|My new favorite travel mat - Manduka eKO SuperLite Mat|
Of course, you need it for when you travel, duh. If you're like me and try to sneak in a quick yoga sesh on the go, wherever you may be, it's nice to have a light, compact mat to take with you (otherwise you're stuck using a crappy hotel mat that probably smells of gnarly body odor and may have once had a sticky surface 5 years ago but certainly doesn't provide any traction today, or even worse, you may resort to trying to use a hotel bath towel as a mat - admit it, you've tried it).
But, I've also found having a travel mat is handy when you want to sneak out of the office for a lunchtime yoga class. Nothing screams I'm-not-actually-going-to-a-doctor's-appointment more than carrying your yoga mat out with you as you leave the office. (I hope my bosses aren't reading this). You can fold any good travel mat up (just like in the pics above), stow it away in your work bag and duck out discretely to get your midday vinyasa on. Also, I tend to carry my life on the go, day in and day out - workout clothes, lunch, a book, a magazine, iPod, iPad, computer - and it's just so much EASIER to add a mere 2 lb travel mat to that list. Finally, if you prefer to rent mats at your studio but find them a bit unsanitary, smelly or worn out, you can always just slap your travel mat on top for a more comfortable option (of course, if your own travel mat smells more rank than the rental mat, ummm. . . I suggest a good shower??).
I am currently in LOVE with Manduka's eKO SuperLite Mat pictured above. The name says it all - it's SUPER light! It only weighs 2 pounds. It's made from sustainably harvested tree rubber. It's really sticky and provides fantastic grip, even as the sweats starts pooling on it. It folds up into a nice and tiny little package. And, according to Manduka, it's made out of a natural, biodegradable material that won't flake or fade.
Happy traveling (or lunchtime yoga-ing)