Few things in life are black and white but chess certainly is! The game of kings, which pits contenders skills of patience, strategy and anticipation against one another is a noble test and universally popular. I have had my ass kicked at chess in at least 10 different countries by players from all over the globe. What fun!

In fact, chess is such a great travel game (to make friends or pass the time) that I started travelling with my own travel chess set. And this is what I am going to talk to you all about today. Because yeah, that’s how much of a badass I am!

Whether you’re a chess enthusiast or a casual player, finding the perfect chess set that combines portability with functionality will seriously enhance your travel experience. In this insider guide, we explore a variety of chess sets ideal for travel, including folding, magnetic, and mini sets, each tailored for convenience and durability.

Got the chess set? Mate, check!

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

These Are The Best Chess Sets For Travel

Let’s face it, chess is the ultimate travel game, so let’s get things going.

Our selection of ace chess sets for travel includes some pretty diverse options to suit all types of players and preferences. From leather roll-up mats to compact magnetic sets, here’s a detailed look at the best travel chess sets available on today’s market. Whether you’re looking for something to pack for your RV trips or a super lightweight carry-on set, I’ve got it all!

DN DECONATION Folding Roll-Up Leather Chess Set

DN DECONATION Folding Roll Up Leather Chess Set
  • Size: 18.90 x 11.10 inches
  • Material: Leather and magnet

Magnetic, easy to handle and durable. This absolutely lovely foldable leather chess set offers a nice blend of luxury and practicality, with a roll-up design that is both stylish and space-efficient. The leather surface provides a smooth playing experience, while the magnetic pieces ensure stability during travel.

Crafted for the aesthetically inclined and space-conscious travellers out there, the DN DECONATION Folding Roll-Up Leather Chess Set combines elegance with a dash of practicality. Its roll-up design is perfect for saving space in your luggage, while the quality leather board ensures durability and a smooth playing surface.

Either way, it always makes my backpacking packing list!

Leather Travel Magnetic Chess & Checkers Folding Board

Leather Travel Magnetic Chess and Checkers Folding Board
  • Size: Compact and portable
  • Material: Leather Dual-sided functionality for chess and checkers, this set offers versatile choice for travellers.

This two-in-one set allows you to enjoy both chess AND checkers! Its magnetic board and pieces secure the game in place, making it ideal for varied travel conditions and bump rides. Constructed with high-quality (ish) leather and solid magnetic pieces, this set ensures your game stays undisturbed during transit.

It’s the perfect set for travellers who look forward to a quick game of checkers or a thoughtful chess match and makes a great addition to any road trip packing list.

Multipurpose Magnetic Travel Chess Set

Multipurpose Magnetic Travel Chess Set
  • Size: 12 x 2 x 3
  • Material: Durable plastic

The Multipurpose Magnetic Travel Chess Set is designed to cater to the needs of the mobile, modern player, offering a straightforward, durable design that withstands the rigours of travel. Its lightweight, magnetic pieces ensure ease of play and storage, while the compact board fits comfortably in any carry-on. All things considered this an affordable and near perfect addition to any chess enthusiast’s travel packing list.

This set is a favourite among casual players and serious enthusiasts alike, providing a reliable platform for sharpening your skills on the move.

Mini Chess Set with Staunton Pieces and Canvas Travel Bag

Mini Chess Set with Staunton Pieces and Canvas Travel Bag
  • Size: 10 x 10 x 0.1
  • Material: Durable plastic with a canvas bag

This mini little chess set is ideal for those backpackers and those who prefer a lightweight option without sacrificing the classic feel of the game of Kings. It’s made in the Staunton style and is easy to grip and move. If you’re a chess-playing worker on the road, stick it on your digital nomad packing list.

Compact yet uncompromising on quality, this Mini Chess Set features a classic design that chess aficionados will appreciate. Plus, it’s scaled down to fit almost anywhere and everywhere. The durable plastic pieces and accompanying canvas bag ensure both protection and portability. This set is particularly suited for those travellers who appreciate the tactile pleasure of traditional chess and need a game set that can easily move with them from place to place.

Purple Cow- Magnetic Chess Game

Purple Cow Magnetic Chess Game
  • Size: 7.28 x 4.06 x 0.43
  • Material: Plastic with a magnetic board

Small, magnetic and tailored for the travelling player, this chess set is small enough to fit in even a Ryanair carry-on bag and robust enough for a challenging game on the go.

Designed for maximum portability, the Purple Cow Magnetic Chess Game is small enough to be stowed away in any bag or even maybe a pocket, making it an excellent choice for those who are always on the go. Despite its small size, it offers a complete chess-playing experience with magnetic pieces that are easy to handle and a board that can be set up in seconds.

Ideal for travel, it allows chess lovers to challenge themselves or others, no matter where in the world their journey takes them.

Final Thoughts

best base layers for women
Camp chess? Base layers for the win. Photo: Chris Lininger

How was that? Ready to play?

Remember that choosing the right travel chess set depends on your specific needs, whether you prioritise size, material, or aesthetics. Each of these sets offers a unique combination of practicality and pleasure, ensuring you can continue your chess journey no matter where you are. I mean, if Richard Branson carries a chess set in his carry-on luggage, then why the hell shouldn’t we, go team virgin (hmm, that didn’t come across how I intended!)

See you on the road fine people.