Frequent travel can wreak havoc on even the best-laid fitness plans, but a life on the road doesn’t have to mean setting aside your workout goals and routines. From slim, lightweight trainers to sweat-resistant wireless headphones to collapsible, portable gear of all kinds, these 9 picks will keep you moving without missing a step.
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1. Brazyn Morph collapsible foam roller
Foam rollers are bulky and unwieldy by nature, but leave it to a former NFL player – on the road for eight away games over the course of a 16-week season – to understand the importance of both massage and maximization of precious luggage space. When expanded, Brazyn’s Morph roller is the standard 14.5 inches long and 5.5 inches in diameter, a full-surface mobility tool that can handle up to 350 pounds; when collapsed to lie flat, it’s a mere two inches wide, and comes with a mesh bag for easy carrying too.
Morph Trek foam roller, $68; amazon.com.
2. Crossrope jump rope set
Given its ability to burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time and the minimal space required to use – or pack – it, the old-school jump rope is a tried-and-true cardio weapon. You could toss any old vinyl-and-plastic number into your carry-on, or you could take it to the next level with one of Crossrope’s themed sets. The Get Lean version has slim handles and two lightweight ropes, and Get Strong comes with thicker handles and heavier ropes, while the Get Fit bundle is a combination of both. Paired with an app that provides free, quick routines to keep your sweat levels high and your interest levels piqued, it’s a true go-anywhere training tool.
Jump rope sets, from $98; crossrope.com.
3. Forsake Maya/Maddox trainers
Slim, lightweight sneakers equally suitable for pounding the pavement or hitting the trails, Forsake’s Maya (for women) and Maddox (for men) make the cut for multiple uses. With a breathable nylon upper, a moisture-wicking mesh lining, and a sturdy-yet-flexible outsole, these well-cushioned trainers can take you from the gym to happy hour – or from a light hike to your campsite – without looking out of place.
Maya and Maddox trainers, $115; forsake.com.
4. Jaybird Vista wireless headphones
For rainy-day runs and sweaty indoor sessions alike, a pair of earbuds that can stand up to the elements is essential. Jaybird’s Vista wireless headphones are waterproof and drop-resistant, and their capsule construction locks out dirt and debris. With 6 hours of play time (and 10 more via a small hand-held charging case), plus an app for iOS and Android that lets you sync your Spotify playlists for a seamless soundtrack, they’re a standout option for on-the-go exercise.
Vista wireless headphones, $180; jaybirdsport.com.
5. Jade Yoga Voyager mat
Yoga mats are portable by default, but your everyday model can take up quite a bit of room, even when it’s velcroed to the underside of your duffel and mainly out of the way. Jade Yoga’s grippy Voyager mat is extremely thin (just 1/16th of an inch thick, so you probably won’t want to use it for an everyday practice) and weighs less than two pounds, folding up to the size of a yoga block or a Harry Potter hardback. Plus, it’s made from natural rubber, a rapidly renewable material, and the company plants a tree for every mat sold – so far, more than 1.7 million and counting.
Voyager travel yoga mat, $40; jadeyoga.com.
6. que collapsible bottle
Double-walled stainless-steel bottles have their place, but if you’re looking for something light and functional to carry for post-workout hydration, que’s collapsible bottle weighs less than half a pound and takes up next to no room in your bag. If you leave it filled for too long, the silicone taste can permeate, but it’s great for guzzling a pint or two to bring your water levels back up to par.
que bottle, from $20; quebottle.com.
7. Zeamo app
Sure, in-room and on-demand fitness programs are convenient, but sometimes you want the external motivation that only a class full of like-minded individuals can provide. For those days when you're craving company, Zeamo can help you find a gym that suits your needs. Though its offerings are mainly limited to bigger cities at this point, the app gives you access to day, week, and monthly passes to thousands of gyms across the US – and a few overseas as well.
8. Matador NanoDry hand towel
For trail runs, cycling, impromptu swims, and more, Matador’s nanofiber hand towel is quick-drying, anti-microbial, and highly absorbent, soaking up more than twice its weight in water. It unfurls to a respectable 15 by 15 inches, but it scrunches down to fit inside a tiny, palm-sized carrying case that attaches to your pack or keychain for quick access and maximum portability – a must-have for stashing in your gym or day bag, especially if you’re heading out in humid locales.
NanoDry hand towel, $20; matadorup.com.
9. Garmin Forerunner 35
Truly, any of Garmin’s industry-leading fitness trackers would work for travel, but for multi-discipline athletes, the Forerunner 35 is a light GPS running watch and heart-rate monitor that counts steps, calories, sleep, and periods of intense exertion, vibrates with reminders to get up and move, and automatically differentiates between various activities. Take it for a swim or out for a jog, hook it up to the app for feedback from the online community, and don’t worry about it dying mid-workout – with 13 hours of maximum battery life, it’s sure to have you covered.
Forerunner 35, $170; garmin.com.