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Top 5 Best Travel Yoga Mats

Last updated (October 2018): Removed Khataland’s YoFo mat and replaced it with a Jade Voyager mat review.

Looking to take your yoga practice on the road?

Luckily, we’re not the only people who want to travel with a yoga mat so there are several decent options for the nomadic yogis among us.

Like usual, I spent way too much time evaluating which travel yoga mat would make my packing list (here’s Anne’s packing list for the ladies). We’ve been traveling nearly full-time for the last 4.5+ years and counting. Without a travel yoga mat, we might have gone insane 😉

What I was looking for in a travel yoga mat?

  • Lightweight and packable
  • Durable
  • Sticky enough
  • Foldable (new requirement for me as it saves space)

This guide was designed to make choosing the right yoga mat a breeze! (or at least give you a starting point)

At the end, I will share which mat we chose. However depending on your specific needs, all of these mats would work great.

Pin me quick! Then keep reading 🙂

Alright let’s start with an overview of the travel yoga mat market…

The Yoga Mat Comparison

 Manduka eKO SuperLiteJade TravelJade VoyagerGaiam Travel MatYOGO Ultralight
Weight (lbs)2lbs3.5lbs1.5lbs1.6lbs2.6lbs
Price (USD)$39$45$39$23$69
Thickness (inches)1/16"1/8"1/16"1/10"1/16"
Length68"68" or 72"68"68"68"
Sticky?5/54/55/52/55/5
Durability?4/55/54/52/54/5
Padding/CushionMinimalAbove AverageAverageMinimalAverage
Foldable?YesNoYesNoYes

 

Alright lets move on to the individual reviews…

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Manduka – eKO SuperLite Travel Mat 68″

Manduka makes great yoga mats and the eKO SuperLite is no exception. Weighs 2lbs, only 1/16” (about 1.5mm) thick which is a very thin yoga mat. It’s very thin and only 68” long which makes it a great travel companion. The “orange peel” surface is extremely sticky even when it gets a little wet. Made from non-Amazon eco-friendly biodegradable tree rubber which won’t flake or fade. Closed cell design will not absorb bacteria This mat can be easily folded or rolled to fit into your bag. Many colors to choose from.

2018 update: We love the Manduka travel mat and used it for several years (and it still works great) but we’ve since retired it. Read on to see what Anne and I are using today.

Potential downside:

  • Too sticky? Transitioning from Crescent Lunge to Warrior 2 can cause the mat to bunch up
  • Too thin? Very minimal mat here(1/16″). Add a towel for extra support
  • Smells like rubber – Not horrible and goes away with time

Gaiam Reversible Travel Yoga Mat

The lightest (1.6lbs) and the cheapest ($23) but also the least capable. One side is a microfiber towel surface, the other a somewhat sticky natural rubber surface. Not recommended to serious yoga students or fans of hot yoga. Can be rolled or folded. Not very durable. We wanted to include this mat because it was the cheapest option 🙂

Potential downside:

  • Too Slippery. Expect to slide around when practicing
  • Lacks durability. Hot yoga and regular use will wear it down fast

 

Jade Travel Yoga Mat

Jade makes excellent yoga mats. Their travel mat scores really high in comfort, durability, and grip… however it’s on the heavy side (3.5lbs). Roughly double the weight of the others. This is one of the most expensive mats reviewed ($68) and has a high quality feel to it. The mat cannot be folded, only rolled. Measuring at 1/8” thick it provides better support than the Lululemon or the Manduka. Eco friendly and comes in many colors.

Don’t want to bash the Jade yoga travel mat, but it’s a little too big to lug around to your favorite yoga destination. However, it looks like Jade listened to the feedback of the community because they released a more travel friendly line of mats called the Jade Voyager (which is wonderful).

Potential downside:

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  • Too heavy! 3.5lbs is too heavy for a “travel mat”
  • Collects dust. Some say the open cell design collects dust too easily

New Addition: Jade Yoga Voyager Mat

Jade and Manduka are the most popular yoga mats in the world. No surprise that they both offer solid choices for traveling yoga mats. Comes in four colors, we love the Olive Green color. This mat is now the lightest yoga mat for travel (1.5lbs) and the best value ($39). My favorite part about Jade mats is that they are extremely sticky from the beginning. Although I love Manduka mats, they takes time to break in before they reach their full potential. We love to support Jade because they plant a tree for every yoga mat sold!

After testing out the Jade Voyager, it’s safe to say it’s a contender for the best travel yoga mat 2018 award!

Potential downside:

  • Too thin? At 1/16″ it’s a pretty compact mat. More padding than the Manduka

How is the Jade Voyager different from the Jade Travel Mat? The short answer is the Jade Voyager weighs half as much (1.5lbs as opposed to 3lbs) and the new Voyager is a foldable yoga mat. Where as the Jade Traveler mat must be rolled. Here’s a screenshot from amazon comparing the differences:

Comparison between Jade Voyager and Jade Travel mat

YOGO Ultralight Travel Mat

YOGO makes the best folding yoga mat for travelYOGO is the newest mat company on the block but they’ve quickly won us over. The YOGO is our favorite yoga mat for travel! It’s by far the stickiest travel mat on the market. We love how it folds up nicely which makes traveling a breeze. Although it’s super thin, it still has great support (more than the Manduka). Bonus points for YOGO planting a tree every time one is purchased (just like Jade).

Potential downside:

  • Too thin? At 1/16″ it’s a pretty compact mat. More padding than the Manduka though.

 

Honorable Mention: Lululemon Un Mat

Lululemon doesn’t only sell yoga apparel – they also dabble in accessories. They created the Un Mat to compete in the portable yoga mat market. The Un Mat is comparable in size to the Manduka… super thin (1/16”) and super light weight (2lbs). Comes with a different texture on each side allowing you to choose your preferred grip. Can be rolled or folded. Made with polyurethane and natural rubber.

Potential downside:

  • Not enough padding? 1/16″ may not be enough cushion (same as Manduka)
  • Too Expensive? 2nd most expensive mat reviewed

No longer on the list: Khataland YoFoMat folding yoga mat

khataland yofomat best travel yoga mat

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2018 update: Since we originally wrote this article (2014), there have been many improvements to the travel yoga mats. This Khataland Yofo Mat no longer makes our cut as a “top 5 yoga mat for travel.” The biggest flaw from my perspective is it’s not durable enough.  

Original review:

Khataland’s YoFoMat is a newcomer to the market and has been getting great reviews. The 68” version weighs 2.7lbs which makes it the 2nd heaviest mat reviewed, that being said it’s not THAT heavy. Can be folded or rolled, bonus: there are folding lines to make folding it easier. This is the thickest mat at 1/6” which means more padding, more comfort but also more bulk. Priced at $33 USD which is towards the cheaper end. This eco friendly mat also comes with a eco friendly case.

Potential downside:

  • Too heavy? As a stickler for lightweight travel, 2.7lbs is starting to get too heavy
  • Too bulky? 1/6” thick is more than twice as thick as the Manduka and Lululemon

Yoga socks, paws, and wraps… do they work?

I’ve never tried them, nor do I have plans to. Some people swear by these two options…

What do The Yoga Nomads use?

We just started traveling with the YOGO Ultralight Travel Mat and are head over heals with it! It’s by far the stickiest travel mat we reviewed and love the “origami” folding design. Although it’s super thin, it feels like it has more padding than the Manduka.

We used to travel with the Manduka eKO SuperLite which is an excellent travel mat! It traveled with us for 20+ months with almost daily use and it held up perfectly, it’s still super sticky, and as always it’s very packable! Disclaimer: there is one downside, it is very thin and kneeling for a long time does start to hurt.

2018 update: We recently picked up the Voyager yoga mat by Jade and are loving it so far! We haven’t test it extensively on the road yet, but so far it’s performing great. Folds or rolls, great colors, and very sticky 🙂

*Now that you have your travel yoga mat… time to check out the best carry-on sized backpacks for travel

Brandon’s personal bias… I LOVE Manduka (and use most of their gear)

 

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Cheers!
Brandon

PS: If you’re looking to create a fulfilling yoga career, creating a website you love is a crucial step. Be sure to nab the Free Beginners Guide: to Creating a Yoga Website you Love

 

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Top 5 Best Travel Yoga Mats

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About Brandon

Former corporate sales rep turned nomadic entrepreneurial yogi. Street food ninja, avid outdoorsman, craft beer geek, and live music junkie. Co-founder of The Yoga Nomads.

22 thoughts on “Top 5 Best Travel Yoga Mats”

  1. The Gaiam travel mat you have listed here doesn’t represent Gaiam’s travel offerings! I think you would like checking out the Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip Mat, I don’t know why they don’t label it as a travel mat since that what it basically is, but it’s super thin and VERY grippy, folds/rolls down, weighs less than 2lbs and the purple one is very pretty. I’ve been using it for around a year now and its still going strong, I’m thinking about buying another mat in the Sol line for my home practice because the grippiness is perfect. This fits in my little backpack I wear all summer biking around and in my purse I take to work so I can go to class right after work. Hope you give it a try, I absolutely love it and the price is very good ($40 on their website but I checked amazon and they have it for $35)

    Here’s the link: http://www.gaiam.com/sol-yoga-mat-bhakti/05-59235.html?start=28&cgid=3010400

    Reply
    • Hey Gabby – whoa I’ve never seen this Gaiam mat. Just checked it out and the specs are excellent and it looks just like the Manduka eKO. Glad to hear it’s working well for you!

      Reply
  2. Hi Brandon, This is a really excellent and systematic review – except you left out the coolest and highest-quality mat, YOGO! The YOGO Mat is super high grip, uses snaps to become a compact bundle and is made of biodegradable natural rubber. Please check us out, we are new in 2014. We like to distinguish between eco-friendly mats that are made of natural materials, and mats that say they are eco-friendly because they don’t contain neurotoxins or “use eco-friendly process” (no mercury etc in manufacturing) but they are actually made of plastic.
    Thanks a lot! Best, Jessica

    Reply
  3. Hi Brandon,

    You may also like the YOGO Mat, a brand new product in 2014 from YOGO (http://yogo.net). The YOGO Mat not only secures to a folded bundle about the size of a 1L bottle, and is extremely grippy, but it’s also easily cleaned and can be hang-dried using the mat’s integrated straps. I definitely think it should make your list of 2015 travel mats!

    Thanks,
    Ryon

    Reply
  4. Namaste! Great article! I’ve been using the Manduka Superlite as my only mat for the last two years and really love it. Reading the specs on the Yogo mat on their website it seems basically the same as the Manduka in every way (thickness, dimensions and material) only a little heavier which I guess is attributable to the straps and buckles, and a lot more expensive. As you’ve used both mats, I wonder if you could give a but more feedback on how they compare?
    Also, I’ve never used a yoga towel – how well do they work with these thin mats and don’t they just bunch up?
    Thanks for all the great articles!
    Oh, a pack recommendation: Rei Trail 40. Superb! It’s now my favourite carry-on (in fact only) travel bag.

    Reply
    • Hey Pete,
      We love both the Superlite and the YOGO – can’t go wrong with either. In my experience, the YOGO is stickier, doesn’t stretch as much in warrior poses, and is more comfortable (especially on my knees). You’re right, the YOGO is definitely more expensive.

      I personally never buy yoga mats based on price. I would rather pick out a yoga mat that I will love instead of saving $20-40 on a product that can last 2-10 years.

      We rarely use towels with travel yoga mats because when we’re traveling we don’t pack a full sized yoga towel. When we’re stationary, we normally practice with a Manduka PROlite. If we attend a heated class, we usually use Manduka yoga towels. Big fans of the PROlite and the Manduka towel.

      The REI Trail 40 looks like a solid pack! Thanks for the recommendation. I mainly travel with my Tortuga V2 – however since I bought mine (3 years ago) there have been SO many great carry on sized backpacks released. A few favorites for me are: Tortuga, Minaal, Standard Luggage’s carry on, Osprey Farpoint 40L, and the Osprey Porter 46L.

      Reply
  5. Does folding the Manduka while traveling cause a lot of wear and tear? Does it hold up to folding and storing in a backpack multiples days a week?

    Reply
    • Good question Andrew. We’ve taken that Manduka on roughly 18months of backpacking where it was being used 3-5x per week. Constantly being folded, rolled, practiced on, etc. So far it’s showing almost no wear and tear. My only complaint is it’s so thin that I cannot do poses on my knees comfortably.

      Reply
  6. Hi and thank you for your article!
    I would love to have a travel mat just for practising outdoors on grass or sand – It would be too bad about my indoor mat …
    which one would you recommend for that?
    Currently I‘m hovering between jade voyager, manduka eco and yogo … which one would you say is more comfortable for outdoor use ?
    The yogo seems pretty cool, but aren‘t the straps disturbing /annoying (during practise)?!

    Greetings from Austria!
    Andrea

    Reply

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