Your favorite yoga studio might provide you a mat in-house, but there are advantages to bringing your own anyway. The quality, grippy-ness, and cleanliness of a shared studio mat are not guaranteed. A travel yoga mat, on the other hand, you can keep clean at home; and you can also purchase one you know is of good quality.
A travel yoga mat is generally thinner and designed to be easier to carry than a traditional yoga mat. That’s helpful if you’re toting it to your studio or even packing it up for a weekend away. The four travel models that we tested in our labs at CR weigh between 2 and 5 pounds—less, for the most part, than other types of mats.
The main drawback of a travel yoga mat is that it doesn’t provide as much cushioning as a standard mat, notes Bernie Deitrick, who led CR’s testing of yoga mats. Still, you can help alleviate the lack of cushioning if you need to by layering a travel yoga mat over a studio mat, which should provide some extra padding.
Along with testing how much cushioning they provide, we checked yoga mats for how quickly they dry (a quick-drying mat could also be advantageous if you’re taking it with you to a hot yoga class, or if you simply happen to sweat a lot during your practice), how strongly the top of the mat grips your hands and feet, and how strongly the bottom of the mat grips the floor.
Here are our quick takes on four popular travel yoga mats. You can also view our full ratings and reviews of 19 different yoga mats.