Spoiler alert! The Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip Yoga Mat is my SECOND pick for best yoga travel mat.
This mat ran a close second to the Manduka eKO SuperLite travel mat with both of these mats scoring 4.1 in the customer reviews on Amazon. A solid score. And, all Gaiam yoga mats have a lifetime guarantee. You’ll need to go to Gaiam’s website to register your mat.
Pennies per pound
Price is where the Gaiam mat shines. It goes for just under $20. But, it comes in only one color (slate) for that price. If color isn’t a big factor for you, then this might be YOUR travel mat.
There’s also a beautiful plum color available for around $25, which isn’t that huge of a difference for a little color.
How big is the Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip Yoga Mat?
This mat, like the other two travel mats we’ve reviewed, is 24” x 68.” It weighs 1 lb 12 oz, which makes it the lightest mat we’re reviewing.
This may be due to the thickness being 1mm. So just be aware, this mat is super thin!
That may be most important factor for you to consider; if you’re looking for some cushion in your travel mat, this wouldn’t be the best choice.
The upside of being only 1mm thick is that the Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip Yoga Mat is ridiculously packable. Reviewers raved about its small size and weight. Many buyers suggested using this mat on top of a thicker one to get the cushioning for knees, head or spine. So if you’re traveling and practicing in studios, you may want to rent a studio mat and use the Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip Yoga Mat on top.
Show me what you’re made of
Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip Yoga Mat is made of 100% natural rubber, a renewable resource that makes for an eco-friendly product.
A big plus with rubber mats is that they are made from a natural source and are biodegradable. That makes me feel good when I buy it, AND when it’s time to toss it. Rubber mats have a limited lifespan so that WILL happen at some point.
The big three: Grip, texture and slip-resistance
This mat rates highly in the category of grip. In my experience, a rubber mat has a noticeably better grip than any of the synthetic mats. And the reviews on the Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip travel mat touted this fact, with only a few people mentioning that they slipped a bit.
I just unrolled this mat for the first time (Amazon got it to me in three days, which is great for being in Hawaii) to give it a try. I did my Five Tibetan Rites practice on it fresh out of the package. I didn’t even wipe it off. It wasn’t a sweaty practice, so not sure how it would have handled that, but it was perfect for my Rites.
The rubber smell was strong, as expected. But the grip was fantastic! It’s super thin, so I did feel my knees, but that wasn’t surprising. Overall, the mat performed well.
I pulled my seasoned Manduka eKO SuperLite out of the cabinet and laid it beside the Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip Yoga Mat and could not tell a difference between the two.
Yes, my Manduka is a bit old from years of use but it still has wonderful grip. These two mats could be twins. They are not noticeably different.
I’ll have to see how the Gaiam ages and how the smell fades to judge it beyond this first test run. Give me a few years and I’ll add an update! 😜
If your practice is hot yoga or a sweaty vinyasa style, keep a towel handy. Most yoga mats will be slippery if you have pools of sweat on your mat. A yoga towel or rug on top might be a good idea for very sweaty yogis.
The thin construction of this mat may cause it to move or bunch up a bit during your yoga practice. Some reviewers mentioned this was an issue during their practice. It makes sense that a thinner, lighter yoga mat will have a tendency to move a little. For most reviewers, this was a minor issue, if one at all.
Love and care for your mat
Some reviewers complained about the strength of the rubber odor of this mat. Any rubber mat I’ve owned did have a rubber smell, some more than others. By airing out the mat and cleaning it with yoga mat spray, the smell will lessen quickly. It may always have a slight rubber smell to it, so if that’s offensive to you, steer clear of rubber yoga mats.
Find our DIY yoga mat wash recipe here.
Other tips for improving the life of your rubber yoga mat is to allow it to dry before storing it. It’s also best to roll up the mat for storage, not leave it folded. Folding during travel is fine, but in between travel roll it up and store it in a mat bag for best results. This will keep the sunlight from getting to it and shortening your mat’s lifespan.
Storing in a hot car is also not advisable. Heat and sunlight break down the rubber.
The safest way to clean your yoga mat is to use a good mat spray and wipe it off and allow it to air dry. If it is especially dirty, use a mild soap and make sure to get all the soap off so it’s not slippery when in use later. I have washed my Manduka eKO SuperLite travel mat in the washer, but it’s not recommended.
Conclusion: Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip Yoga Mat
This mat is a great option for a thin, lightweight travel mat. If this sounds like the mat that will work for you buy it here on Amazon.com for the best deal and free shipping.