Visiting new destinations by air or on a road trip is sure to open up many possibilities for sun salutations and a relaxing yoga session. To save space in your luggage, having a compact yoga mat is key. There’s nothing worse than trying to juggle an unwieldy mat while checking in for your flight or a bouncing mat in your arms while flagging down your taxi when running late for your trip.
With so many yoga mats on the market out there, narrowing them down to fit your needs and preferences will keep the important elements of your trip planning in the forefront of your mind. Whether you’re looking for no-slip construction, sweat-absorbing technology, or a super cute design, we’ve got you covered with high-quality options for every need.
Read on to see our picks for the best travel yoga mats available.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Lululemon Carry Onwards Mat
Have you experienced that annoying fraying you get after your mat has been through a thousand downward-facing dogs? Lululemon offers a solution with their Carry Onwards Mat, which has clean-cut edges that don’t fray. The yoga mat weighs less than 3 pounds but is still made with the good stuff: sustainably sourced rubber material and a microfiber side that makes good grips possible. If you have another mat to work with, this one can serve as a top layer for soaking up a sweat during hot yoga. The mat folds as neatly as a thin towel and will fit easily into your carry-on luggage or an overnight backpack.
Best Budget: Gaiam Foldable Yoga Mat
Being both an affordable price point and compact, the Gaiam mat checks many traveling yogi’s boxes. The 2-millimeter, ultra-lightweight mat folds flat into a 10 x 12-inch square and weighs just 2 pounds. The foldable mat will pack easily into your carry-on next to your clothing and shoe bag, and won’t tip the scales in making your bag overweight. The mat is made with a sticky texture to help you hold your poses longer and comes in bright, cheery colors like purple, paisley, and blue.
Best Eco Friendly: Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat
For those environmentally conscious yogis, there is a mat for you. Maduka’s eKO Mat is a natural yoga mat made from sustainably harvested tree rubber and the method of softening the mat is non-toxic. Comprised of both cotton and polyester materials, the 2.2-pound travel mat is lightweight and gives you that strong grip you need when performing even the most advanced yoga poses. The sweat dripping down will not impede your routine as the mat is made with an open-cell surface technology that repels sweat. Other eco and body-friendly materials include being made with no PVCs, toxic plasticizers, or harmful dyes.
Best Printed Design: Pendleton Fire Legend Yoga Mat
Weighing only 2.5 pounds, the Pendleton Fire Legend Mat will fit comfortably under your arm or tucked inside your checked luggage. Although known for their sweaters and blankets, Pendleton partnered with the Yeti brand to collaborate on this exclusive fire legend pattern, which features bright and dynamic colors. The materials are high quality as well, using a PVC textured top with a rubber bottom. The Yeti brand produces USA-manufactured products that are eco-friendly like kicking out latex, heavy metals, and phthalates that can be found in other yoga mat brands.
Best Folding Mat: YoGo Ultralight Folding Yoga Mat
For those that are constantly on the go, you need a yoga mat that can roll with your hectic travel plans. The folding ingenuity of the YoGo Ultralight Folding Yoga Mat is such that it allows you to pack this 2-pound mat into a newspaper size. The attached straps make it easy to carry around if you aren’t tucking it into your carry-on luggage. Even with the small size, the grip is super sticky to prevent sliding when posing. The brand also gives back: for every mat purchased, there is one tree planted in Africa.
Best for Advanced Yogis: Manduka Pro Travel Yoga Mat
Similar to the brand’s 1.5-millimeter eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat, this one is just a bit thicker with extra padding. The mat is made with the brand’s Performance Grip technology which uses hygienic, closed-cell construction and helps you hold that flying pigeon pose even longer. Sanitizing the mat is sometimes the tough part of a yogi’s job but the Pro Travel Yoga Mat makes cleaning so much easier with the closed-cell construction.
Best for Hot Yoga: Lululemon The Reversible Mat
If you’re looking to go deeper into your warrior poses and downward-facing dogs, then you need a yoga mat that has more cushion for your yoga pushing. This mat was designed with a natural rubber base, has a polyurethane top layer that helps to absorb sweat, and an antimicrobial additive that prevents mold and mildew. You should wipe it clean and leave it out to air dry after every session to keep the mat feeling fresh.
Frequently Asked Questions About Yoga Mat
Q. What is the best thickness for a yoga mat?
A – If you’re not sure where to start, choose a mat that is about 1/8-inch. Thick (or 3.175mm), a pretty standard thickness. These mats are excellent for those in a strong, flowing exercise. They allow solid contact with the floor, which helps with stability during a variety of poses.
Q. What is the difference between a yoga mat and a Pilates mat?
A – Pilates mats differ from yoga mats because they are thicker — usually about half an inch — and denser. Since Pilates uses a lot more floor work than yoga, its mats are designed to provide more support as you move through the workout.
Q. What does a yoga mat do?
A – Yoga mats (also called sticky mats) are found in most yoga classes. They are used to provide cushioning and traction as you pose. While you can usually rent a mat at a yoga studio, it’s a good idea to buy your own.
Q. Why am I slipping on my yoga mat?
A – Some people naturally sweat more than others. Or maybe you’re doing Bikram yoga and the room is 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. A wet mat can easily become a slippery mat.
Q. Which is better 4mm or 6mm yoga mat?
A – Both 4mm and 6mm yoga mats are good yoga mat thicknesses, and as such are commonly used yoga mats. The difference is that 6mm yoga mats provide extra cushioning which can provide a little extra cushioning to your joints. And so between these two, I usually recommend the 6mm option.
Q. Is a yoga mat necessary?
A – You don’t need a yoga mat to practice yoga in a pinch, although it’s best if you eventually invest in an inexpensive mat as well. Carpets and rugs are the best options, although they can be slippery in some poses and are prone to injury.
Q. Is 3mm Yoga Mat Too Thin?
A – Thickness: Mat thicknesses vary and help with cushioning and support. When it comes to thickness, there are a few things to consider in terms of performance as well. The thickness of yoga mats usually varies between 1 mm and 7 mm. A good mat that can be used for various yoga exercises is usually 3 mm thick.
Q. How long do yoga mats last?
A – The lifespan of a yoga mat largely depends on the quality of the mat and how often you use it. In general, you can expect a mat to last about a year.
Q. Which is harder Yoga or Pilates?
A – Pilates exercises are much more intense and results can be seen much quicker than yoga. Through repeated Pilates exercises, it can be easy to achieve a flatter and stronger stomach. If you have back problems, then one has to be careful with some yoga poses as they can sometimes aggravate the problem.
Q. Does Pilates Give You a Flat Stomach?
A – Yes! Doing Pilates strengthens the core muscles, increases the body’s fat-burning capacity, and reduces stress in your life. In fact, Pilates can provide huge weight loss benefits when combined with another form of cardiovascular workout.
Q. Can I use a fitness mat for yoga?
A – The main difference between yoga and an exercise mat is thickness, so if your main use is the practice of yoga, choose a yoga mat. Whichever mat you choose, just know that you are achieving your goal of staying physically fit.