No doubt, having the best sleeping bag and a suitable sleeping pad helps, of course. Non-snoring tentmates or a pair of good earplugs are also recommended. But there’s one more thing that can make your camping bedtime more like home: the essential but straightforward backpacking pillow.
In general, cushions keep your body straight and help relieve back and neck pain instead of not having one when you sleep. And when you’re backpacking, the less pressure and stress you have in your body, the better off you will be.
Pillows made for backpacking are also suitable for making travel more accessible. As soon as it’s uncompressed, a backpacking pillow will fit in your bag without taking up too much space or adding too much weight.
Even though it’s made of air, a well-made backpacking pillow can be as comfortable as one meant to be used in your home. You can even use your pillow when you’re not on a trip.
There are 12 of the best backpacking pillows out there, and we’ll show you them all in this post! We’ll also give you all the help you need to find the best backpacking pillow for your money, whether you want an ultralight pillow for long hikes or a luxurious one for front-country camping trips.
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List of 12 Best Backpacking Pillow
- Best Ultralight Backpacking Pillow- Zpacks
- Trekology ALUFT 2.0 Ultralight Backpacking Pillow
- Therm-a-Rest Trekker Pillow Case
- Best Overall- Sea to Summit Aeros Premium
- Best Hybrid Pillow- Nemo Fillo Elite
- Cocoon Ultralight AirCore Travel Pillow
- Klymit Pillow X
- Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow
- Big Agnes Q Core Deluxe Inflatable Travel Pillow
- Best Support- Nemo Fillo
- Wise Owl Outfitters Backpacking Pillow
- Therm-a-Rest Air Head Pillow
1. Best Ultralight Backpacking Pillow- ZPacks
- Medium-Plus Dry Bag Pillow
- Soft Micro Fleece
- 2-Year Limited Warranty
- Made in the USA
The ZPacks Dry Bag Pillow is an excellent choice for camping trips where you need to keep the weight of your possessions to a bare minimum. It comes in a variety of sizes.
During the day, this dry bag cushion is relatively comfortable and toasty, and it can also be used as a water-resistant stuff sack when the weather turns chilly at night.
The fleece surface is incredibly soft and feels fantastic against the skin when worn. It is available in two sizes: medium and medium-plus. People preferred the medium-plus size because it’s slightly wider than the medium.
- Compact and Comfortable
- Soft and Warm
- Slippery Underside
2. Trekology ALUFT 2.0 Ultralight Backpacking Pillow
- ALUFT 2.0 Compressible Inflatable Travel Pillow
- Compact and Comfortable
- Neck and Lumbar Support Inflatable Pillows
- Camp, Hike, and Backpack with this Bag.
Trekology’s ALUFT 2.0 is one of the most compact and lightest pillows, providing maximum comfort while leaving the smallest possible carbon footprint. It measures just 5×2 inches upon folding, making it smaller and more compact than a typical soda can.
It has been updated for 2021 with TPU fabric that is both sturdy and elasticated. It’s more comfortable, too, and it’s water-resistant, so you can rest easy while camping beneath the stars.
Gripping spots of rubber on the reverse of this innovative cushion keep your sleeping mat from slipping about as you sleep. The latch strap provides an additional layer of security, which is built into the design.
- Multi-Colors to Choose From
- Easy Inflation and Deflation
- Ergonomic Design with Neck Support
- No Additional Foam and Padding
3. Therm-a-Rest Trekker Pillow Case
- Stuffable Backpacking Pillow
- Feather like Ligh Weight
- Ultra-Compact Pillow
- Brushed Polyester Exterior
- Lifetime Warranty
The Therm-a-Rest Trekker Stuffable Backpacking Pillow Case compresses down to the size of a shirt pocket, saving you precious packing space. You’ll feel like you’re in a beautiful hotel room when you’ve stuffed it with your favorite comforters: 14 x 17 inches and 2.3 oz in weight.
The clothes you cram into the pillow will determine how supportive and comfortable it is for you to sleep on. You’ll need to carry soft or puffy clothing for a soft pillow.
Filling a cushion with many pieces of clothing can ensure that it is firm. Metal buttons and zippers might irritate your skin if you fill it with clothing with many buttons and zippers.
- Ultra-Light and Packable
- Luxurious Relaxation
- Stuffable Pillow Case
4. Best Overall- Sea to Summit Aeros Premium
- Multi-functional Valve
- Synthetic Fiber Fill Layer
- Inflatable Pillow
- Lightweight Tiny Stuff Sack
- Lifetime Warranty
The favorite backpacking pillow is the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow. This pillow weighs just 2.8 ounces in the standard size, which experts recommend for all travelers (79 grams). For the amount of comfort this pillow provides!
The brushed polyester pillowcase is more comfortable than a sleeping bag hood, dry sack, or other makeshift cushions since it is softer to the touch and more durable. Comfortable, especially considering its weight, thanks to a layer of synthetic fill between the air bladder and pillowcase.
Sweat and moisture-resistant polyester keep its softness and breathability. Even though the top layer may begin to smell a little foul after a long trip—this can’t be blamed on the pillow!
Handwashing this pillow with a bit of soap and air drying is convenient and straightforward. It dries thanks to the lightweight pillowcase and thin synthetic quickly.
- Suitable for Both Back and Side Sleepers
- It can be Punctured
5. Best Hybrid Pillow- Nemo Fillo Elite
- Primaloft Synthetic Fiber Fill
- Washable Polyester Microsuede
- Lumbar Support
The Nemo Fillo Elite is right up there with the finest in terms of ultralight camping pillows. It’s small, light, and oh-so-comfy, all at a price that’s significantly lower than that of most other hybrid camping pillows.
An I-beam baffled air cell and Primaloft insulation combination provide enough support and a plethora of comfort in a single garment. You can also wash and chill your skin with the jersey cover that covers the fill, making it machine washable and freaky wonderful to touch.
The best backpacking pillows are available for those who prefer to sleep on their stomach or back.
- Soft Face Fabric
- Tiny Packed Size
- Made with Recycled Materials
- Pricey but not Bad for Hybrid
6. Cocoon Ultralight AirCore Travel Pillow
- Inflatable and Hybrid Versions
Ultralight AirCore Travel Pillow is an excellent solution for individuals who require something light and compact in its inflated form. There’s also a hybrid option for those who want a little extra weight and support but are more interested in camping than backpacking.
The microfiber side of the AirCore cushion provides extra warmth in cold weather, while the nylon side keeps you cool in hot weather. A more oversized pillow is also available for those who need extra room for their heads as they sleep.
This pillow may be washed in the washing machine and still provides a safe place to rest your head. On the other hand, the nylon side of the pillow can be a little slick when it’s face down. If you don’t inflate the pillow all the way, it can be unsteady.
- Firm Pillow
- Potentially Wobbly
7. Klymit Pillow X
- Self-centering X Design
- 30D Polyester Material
- Ultralight Backpacker
- Adjustable Height and Pressure
- Lifetime Guarantee
The Klymit Pillow X is a perfect comfort, durability, and lightweight blend. With a hybrid 75D polyester composition, this garment is tear, puncture, abrasion-resistant, and lightweight. If you sleep on it or kneel, it won’t rupture its seams. However, its best feature is its small size.
Compact as a lighter, the Klymit Pillow X may be stored in the palm of your hand. The pillow’s x-shaped design, which cradles your head, gives it an advantage in terms of comfort. After a hard day of hiking, you’ll appreciate having something to lean on and feel secure in.
- Comparatively Small in Size
8. Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow
- Versatile Backpacking Pillow
- 20D Polyester Insert Fabric
- Stuff-Sack Included
The Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow is distinct from the others on our list in a few respects. There are two independent components to the DriDown Pillow: a down-filled topper and an insert inside the topper. The down-filled topper provides comfort, insulation, and some height.
It is the greatest down pillow on the market. A fine layer of warmth and comfort can be found where your face touches the quilted topper. An exact shape, no air for height, and a compact size make this cushion ideal for travel.
- Versatile Design
- Fine Layer of Comfort
- Wilderness Backpacker
- Low Thickness
9. Big Agnes Q Core Deluxe Inflatable Travel Pillow
- Deluxe Backpacking Pillow
- Superlight Comfort
- Stretch Nylon Fabric
- Lifetime Warranty
Q-Core Deluxe is one of Big Agnes‘ most popular pillows, and it is excellent for camping, hiking, or backpacking. It’s worth the money since it combines the best sleeping pad technology with extra comfort that even the most sensitive skin can handle.
This pillow has no “ballooning” or “pressure points” because of the nylon outer fabric’s four-way stretch and soft-touch feel. In addition, a built-in heat-reflective technology keeps you warm without making you feel sweltering.
A lighter pillow with the same support and comfort all night long can be made using offset construction. Quick deflation is made possible by the single-port valve’s modest profile and a discrete adjustment button.
- Sturdy and Comfortable
- Soft, Supple Finish
- Stuff Sack Included
- Air Dryer Only
10. Best Support- Nemo Fillo
- Inflatable Backpacking Pillow
- A layer of Thick Luxury Foam
- Integrated Storage
- I-Beam Baffled Air Cell
Four inches of firm, but the nice loft is provided by the Fillo’s air bladder base and generously thick foam topper. Even though there are thicker pillows out there, this one had just enough “resilience” without making us feel like we were sleeping on a basketball.
With an I-beam baffled air cell, a soft microsuede cover, and the ability to fit in a tennis ball-sized package, it’s one of the best travel pillows on the market.
Compared to the other pillows on this list, the Nemo Fillo is less ideal for long hiking excursions because of its 9-ounce weight. Roadside camping and travel, as well as shorter hiking trips, are excellent uses for it.
- Natural Support
- Lumbar Support
- Luxury Foam
- Quite Heavy
11. Wise Owl Outfitters Backpacking Pillow
- Essential Camping Equipment
- Sleeping Pillow for Traveling and Sleeping on the Go
- Memory Foam Travel Pillow
- Small/ Medium – Compact in Size
The Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Pillow is one of the most affordable options. You can understand our recommendation for such an inexpensive and cheerful pillow. This Wise Owl Outfitters jacket is a steal at this price point!
Five inches thick, it’s one of the most comfortable backpacking pillows on the market, but it’s also one of the most affordable, thanks to its foamy support and silky micro-suede fabric.
With three sizes to choose from, you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your travels. Even the most oversized pillow folds down to a whopping 12×17 inches, making it a perfect fit for just about any bag you could imagine.
If you’re going vehicle camping or traveling, this is an excellent backpacking pillow to have. Unlike the other, this one doesn’t fold up very compactly, but it’s still an excellent option for vehicle camping. Large enough for side sleepers, this is the ultimate traveling pillow.
- Super Affordable
- Machine Washable
- Little Lumpy
12. Therm-a-Rest Air Head Pillow
- Thick Baffled Air Chamber
- Comfortable Support
- Lightweight and Packable
- Non-Slip Fabric
- Made in the USA
The Therm-a-Rest Air Head Pillow is a strong competitor with a loftier and firmer feel than the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium. A curved-shaped air chamber provides enough support for side sleepers on the inside of the mattress.
When wholly inflated, it’s a firm cushion, but the side-mounted twist-lock valve lets you adjust the stiffness. The Therm-a-Rest Air Head Lite isn’t the lightest pillow on the market, but you can decrease the weight in half by using the internal inflatable pillow and removing the outer cover.
- Soft Brushed Fabric Covering
Also Read: 13 Best Camping Pillow of 2022
What to Consider When Choosing a Backpacking Pillow
Weight and Size
First, think about where and how you will be utilizing the cushion. The designers must consider weight and size considerably more than a weekend camper.
Although having a larger cushion may feel luxurious, it will be heavier. Packing a hiking cushion should be as little as your hand.
You should avoid using a pillow that has a slippery texture on its surface as a general rule. Although they tend to slide out from beneath you, these are incredibly comfortable.
Fabrics such as silk and rayon should be avoided. It is only permissible if the cushion is small enough to fit firmly beneath the hood of your sleeping bag that slippery fabric can be used.
Frequency of Use and Durability
The frequency with which you will be utilizing the cushion is another factor to consider. When you use something regularly, its durability and comfort become even more vital.
If any particular aspects disturb you at first, you will not be able to get used to them in the future. The more you use the cushion, the more a leaking valve will annoy the living daylights out of you. It is usually better to buy a high-priced item once than to buy multiple low-priced ones.
Comfort and Support
When you sleep on your side, you need support to ensure that you don’t wake up the next day with a sore neck (or during the night). Two inflatable pillows stood out for their support: the Therma–rest Trekker Pillow Case and the Cocoon Hyperlight Air-Core Pillow.
If you’re a back sleeper who needs a supportive pillow, check out the options above as well. Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow, Trekology Pillow, and Exped Air Pillow UL are fantastic options for support.
Inflatable vs. Pillow Case
Inflatables and pillow coverings are the two most common forms of backpacking pillows. You need to blow up inflatables. Stuffing the pillowcases with garments is a must. Eight inflatables and one pillowcase were put to the test.
In general, pillowcases are less expensive and don’t tend to burst. It’s up to you to decide how much support and comfort you get from them.
It isn’t easy to make a pillowcase comfortable if you don’t have adequate clothing to meet your needs in terms of both comfort and support. There’s always a potential that an inflatable can burst or leak air, making them more expensive and riskier to use.
While this may be advantageous if you like a more consistent degree of comfort, it can also be disadvantageous if you don’t. To meet your preferences, it’s also possible to inflate or deflate an inflatable pillow.
In terms of warmth and comfort, the best sleeping systems for hiking and camping consist of a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and a pillow that are as similar to your house as possible in terms of warmth and comfort.
Pillows, which are often forgotten, can make the difference between sleeping like a baby and twisting and turning all night long.
We hope that this information has assisted you in finding the best equipment for your needs. If you have any additional questions or want to make a recommendation, please contact us.