Gear Guide: One Yoga Mat You Can Take on the Road
By Su Reid-St. John
I love starting the day with a sun salutation or two, but that can be hard to do when I’m traveling. I mean, who wants to risk developing rug burn or sliding face first on to a slippery floor while down-dogging? Not me. Enter Manduka’s new eKO SuperLite Travel Mat, just in time for my vacation.
The eKO covers the same area as a regular mat, but it’s thinner. As a result, it folds up to about the size of a pair of folded jeans, fitting neatly into an overnight bag or suitcase…though not a purse, despite the claim on the label. (At least, not in my purse. If you’re one of those women who schleps her stuff around in a carpet-bag-style pocketbook, you might disagree.) And at a pound and a half, it won’t add much weight to your load.
Although it doesn’t provide much cushioning (that’s the price you pay for portability), the mat is nice and sticky, and I felt totally secure when doing a whole range of poses, even when my hands got a little sweaty. Another cool thing: It’s made of natural, biodegradable rubber, with no dyes or PVC (a type of toxic plastic—trust me, you don’t want this in your mat).
One word of caution: When I first took the eKO out of its plastic wrapping, the smell of the rubber was overwhelming, and it took a couple of days’ worth of airing out for it to dissipate. So take my advice: Don’t buy one of these right before you leave.
However, now that it’s aired out, it’s headed straight into my suitcase for my upcoming Vermont vacation. Sunrise yoga by Lake Champlain? Now that’s worth traveling for.
Product: Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Mat
Pros: A truly portable, lightweight sticky mat that fits nicely into an overnight bag and is easy on the planet.
Cons: It gives off a strong rubber odor at first.
Cost: $36 at Manduka.com
Extra tip: Shell out an extra $5 for the Mat Recycling Kit, and you’ll get a prepaid shipping bag that lets you send in your old yoga mat to be recycled.