I pack like a minimalist when I travel but I never leave home without a yoga mat. It is the first thing I unpack when I get to the hotel. There is nothing like getting a good post-flight stretch in. Unfortunately that means my cushy The Mat, by Lululemon at 5.8lbs, doesn’t really fall into the “packing light” category. There are a few different travel mats on the market, but my favourite is the eKO SuperLite Mat from Manduka. It is 1/5 the thickness of The Mat and folds up into a small handful. It is very versatile and adds less than two lbs to my bag.
Thickness: 1/16″ (about 1/5 the thickness of a standard studio mat.
Length: 68″ long, 24″ wide
Material: non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber that won’t fade or flake. 99% Latex free. No PVC, toxic plasticizers or harmful dyes
Biodegradable: Yes. Manduka used a blend of polyester and natural cotton for reinforcement which, when disposed of, will biodegrade without leaving behind a toxic residue.
Odor: It has a strong rubber smell off the shelf, but it dissipates after the first week of use.
Softness: Think “knees directly on the ground” when using this mat.
Stickiness: What this mat lacks in cushiness, it makes up for in stickiness. So far I’m yet to slip on this guy.
Durability: It has held out through some super sweaty sessions, countless vinyasas, and repeatedly being thrown into an embarrassingly disorganised bag.. After 3 months of regular use, it shows no signs of wear, but I will update everyone again on its condition at the one-year mark.
Pack-ability: The best I have come across – it is so light and malleable and I regularly throw it in my hand bag. The eKO SuperLite folds down to a tiny 10″ x 6″ x 4″
Price: $40 USD
I bought this mat on a whim when my local yoga studio was having a sale. “Do I really need another mat?” I thought to myself after the impulse purchase. Yes, yes I did need this mat. However I had no idea how much I needed this mat until I got off a flight in Dallas, and unpacked the tiny folded up mat from my carryon bag. No longer having to lug my huge The Mat around was a godsend! It has revolutionized the way I travel and pack for yoga classes in NYC.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
In my opinion the thinness of the mat allows for a better connection with the earth when used on firm ground. In the hotel, the carpet underneath the mat is soft enough that I don’t need extra support under my knees. In studio’s I use blankets for extra support under my knees. Lululemon’s UnMat is also designed for portability, but I prefer the eKO SuperLite for 3 reasons. The eKO Superlite is 1) slightly lighter by .44lbs, 2) it has better “fold-ability”, and 3) comes in 10 different colours in comparison to UnMat’s 2 (black or red). Not to mention, this mat quells my inner-compulsiveness. I can fold up the eKO SuperLite mat in such a way that the side that touches the ground, never rolls or folds onto the side that I practice on.
The eKO SuperLite mat compliments my desire to live light, yet grounded. What is your experience?