The sun is shining, birds are singing, and people are getting up at ridiculous hours to move, stretch and breathe in the outdoor landscape. While the outdoors can make a perfectly natural yoga studio, some yogis may prefer to spread out a mat for savasana.
Choosing the right yoga mat mainly comes down to preference. If you love a squishy, soft surface, look for a 5mm or thicker mat. To feel the ground beneath your feet, go for a 2mm. If you’re looking for something right in the middle, opt for a 3mm.
Here are a few yoga mats you should try for your outdoor practices:
Best for the Beach
If you’re heading to a sandy, sunny area to practice yoga, you’ll want a mat that is lightweight for portability, tightly woven to resist small sand particles, and grippy for sweaty feet and palms. This natural travel yoga mat from manduka is only 1.5mm thick, but what it sacrifices in cushioning it makes up for in foldability. Weighing 2.2 pounds (one kilogram), it’s easy to carry to the beach and unfold by the water. Unlike many standard yoga mats on big stores’ shelves, this mat is made without PVC, toxic plasticizers or harmful dyes. Instead, it is created from sustainably harvested tree rubber.
Best for the Grass
At the park, a yoga mat can protect you from itchy blades of grass and create a smoother surface for your practice. Look for a sweat-resistant mat with an alignment system to help keep you balanced. This 6mm mat from DAWAY weighs two pounds (907 grams) and comes with a free yoga bag and carrying strap. A special laser engraving texture makes the mat extra grippy, while the smart design features lines to guide your feet and hands into position, keeping you centered.
Best for the Dock
Travelling to a dock is generally by vehicle or boat, so you can lug along a heavier, thicker mat for your practice next to the gently lapping waves. Weighing 5.24 pounds (2.38 kilograms), this 5mm mat is from Lululemon. Made with rubber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, the mat features a reversible design with one side smooth and grippy, and the other side cushioned, natural rubber. An antimicrobial additive helps prevent mould, though the mat can gather stains and scuffs easily—so use it on clean docks only.
Best for the Rocks
Summiting a mountain with a yoga mat might seem overindulgent, but you carry a sleeping mat for overnight hikes, right? Whether you’re driving to a rocky outcrop or trekking to get there will determine if you want a cushiony, heavy mat or a lightweight, travel option. Our suggestion? Pick a foldable yoga mat, like this one from Gaiam, weighing in at only one pound (453 grams). It features a 2mm thickness and comes in beautiful designs. If you tend to get sweaty while hiking, bring along a quick-dry towel, which can also be placed over your mat for extra grip.