by Outside Expert, Sara Quiriconi
It was a trip to Miami (before I decided to move there) that made me a believer in having a travel mat in my yoga gear arsenal. I packed my regular Jade Harmony Yoga Mat for a yoga retreat and slung it over my shoulder like a “travel pro” - or so I thought. When I checked in at the airport, I learned that the mat over my shoulder actually counted as a carry-on item. I attempted to cram that mat into my already stuffed suitcase, which caused my luggage to be overweight. This ended up being a costly lesson learned!
Flash forward to these days, I travel a lot producing content, filming, and leading events around the world. Something that I always bring with me is my yoga practice so that I can stay mentally and physically balanced wherever I go. With that being said, I now have a lot of experience with different yoga mats that are designed for travel so as to avoid the above “newbie” issue that previously I ran into.
So, what should one look for when deciding on a travel yoga mat? As you'll see in this guide, I like to focus on a few key categories to base this decision off of, including: pack-ability, functionality, weight, and price.
Everyday Yoga Travel Yoga Mat ($7.98)
Weight & Size: 2.4lb. / 68” / 1mm
This is the no-frills, gets the job done, toss in a bag, and let's flow anywhere kind of mat! It folds down nicely and takes up the least amount of space in comparison to the other mats in this review.
As I mentioned, this mat is good for kicking around as needed. It's ideal for someone who doesn't care too much about the technicalities of a mat, doesn't travel all too often, or prefers to keep it simple when it comes to a travel mat.
Gaiam Foldable Yoga Mat ($19.95)
Weight & Size: 1lb. / 68” / 2mm
This travel yoga mat is sticky, indeed. This is a great function in the long run, but this mat will require a little breaking in at first.
If you're curious as to how well this yoga mat packs up, the answer is right in its title: it's foldable! It fits easily into a bag, like a large notebook. It even has little squares that act as a fold-up guide, just like a mini packet guide map. If you're a beginner, this would be a good mat for you, as you can use the folding lines as a guide for your alignment as well!
Halfmoon Travel Yoga Mat ($25.99)
Weight & Size: 1.8lb. / 72” / 2mm
This travel yoga mat is rolled up when new, but don't be fooled! It can also be folded down into a compact 8” x 12” rectangle to fit into small spaces.
It has a good thickness for traveling and is ideal for use in a hotel room or at the gym. This mat is nice and sticky, so you can rest assured that you won't slip when you start to sweat. It will work well for all types of yoga.
Hugger Mugger Tapas Travel Yoga Mat ($17.95)
Weight & Size: 1.35lb. / 68” / 1.5mm
While the package claims that this yoga mat can be folded as well as rolled, I would recommend unfolding it as soon as you arrive at your destination in order to prevent fold marks.
The surface of this mat is textured and grippy. It was a good companion for my morning flow practice with no heat or sweat.
It's a good price for a mat to toss into your luggage for both indoor and outdoor use.
Jade Yoga Travel Natural Rubber Yoga Mat ($59.95)
Weight & Size: 3lb. / 68” / 3.5mm
In comparison to its big brother, the Jade Harmony Yoga Mat, this travel mat has the exact same texture, but is a bit smaller. Although it's half the size of a regular Jade mat, I wouldn't recommend folding this one. Rather, stick to rolling it up to fit into a checked bag or larger, longer carry-on.
This yoga mat has a grippy texture and I didn't slip when using it. While it's not the lightest in the bunch, if you plan to practice on a hard surface, this mat will pad your knees and back nicely.
Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat ($42.00)
Weight & Size: 2lb. / 68” / 1.5mm
This travel yoga mat folds up nicely. It's light and compact enough to store seamlessly in carry-on or personal bags. At the same time, it functions just like my larger Manduka mat. For these reasons, this is my personal favorite travel yoga mat.
This mat is ideal for practicing on a carpet, being placed over another mat in a studio, or for your wake-up flow to get energized for the day ahead!
Yoga Design Lab Geo Blue Travel Yoga Mat ($49.00)
Weight & Size: 1.8lb. / 70” / 1mm
It doesn't technically say on the package of this mat that you can fold it, but I don't see why not! The bonus with this yoga mat is that it comes with a carrying strap to tote it around when traveling.
This mat has a soft microfiber* top layer that gets grippier as you perspire, so it's ideal for hot yoga.
* Here's a good tip when it comes to yoga mats with microfiber: lightly spraying the surface with water prior to practicing will help prevent sliding when you're getting warmed up.
There's no shortage of travel yoga mat options out there! To narrow down your choices, it's important to get clear on your needs as well as how much you're willing to invest. Personally, I travel a lot, and know that there's nothing worse than having a mat or yoga gear that under performs when miles away from home. So, do your homework, meditate on what you need, and choose based on what works for you, frequent flyer!