The Best Portable Exercise Equipment That'll Fit in Your Carry-on

From Primasole’s Folding Yoga Mat to the Vinsguir Ab Roller, these pint-size fitness powerhouses will help you stay active on your next trip.

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Best Portable Exercise Equipment

Travel + Leisure / Brian Kopinski

Going on a trip but want to stick to your fitness goals? No sweat. Portable exercise equipment — everything from resistance bands to foldable yoga mats to weighted vests — allows you to get a good workout in wherever you are.

These travel-friendly items will easily fit inside a carry-on without breaking size or weight restrictions, and yet they strengthen and tone your muscles just as well as (sometimes even better than) full-sized equipment you’d find in a regular gym.

For a total-body workout while traveling, we recommend the TRX All-in-one Suspension Trainer. Although it can give all of your muscles a tone-up, it’s incredibly lightweight and compact enough to slip into a suitcase. Once you get to your destination, you’ll have no problem finding room to do the space-efficient exercises. We have many other picks for small but mighty items worthy of a purchase, from massage guns to ab equipment for serious muscle growth.

Best Travel Yoga Mat

Primasole Folding Yoga Travel Pilates Mat 1/4 Thick

Yoga Travel Pilates Mat

Amazon

Why We Love It: It folds down into a compact size that you can slip into a tote bag.

What to Consider: The material is thinner than most yoga mats, which may be hard on the knees.

Listen up, yoga lovers: This foldable yoga mat by Primasole is a sure thing when it comes to equipment you can take on the go. Since it folds up into squares, it’s portable and small enough to fit inside a tote bag or, of course, a carry-on suitcase. From a vibrant green to basic black, you can choose from a selection of colors to match your existing yoga gear.

Although the material is thinner than most yoga mats at 4-millimeters, the quality is still there. It’s made with PVC, which makes it incredibly durable and tear-resistant. It’s also soft enough to make any hard surface feel comfortable, including a hotel room floor or the ground at a park.

Price at time of publish: $18

Weight: 2 pounds | Dimensions: 68 x 24 x .16 inches (unfolded)

Best Yoga Block

Manduka Cork Yoga Block

Manduka Lean Cork Block

Walmart

Why We Love It: The lightweight block takes up no more space than a toiletry bag.

What to Consider: Cork is more likely to stain than foam.

A Manduka block makes your on-the-go yoga setup even more effective. It’s made from coarse-grain cork, which is super-compact and lightweight compared to wood, foam, and coarse-grain cork. The non-slip material keeps you stable and secure as it props you up and makes it easier to move deeper into poses. Consider it the ying to your yoga mat’s yang.

Price at time of publish: $22

Weight: 2 pounds | Dimensions: 4 x 6 x 9 inches

Best for Total Body

TRX All-In-One Suspension Training Fitness System

4.8
TRX All-in-One Suspension Training Fitness System

Courtesy of Amazon

Why We Love It: This suspension training tool can be modified to fit every fitness level and can provide a thorough workout without the use of weights or dumbbells.

What to Consider: You have to pay for access to the TRX Training Club app after the 30-day free trial ends.

TRX (Total-Body Resistance Exercise) is a popular name in the world of fitness, and you don’t even have to go to an actual gym to use the equipment, or have access to a trainer. This highly-rated portable workout system uses the tried-and-true suspension training straps to provide you with a total body workout — no weights or dumbbells required. It’s lightweight at under 2 pounds, and it takes up hardly any space in a suitcase.

The whole kit is an incredible value that can be used in even the most modestly-sized hotel rooms. It comes equipped with a door anchor, a suspension anchor, and a mesh bag to take with you on the go. Since TRX exercises require some guidance, the kit comes with a 35-page workout guide for routine ideas, and you can download the TRX Training Club app for a free 30-day trial of coach-led workouts.

Price at time of publish: $210

Weight: 1.7 pounds | Dimensions: 53 x 1.5 x 6 inches

Best for Leg Day

Vaunn Folding Pedal Exerciser

4.2
Vaunn Folding Pedal Exerciser

Amazon

Why We Love It: This pedal exercise is an easy way to get your legs moving.

What to Consider: Some users find the pedal strap to be too big.

Friends never let friends skip leg day, so allow us to introduce you to the Vaunn Medical Folding Pedal Exerciser. It only weighs 5.4 pounds (much easier to transport than an actual exercise bike), and the design is compact enough to fit under most desks and tables. Easily combine it with your daily activities, such as work meetings and TV watching, or use it when you have time to kill at the airport.

The base is sturdy enough to prevent wobbling, so don’t be afraid to amp things up with the resistance knob. Since no tools are required, assembly is quick and easy, and the quick-release folding mechanism makes it simple to store everything between sweat sessions.

Price at time of publish: $50

Weight: 5.4 pounds | Dimensions: 11.2 x 15.2 x 18.2 inches

Best for Upper Body

Whatafit Resistance Bands Set

4.2
Whatafit Resistance Bands Set

Amazon

Why We Love It: Sweaty hands feel secure with the non-slip tube handles.

What to Consider: Since the ankle straps and door anchor aren’t very stable, you may struggle with heavier exercises.

Unlike most resistance tubes that are known to snap or break easily, this set of bands was built to last. They’re made with natural rubber, contain a non-slip handle, and are super-elastic where it counts. The kit also contains a door anchor, two cushioned handles, a carrying case to ensure nothing gets out of place, and a user manual with a guide to basic exercises.

The tubes use a color-coded system, so it’s easy to pick a resistance level from 10 to 50 pounds. Use one band at a time, or use multiple bands at once to really make those arms pop in your vacation attire.

Price at time of publish: $25

Weight: 2.4 pounds | Dimensions: ‎7.8 x 6.7 x 4.3 inches

Best for Weight Training

Bala Bangles

4.8
Bala Bangles

Amazon

Why We Love Them: They add an extra challenge to whatever workout you have going on that day.

What to Consider: One to two pounds of weight resistance may not be challenging enough for some.

For workout equipment that moves with you, you can’t go wrong with these Bala Bangles. Featured on Shark Tank, they’re as stylish as they are durable, made with only the highest-quality recycled steel and wrapped in baby-soft silicone. Don’t be surprised if people confuse them for actual bracelets!

The design is unisex and one-size-fits-all, so there’s something for everyone. Customize the bracelet to your personal style and fitness goals with the large selection of colors and choice of one to two pounds of weight resistance. Then, strap them on, and enjoy the extra challenge.

Price at time of publish: $55 (1 pound)

Weight: 1 to 2 pounds | Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.5 x .75 inches per bangle

Best Resistance Bands

Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands

4.5
Fit Simplify Resistance Loops

Amazon

Why We Love Them: These durable bands have multiple uses, including strength training, Pilates, yoga, physical therapy, and more.

What to Consider: There aren’t quite as many color options as we’d like.

Thanks to their lightweight size, resistance bands are a great addition to any carry-on — and workout. They tone and strengthen your muscles and provide a large variety of exercise opportunities, so you never get bored. Some physical therapists even use them to help rehabilitate their patients from injuries.

This set comes with five bands, a portable travel bag, and an instruction guide. The bands are color-coded to identify the different resistance levels, and the rubber material makes them less prone to rolling or pinching your skin.

Price at time of publish: $13

Weight: .22 pounds | Dimensions: ‎12 x 2 x 0.6 inches

Best Weighted Vest

Omorpho G-Vest+

Omorpho G-Vest+

Omorpho

Why We Love It: Whether you’re walking, hiking, or doing CrossFit, this vest amps up your workouts.

What to Consider: They only come in two sizes per gender.

When it comes to a weighted vest, you want a product that adds resistance without making your carry-on unwieldy. Another must-have: It has to fit like a compression shirt without the restriction of a compression shirt. This design from Omorpho checks all the boxes.

Available in five colors, the G-Vest+ cinches at your sides and has adjustable shoulder straps so you can find the perfectly snug fit. The 5 pounds of the women’s version and the 10 pounds of the men’s are equally distributed around your torso, so you have full range of motion with an extra bit of challenge. It’s made of a super-soft neoprene and includes a back panel for ventilation. Connect to the Omorpho app to be led through high-intensity, do-anywhere workouts.

Price at time of publish: $279

Weight: Up to 10 pounds | Dimensions: Not listed

Best Portable Home Gym

OYO Personal Gym

OYO Personal Gym

Amazon

Why We Love It: It requires almost no space to use.

What to Consider: The 25 pounds of resistance may be too little for some people.

This portable home gym is out of this world — literally. It’s made with SpiraFlex resistance technology, which was invented by Paul Francis to help NASA astronauts get fit on the International Space Station.

With durable nylon-coated stainless steel cables and polymer construction, this total-body system is built to last. It provides 25 pounds of resistance in each hand for a killer workout, yet the entire system only weighs two pounds. You’ll also receive access to workout videos that were created by OYO fitness director Nick Bolton (although the app isn’t highly rated). To top it all off, you’ll enjoy peace of mind with a three-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $170

Weight: 2 pounds | Dimensions: 26 x 7 x 3 inches

Best Massage Gun

Therabody Theragun Mini

4.9
Therabody Theragun Mini

Amazon

Why We Love It: Thanks to the pocket-size design, it weighs less than 2 pounds.

What to Consider: It has a low stall force.

Traveling can be a huge pain in the butt — and the legs and arms and neck. For relief from these aches and pains, try the Therabody Mini. It has all the features people love from the original Therabody (percussive massage, multiple attachments, and an ergonomic grip), but in a compact size.

There are three speeds (1750, 2100, and 2400 PPMs) and three attachments to work out sore muscles from your travels or workout routine. While most percussive massagers are quite loud, the QuietForce Technology brushless motor keeps things quiet. Plus, the 120-minute battery life makes relief long-lasting.

Price at time of publish: $159

Weight: 1 pound | Dimensions: 5.5 x 4.9 x 1.9 inches

Best for Abs

Vinsguir Ab Roller

4.8
Vinsguir Ab Roller

Amazon

Why We Love It: It has a thick base to keep your body balanced.

What to Consider: The handle isn’t as steady as similar options.

When crunches aren’t doing it for you, try this ab roller to strengthen your core. It tones the abdominal muscles by rolling your body into a plank and back. With a 3.2 inches-thick wheel, this ab roller keeps you balanced and stable and can be thrown into any carry-on or bag. There’s also a comfy knee pad to keep you rolling comfortably for years to come.

Price at time of publish: $26

Weight: 1.4 pounds | Dimensions: 6.5 x 12 inches

Best Sweat Bands

Lululemon Cotton Terry Sweatband

Lululemon Cotton Terry Sweatband

Lululemon

Why We Love It: This lululemon sweatband keeps the sweat away while staying put.

What to Consider: As is typical with some cotton material, the color may fade.

When it comes to packing hair supplies, sweat bands belong in the essentials category, right there with scrunchies, ponytails, and dry shampoo. This Cotton Terry Sweatband from lululemon has won fitness fans over with its soft, stretchy, and super absorbable material. Even if you sweat a lot, it does the job of keeping wet hair out of your face.

There are five bright colors to choose from, each of which is machine-washable,  but be aware that some reviewers have stated that the color fades with washing.

Price at time of publish: $14

Weight: Not listed | Dimensions: Not listed

Tips for Buying Portable Fitness Gear

Consider workout facilities and opportunities at your destination

Many hotels provide guests with a gym and/or swimming pool. Check to see if your destination has a fitness room or fitness classes available, to avoid trying to fit unnecessary items in limited suitcase space. If you’re planning to do activities like jogging or power walking during your travels, make sure a safe route is available, and map it out ahead of time. Consider the level of activity that may already be a part of your journey. For example, you might not want to lug weights for your legs on a ski vacation.

Have a packing plan

Preparation is key when it comes to a fitness packing plan. Before adding fitness equipment to your cart, think about what bags you plan to take and whether you’ll have room for everyday essentials along with your gear. After use, be sure to clean the items before packing, to avoid dirt and bacteria spreading. Finally, pack fragile fitness equipment securely with packing tape or a box, and whenever you can, choose items that come with a carrying case for easier transport.

Factor in both weight and size

Of course, you’ll want to choose exercise equipment that fits inside your carry-on to avoid checked bag fees, but don’t forget that weight is also a factor. On most airlines, bags are considered overweight if they exceed 50 pounds, and they are subject to fees usually starting around $50. Moreover, even if your equipment doesn’t exceed weight limits, dense items can make suitcases inconvenient and uncomfortable to maneuver.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What’s the most versatile piece of portable exercise equipment?

    The most versatile piece of portable exercise equipment is one that works multiple muscle groups at once. For this, we recommend the TRX All-in-one Suspension Trainer or something similar. It allows you to work both your upper and lower body in addition to targeting the core. It might just be the only piece of equipment that you need, which is key when you’re short on space.

  • How long should you go without exercising?

    As with many things in fitness, this depends on the individual. In general, though, you shouldn’t notice a difference if you stop your workouts for a week-long trip.


    Studies have found that some people start to see a 6 percent muscle density loss after about three weeks. This is called "detraining," which is when your body reverses the benefits you get from regular exercise.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Sarah Kester is a writer and editor who has covered everything from lifestyle to health and fitness for over a decade. Her work has been published in Healthline, Tracy Anderson Magazine, Verywell Health, and more. For this roundup, Sarah researched the best portable exercise equipment on the market, relied on her own fitness experience, and read dozens of customer reviews.

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