Move / Yoga

The 4 Best Travel Yoga Mats of 2022

Research Based

Research Based

This article was rigorously researched and fact checked. We use peer-reviewed journals and reputable medical sources (think: CDC, WHO, NIH, and the like) to back up every claim we make, and also reach out to experts in the field to ensure we’re covering things the right way. We apply these principles to everything we cover—including brands we partner with—and we’ll always disclose sponsorships, ads, and any kind of financial relationship with anything featured on The Nessie. You deserve the best, most straightforward information on health and wellness, and we think this is the right way to do it. You can read more about our testing and review process here.

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Written by Joni Sweet
Reviewed by Brenda N. Umana, MPH, 500-RYT & Jenni Rawlings, E-RYT

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If you’re constantly on the move, it can be difficult to keep up with your yoga practice. A travel yoga mat can help. 

These super-slender, ultra-light mats can roll up to be just slightly wider than those 1-liter bottles of Smartwater sold at airport convenience stores and stashed away in a suitcase or backpack, beckoning you to get your flow on when you arrive at your hotel. That portability can come at the expense of a slightly less supportive mat compared with conventional versions, but it’s well worth the trade off to have a mat you can take with you around the world. These durable mats can also be a great option for outdoor yoga classes, keeping your primary mat safe from grass stains and wear and tear.

To figure out which travel yoga mat is worthy of your precious suitcase real estate, we tested five popular options in a series of yoga classes. After practicing yoga on these mats for more than six hours in total and putting the contenders through a packing and travel simulation, the Jade Voyager mat emerged as the best option for portability and performance. Several travel yoga mats came with their own strengths, and one was a total dud. It’s worth reading the full review to find the right option for you. 

Here’s the TL;DR on how the best travel yoga mats stack up:

  1. Jade Voyager
  2. Yogo Ultralight Folding Mat
  3. Yoga Design Lab Travel Mat
  4. Gaiam Foldable Mat
  5. Manduka eKO SuperLite

The Best Travel Yoga Mat

Top Pick

Jade Voyager Mat

  • Thickness: 1/16 inches (about 1.6 mm)
  • Material: Natural rubber
  • Dimensions: 68 inches x 24 inches
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
Shop Now at Amazon | $42.95 Shop Now at Everyday Yoga | $42.95
jade yoga travel yoga mat | best travel yoga mats
Pros
  • Extremely grippy
  • Can be folded and rolled into a compact size
  • Very lightweight
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer enough cushioning on hard surfaces
  • Gets creased after being packed

Travel yoga mats don’t get much better than the Jade Voyager. At just 1.5 pounds, this ultralight and slim yoga mat is so portable, it deserves its own passport. While I wish it was a bit more padded, I also found that the natural rubber mat’s grip was super strong, helping my body feel stable and supported. I’m not surprised that this mat has more than 800 five-star reviews on Amazon. 

Even though this mat ultimately earned our top honors, it didn’t make a perfect impression on me initially. Its off-gassing period took some time, with an ever-so-slight rubbery odor that I noticed in child’s pose (although it went away within about two days). It felt thinner than any mat I’d ever used and I doubted that it would provide the cushioning I needed for a flow class. However, I loved that it lay flat on the floor right away, even after it was rolled up tightly for shipping. 

My skepticism evaporated once I started using this mat, though. Its grippy texture kept my hands and feet connected to the mat. This often made up for the limited cushioning a thin mat could provide, especially when I used it on carpet or grass. I did find it helpful to keep a towel nearby to provide a bit of extra padding in certain poses (like lizard) when I used the mat on a hard surface, though. But for the most part, this travel yoga mat seemed to perform as well as many standard mats I’ve used. 

The Jade Voyager blew other travel yoga mats out of the water when I tested its portability. I folded it in half like a hot dog bun, then rolled the two short edges together in a tight cylinder. This took a couple of minutes, but the effort was worth it: The mat took up less space in my suitcase than any other one I tested. When I unpacked it, I noticed a few wrinkles and creases, but nothing major. The mat still lay pretty flat on the floor and felt ready to use right away. After I wiped the mat down with a damp towel, it dried almost before my eyes, erasing the deepest crinkles and the few scratches it endured from packing and my outdoor practice. It looked and felt good as new. 

It’s worth noting that while I felt the mat was padded enough for my practice (at least on a soft carpeted floor), some Amazon reviewers felt it was way too thin, so it might not be the mat for you if you have sensitive knees. You should also avoid this mat if you have a latex allergy, as natural rubber is latex. But given that it packs away into such a light, compact size that you’ll hardly notice in a backpack or suitcase, the Jade Voyager is your best bet if you want a high-performance, durable mat to take with you around the world.

How We Got Here

woman practicing on gaiam travel yoga mat
Brock DuPont

Meet Your Guinea Pig

I’m Joni Sweet. I’ve been covering health and wellness as a writer and editor for major publications for more than 10 years. My work is in SELF, Health, Prevention, Forbes, Healthline, mindbodygreen, Greatist, and dozens of other publications. I’ve been practicing yoga seriously since 2016 (a decade after I took my first class!) and I’ve found myself in downward-facing dog all over the world. 

Our Testing Process

A lot of yoga mats out there claim to be travel-friendly, but many are far too bulky to lug in a suitcase. My testing process started by looking at the most popular travel yoga mats on Amazon and those that were rated well by other professional reviewers, and weeding out those that seemed impractical to pack for a trip. I also cut out mats that were very expensive ($75 or more), since plenty of promising contenders were priced between $20-$70. That left me with five travel yoga mats to review, which Ness purchased for testing.

I was primarily concerned with two major features of these mats. First, I wanted to see how well the mats performed. I used each mat in two 30-to-45 minute, intermediate-level yoga classes I streamed online—one of the classes was on a carpet, while the other was on a hard floor. Afterward, I noted how well the mat gripped the floor and provided a sticky surface for my hands and feet to cling to in poses, even when I started to get sweaty.

I also assessed how much cushioning the mat provided, and whether I felt a strong need to put down a towel or blanket for extra padding throughout my flow. Travel yoga mats that felt too slippery, bunched up in my classes, or made me feel like I needed to put down a towel or blanket for extra padding for the majority of class lost points. Because yogis often use this type of mat for outdoor practice, I put my two favorite mats (Jade Voyager and Yogo ultralight folding mat) to an additional test: a 30-minute power yoga class on the grass in a local park. This helped me see how well they held up outdoors.

The other feature I wanted to see in these travel yoga mats was, well, how travel-friendly they each were. I rolled and folded each mat several times to see how small it could get without risking serious damage. I stuffed the mats in a packed suitcase overnight to test how well each one could squeeze into luggage and whether they would get creased in such a way that they would no longer lie flat. Finally, I wiped each mat down with a damp cloth (the most frequently recommended cleaning method for yoga mats) and let it dry. This was to ensure they would stand up to regular washing, since they’re more likely to get dirty than the regular yoga mat you keep at home.

You can learn more about the testing process by reading my test notes.

Are Travel Yoga Mats Worth It?

woman laying out gaiam travel yoga mat
Brock DuPont

A travel yoga mat is absolutely worth it if you want to keep up with your practice on the go. It gives you a dedicated space to flow, whether you’re at a luxe resort in the Caribbean or on a business trip in Phoenix. While some hotels lend out yoga mats to guests, you might not trust its cleanliness, or even feel comfortable with the material. Finding a travel yoga mat you love enough to put on your packing list for every trip can make all the difference whether you continue your practice when you’re away from home.

If the yoga mat you typically use is slim and light enough, it might be easy to pack in a suitcase. However, we bet that it’s probably not nearly as portable as it needs to be for frequent travels. Our favorite conventional yoga mat (Lululemon’s The Mat) clocks in at nearly 6 pounds and 5 millimeters thick, whereas our favorite travel yoga mat (Jade Voyager) is just 1.5 pounds and 1.5 millimeters thick. That’s a huge space saver in a suitcase.

Beyond being a jetsetting yogi’s best friend, a travel yoga mat offers a few other advantages. They tend to be highly durable, making them great for outdoor classes at the beach or park (plus, you’ll avoid scuffing up your primary yoga mat with grass stains). They’re easy to carry around if you like to hit up a yoga studio before or after a day at the office and want your own mat. And traveling yoga mats by no means have to be used exclusively for yoga—they can be great for stretching, Pilates, HIIT, and other types of exercises, giving you a supportive, grippy place to work out wherever you want.

The Travel Yoga Mat Buying Guide

Brock DuPont

Travel yoga mats offer many of the features you’d expect from a regular yoga mat (a sticky surface, padding to protect your knees, etc.), but are slim enough to roll or fold up into a suitcase or backpack. These mats are also super convenient if you want a light, portable mat to carry to a yoga studio or an outdoor class. 

Which Features Matter Most in a Travel Yoga Mat?

Brock DuPont

Portability and performance are the two most important things to consider when shopping for a travel yoga mat. This can be broken down into the following features:

  • Packable: The mat should easily fold or roll up into a small size (ideally no larger than a yoga block) and be able to spend a night in a suitcase without getting serious damage (like deep creases that don’t go away). 
  • Lightweight: A travel yoga mat shouldn’t put you at risk of paying a heavy bag fee, so look for one that’s no more than 2.5 pounds—the lighter, the better!
  • Grippy surface: Slippery mats can potentially put you at risk of injury, so it’s important to find a travel yoga mat with a grippy surface that allows your hands and feet to stay in place. We found that travel yoga mats with a textured surface felt grippier than those with a smooth, foamy surface, but you might want to test a variety of surfaces to see which feels best to you. 
  • Cushioning: Travel yoga mats, by design, are slimmer and less cushioned than the plush conventional mats you may be used to using. Many are just 1.5 mm thick. You may need to grab a towel or blanket from your hotel room for extra support in certain poses (like crescent lunge). With that said, you shouldn’t feel like your knees are in frequent pain during your flow, or that you need to cover your mat with something soft for the entire time you’re using it. If that’s happening, consider upgrading to something a little thicker, even if it isn’t quite as travel-friendly. Your knees will thank you!
  • Easy to clean: When you’re taking a travel yoga mat all around the world (or simply to the local beach or park), it’s likely to get dirty. Generally, wiping it with a damp cloth does the trick, but it’s worth seeing if the manufacturer recommends another method (like using the company’s proprietary mat cleaning spray) and whether that’s convenient for you to keep up with. You can also buy an all-purpose yoga mat cleaner.
  • Smell: The scent of a new car is downright delightful, but a new yoga mat? Not always great. If you’ve got a sensitive nose, it’s worth reading reviews from other customers to see if a travel yoga mat has a particularly pungent smell and how quickly it evaporates. Some are much less stinky than others.
  • Material: We tested mats made of natural rubber, microfiber, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). All in all, the best one for you comes down to personal preference. Natural rubber performed better in tests overall, but can also trigger latex allergies. Microfiber is soft and super absorbent, making it a great option for hot yoga, but it can feel slippery to new yogis. And PVC tends to be the most affordable, but can be harmful to the environment

How can you bring a yoga mat on a plane?

Brock DuPont

Yoga mats are allowed in your carry-on bag or checked luggage, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The airline you’re flying with may have its own rules (especially when traveling outside of the U.S.), but generally speaking, if you want to roll up a regular yoga mat and use it as your carry-on item (instead of, say, a laptop bag or backpack), you should probably be OK.

Still, most of us don’t want to use up our all-too-limited carry-on bag allowance on just a yoga mat, so you probably want to find a way to pack it into your suitcase or backpack. We recommend investing in a travel yoga mat that’s light and thin—it’ll make your life as a globe-trotting yogi so much easier. When you want to take it with you, you can either fold it or roll it up. Either way, start by folding the mat in half the long way (hot dog bun style). Then, if you’re rolling, grab one end on the short side and roll it as tightly as possible to the other short end. Put a large rubber band over the rolled mat to hold it in place if it doesn’t want to stay compact. 

Folding is less ideal, as it can leave creases on the mat, but it can help you squeeze the mat into a flat space (like the front pocket of a suitcase). So if you’re using this method, simply fold it into rectangles about the size of a book and tuck it away.

Other Travel Yoga Mats To Consider

Yogo Ultralight Folding Mat

  • Thickness: 1.5 mm
  • Material: Natural tree rubber mat, cotton straps
  • Dimensions: 68 inches x 24 inches
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs
Shop Now at Amazon | $68 Shop Now at Yogo | $68
yogo ultralight folding mat | best travel mats
Pros
  • Attached straps make it easy to pack
  • Surprisingly supportive, given how thin it is
Cons
  • Strap clips can get in the way during a flow
  • Gets a little wrinkly after being packed

While not my favorite travel yoga mat, Yogo’s ultralight folding mat was almost as good as the Jade Voyager. Its distinguishing feature is its attached strap and clips, which can be used to keep the mat rolled up tight or hang it in the shower to dry after cleaning it. It also has a handy loop for carrying the mat around, attaching it to a backpack with a large carabiner, or slipping it over the telescoping handles of a roller bag. This unique attribute, combined with the mat’s grippy surface, durability, and overall portability, make it one of the best travel yoga mats you can get.

My first impressions of this mat were mixed. I worried that its attached straps and clips would get in the way during practice. They extend nearly a foot off the back right corner of the mat and couldn’t be removed or tucked away anywhere. I also noticed that the mat had a firm crease going longways down the center and wouldn’t lie flat very easily after I unpacked it from the box. 

But once I started my flow, this mat began growing on me. I rarely needed to pad myself with a blanket or towel. It provided plenty of grip for the majority of my yoga sessions, but it would get a little slippery when I got very sweaty, so it might not be a great fit for hot yoga. Quickly wiping away the moisture with a hand towel took care of that problem, though. 

Even though the straps got in my way a couple of times, they were still a welcome addition to this mat. They made it a breeze to pack up the mat and stuff it in a suitcase. All you have to do is fold it in half longways, roll it up, clip it, and voila!—your mat is ready to squash into a suitcase or backpack. 

The Yogo travel mat fell short of the Jade Voyager in a few key areas. The crinkles and creases it took on when packed away were more pronounced when I unrolled the mat, although they started to go away after about 15 minutes. The foamy texture didn’t breathe as well as I’d hoped, leading me to sweat more. And I could feel more of the sticks and rocks beneath me when I used the mat outdoors in the same exact spot I tried the Jade Voyager. 

Despite the drawbacks, the Yogo travel mat is still a fantastic option for a trip. Its simple strap innovation feels fresh and its grippy surface performed well in several yoga classes. It deserves the 4.6-star rating it’s earned on Amazon.

Yoga Design Lab Travel Mat

  • Thickness: 1.5 mm
  • Material: Microfiber top layer, natural rubber base
  • Dimensions: 70 inches x 24 inches
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs
Shop Now at Amazon | $70 Shop Now at Yoga Design Lab | $70
yoga design lab travel mat | best travel yoga mat
Pros
  • Comes in 10 beautiful designs
  • Microfiber material feels cozy
  • Extremely supportive
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Bulky when folded and rolled up

There’s a lot to love about the Yoga Design Lab travel mat. It comes in 10 vibrant, inspiring designs and is grippy and padded well. It also has an absorbent microfiber top and rubber base that clings to the floor, keeping the mat firmly in place. But this mat fell out of the running for our top pick when I tried to pack it up and discovered how heavy and bulky it is compared to its competitors. 

I received the “Mexicana” colorway of this mat, and I was instantly impressed when I unrolled it. The design reminded me of a desert sunset and gave me something gorgeous to gaze at in forward folds. The microfiber texture felt like a well-loved pair of suede boots—smooth, soft, and supple.

During my yoga classes, this mat went the extra mile with its cushioning. I never felt the need to put extra padding down, even when I was using it on a hard surface and doing intense poses, like mermaid. The microfiber almost instantly absorbed sweat, helping prevent the mat from becoming too slippery. Still, microfiber mats aren’t for everyone. While I prefer them, the surface can be a little silky. Some yogis prefer a stickier surface, so think about what you prefer before making the investment.

To get the mat ready for a trip, I packed it the same way I did most of the other mats (folding it hot dog bun-style, then rolling the short ends together). But getting it down to a compact size was a workout! I had to press down hard and adjust the mat frequently as I was rolling it to prevent it from bunching up. It took a while, and the end result just wasn’t great: It was larger than the other travel mats and felt really stiff and unwieldy. Luckily, after a night in a suitcase, it didn’t retain any creases, but I don’t feel that this mat’s durability outweighs how cumbersome it is to travel with.

I could easily see myself using this option as my primary mat. But even though it’s Yoga Design Lab’s most travel-friendly option, the mat just doesn’t offer the portability of other picks on this list. However, it could be a great fit for a yogi who wants a somewhat portable mat that provides a level of cushioning that’s similar to a conventional yoga mat. You’ll just have to sacrifice some suitcase space. With a 4.4-star rating on Amazon, most customers seem to agree. 

Gaiam Foldable Mat

  • Thickness: 2 mm
  • Material: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Dimensions: 68 inches x 24 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs
Shop Now at Amazon | $19.39 Shop Now at Gaiam | $24.98
Pros
  • Folds flat in just a few seconds
  • Squishy and supportive
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Disgusting smell
  • Rough seams
  • Can be slippery

Gaiam’s foldable yoga mat could be an OK option if you’re looking for something cheap—and can get past its pungent odor. The mat is lined with seams going down the long center and across the short sides that allow you to fold it up to the size of a stack of magazines in mere seconds. Plus, the squishy and supportive mat’s sub-$20 price tag feels right, considering its drawbacks and the abuse it will take when stuffed in a bag for frequent trips.

That smell turned me off right from the get-go, though. An intense odor of industrial plastic permeated my bedroom immediately after I opened the mat, and it didn’t go away for several weeks. Per the brand’s instructions, I wiped the mat down with a damp cloth, which is supposed to increase its stickiness. But I didn’t notice a difference in the feel or, unfortunately, the stench.

The mat gave a mixed performance in the classes I tried on carpeting and a hard floor. On the plus side, it felt padded enough that I never reached for my blanket for extra support. The seams, while rough, gave me an extra place to grip with my hands and feet. But the mat lost points for getting bunched up frequently during my practice, becoming slippery when I started to sweat, and failing to lie flat on the ground. 

I loved that this mat was designed to fold up like a map, offering a convenient alternative to rolling. It was by far the easiest travel yoga mat to pack up among those I tried. It also didn’t show signs of wear and tear during testing and it was easy to clean with a damp cloth.

Given the mixed experience I had with this mat, I can’t give it a full-blown recommendation. Many people seem to love it though, giving it a respectable 4.4-star rating on Amazon. If you’re on a tight budget and you don’t have a sensitive nose, this travel yoga mat could work well for you. But maybe open a window and light an incense or two to mask the stench the first few times you use it. 

A Travel Yoga Mat You Can Skip

Manduka eKO SuperLite

  • Thickness: 1.5 mm
  • Material: Natural tree rubber
  • Dimensions: 71 inches x 24 inches
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
Shop Now at Amazon | $49 Shop Now at Manduka | $49
Pros
  • Sweat doesn’t pool on the mat
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Foamy material can make you feel clammy
  • Very slippery
  • Easily creased when packed

The Manduka eKO SuperLite travel yoga mat didn’t stand up against the competition in any of the core features I tested. I needed extra padding when I used this mat on a hard surface and I was constantly slipping in even the most foundational poses. It also creased easily when it was folded up overnight—just one of several signs of wear and tear I noticed over the course of testing.

I was disappointed to see a long scratch on the mat before I used it. Its foamy texture, though, is what became the ultimate dealbreaker, even before I had the opportunity to try folding it up for travels. The smooth surface almost felt like it was coated in a layer of acrylic paint. It practically became a slip ’n’ slide the moment I stepped on the mat, making me feel like I was going to fall out of even the most basic poses, like downward-facing dog. Every time my feet slid on the mat, it created a cringe-inducing screech sound. Plus, it didn’t breathe at all—any part of my body that touched the mat became clammy in seconds, further exacerbating the slipperiness. I considered stopping my yoga classes early out of concern for my safety. 

The mat didn’t hold up in the portability department, either. It didn’t fold and roll up nearly as tightly as our top picks. And when I took it out of the suitcase, I noticed lots of deep creases, including a big valley down the center. The crinkles, along with random smudges and scratches that appeared during testing, made this mat start to look worn out really quickly.

I’m genuinely confused by the 4.5-star rating this mat has on Amazon. Between its cost and its poor performance, the Manduka eKO SuperLite travel yoga mat is not worth it. Several other travel yoga mats, including the ones listed above, offer a far superior experience at a similar (or lower) price.

Sourcing

Yoga mats are allowed in your carry-on bag or checked luggage: “Yoga Mat” Transportation Security Administration (no date)