If you’re a frequent traveler, you know the importance of getting up and moving once in a while.
Sitting still for long periods of time results in muscles cramping and joints stiffening. Areas such as your hips flexors, legs, glutes and back tend to suffer most. The best remedy towards tense muscles is getting up and moving and stimulating your body.
But there isn’t always a way to do that, right?
The solution we found to work the best is foam rolling, both before and after your trip. Foam rollers have the unique ability to release the tension that builds up from sitting in an idle position for too long.
Now, obviously bringing a full size foam roller on your travels might not be very practical. So we decided to put together a list of the best travel foam rollers that’ll make it easy to bring a roller with you anywhere.
We even included some tips on how you can foam roll without a foam roller.
Let’s get to it.
How to foam roll during your travels.
If you’re looking to travel and foam roll at the same time, you have a few options:
- You get a small, travel-size foam roller.
- You get a collapsible foam roller.
- You find a smart way to pack your regular size foam roller.
- You replace your foam roller with something else.
All options above will work, but depending on your preferences, one of the options will suit you better.
Let’s start with the easiest solution: buy a small roller.
Travel-size foam rollers
A good travel foam roller is one that easily fits into your luggage or backpack. That way, you can bring your roller wherever you want.
Here’s four types of rollers that are easily transported in your choice of bag.
1. Tiny Roller
See Tiny Roller Here
This tiny roller is only 6 inches long and 2 inches wide, which makes it small enough to throw in your purse or backpack. Although it may not be large enough for you to target larger muscle areas such as your thighs, upper back or glutes, it will work for your feet, your hands and your underarms.
2. Travel Stick
See Massage Stick Roller
Travel sticks are a bit different than foam rollers but ultimately, they serve the same purpose. Compared to rollers, a stick needs you to push the massaging area towards your body as opposed to using the force of gravity. The travel stick may be compact in width, but unfortunately it is still very long, making it difficult to bring with you.
3. Peanut Massager
See Peanut Massager
The peanut massager can be classified as a type of mix between a foam roller and a massage ball. It is small and handy for traveling but not suitable for all myofascial exercises. The plus with this particular massager is its vibrating function.
4. Small Foam Roller
See this Small Foam Roller
If you’re not too picky about the size of your roller when traveling, a standard small foam roller will do the trick. Be aware that this roller won’t easily fit in your backpack and if it does, it might take up most of the space, leaving little to no room for other essential workout gear.
Get a Collapsible Foam Roller
The second option is probably the most optimal solution for the one who travels and foam rolls a lot: a collapsible foam roller.
Collapsible rollers were made specifically for being on the move and does not sacrifice any benefits compared to a traditional roller. This means that you can easily bring the roller wherever you want and still be able to use the massage surface to target deep muscle tissue.
You may think that a collapsible foam roller is not as sturdy as a foam roller due to its hollow core. However, the frame of the collapsible roller is made out of five robust discs that can withstand pressure up towards 220 lbs.
Find a Clever Way to Pack your Roller
When it comes to packing, one can always find creative ways to save up space.
Foam rollers are no exceptions. Here are a few ways to pack your roller so that you can bring it with you.
Store Clothing Inside Your Roller
If your roller is hollow, you can always take advantage of the space by storing clothes inside of it.
Socks, underwear and t-shirts are all types of clothing that can easily be folded and put inside of the roller. As these garments will survive if they get wrinkled and you won’t be destroying your clothes by storing them inside your foam roller.
Another great use of the space is to fold your towel and squeeze it into your roller. Chances are you have a bath towel with the same width as your foam roller.
See the example below:
Strap your Roller Outside of Your Backpack
If you’ve ever been backpacking, you know how many things you can strap on to a backpack.
To attach your foam roller, you can use backpacker straps that go under your backpack. This way, the roller won’t be dangling around but will sit tightly to the bottom of your backpack.
Here’s an example:
Although this may not be the best solution, as you’ll have a large object behind you while walking, it does do the trick for the serious athlete.
Replace Your Foam Roller With Something Else
Although foam rollers serve a specific purpose, they can often be replaced by objects you have laying around in your house.
The key to any massage object is that it should release tension in your muscle fascia, therefore anything you can use to apply pressure at the right angle and position at your target area will do.
Here’s a few items our team members like to use whenever they don’t have a travel foam roller nearby.
The best thing about the tennis ball is that you can target the exact area you want. Have an aching or stiff knot somewhere? The tennis ball might help you release some tension and is super easy to bring with you when you travel.
Since the tennis ball is quite small, it might be difficult to target all areas of your body – you’ll need some practice to learn how to use it. However, for areas such as the back or your hip, you can easily use the wall or the floor to target the right spot. If it is your first time using a tennis ball, opt for the wall as you’ll have more control over how to adjust your body in relation to the ball.
PS Other balls such as Lacrosse, Squash or a children’s plastic ball might do the trick.
The favorite of the physical therapists, the rolled up towel!
The rolled up towel is a great replacement for the foam roller as the shape becomes very similar. This way you can do all the same stretches that you would with a foam roller. Physiotherapists and naprapaths have tons of exercises and stretches that can be done with a towel.
The disadvantage with a towel is that it does not have any pressure points to target your knots. Since the towel is quite soft, you won’t get the benefits of myofascial release that you would with a massage roller.
Still, a towel should not be forgotten when it comes to replacing the travel foam roller as there’s always one around – wherever you may be.
This one might be a bit of a shock, but a water bottle might actually become your new favorite massage item.
Water bottles are often made of sturdy materials to withstand some pressure which means they can be used to roll on. Some designs even have irregular patterns on the side which makes them perfect for trigger points to target your muscles.
Actually, some people thought the water bottle was so good for foam rolling, they decided to create a bottle specifically built with a foam roller shell.
What does baking and foam rolling have in common?
The rolling pin!
If you’re a frequent baker, chances are you have a rolling pin in your kitchen. Although a rolling pin is very hard, it may be used as a roller for the larger muscle areas.
Although the rolling pin may not be available at all times, you are likely to find it in most kitchens.
Conclusion: The single best travel foam roller
There you have it.
By now you should know plenty of ways to travel with your foam roller or where to buy the best travel foam rollers.
Our customers often ask us about what type of roller they should choose when they travel. With this article we hoped to have answered this question.
Although there’s no short answer to what is the single best travel foam roller, we are obviously biased towards our collapsible foam roller. But as you can see with the contents above, there are plenty of options out there. As with most things, what is right for one person might be completely wrong for another. Therefore, take some time to study the options out there so that you find the massage roller that is most suitable to your needs.
This article is not written by a doctor. At Acies Ideal we are passionate about health, productivity, and balance. We are continuously optimizing these pillars of our lives and are sharing some of our own tips, breakthroughs, and techniques that we have tested and learned from. The recommendations in this article may not work for everyone and we recommend consulting with a doctor to get expert and certified advice.