In my research, one mat popped up repeatedly as the best choice — the Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga Travel Mat. At 2.2 pounds and 1.5-mm thick, it's extremely lightweight and flexible, making it easy to fold up tightly and toss in a suitcase.
Despite being so thin, the mat's material is built to last. It's made of sustainable, natural tree rubber that is resistant to tearing and will retain its shape even with frequent use. The surface texture creates a strong grip for sweaty hands. All Manduka mats are made without PVC or potentially toxic plasticizers.
This is one of the most popular travel yoga mats on the market, with high customer reviews and mentions in many publications. Sol Salute likes the "grippy and smooth" surface.
I get it: No one likes the idea of spending $40 or more on a mat you only use a couple of times a year. Infrequent travelers, then, will love the Gaiam Foldable Travel Yoga Mat.
This one-pound mat is even more lightweight than the Manduka eKO Superlite, but it's slightly thicker 2-mm thick. The whole thing folds down to a 10-inch-wide and 12-inch-long rectangle for easy transportation in a carry-on or overnight duffel bag. And, it's one of the most affordable options available.
I have a full-sized Gaiam yoga mat that has lasted me for years with regular use, so I can attest to the quality of the brand's goods. As far as the travel mat itself goes, it's a popular choice among shoppers and reviewers. Bustle praises the "unique sticky texture" that "provides stable footing for optimal performance anywhere." Among Amazon customers, the mat has a 4-star rating based on 316 reviews.
"While most travel mats are folded for travel but best stored rolled, this mat is made to be stored folded," Sol Salute writes, which also points out that the mat is perforated.
Pros: Affordable, very lightweight, meant to be folded
People come in all different shapes and sizes, so why shouldn't their yoga mats? The Jade Yoga Travel Mat is available in 68-inch and 74-inch lengths so you can choose the right one based on your height.
Jade Yoga puts special attention on sustainability, in the construction of the mats and through a partnership with the organization Trees for the Future. The mats are made of natural rubber sourced from trees with no PVC or other synthetic materials added. For each one purchased, the brand ensures a new tree will be planted.
A no-slip, open-cell (more absorbent) surface gives you a solid grip. Reviewers praise the plush cushioning compared to other travel mats, though at approximately 3 pounds, it's a bit heavier than other mats. If you find yourself frequently winching during kneeling poses, you'll appreciate the additional support.
One downside is that, unlike most travel yoga mats, Jade's rolls instead of folds, so it may be harder to fit in your luggage, as The Yoga Nomads points out. On the other hand, the quality makes it a great multi-use pick for home practice as well as travel. Bustle, Well + Good, Shape, and Sol Solute all highly recommend the Jade Yoga Travel Mat.
Pros: Natural materials, purchase benefits Trees for the Future, more cushioning
The cleverly named Reversible (Un)Mat from Lululemon is like having two lightweight yoga mats for the price of one.
One of the downsides of taking your yoga practice on the road is decreased access to the props and extras you might rely on to make a class or an at-home vinyasa session more enjoyable. The Reversible (Un)Mat from Lululemon helps solve that problem with a moisture-absorbing polyurethane-coated layer on one side.
If you get super sweaty during a vigorous practice, use this grippier side to keep yourself from slip-sliding off the mat. For more chill sessions, you can use the rubberized side. This mat is on the thinner side at 1.5 mm. Antimicrobial rubber means you can toss it in a suitcase without stressing about mold buildup.
The Clever Yoga Travel Mat is odor-resistant and simple to clean, which is great news for practitioners of hot yoga.
Is it just me or is cleaning your yoga mat the worst chore? Most of the time they need to be wiped-down, which is time-consuming and not necessarily foolproof if you've got a sticky, grippy mat.
The Clever Yoga Travel Mat is actually machine-washable, which is great for travelers who may have to pack quickly after practice. This pick is highly recommended for hot-yoga fans because of the "microfiber moisture activated grip top layer" and nonslip rubber base. These same attributes make this a great pick for travelers.
The mat is 1-mm thick and weighs about 2.5 pounds. It's odor-resistant, thanks to a waterproof film that prevents moisture and sweat from absorbing into the materials. Like most travel mats, it folds easily to fit in a carry-on, backpack, or suitcase.
"I have already washed it three times and it's still as great as it was on day one," writes one Amazon customer. Overall, shoppers give the mat a 4.1 rating based on approximately 65 reviews.