Whether you're hitting the road in a camping van or escaping to an all-inclusive wellness resort, travel can give you a much-needed reset and break from your busy schedule. But if you're someone who enjoys regular exercise, squeezing in a workout on the road can be tricky. Be it limited access to fancy gym equipment or access to a workout space altogether, and getting those reps in on vacation can be a hassle.
Well, it used to be. Thanks to innovations in portable exercise equipment, you can now bring your workout with you wherever you roam. And no, we're not suggesting you shove your iron dumbbells into your carry-on bag. (Please, don't.) Nowadays, there are plenty of lightweight exercise equipment options that'll help you get moving on your next trip. For glute and leg workouts, a pack of resistance bands and ankle weights should do the trick. For a quick cardio session, add a cordless jump rope, or use Elite Sportz Sliders ($9) to engage your core.
No matter your fitness goals, there's a travel-friendly piece of workout equipment that's eager to tag along. We did the leg work (lol) to find the best portable and lightweight exercise equipment options, which you'll find below.
The best portable exercise equipment for travel
For legs and glutes
If you’re devoted to maintaining your squat game—even on vacay—get this squat band. It’s designed to let you squat anywhere: In the back of your camper, near the pool, even in the airport (if you so wish) while you’re waiting for your flight. Rather than using just your body weight, the bands add a bit of resistance while ensuring a smoother dip. It’s hands-free, simple, and can be shoved in your beach bag without weighing it down.
Strap on some ankle weights to add a little oomph to your runs, leg workouts, and core training. Each set comes with five removable sand pockets, each weighing 0.97 pounds., and is made of neoprene for a comfy fit. Since it’s heavier than other items on this list, we’d recommend them for checked luggages.
For arms and chest
This easy-to-use resistance band set will have your upper body challenged on your next vacay. What’s included? Five workout bands, non-slip handles, a door anchor, and ankle straps. Anchor one of the workout bands to the door for chest presses or hook up a non-slip handle for some bicep action. It also comes with carabiners, which you can connect to cable equipment if you’ll be staying at a hotel or Airbnb with a fitness center. The whole set weighs only 2.4 pounds, so if you’re checking a bag, no worrying about going over the weight limit.
Slide on these chic Bala Bangles over your wrists to add some weight to your next workout. Available in1- and 2-pounds, they’re a fun way to level up an arm workout on the go. Strap ’em on while you go for a hike, or bring them to a beach-side cardio session.
For core and abs
If you have extra space in your checked luggage or room to carry on another item, consider bringing this all-purpose yoga mat. Made of high-density, anti-tear foam, this mat is ideal for stretching, core, and yoga workouts. It weighs only 1.8 pounds and comes with a carrying strap for easy transport. Open up your YouTube workout video, roll out your mat, and get grooving.
Put your core to the test with these gliding discs, which can be slid into your bag in between your socks and your undies. The discs are double sided, so they can be used on all types of surfaces and make for a great companion during knee tucks or mountain climbers. Weighing only 0.35 pounds, they’re lightweight and small enough to fit in a personal bag or carry-on luggage.
Jumping rope is one easy way to get your heart rate up, and this one is cordless. Yes, cordless! So now worrying about it getting tangled up in your suitcase. Instead, it can rotate 360 degrees to mimic a real jump rope, minus the fear of tripping you up or hitting furniture or walls. The handles are made of odor- and sweat-resistant foam, so you don’t have to worry about throwing them in your suitcase afterwards. Plus, they weigh less than a pound.
If night-time jogs or bike rides are going to be on the itinerary, bring these battery-powered safety lights with you. Weighing at less than an ounce each, they’re totally packable in a pinch. Each light has three brightness modes and three strobe modes to keep you safe when the sun goes down, lasting for 100 hours each.
For yoga and pilates
These cute resistance bands are here to turn the heat up on your pilates session. The loop design fits comfortably around your legs, adding resistance when you stretch, scissor-kick, and squat. Each pack includes a light and medium resistance band, so you can switch things up when you want to turn up (or down) the burn.
While it may be a bit chunky to shove into your carry-on tote or duffel, the lightweight design (4.6 oz.) of this yoga block is worth packing along. It’s constructed of non-slip EVA foam that makes modifying your yoga poses and adding extra support a breeze. You can prop, bolster, grip, and balance on them, transforming your practice wherever you may perform it.
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