I love my everyday yoga mat. It's thick, cushion-y, and protective of my joints, but it is not the best yoga mat for travel. In fact, if I attempted to bring it on a plane, security would likely ask me why I was traveling with a rolled-up mattress on my back. I would then respond, "Because it's sure as hell not fitting in my carry-on."
This year, I've made a promise to myself that I'm going to continue my yoga practice no matter what's going on in my personal life. The problem is, however, that 2018's personal calendar is hardly local for me. It currently contains two out-of-state weddings, a 60th birthday party in Florida, and a week-long trip to California — and we're only two months in at this point. Needless to say, it was time to invest in a travel-friendly yoga mat for all my adventures.
Here's what I learned after a little research: When it comes to staying zen on the road, you're looking for the best thin, lightweight yoga mats. They probably won't be much in the way of joint protection, but they will provide a bit of cushioning and non-slip support no matter where you are. Some are even equipped with awesome features like attached straps, fully-washable fabric, and a foldable design. Here are a few of the best options to compliment any traveling yogi's lifestyle.
1. This Sweat-Friendly Mat That You Can Put Through The Washer And Dryer
If you're headed somewhere tropical with a hot yoga studio, the YogiOnTheGo mat is for you. Because it's made with a soft fabric layer on top, the sweatier you get, the better the grip. In addition to that, there's an extra hygienic waterproof layer that acts as a barrier to odors and bacteria. After a particularly sweaty workout, the entire thing can be thrown in the washing machine and then the dryer, so it's like new for your next practice. It also folds up into a tiny square and weighs under two pounds, so it'll fit in basically any bag you've got.
2. If You're Taller Or Need More Cushioning, This Thicker Mat Comes In Two Sizes
With a 1/8-inch thickness, the Jade travel yoga mat is definitely one of your thicker options. Because of that, reviewers say it provides "adequate cushioning for knees and joints" while still remaining "lightweight enough to carry around on the metro/buses." It rolls up into a very thin tube that's easy to toss over your shoulder or stow away in your suitcase. In addition to added support, the natural rubber material also provides superior grip to hold your poses. Each color is available in two sizes — 68 inches and 74 inches — to accommodate taller yogis who need more room to practice.
3. This Thin And Lightweight Foldable Mat That's Durable Enough To Handle All Your Adventures
Wherever your practice takes you, the Manduka eKO SuperLite yoga mat can handle it. It folds up to fit in your travel bag or purse and weighs about two pounds, but despite how lightweight and thin it is, it's still pretty darn durable. The tightly woven scrim resists tearing or stretching on any surface, and the natural tree rubber has a closed-cell design to prevent the absorption of moisture and the growth of bacteria. "It's been with me to Antarctica, Hawaii, and on many quick overnight trips," says one reviewer. "Much 'stickier' than any other mat I've owned, yet it doesn't pick up dog hair or sand the way I dreaded it would." It's available in 11 bright colors, and it creates zero waste during manufacturing, too.
4. This Budget-Friendly Option With A Unique, Non-Slip Texture
Oftentimes, less expensive mats are made of less expensive material, which means you're slipping all over the place. Not this one. The Gaiam foldable yoga mat is only $20, but its unique sticky texture provides stable footing for optimal performance anywhere. It folds into a 10-inch by 12-inch square, which fits easily in your carry-on or tote, and it comes in six truly eye-catching designs and colors. "Very lightweight yet provides decent cushion," says one reviewer, while another comments, "During a recent trip to Hawaii I had planned on devoting time to my yoga practice. This included doing a yoga jungle hike ... Fantastic mat for not only travel, but everyday use."
5. This Eco-Friendly Mat With Built-In Straps For The World Traveler
Ideal for the world traveler, the YOGO Ultralight travel mat has a patented folding design to fit in small bags with ease. It has attached straps that keep it rolled up and can also be used to hang it from virtually any structure after you've washed it down. (If you're practicing on a beach or on a hike, this is a must — unless you want to fold up a wet, sandy mat and stick it back in your bag.) Last but not least, the super sticky material is actually sustainably-harvested rubber, and the company plants one tree for every mat purchased. It doesn't get much more eco-friendly than that.
6. This Meticulously-Designed Option That Keeps You Aligned On The Go
There are plenty of reasons why people love the Liforme travel mat: it has a revolutionary grip material without any unwanted stretch, it's kind to your body and the planet, and it's lightweight and comes with a free carrying bag. Reviewers even go so far as to call the design "meticulously thought out" and "the best mat for any type of yoga." However, the real selling point is the original alignment system. Its unique on-mat markers give you as much or as little guidance as you need to ensure that your hands and feet are always in the correct place, all while keeping portability in mind.
7. These Brilliant Non-Slip Gloves And Socks If Luggage Space Is Really Tight
If you're really limited on suitcase space, these genius gloves and socks are the way to go. Yoga Paws allow you to enjoy all the benefits of a full-sized yoga mat without any of the hassle. They're made of a stretchy, breathable mesh material that's lined with a non-slip natural rubber, so your hands and feet stay put on any surface. They're available in five colors, and reviewers are raving about them: "I recently got a pair of the Yoga Paws Skin Thins before heading [oversees for two weeks] ... I was able to practice on hotel balcony and on the deck comfortably without a mat. These are a new travel must for me!" The best news? They fit right in your purse or even your pockets.
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