Best Backpacker Travel Yoga Mat

& other resources for the traveling yoga teacher.

Planning a long trip abroad and considering whether or not to bring a yoga mat? Should I backpack/travel with a yoga mat? I have met folks who practice, teach and travel, there was no consensus, it is half with and half without. When trying to travel light 2-4 pounds (1-2kg) of extra weight can be a lot to manage. The main question to ask yourself is; for personal practice do you need your own mat?

I started without a mat for two months to travel light and see how it went. After coming home for Christmas and completing my yoga teacher training I knew needed to bring my own mat. Many of the mats in hostels or studios abroad are not the nicest. It was comforting to practice on my own mat. I did my research and decided on the Manduka eKO Superlite.

Best Overall Travel Yoga Mat.

Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga Travel Mat – a 2.2 pound (1kg), 1.5mm thick mat. Super sticky and portable. I love Manduka products, my home and studio mat is the monstrous PRO, but I couldn’t travel with the 10 pound beast. For five years I used the PRO and it served me well, without issue. The sticky surface of the Superlite makes it perfect to put on top of another mat or towel. As I travel I am less worried about cushion and want to ensure I have traction. perfect to pair with the backpack. The main con is that the mat does not come with a strap. I ended up buying the Manduka Go Move Yoga Mat Carrier

Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga Travel Mat on backpack
Practice in the Amazon on my Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga Travel Mat

Alternative Travel Yoga Mats

Other options for travel and lightweight yoga mats. Other travelers I met along the way used and recommend these mats.

Additional Backpacking Yoga Teacher Resources

In addition to a travel mat there are several items I traveled with during my time teaching and practicing yoga in South America.

  • Yoga/Travel Towel – additional use as a towel while you travel. Throw it down when you decide to take a hot yoga class.
  • Travel book for book swaps. I recommend always carrying a paperback book with you. You can always check the book swaps for a new book.
  • Mat cleaner (Manduka Organic Yoga Mat Cleaner, 8 oz, Lavender) Or your own recipe for a cleaner. I have no idea how to make one but you can check out resources online to make your own. I like the Manduka one because it is formulated especially for the mats
  • Your favorite yoga book – A book to go back to when you need some inspiration. I frequently go back to Light on Yoga – Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga. I love flipping through the pages to find new insights.
  • Pose flash cards – The Mark Stephens Yoga Sequencing Deck – when building out flows or looking for inspiration I flip through my cards for a spark.

Planning a backpacking trip or looking to teach yoga abroad? Read about my experience over two years in South America. Teaching and practicing yoga across a continent. If you have any questions Send me a message or DM me on Instagram.