Whether you’re going on vacation, a business trip or for a yoga specific holiday, finding a travel yoga mat that you can bring to keep up your practice is an excellent idea and your body will thank you for stretching it out after sitting for long periods of time and keeping up your asanas.
I don’t recommend just going out and buying any old travel mat. Consider your mat an investment. You want one that is going to last, that will allow you to confidently push back into downward dog without slipping, that is eco-friendly and can easily be packed without you having to leave cute yoga outfits at home.
I break down the best travel yoga mats on the market and give you all the need-to-know details before you invest in a product that you will be carrying with you and practicing with for years to come.
Quick Picks: Best Travel Yoga Mats Compared
|Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Mat
|Manduka eKO Lite Travel Mat
|Jade Yoga Travel Mat
|Yoga Design Lab Travel Mat
|YOGO Ultralight Travel Yoga Mat
|Liforme Travel Yoga Mat
Do You Really Need a Travel Yoga Mat?
The simple answer is no. A travel yoga mat is not necessary but it can certainly encourage you to practice.
If you’re a dedicated yogi who loves the comfort of practicing on a surface that is truly yours, a surface that you know how clean it is because you take care of it then adding a travelling yoga mat to your packing list is a no-brainer.
If you’re someone who can practice yoga anywhere, on any surface, whether it be the grass, the sand, on cold tile or can simply throw down a sarong or towel and be content then perhaps you can skip on the travel yoga mat.
A yoga mat for travel is not just for using in your hotel room or on the beach though, it can also be used at studios you visit while abroad, giving you a bit of a sense of home and knowing that you can flow on a grippy surface that you’re used to and comfortable.
Keep in mind that these mats are designed for travel so you will have to sacrifice little when it comes to space!
What to Look for When Picking a Travel Yoga Mat
While it’s easy to pick the prettiest mat, there are a few necessary things to look out for when choosing a travel mat that you don’t have to consider when picking a regular mat.
Weight & Portability
First and foremost, you want to make sure that your travelling yoga mat is actually decent to travel with or you will end up leaving it at home more times than you travel with it.
Keep an eye on how heavy a mat is. While you may prefer to prioritize comfort over weight, just make sure that the weight is not so much that it’s going to be tipping the weight scale over and causing you to take out your yoga mat first or pay hefty access weight fees on your luggage.
Secondly, you want to make sure that your mat is easy to pack and carry around! Traditional yoga mats roll but that can take up a lot of room in your suitcase or backpack. Opting for a mat that is foldable will save you a ton of space and will easily fold into the bottom of your luggage or even into your carry-on bag.
Keep in mind that you may also want to carry your mat with you to places (beach yoga, to new studios or yoga in a park sounds fabulous) while you’re travelling. Will it easily fit into your day bag too? Or does it require you to bring a strap?
Travel yoga mats are designed to be thin and packable but because of this and because you’re travelling with it, mats get a lot more wear and tear than your average yoga mat.
You want to make sure that your mat will last you years so that you’re not replacing it every couple of months or once a year. Invest more into a mat that is more durable and in the long run you will save money that you can use for future travels or exploring new yoga studios!
Texture & Comfort
Let’s be real, you’re not going to practice on a mat that you’re not comfortable on. This could be because it’s too thin for you or because the texture is just not nice to touch.
If cushioning is what you’re after for your joints, bones or sensitive knees then perhaps folding your mat in half for a bit of extra padding will suffice, otherwise grabbing a towel can also help add an extra bit of cushion. Luckily, not all mats are ultra-thin so you should be able to find one that works for you.
Texture is very important, especially if you’re planning on doing any hot yoga (or practicing in a tropical place that is just naturally hot) or if you tend to get sweaty palms and feet.
You want the mat to be sticky enough that you have a good trip so you don’t end up doing a faceplant in downward dog but comfortable to touch that your skin won’t be irritated when trying to find your zen in savasana.
As a practicing yogi, there’s much more to yoga than just working your way through asanas in a yoga class. One of the 8 limbs of yoga is ahimsa, which means non-violence.
When picking your traveling yoga mat this means to pick a mat and a company that is dedicated to using environmentally friendly materials that do not cause harm or violence to our planet and the people who make the products. Luckily, you’ll have lots of good choices when it comes to this!
A Quick Word on Travel Yoga Mats
It is important to point out that most travel yoga mats are made of natural tree rubber which can often have a very strong smell. Don’t fret, this smell goes away with time.
Because of this, I highly recommend getting your yoga mat a bit before you travel so that you can air it out before adding it to your packed bag along with all your clothes (which I’m sure you don’t want to smell like rubber!).
Best Yoga Travel Mat Breakdowns
Here are the need-to-know details on picking the ultimate travel yoga mat that’s suitable for your practice, style of travel, comfort and budget.
Manduka eKO Travel Mats
Best travel mat for grip
Manduka yoga mats are some of the most popular and best travel yoga mats on the market. They offer two travel mats, one slightly thicker than the other for added comfort and are dedicated to sustainability.
Both mats are eco-friendly and toxin-free, using natural rubber from sustainable non-Amazon harvested trees. They are natural yoga mats that are biodegradable and Manduka is a company that has taken feedback from customers on the importance of sustainability and followed through with their mat making process.
These mats are also great for durability. While you won’t get as much out of them as you would a regular yoga mat, they will last you a good amount of time and can take a bit of a beating through all your travels and practice. Don’t expect to replace it in a year or less!
Both mat styles come in a ton of fun colours and colour mixes too so your yoga style won’t be a sacrifice.
Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Mat
Weight: 2.2lbs (1kg)
For those who do not need to worry about cushioning on a mat and want the lightest possible travel yoga mat then the Manduka eKO Superlite travel mat is a top option. This ultra-thin, eco travel yoga mat is what I personally use and is easy to pack into a backpack, suitcase and daypack alike.
It is quite grippy but I do recommend using a yoga towel on top for when practicing hot yoga as then it can get slippery.
Manduka eKO Lite Travel Mat
Weight: 4lbs (1.8kg)
If you love the way Manduka is dedicated to sustainability but want a mat with more cushioning then opt for the lite travel mat. This is double the thickness than the Superlite mat and not quite double the weight with all the same benefits.
Jade Yoga Travel Mats
Best yoga mat for sustainability and travelling often
Jade Yoga mats are the original eco-friendly mats. The company was the first to introduce mats made out of natural tree rubber and today their mats continue to be made from this renewable resource without the use of PVC, EVA or other synthetic rubber.
The mats are made in the United States and a tree for every mat sold is planted, with over 2 million trees planted so far. Additionally, Jade Yoga donates to people and organizations who are making yoga more accessible to others and the company donates to a number of different charities with a portion of profits earned on days such as Black Friday, Earth Day and Cyber Monday.
Before you pick the colour of mat based on your favourite colour, take a peek at what how much is donated to what charities based on the colour alone and you can opt to choose to support a cause that is dear to you.
Both of these travel yoga mats are very affordable and very comparable to the Manduka mats when it comes to specs and grip. The biggest difference is the texture with the Manduka mats being more smooth than the Jade Yoga mats.
Jade Yoga Voyager
Weight: 1.6lbs (0.7kg)
This mat is the lightest mat on the market and is tied with the Manduka eKO Superlite for thickness. This folding yoga mat folds up to the size of a yoga block which means you can bring this mat anywhere!
The company does recommend that you only use this mat for travel and not daily use as its portability does cause its durability to wear.
Jade Yoga Travel Mat
Weight: 3.3lbs (1.4kg)
And if you love all that Jade Yoga stands for but want more cushion, then this mat designed specifically for travel is for you. The only drawback is that is it not a foldable yoga mat so it will either take up more room in your bag or you’ll have to bring it as a piece of carry-on.
Yoga Design Lab
Best yoga mat for hot yoga
Weight: 3.5lbs (1.6kg)
If you practice mostly hot yoga (or in places where hot yoga is the natural temperature) then the Yoga Design Lab travel mat is the optimal choice for you. Or, if you want a mat with a lot of style that will stand out and make you smile when you forward fold then the mat options from Yoga Design Lab beat the competitions easily.
Yoga Design Lab’s travel mat is a foldable yoga mat that can easily fit into a backpack or suitcase. It’s relatively lightweight, though not as much as others and it’s thickness is average which can provide more cushion.
Its extra thickness is due to the fact that these mats are made of a base layer of natural tree rubber and a top layer of recycled plastic. Water-based inks are used to make the fabulous and colourful designs and the mats are free of silicone, toxic glue and phthalates.
As an added bonus the mats are machine washable! A bonus that makes this mat even better for travel and more durable. You won’t need any yoga travel accessories with this yoga mat.
The textures of the Yoga Design Lab travel mats are super soft and a pleasure to touch. But like all yoga towels they can be a bit slippery if not wet as they’re designed to get stickier with sweat through a yoga session. Sprinkling a bit of water onto the surface before beginning class can solve this problem simply.
YOGO Ultralight Travel Yoga Mat
Best yoga mat for compact packing
Weight: 2.1lbs (0.9kg)
The Yogo travel mat promises to not only be a mat for travel but also for everyday use. It is thin, as is every travel mat so it won’t provide much comfort or cushion but it is ideal for travellers who need the most compact mat possible.
Like the Jade Yoga voyageur mat, it folds up quite small and can be packed into a day bag easily. The plus side with this mat is that it has straps to keep it compact while still being a lightweight yoga mat. I personally keep my mat folded quite wide and flat across the bottom of my luggage, you may prefer to have your mat folded smaller and more accessible to grab.
The mat is quite sticky but is not recommended for regular sweaty yoga sessions.
The Yogo travel mat comes in a couple of fun colours and it is also machine washable. The straps make for an easy way to hang the mat to dry. All materials are eco-friendly, with the mat being made of natural tree rubber, cotton and minerals.
Plus, for every travel mat bought, one food-producing tree is planted in Africa.
Liforme Travel Yoga Mat
Best yoga mat for home and travel practice
Weight: 3.5lbs (1.6kg)
The Liforme mat is an excellent choice for travellers who want to have one mat that you can use at home and while on the road. While it’s not the top yoga travel mat on the market, if you’re not travelling frequently it will most certainly do and will mean you will only have to get one mat as Liforme certainly makes some of the best yoga mats in general.
These travel yoga mats are longer, thicker and wider than most of the other mats on this list which means you’ll compromise less on comfort. The mat, however, is not foldable but it does come with its own bag to carry on the plane.
The Liforme travel yoga mat is eco-friendly, being made out of natural rubber and eco-polyurethane, it is fully biodegradable and will be completely degraded in a couple of years in normal soil conditions. You could literally bury your yoga mat once you are done with it!
Don’t expect it to not last long though, you will get great use out of it but like all travel yoga mats they will not last as long as non-travel mats.
What’s interesting about these mats is that they have alignment cues on them so you can perfect your stances in warriors and more.
The grip is quite sticky and claims to even be sticky during sweaty yoga sessions. Liforme too gives back to a number of organizations that spam across causes such as environmental conservation, social justice, animal welfare and to yoga organizations.
The biggest drawback for this mat is its price. It’s on the higher end but if you’re investing in a mat to use at and home and travel instead of buying once for each then the price is completely justified.
Best yoga mat for dual grip
Weight: 2.96lbs (1.34kg)
What is so great about this mat is that it is reversible, meaning you can opt for a more grippy texture for sweatier practices and a smoother texture when getting your yin on. The materials used are eco-friendly, polyurethane and natural tree rubber.
The very thin yoga mat are like the other thin mats on the market so if you need extra cushioning then it is not ideal but it is a great mat to roll out on top of studio mats if you prefer to practice with your own.
This mat is simple and as an added bonus has an antimicrobial additive that is used to stop mould and mildew build-up on the mat. One downside is that this mat is not foldable.
Lululemon is dedicated to their community, social and environmental impact and as a large company, they have quite a few organizations and projects that they work with and stand behind.
While the lululemon (un)mat is not perfect, lululemon is a Canadian company so if you’re a Canadian wanting to support a brand built in your own country, lululemon is an excellent choice.
Many people think lululemon is very expensive but this mat is actually cheaper than a number of mats on this list! I don’t use this mat specifically but I stand behind the quality of their regular mats which I’ve been using for years and they last a heck of a long time!
While the Gaiam travel mat is the most affordable option on the market it is by far among the best travel yoga mats. In fact, I do not recommend it.
I am simply including it on this page to inform people that this mat is the only non-environmentally friendly mat on this list.
Gaiam is typically mentioned among other top yoga mat brands to use for travel, however, few mention that it is the only mat among its top competitions that is made from PVC, a synthetic product that is not biodegradable.
The mat comes with a lifetime guarantee, if a product has a lifetime guarantee then it’s definitely not environmentally friendly!
How to Take Care of Your Travel Yoga Mat
Not all mat cleaners are made equally! If you’ve taken the time to research and get a product that is eco-friendly, make sure you’re also using a cleaner that is eco-friendly.
While it’s usually fine to wipe down your mat with a damp cloth after practice, you will want to sometimes, if not always use more than just water. Diluted vinegar usually does the trick for natural rubber mats and many typically include an essential oil or two for a nice smell.
It’s possible to make your own mat wash or purchase one to carry with you from a reputable, eco-friendly company such as Manduka.
Some mats are roll only, some are able to be folded but not all are recommended to be stored folded. Be sure to check how is best to store your travel mat so that you can get the most use out of it.
And like with all yoga mats, be sure to give it time to dry after wiping it down or after a sweaty session to reduce the build-up of unwanted bacteria.
Best Travel Mat Accessories
You may not want add any more to your travel checklist but a simple yoga accessory can make a world of difference on your mat and during your practice.
The only travel accessory I’ll recommend (other than maybe a mat cleaner) is a yoga mat towel. I travel with mine all the time because I love the added softness and I practice a lot in open-air studios in Bali so I’m always building up a sweat!
Even if I don’t bring my yoga mat, I like to have a towel, knowing that I can clean it and use it on top of mats that I may be using at the studio.
Other than a yoga towel, if your mat is not foldable or if you opt to roll it and travel with it rolled then I highly recommend a yoga bag, not just a strap. Airports and planes are dirty places, a bag will help stop your mat (aka where you often lay your face) from picking up dirt, bacteria and other things you prefer not to be on your mat.
Ready for your yoga vacation? Pick where to practice yoga next!
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- More yoga travel inspiration
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