7 Best Travel Yoga Mats For Your Adventures!

Yoga - Casa Shambala, Koh Phangan

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If you’re wondering what the best travel yoga mat to take on your adventures is, then you’ve come to the right place.  Backpacking can be hard and spending endless hours on stuffy buses and hunched under big backpacks is bound to take its toll. Although yoga and mindfulness is something everybody can practice in their day to day lives anyway, travel presents new challenges which will leave your body crying out for a dose of self-care. 

Whether you’re a qualified yoga teacher or a novice who wants to bring a bit of mindfulness to your backpacking routine, this post has got you covered. Using recommendations from our epic Facebook community, coupled with our own experience (The South East Asia Backpacker team are keen yogis), we have put together the ultimate list of travel yoga mats. 

No stone has been left unturned and we’ve delved into the durability, price, weight and portability of the most popular mats to help you find your perfect travel companion. Without further ado, we’ll reveal quick answers to your yoga mat questions but don’t forget to read on for more about what to expect from each product. 

Best Travel Yoga Mats 2020 – Quick Answers! 

Do You Need a Folding Yoga Mat?

Chances are if you’ve made it onto this post you already suspect that you need a foldable travel yoga mat. But what exactly is a travel yoga mat? With so many yoga accessories available, it can be hard to weed out the necessary from the extravagant.  To answer this question, we need to first establish how a travel yoga mat is different from a normal yoga mat. Essentially, it comes down two things:

  • Weight
  • Packability 

To make it fit for purpose, a travel yoga mat will be more tailored to being on the move, meaning that it is likely to be lighter and easier to pack away than a regular yoga mat. Whilst there is nothing stopping you from taking your normal mat on your backpacking adventures, investing in a folding yoga mat will save you backpack space and often money in baggage fees!

Advantages of a Travel Yoga Mat

1. Lighter Every backpacker knows that there is nothing worse than back pain resulting from an overfilled backpack. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of packing an outfit we don’t need and leaving it in a hostel dorm somewhere. Don’t let a heavy yoga mat be the latest thing to weigh you down. 

2. Easier to pack You have one backpack and time is precious. The quicker and easier your yoga mat is to pack, the happier you’ll be. That also goes for your roommates who are trying to sleep when you’re packing for that early bus! 

3. Money saver  On the surface, this seems a bit of a weird claim. Drop $50USD on a yoga mat and save money, how does that work? Well, many rollable yoga mats, won’t fit into your backpack so they will have to be carried separately (annoying) or affixed to your pack. 

Now, it doesn’t always happen but if your airline wanted to be really pernickety, they could charge you to take on your mat as extra baggage. Factor in a few flights and you may as well have made the original investment! 

Disadvantages of a Travel Yoga Mat

1. Initial outlay Many of the yoga mats on this list are an expense and will cost you. However, if you’re keen to make yoga a regular part of your backpacking routine, you’ll be glad of the investment. 

2. Thickness As travel yoga mats are designed to be lighter and foldable, there is a compromise on thickness. This can sometimes mean that if you have sensitive knees, you may experience a little discomfort. However, this is easily rectified with some portable padding (like your travel towel)!

3. Creases If you have invested in a folding mat, it is only natural to expect that there will be creases. These can sometimes be a pain when you are practising on your mat. Once you have worn in your mat, these creases are unlikely to be a problem and should flatten over time. However, to avoid this issue, you could roll the mat instead of folding it. 

Yoga
Which is the best travel yoga mat to take backpacking?

Choosing the Best Travel Yoga Mat – What to Look For? 

Portability 

This may seem like a no-brainer but finding a portable yoga mat that is practical for travel may be more challenging than it seems. Realistically, all yoga mats are created to be portable, but that does not mean they will all be easy to carry on a backpacking trip. 

You want to look for a compact and thin travel mat that could fit in many places. If you can avoid carrying it separately or having to affix it to your backpack using a mess of carabiners, that will assist with quick and easy packing.

Packability

It may surprise you to know that not all travel yoga mats are foldable. However, by investing in a foldable yoga mat, you’ll find that your mat is much easier to pack. These mats are slim and lightweight enough to be folded into a compact size which should easily fit into most backpacks. 

Easy to Clean

The purpose of travel yoga mats is to be able to bring them along for all your treks and explorations. That means your mat could get pretty grimy after a few uses in sand or dirt. Invest in a mat that can be cleaned in the shower or sprayed clean. Air dry in the sun in preparation for your next move.

Durability 

Remember that you will want your travel mat to be with you throughout your whole backpacking trip and beyond. Don’t sacrifice durability for backpacking convenience. You can have both in one mat! Look for mats made from natural rubber for durability that is comfortable and sustainable.

Sustainability

An essential part of yoga is awareness, both of yourself and of your environment. Therefore, it is only right to take into account the sustainability of your travel yoga mat. Try to look for companies which use sustainable materials in their products and have a responsible ethos at their core. 

Best 7 Travel Yoga Mats 2020 Picks! 

1. Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat

  • Size: 24 x 71 inches (61 x 180 cm)
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
  • Thickness: 1.5 mm
  • Design: Foldable
  • Cost: $$

The Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat is one of the most popular mats among backpackers around the world. This super-slim mat folds down which makes it very easy to transport inside your backpack. 

The texture of the surface provides solid traction even when wet, which means that this mat is great for your stability when you bend into those more challenging, sweat-inducing postures. The mat is made of non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber for sustainability.

All Manduka mats are made without PVC and only use non-toxic chemicals to soften the rubber. This makes the eKO Superlite a very environmentally friendly mat!  This lightweight mat is made to be super durable so you can enjoy as many yoga classes as you can fit into your backpacking journey.

You can choose between ten different styles so you can match your yoga mat to your backpack and personality! At the end of your day, rinse your mat, hang it to dry, and it will be ready to take on your next adventure!

Rave Review: ‘I’ve used the Manduka eKO Superlite for 3 years and I’m super happy. It’s only 1 kilo and you can fold it really small!’

Buy a mat direct from Manduka’s online store here.

2. Jade Voyager Yoga Mat 

  • Size: 24 x 68 inches (61 x 173 cm)
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs (0.6 kg)
  • Thickness: 1.5 mm
  • Design: Foldable
  • Cost: $$

The Jade Voyager Mat is a super reliable and durable option to carry with you on your backpacking adventures. It is a foldable yoga mat which compresses down to around the size of a yoga block – super helpful for travellers who prefer to pack light!

The mat is made from open-cell natural rubber, which creates especially good grip to help you hold poses for just a moment longer each time. The natural rubber also provides extra cushioning for comfortable practising on the go so despite being a thinner mat, you still get a decent level of padding.

This sticky mat will support you without allowing you to sink in when holding poses. Not only will you benefit by getting a great mat for your travels, but Jade Yoga plants a tree for every mat sold. That is bound to give you a nice fuzzy feeling inside!  The Jade Voyager Yoga Mat is available in four colours: purple, olive, midnight blue and fire engine red. 

Rave Review: ‘Very simple to roll, fold or carry and like all Jade mats, has great grip. It is not very cushioned but that is fine for me. I almost always practice outside on grass anyway. Would recommend!’

3. Gaiam Travel Mat

  • Size: 24 x 68 inches (61 x 173 cm)
  • Weight: 2 lbs (0.9 kg)
  • Thickness: 2 mm
  • Design: Foldable
  • Cost: $

The Gaiam Foldable Yoga Mat is a super slim model that folds down to be compact enough to pack in your carry-on bag. It is by far the most budget-friendly travel folding mat on our list.

The mat is designed with a special sticky texture which is meant to improve traction and grip while you’re practising even when you find yourself sweating. However, some users have reported issues with the long-term durability of the product. 

This thin mat is ideal for keeping handy while backpacking, but keep in mind that if you’re doing yoga outside, you may need to secure with a couple of rocks if the wind picks up.  

If you’re looking for something cheap which will serve you well on shorter backpacking trips, the Gaiam Travel Mat is a good choice. However, it does contain PVC which is bad for the planet.

Gaiam has no information regarding their sustainability practices on their website so you will want to avoid them if your priority is investing in an eco-friendly travel yoga mat. 

Rave Review: ‘This yoga mat is light to carry and thick enough to provide protection, whatever the floor surface. The best thing? The price!’

4. YOGO Ultralight Travel Yoga Mat 

  • Size: 24 x 68 inches (61 x 173 cm)
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs (0.9 kg)
  • Thickness: 1.5 mm
  • Design: Foldable
  • Cost: $$$

The YOGO Ultralight Travel Yoga Mat is a model used and trusted by many experienced yogis for their travel needs.

This mat comes in six rich colours to suit your personality and there are two sizes available. The size listed above is for the Ultralight Standard but there is also a longer version: the Ultralight Long. It’s a little heavier at 3.2 lbs (1.5 kg) and clocks in at 72 x 29 inches (183 x 74 cm) when opened up. 

This foldable yoga mat boasts a great design which allows you to pack it down to the size of a newspaper. The straps attached to the mat function in two helpful ways, as they provide a carrying system and make it easy to hang your mat up to dry after it’s been cleaned.

The YOGO mat is made from renewable tree rubber which is high-performance and super sticky for ultimate grip and traction during your practice. Yogis claim that it is also very durable for a travel yoga mat. If you decide to invest in a YOGO mat for your backpacking trips, a food-producing tree will be planted in Africa. 

Rave Review: ‘I was looking for a folding travel yoga mat and YOGO came to the rescue! I find it very sticky and it didn’t have a strong rubbery smell. I love it and I love how eco-friendly it is!’

5. The Travel Yoga Mat by the Yoga Design Lab 

  • Size: 24 x 70 inches (61 x 178 cm)
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs (0.8 kg)
  • Thickness: 1 mm
  • Design: Foldable
  • Cost: $$ 

The Travel Yoga Mat by Yoga Design Lab is a lightweight option for travel. It comes in a collection of various beautiful and calming prints to keep things aesthetically pleasing while you find your flow.

Although this mat is thin, the cushioning provides stability that will prevent injury and enhance your practice while you backpack. It is a great option for hot yoga as the mat actually becomes more grippy with sweat.  This eco-friendly mat is made of natural tree rubber and microfibre from recycled bottles and the prints are water-based for ultimate sustainability. From every purchase, the Yoga Design Lab donate $1 to Urban Youth Yoga Programs.

The mat rolls up to a super slim size and comes with a practical carry strap so you can leave your bag at base while walking to class. The mat is easy to clean and is simply hung to dry. 

Rave Review: ‘I love this beautiful mat. It is perfect for travelling and it grips very well so I never slide around. Best yoga mat I’ve had!’ 

6. MB Zen Relief Yoga Mat 

  • Size: 25 x 72 inches (63 x 183 cm)
  • Weight: 3.7 lbs (1.7 kg)
  • Thickness: 8 mm
  • Design: Foldable
  • Cost: $$
  • Discount For SEA Backpacker Readers: Use the coupon “BACKPACK” when buying from their store.

The MB Zen Yoga Mat is a folding yoga mat that is made from thick high-tech memory foam for optimal comfort while remaining easy to store and carry.  This is the thickest mat on our list which as you would expect, does make it a heavier option. Whilst it won’t suit everybody, yogis who need more support or suffer from ongoing joint pain will find that this folding mat offers far more comfort. 

This mat has a two-sided design with the underside featuring a non-slip surface to increase safety and functionality during your yoga practice. When you invest in this MB Zen mat, you get a free carry bag which makes packing easier and keeps your mat in prime condition. Using this MB Zen mat for your travels means that you will be protecting your alignment along with being environmentally friendly.

The mat is free of latex and metals and SGS approved, and the carry bag is made from 100% cotton.  MB Zen has partnered with One Tree Planted, so if you invest in this yoga mat, a tree will be planted in return! They also have a great guarantee in place – if you have any issues with your mat, just contact them and they will solve the problem or refund you!

The lovely yogis at MB Zen have offered a discount code to our readers, just add the coupon BACKPACK when buying through their online store.

Rave Review: ‘This mat is great quality and very easy to fold up. I love how lightweight it is as I use it when I go away. Thank you MB Zen!’

7. The Liforme TRAVEL Yoga Mat

  • Size: 25 x 71 inches (66 x 180 cm)
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg)
  • Thickness: 2 mm
  • Design: Roll-up
  • Cost: $$$$ 

The Liforme TRAVEL Yoga Mat is an excellent option to bring along with you while backpacking.

This mat is thicker than some other travel mats and therefore a little heavier, however, it is still easy to pack and carry. The mat comes with its own carry bag with a sling for your convenience but be aware, this is not a foldable yoga mat. 

The mat is made with the AlignForMe alignment system to protect your body and the GripForMe material for a reliable non-slip grip. It also has an alignment marker system so you can check your alignment for the perfect downward dog! The Liforme mat is eco-friendly and sustainable, as it is made from mainly naturally sourced rubber and is PVC-free.

The mat is biodegradable in 1-5 years in landfill conditions.  You will find it very easy to clean the mat and it will dry quickly when you hang it outside in the fresh air. The main downside of this mat is the price. It is a costly investment which is only likely to be beneficial to the most dedicated yogis. 

Rave Review: ‘I love this mat and the price is definitely worth it. I’ve used Liforme for many years as a student and now as a teacher. It is exceptional.’ 

Caring for Your Travel Yoga Mat 

  • Clean it properly

It is important to keep your mat clean for hygiene reasons but also to keep it grippy. We recommend using a natural spray cleaner for this. Although these can be brought from yoga stockists, they are also easy to make yourself. An easy DIY cleaning solution consists of 50/50 cider vinegar and water with a few drops of your favourite smelling oil.  

  • Roll to store

To prevent wear on your yoga mat, it is recommended that you store it rolled and not folded. This will also help with the creases that regularly occur with foldable yoga mats. 

Namaste!

Slowing down at some point during the day for a yoga class while backpacking is an excellent way to keep yourself calm and refresh your perspective. With one of these travel yoga mats, you are sure to find the perfect companion for all of your backpacking adventures!

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  • Updates on travel in Southeast Asia.
  • A mix of fun & thought-provoking articles.
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Trust us, we can't wait either...

  • Updates on travel in Southeast Asia.
  • A mix of fun & thought-provoking articles.
  • Honest trip planning advice.
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