As someone who exercises frequently and is always on-the-move, I’ve discovered that not all workout equipment is well-suited for travel, especially when it comes to yoga mats. Over the years, I’ve tested out a lot of travel mats during trips across the world—and the ones that stood out all shared similar features (such as a compact design, easy-to-clean surfaces, and lightweight structure).
But don’t just take my word for it: To help you identify a great travel yoga mat for your next trip, SELF consulted experts and pulled together a list of the best options available. Whether you want to keep up with your practice on vacation or stretch it all out while on the road, one of these mats can help you achieve those goals.
How to choose a travel yoga mat
First things first: If you’ll be bringing it on the go, it has to be easy to haul: “When it comes to a travel mat, it has to be grippy, lightweight, and portable enough to fit in my carry-on bag,” Jake Panasevich, a registered yoga instructor based in Philadelphia, tells SELF.
As for yoga mat material, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a popular choice for travelers because of its grip—but many yogis prefer natural rubber, which offers a bit more cushion. And for an easier-to-clean mat (a major plus when you’re on a trip), look for a closed-cell design, meaning the material is nonporous, Sarah Larson Levey, a registered yoga instructor and cofounder of Y7 Studio in NYC, previously told SELF.
While standard yoga mats are generally at least three millimeters (mm) thick, something thinner is ideal for folding, rolling, and squeezing into travel bags, Morgan Rodríguez, a registered yoga instructor and founder of Grounding Down, tells SELF. You should also consider overall weight: Most options range from two to seven pounds, but an ideal travel mat will come in a little lighter—say, between two and four pounds. That said, minimalist mats may not be well-suited for all yogis: A thicker mat with more cushion might feel way more comfortable for people with sensitive knees or joint pain, Annie Moves, a registered yoga instructor at Alo Moves, previously told SELF.
Other features can help keep your mat ultra-portable, too. For instance, strap bands keep it folded or rolled up during expeditions, replacing bulky mat bags.
The best travel yoga mats
Below, you’ll find yogi- and expert-recommended picks, as well as some of my favorite mats. All of these options are under four pounds, less than two millimeters thick, and super easy to pack.