You love your yoga mat. It’s just the right thickness, doesn’t slip, and it’s easy to keep clean. When you try to stuff it into a suitcase, however, it becomes your most hated enemy. How dare it betray you like that?
You need a travel mat. We’ve put together a list of our picks for best travel yoga mats to help you find the right one for you.
Travel Yoga Mats
2 pounds or less
natural rubber with a soft fabric surface
just over 1.5 pounds
PVC- free of the 6P
Natural rubber and eco-polyurethane
Choosing a Travel Yoga Mat
What do you need to get your travel yoga off to the right start? Keep a few things in mind.
You can’t do much about length and width, but you can consider some slightly smaller version of your mat.
Instead, focus on weight. A good target for a travel mat can be three pounds or under. Yoga mats can be surprisingly heavy once you start adding a fully packed bag to the mix, so reducing the load will make things a lot easier to manage.
Another way to reduce your packing space is to go for a thinner mat than you would normally. Your regular mat is probably thick enough to cushion your positions alone, but when you travel, you need the mat to fold smaller. Going thinner reduces the space the mat takes up in your luggage, and you can always throw down a towel or use it over a more padded surface if you need more cushioning when you get to your destination.
Material and Durability
Reducing the weight and thickness might make your travel yoga mat a bit less durable. Naturally sourced rubber is a good option although some users may be sensitive to the rubber smell. The early days of natural rubber didn’t produce very durable mats, but most companies have improved their materials, so you should get a reasonable period of regular use.
Other mats use synthetic materials, such as PVC, to produce lightweight and durable mats. The upside to this is that the mat will last a long time. The downside is that if it ever ends up in the trash, it’ll stick around forever.
Open cell materials that are porous and moist absorbing tend to wear out more quickly than closed cell materials especially when intensively used. Some manufacturers recommend using their travel mat for travel only as the durability might be compromised by the portability.
Support and Cushioning
You know that you’ll need a thinner mat so that it will fold or roll nicely into your luggage. However, the thinnest isn’t necessarily the goal. You still need a bit of cushion and support, or you might as well practice directly on the floor.
We recommend starting with about 1/8 of an inch and going up or down from there as you can find comfort. Some mats come at 1/16 of an inch, but this is pretty thin. If you can’t try out a mat in person, you might not want to go quite that thin.
If you get a mat that’s too thin once you’re deep into practice, you can always put down a towel or some other more cushioned surface to help with some extra padding.
Stickiness and Grip
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything in this category. The same level of grip you’d have with your regular mat, you can also have with a travel mat. Look for mats that are made of the same types of materials or coatings as your favorite mat to get a start.
The grip is super essential for your positioning and safety. Don’t sacrifice grip for the sake of something thinner and more packable. It won’t be worth it.
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice hygiene for a travel mat either. Closed cell materials which are waterproof help prevent bacteria from getting lodged in the mat as you practice. They aren’t as cushiony as open cell materials but might help keep things more hygienic while you travel, in cases when you don’t have as much time to disinfect.
We have something to say about the yoga mats durability in the context of environmental impact. You may want to consider if Ultra-durable is your selling point. All yoga mats wear out at some point and end up needing to be discarded. Ultra-durable materials are usually not biodegradable so that once you replace it, it’ll hang around forever.
You may want something moderately durable. This balance means you’ll get a few years of use out of it, and once you’ve retired it, it will break down within a few years.
Our Recommended Travel Yoga Mats
Mandukas’ travel mat is a sustainably sourced travel mat made of biodegradable tree rubber. It’s a closed-cell design that resists bacterial growth and helps maintain a high level of hygiene. It’s lightweight and weighs just two pounds.
The surface texture is sticky and offers a great grip as long as not too sweaty.
The scrim is tightly woven and resists stretching and tearing, excellent for consistent packing. It measures 68” long and 24” wide. It’s about 1/16 of an inch thick (1.5 mm), so be mindful that this one might need some extra padding once you arrive at your destination.
Clever Yogas’ travel mat is machine and dryer safe and gets stickier the sweatier you are. This slightly longer size mat is foldable for easy packing. It’s less than 1/16 inches thick (1 mm) and measures just 24” wide by 71” long.
This mats’ soft fabric surface has ultra sticky properties which can be great if you’re a Bikram or hot yoga lover. It can not only be thrown in the washing machine but also in the dryer which is quite exceptional for yoga mats, and is a welcome aspect for sweaty yoga devotees.
It’s made of sustainably sourced rubber and has a waterproof layer that resists both bacteria and odor from seeping in.
The Voyager is Jade’s lightest and thinnest mat. It weighs about 1.5 pounds and is about 1/16" thick. It has the same pattern as a standard yoga mat and rolls easily. It’s made of natural rubber so that it won’t stick around in a landfill forever.
It’s about 24” wide and about 68" long. It does tend to crease a bit when you pack it, but if you leave it out when you aren’t on the move, you can reduce how much creasing it has. It’s a versatile mat for a variety of yoga types. If you often join classes while you travel, or practice different types of yoga, this one might be a good choice.
Most of our recommended mats so far are pretty thin. Gaiams’ travel mat is about 1/12” (2mm) which is a bit thicker. It’s also scored, so it grips well even if you don’t sweat that much. It measures about 24” across by 68” long.
It's made of PVC, which is very durable. However, if you're looking for truly eco-friendly materials, this is probably isn't it. It'll last through your workouts, but stick around for a long time once discarded.
You can fold it or roll it. It isn't quite as easy to fold as it looks on the website but at just a pound, it should hit your weight target.
As we said, it’s somewhat sticky, so it’s a good mat for a versatile or unpredictable yoga practice.
Liforme transfer their unique alignment system to their travel mat. It’s a grippy mat made from eco-friendly materials (natural rubber), and the alignment markers are etched rather than inked.
It stays sticky even in a sweaty practice so if hot yoga is your style you can continue practicing even when you travel. The company uses a no waste process when making their mats, and consulted eco-friendly manufacturers for the process. It’s easily one of the most earth-friendly mats on the list.
It’s just over three pounds (3.5) in weight and measures about 26” wide and about 71” long which gives you more space than other mats. It isn’t the lightest weight, but it does sacrifice some pretty serious space.
The Manduka is an excellent mat for a versatile practice. You don’t sacrifice as much mat space as you would with some travel mats, but it still folds well into your luggage.
It hits everything on our list for best lightweight yoga mat aside from the one downside of being quite thin. You might need to consider your practice and if you’ll need extra cushioning. We do think that if you have a varied practice as you travel, this one can give you everything that you need. Plus, it’s made of environmentally friendly materials, which are always considered a healthier choice.