Expedition Map | Illustration by Franz Vohwinkel
Playmats might be the best accessory to express your personality as a Magic player. You can have some cool sleeves, maybe a neat deck box, but your playmat is the stage where your masterful gameplay occurs. You can often find the art of your favorite card or something from your favorite artist or get custom playmats to flaunt your style.
With such an important accessory, you need to protect it. Playmat tubes are the best way to keep your playmats safe and make them far easier to transport. While you can go with the classic rubber band to keep things together, here are the best playmat tubes for Magic!
The best overall playmat tube is the Prism playmat tube from Monster Protectors. It’s an incredibly light, sturdy plastic shell that comfortably fits one playmat at a time. It’s small and cheap, but the real secret is the shape.
The triangular tube makes it easy to get the playmat in and out while keeping it on the table. A round tube rolls off, but the prism shape keeps the tube on the table where it belongs. An opaque black is a stylish option, but it comes in clear, with different colored caps to help distinguish your playmat collection.
- Holds One (1) Playmat
- Unique Prism Shape won't roll off playing surface
- Triangular tube design allows for easy reach in to get out playmat
- Monster Logo on Cap
- Durable Construction
Aerial Guide | Illustration by Sidharth Chaturvedi
The overall goal of a playmat tube is to keep your playmat safe in transit and make transporting it a bit easier. With this goal in mind, there are a few criteria that help you find the ideal playmat tube.
Sturdy construction tops the list. You don’t want to “protect” your playmat in a fragile shell that shatters or cracks the instant something bumps your backpack. A cracked tube can lead to sharp edges that damage the mat inside, so look for solid material, plastic or otherwise.
You also want the tube to be small and lightweight to make transport easier. The tube often shares space with other items, including deck boxes and whatever else you need in your backpack. The goal of a tube is to give you something to roll the mat into for easy transport.
Cheap playmat tubes are made from super flimsy material that helps hold your playmat in a shape that’s easy to carry but fails to provide meaningful protection from getting jostled around or dropped.
The “Cadillac” of MTG Playmat Tubes
For the best bang for your buck, look no further than this playmat case from Paramint. This isn’t a tube, but a proper case to really shelter your playmat.
It’s built with a leatherette exterior and a soft fabric interior and is the definition of sturdy. It’s held shut by several strong magnets, ensuring it won’t pop open when you hit a bump. The triangular design keeps it firmly on the table, and you’ll never have issues retrieving or storing your playmat as the entire case opens.
This case is on the bulkier side but for good reason. This case protects your mats without a problem. It’s a great choice if you’re using a particularly rare mat that was part of a limited run or has a rare signature. Or, if you want the most impressive case at your LGS.
- 🧲 MAGNETIC SNAP - Strong, 3-magnet closure to seal playmat conveniently with a snap
- 📥 PERFECT FIT - All standard size 24"x14" (1/12" thickness) playmats, including Paramint mats (stitched/non-stitched)
- 🛡 PROTECTED - Durable double-layer to protect against damage in backpack while in transit
- ⭐️ PREMIUM MATERIALS - Smooth fabric interior, non-slip leatherette exterior for heavy grip on playing surface
- 💰 MONEY BACK GUARANTEE - We're that sure that you'll love our playmat case. 100% refund if not
Best Budget Playmat Tubes
Legion Supplies offers the quintessential playmat tube. This tube is a plastic cylinder with a cap that holds a rolled-up mat. It’s compact, simple, and cheap. It’s a little flimsy but sturdy enough for our purposes.
This one is round, so you can’t really rest it on the table. It must go back in the bag unless you want it rolling and bouncing. This is a great budget option for anybody who wants to carry their playmat more easily.
Playmat bags offer a few benefits over a playmat tube, though they can be more expensive. They’re made of material as flexible as the mat itself, which has two great boons for transportation. To start, they bend! It’s much easier to find room for such flexible material in your bag, especially if you need to add a bunch of stuff to it.
It also protects against impacts. A fabric bag isn’t as useful if drink spillage is your primary concern, but playmat bags won’t shatter. One of the biggest concerns with a plastic tube is that a crack might tear the playmat; you’ll never worry about that here.
Inked Gaming offers a wide selection of sturdy playmat bags with reliable shipping. They offer a variety of solid colors but also have a range of incredible artwork you can get on the mat. If you want space for larger mats, Inked has plenty of options for wargaming mats.
A chess bag may seem like an odd choice to protect your playmat. After all, this never fits into another bag. The thing about a chess bag is that it doesn’t have to, making this an excellent option for people who find themselves traveling often and wanting to scratch that Magic itch.
Many chess bags have space for a playmat and other accessories. It’s easy to chuck a deck box or two in the bottom then put your rolled playmat on top with room to stick a small bag of die in the center of the mat. A chess bag is my choice product for a grinder, giving you a very compact carrying case for a playmat and deck. It doesn’t fit into a backpack but replaces it if you don’t need anything but Magic supplies.
The House of Staunton Quiver Bag, by the US Chess Federation, is the ideal choice for this function. It fits everything you need, it’s fabric so it never rolls off the table, and they offer a huge variety of solid colors and patterns for customization.
- Measures 21" x 6" (flattened) and can hold all of your chess equipment, including a roll-up chess board, chess pieces, and a chess clock
- Features an adjustable nylon shoulder strap
- Perfect for Youth, Scholastic, and Tournament Chess Players
- Exceeds all US Chess Federation and FIDE Requirements for Official Tournament Use
- Manufactured Exclusively by the United States Chess Federation (USCF)
Custom Playmat Tubes
One great place to look for custom playmat tubes is Etsy. They have a couple of playmat tubes and some cases, but also another great customization option: stickers!
This is best for people who purchase your average plastic container. The plastic holds stickers quite well, especially if you keep the tube in its own pocket, so custom stickers give you all the customization you want while letting you get away with a cheaper playmat tube instead of spending a ton of money on a custom-made product.
Expedition Map | Illustration by Scott Murphy
Playmats may be the most important Magic accessory, next to sleeves and deck boxes. They’re a great way to express your personality and style and to support your favorite artists, from Magic or elsewhere.
Because they’re so valuable, you need to transport and protect them. The prism playmat tube from Monster Protectors is our playmat tube of choice, but there are plenty of other options for budget or ways of protection, like bags and cases. What art is your favorite playmat? How do you transport yours? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord!
Stay safe, and protect those playmats!
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