Best Camping Pillows for 2019

Best Camping Pillows for 2019

One piece of equipment even the most experienced of campers overlook is a camping pillow. Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it at one time: we’ve rolled our clothes into a ball and used them as a makeshift head rest. Even if you have a great sleeping bag and mattress, a good pillow is vital for a good night’s sleep, and helps prevent any possible neck and back strains. Below, we review the ten best camping pillows that will ensure you have a pain free and comfortable night’s sleep.

Compressibles
Are filled inside with either a synthetic material, foam, down or some combination of the three. A pillow filled with down will usually be lighter and more comfortable than a foam or synthetic pillow, although they usually cost slightly more. Compressible pillows are sturdier than the inflatables, as well as being more comfortable. They will however be heavier than the inflatables and compressed, and will also be larger and more costly.

Inflatables
Are a great option for the weight-conscious backpacker. Inflatables are filled with air, which makes them lighter and firmer than their hybrid and compressible cousins. The amount of air can be adjusted using a valve, which allows you to adjust the firmness to your needs. These pillow come in two varieties: manual inflation (usually with only 3 to 5 blows), or self-inflating. The latter tend to be slightly heavier, but last longer and are healthier, since they avoid the risk of bacteria entering the inside of the pillow. Inflatables tend to be cheaper than the compressibles and hybrids, but can sometimes be noisy if you move your head around a lot when sleeping.

Hybrids
Aim to combine the advantage of both inflatables and compressibles. They come with a top half that can be compressed for comfort, and a bottom that can be inflated for support. Hybrids are lighter than compressibles but heavier than inflatables, but offer a more comfortable sleep than the latter. They weigh and cost more than the inflatables but are lighter and smaller than the compressed.

The Cozy Hut memory foam pillow offers top-of-the-range comfort. Its memory foam interior moulds itself to your head shape. It is a generous size when unpacked and folds down quickly into a small portable size (8.3 x 5.5 in). The outer navy blue cover can be removed and cleaned separately, prolonging the pillow’s life. The Cozy comes in at 12oz, so if weight is your primary concern , you might want to look at an inflatable or a hybrid, but for comfort and durability, this pillow is unmatched.

The Nemo Fillo is a hybrid pillow offering the benefits of a memory foam filler on top as well as a three inch inflatable bladder on the bottom that allows you to tailor the pillow’s firmness to your exact needs. The Nemo inflates with three exalations. The memory foam is held in place with a mesh net. The outside shell is composed of polyester and  microsuede. The size is just sufficent to provide good head support while preventing head slide. At 9oz the Nemo is heavier than an inflatable option, but it does offer excellent comfort in a compact size. 

The Trekology Ultralight is a manually inflated pillow that weighs just under 3oz. The pillow comes with a one-way valve that includes an open/close push lock. The pillow takes 4-5 exhales to fill. The valve also includes an outer cap to prevent dirt and dust. The pillow inflates to a generous 16 x 12 x 4 in and folds down into a compact 5 x 2 in. The outer cover is not the most durable, so don’t take this pillow if you are looking for a rugged option. The total air can be adjusted in order to give you the exact firmness you require. If space, weight and budget are your primary concerns, the Trekology Ultralight is an excellent option. 
The Sea to Summit Aeros offers the weight and size advantages of an inflatable (coming in at 2.82oz) without compromising on comfort. The pillow has curved internal baffles, which help create contours that suppor your head when sleeping. The bladder is made of high quality thermoplastic polyurethane, and has a polyester outer surface that adds some durability. The pillow comes in two sizes, but currently offers only two colors. The pillow inflates after a couple of exalations. Like other inflatables, the Aero can be slightly noisy if you are moving your head around, and it should be handled with care to prevent leaks, but this pillow offers excellent comfort for its class. 
If you are looking for a large hybrid pillow then the Luxe is ideal. It comes in at a whopping 22 x 12.5 in and weighs in a respectable 6.4oz. It packs extremely well, reducing to a respectable 3 x 7 in, small enough for most backpackers. The base in manually inflated (requiring 3-5 breaths), and the upper fill is filled with polyester. As with most hybrids you can adjust the pillow height and firmness by releasing or adding air. The bag only comes in one size and color, and although it performs well, in our estimation it falls slightly short of the Nemo’s memory foam and the Exped Down’s goose down interiors when it comes to comfort.
These Coop compressible pillows are the closest you will get to your home pillows. Hand crafted in Lost Angeles, this pillow offers some great features. It comes with a breathable cover that is 40% bamboo derived Viscose Rayon and 60& polyester that is naturally thermo regulating, which is great for those of us who tend to overheat during the night. You can also add or remove foam from the inside of the pillow in order to create a fit and firmness that is tailored to you. Like most compressibles the size and weight of this pillow is going to large (at 36 oz, this pillow is much heavier than other inflatable or hybrid options), but if weight and size are not primary concerns, the Coop offers excellent comfort at a very reasonable price.
The Teton ConfortLite is our recommendation if you are in the market for a self-inflating sleeping pillow. The bag’s top comes in two colors: either blue, which is made of organic cotton, or orange, which is made of microfiber. The self inflating valve twists and locks into place, saving your breath and protecting the inside of the bag from any possible bacteria. The bottom of the bag also offers a non-slip base that will help keep the pillow in place, even if you move your head and roll over during the night. Keep in mind that unlike the other inflatables we have highlighted, the self-inflating mechanism of the ComfortLite means that when packed, it is still on the larger side. Instead of a small Coke-can sized pack, you have a longer tubular pack that will take up more room. The microfiber variant is slightly cheaper, but the organic cotton feels much better on the skin and offers a more comfortable sleeping experience.
The Therm-a-Rest is an ideal camping pillow for the casual camper. One thing we like about this pillow is the wide variety of colors and sizes (sizes come in small, medium, large and extra large). The extra large comes in at whopping 15.6 x 27 in. The cover is made of polyester, which should be comfortable enough for most campers, and the interior soft foam filling, which comes from upcycled mattress foam, provides a comfortable cradle for your head, although you may need to fluff up the pillow after unpacking it when camping. The small size pillow weighs 7oz and compacts to a 13 x 4 x 4 size, so it is isn’t really aimed at the hardcore backpacker, but if you take the family for regular camping trips in the car, this pillow is an excellent option.
The first thing you notice about the Kylmit is the X-design of the upper half. It’s essentially for mini-cushions that help to center your head when sleeping. The second thing you notice is the incredibly light weight: at only 1.95 ounces, the Klymit come in lighter than both the Seas to Summit premium and the Trekology Ultralight. The pillow compacts down to a very small 4.5 x 2.5 x 1 in, making it a great space saver when on the move. Inflation requires only 1 -2 breaths and Klymit claims that the 745D polyester bottom makes this inflatable more resistant to tears and punctures than its rivals. Although the Klymit does boast some innovative design features, we did notice that there was a lack of grip that resulted in a bit of sliding. If you’re more of a restful sleeper this shouldn’t be a problem. We also felt that the upper fabric could have been a little softer on the head, which would have aided comfort. 
The Exped Down is a luxurious hybrid that provides an excellent level of comfort. This pillow comes with the traditional air bottom / top fill combination, but the Exped’s goose down-filled top cover helps to make it extremely comfortable. The fabric is polyester tricot, which feels nice next to your skin. The down fill also helps to reduce the pillow’s weight, keeping it a respectable 6.7 ounces. One feature we really liked on the Exped was the two eyelets on the side of the pillow, which allow you to attach the pillow to your sleeping pad, thereby preventing slipping if you move your head during sleep. The air bladder is removable and can be washed separately and also packs down to a portable 5.1 x 3.5 in. All-in-all an excellent hybrid pillow that also comes in a larger size if you need the extra space.
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