Stay Strong While Traveling

Lifter with a kettlebell on top of a mountain

Eighty percent. That’s the percent of Americans who said they are planning to travel over the summer, according to the Vacationer. That's also nearly the same percent of Americans who said they feel happier when they stick to a regular exercise routine.

You don’t have to pick just one. You can have your summer vaca – and stick to your health and fitness goals, too. Incorporate activity into your adventures. Walk instead of drive, explore on bikes, and look for hotels with fitness centers. But that may not always be possible (and sometimes, hotel gyms are treacherous). So, make sure you set yourself up for no excuses when you pack.

Here are nine pieces of equipment to add to your packing list this summer:


Lifter using a resistance band

You can wad these up in your extra shoes. They take up virtually no space and have a ton of resistance-training applications. And they don’t take up much space in your hotel room, either. Adjust the difficulty of your workout based on the thickness of the bands, or better yet, get the whole bundle so you can progressively challenge your muscles. They come in seven different sizes.

Just a few of the ways you can use bands for strength-training:
- Banded Squats
- Lat raises
- Romanian deadlift and regular deadlifts
- Tricep extensions
- Curls
- Shoulder press

Best of all: Bands are cheaper than a gym drop-in. Get a set of bands here. And when you get home, you can use the bands for an extra challenge on compound lifts and to add resistance while weight training, as well as help you train your pull-ups.


Tube resistance bands with handles

Use these bands in similar ways that you use Pull-Up Bands, except these have the added convenience of handles. This can be helpful for pulling and pressing options, especially when you’re really pushing yourself. These come in three different resistance options (or get the full set) and are also super lightweight and compact. Throw them in your backpack or handbag.

Get a band with handles here.


A lifter using a hip band

Yeah, more bands. But these are different. They’re wider, not as long, and especially great for legs. Think: banded squats, lunges, clamshells, glute bridges, abductions. You’ve seen the videos on IG.

But all fitspo aside, resistance bands really do work. A 2019 National Library of Medicine study found resistance bands provided similar strength gains to using gym equipment. So, while they may not look like much, you can make them work for you. Tension is tension.

Never skip a leg day with Circle Hip Bands, which come in three sizes. Or get the whole bundle. Your suitcase won’t even know they’re there.


A speed cable jump rope on the floor

If you haven't done it since you were 8, here’s a reminder: Jumping rope is a killer cardio workout with a lot of additional benefits. It builds bone density and can improve agility, coordination, concentration, and explosive power, among other effects. Get a jump rope that doesn’t tangle during use or packing. At only 0.2lbs, you can stick it in your pocket and have a workout anywhere you go. Even in the airport. The other passengers will love that, for sure.

Play like a kid again with a Speed Cable Jump Rope.


A peanut roller from REP Fitness

Name something less comfortable than traveling. We’ll wait. (You can’t.) Don’t let an achy back or tight hammies from the torture of airplane seats get in the way of your gains. Pack a small, effective mobility device to help you not only recover from your on-the-go workouts, but also help you recover from being on the go.

The Peanut Roller is a smol guy – just 5” long. And its unique shape can reach areas around your spine, hips, and more -- spots other foam rollers can’t easily access. It’s easy to fit in your suitcase, and your body will thank you for bringing it. This is a healthy travel must-have.

Treat yo’ self right with a Peanut Roller.

They’re compact and lightweight, and if you’re a CrossFit athlete or gymnast, you’ll be glad you threw them in your suitcase. Wood Gymnastic Rings are easy to set up indoors or outdoors. Just find something to loop them around, like a swing set at the playground, a strong tree branch, or the pull-up bar in the hotel gym. Pick between a 1.11” diameter (Olympic Federation specs) or 1.25” (more typical at CrossFit gyms).

Get in those ring muscle-ups while traveling.


The ab roller from REP Fitness


If you’re headed on a road trip (more than 90 percent of people plan on it this year, according to Outdoorsy), this piece of equipment is easy to pop in your trunk – especially if having a strong core is high on your summer priority list. An Ab Roller targets your overall core, but it really demands full-body strength to do it right. Plus, it only weighs 2lbs.

Sharpen up your abs with the Ab Roller.


A blue and black ab support mat

If you don’t have space for an Ab Roller but still want to pack core-focused workout-on-the-go, the Ab Support Mat brings comfort, support, and efficiency. It’s smaller than a yoga mat and can easily squish in a suitcase. The high-density foam core allows your spine and hips to pivot optimally to engage your core muscles properly. And it’s comfortable – you could even sit on it on a long flight or ride or use it as a pillow.

Spoil your six-pack (or six-pack-to-be) with the Ab Support Mat. It comes in three accent colors: red, blue, and pink.

Woman working out with a kettlebell

Got a long road trip ahead – and want to work with some real weight? You can get a legit, full-body workout with a kettlebell. Use it for deadlifts, goblet squats, lunges, push-presses, Turkish get-ups, triceps extensions, Russian twists, floor presses, rows, and of course kettlebell swings. Just about anything you can do with a dumbbell – and all kinds of stuff you can’t do with a dumbbell.

If you want varying weights, opt for an adjustable kettlebell, which comes in three different adjustable sizes: 8-16kg (tops out around 35lbs), 16-24kg (tops out around 53lbs), and 20-40lbs. Or if you know the best kettlebell weight for most of your exercises, kettlebells start at 5lbs and go up to 50lbs.

Get an Adjustable Kettlebell to put in your trunk here.