You won’t even notice its presence. I would suggest you avoid the tote bag and get yourself a fully foldable mat. Barring a situation where you have an injury or joint problems, it is best to avoid the thick regular yoga mat while on the road.
3. Price Range
Assuming that the yoga mat you are about to purchase has all the essential features, you are looking at a price range between $40-$80. There are indeed cheaper options available, but you will have to resort to mats made with PVC or any other synthetic material. Natural rubber tree mats are expensive to manufacture.
Your travel mat should be able to withstand wear, pressure, or damage incurred during the journey. You don’t know whether you will be able to replace the mat while on the road. Yoga is not that popular in some parts of the world.
5. Eco-Friendly Materials
Eco-friendly material may be last on the list, but it is one of the most critical determinants for choosing a travel yoga mat. This is especially true in the case of nature-conscious yogis. What if your mat got damaged on the road, and you had to dump it somewhere out there? You don’t want to litter synthetic materials like PVC or plastic in nature.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a travel yoga mat. Factors like the location you are planning to visit, the duration of the trip, and the frequency of your yoga sessions are significant determinants.
Overall, Manduka eKO Superlite is the best yoga mat for traveling yogis. It is also well-suited for other core workouts like pilates and calisthenics. For additional cushioning, I will suggest you add a layer of towel beneath the Manduka eKO Superlite yoga mat.