Yoga Paws review: the best yoga mat for travel and backpacking

Gear ReviewMorgan Tilton

Yoga Paws Best Yoga Mat for Travel

In 2003 Mother-daughter duo Gail and Jamie Getzwiller created Yoga Paws, padded hand and foot covers that slip on for yoga practice, anywhere.

The impetus of the hand-and-foot pads was the ladies’ mutual love for travel and exploration, and downward dog practice. Like Jamie and Gail, all yogi adventurers face a handful of obstacles that deter them from traveling with a yoga mat. Do you strap it to your carry-on bag? Do you squeeze it into your checked luggage (but then I would need to leave the Frye boots at home…)? Alternatively, should you rent a yoga mat from a studio (…maybe $10) in the local village that you’re off to explore?

Yoga Paws has your back. Garage Grown Gear found them to be the best yoga mat for travel, a true grab-and-go solution.
 

A quick summary of Yoga Paws:

 
Pros

  • Provides on-the-go grip for indoor and outdoor practice, anytime, anywhere (well, maybe not in the snow)
  • Compact size (they take up roughly the same amount of space as a pair of socks or a sports bra)
  • Easy to carry, and slip seamlessly into a purse or side pocket of a backpack
  • You start think creatively about where you practice (on the trail, at the airport, a friend’s backyard, etc)
  • Doubles as weight lifting gloves and can take the place of a towel or yogitoes in hot yoga class

 
Constructive Cons

  • The surface area of Yoga Paws—which is beneath the hands and the feet—does not equal the surface area of a yoga mat (obviously.) Depending on a yogi’s preferences and environment, the Yoga Paws’ surface area may limit the choice of poses (example: poses involving your knees)
  • Initially the hand slips felt restricting (so, if you’re on the boundary line of a size, consider bumping up to the next size)

 

The full review of Yoga Paws:

Yoga Paws Best Yoga Mat for Travel

I was super excited when I heard about Yoga Paws because I’d finally found a solution to the inconveniences of traveling with a yoga mat. In the past, I’d only successfully carried a mat with me when I was on a road trip, versus taking a flight.

Most mats weigh about 5 to 10 pounds, and mine is ¼-inch thick and 74 inches long. And with airlines nickel-and-diming neck pillows and sweaters—let alone a bulky yoga mat—what gets left behind? Now I can slip Yoga Paws into my carry-on or purse and I hardly even notice them.

The best characteristic about the Yoga Paws is its compact size. The four pieces sandwich together and take up the same amount of space as a pair of socks or a sports bra. Plus, they only weigh 5 ounces.

Yoga Paws Best Yoga Mat for Travel

Since they’re easy to carry, you’re more likely to take them anywhere. I took them on flights to Maui, Kauai, New York City, and Asheville, NC. They slipped seamlessly into the side pocket of my backpacking pack when I was hiking the Kalalau Trail.

For those of us who would rather not downward dog with bare hands and feet, they make yoga practice more accessible and because of that, you start think creatively about where you practice: Paws can go with you on the trail, at the airport, and to a friend’s backyard.


Yoga Paws Best Yoga Mat for Travel

Yoga Paws aren’t just great for outdoors adventure or travel—they’re also great for indoor use. I prefer to practice on smooth surfaces versus carpet, but you can use the Yoga Paws on either one. My apartment has a small kitchen with faux wood floors. With Yoga Paws, I just slide the rug aside and can go into downward dog or handstands.

I’m most excited about using them at my Dad’s house, which is much bigger than my apartment, but the furniture takes up the floor space and the wood floors are slick. With the grippy benefit of the Yoga Paws I won’t need to roll out a mat, thus I won’t need to move furniture.

The non-slip hand covers can also double as weight lifting gloves or take the place of a towel or yogitoes in hot yoga class.

One downfall of the Yoga Paws is that—depending on the surface I’m practicing on—I may feel deterred from moving into any knee poses, because I don’t have padding or protection beneath them. However, plenty of grounding poses are still supported by the Paws including Downward Dog, Warrior I, Warrior II, handstand, and wide-legged forward fold.

Also, initially the hand slips felt restricting for me. I like to spread my fingers really wide when I’m in downward dog. They seemed to loosen up with time, but my hand is also on the edge of size two. So, if you’re on the boundary line of a size, consider bumping up to the next size.

The bottom line: these fingerless and open-toed mini-mats are awesome. They’re travel friendly, lightweight and help you land handstand on the fly.

 

If you enjoyed this article, check out or top 10 list of the best yoga gear from independent brands.

Gear reviewYoga paws

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