Best Camping Pillow
For many, thinking about past camping adventures conjures fond memories of campfire stories, wildlife encounters, exciting discoveries, and perhaps a morning or two talking to camp mates sideways due to an overly stiff neck. Technological advances in recreational equipment have created products that can make your camping experience as minimal or as luxurious as you would like. Whether you are backpacking with an unfathomably light pack or car camping with every possible piece of gear your little heart desires, there are plenty of camping pillow options to keep your head and neck happy. Although your home pillow may be able to do the job, having a comfortable pillow that is compressible and portable will greatly simplify your camping experience. Below are some of the best camping pillow options based on comfort, support, ease of cleaning, portability, and positive consumer experiences. These options are also extremely versatile, and will serve you well during air and boat travel, road trips, or even as throw pillows to add extra comfort to a couch or chair.
Classic Quixote Goose Down Pillow
Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
MontBell U.L. Comfort System Pillow
Nemo FilloTM Pillow
REI Base Camp Pillow
If you simply must have the best, most luxurious camping pillow and cost is of no issue, look no further than the Quixote Travelite Classic Goose Down Pillow. If you aren't sold by the comfort of the Hungarian goose down fill alone, you likely will be after seeing the pillow compress down to an unimaginably small size and poof back out as fluffy as the day you first saw it. To top it all off, this pillow is literally as light as a feather, and will hardly add any weight or bulk to your pack. The cover is designed to withstand campsite abuse and is even water resistant, while the pillowcase is a 400-thread count cotton dream. Considering the insulating ability of goose down, your head will stay comfortably warm as it enjoys cloud-like comfort. Quixote also makes a synthetic version of this pillow at roughly half the cost.
If you prefer luxury car camping and want your campsite to include the amenities you enjoy at home, this pillow is worthy of consideration. In fact, some users have even replaced their home pillows with this one due to its extraordinary comfort and support. The Therm-a-Rest compressible pillow comes in small, medium, and large sizes, and is even available in several fun designs. This allows you to choose a pillow size that meets your camping needs while showing off your unique style. The larger size is great if space is not an issue when packing, while the medium option is large enough to provide a cozy sleeping experience while tucked in the hood of your sleeping bag. This pillow is machine-washable, and self-expands from its compressed state. If you are a fan of earth-friendly, recycled products, you'll appreciate that this pillow is filled with materials left over from the production of Therm-a-Rest sleeping mats.
This camping pillow tops the charts in terms of comfort, weight, and portability. It weighs a mere 2.4 ounces, takes only a few short breaths to inflate, and packs down to the size of a softball. The unique shape of the pillow can accommodate multiple sleep positions. Slightly under-inflating it will create an ideal pillow height and deepen the pillow’s center grooves to keep your head snug during the night. Eyelets on the sides of the pillow allow you to attach it to your sleeping pad to keep the pillow in place (your sleeping pad needs to have attachment loops similar to those found on a mont-bell U.L Comfort Pad for best results). Consider the mont-bell lightweight fleece pillow cover for added comfort and softness.
The Nemo Fillo gets rave reviews not only for its incredible level of comfort and quality, but also its handy portability and versatility. This camping pillow is inflatable, and has a layer of memory foam. Together, these two components allow you to adjust the firmness of the pillow to your liking while maintaining cushioning for added comfort. Bungee cording on the back of the pillow allows you to stuff in some extra clothing and adjust the height of the pillow to meet your individual needs. The stuff sack is conveniently attached to the pillow cover, and allows the pillow to be compressed to a conveniently portable size. The cover itself is super-soft microsuede, and can be easily removed and tossed in the washer. If you tend to move around a lot while you sleep, consider the larger luxury size.
REI Base Camp Pillow
This pillow is aptly named, considering it is designed to enhance the comfy cozy aspect of your base camp. This pillow provides an admirable balance of fluffiness and firmness. It has a reputation for being refreshingly lofty, and maintaining that loft as opposed to going flat over time. The polyester and cotton fabric is soft and comfortable, while the filling (recycled!) adds firm and cushy support. Straps on the pillow help you easily secure and store it, though this pillow is not as compressible as other options on this list (which is only a potential disadvantage if space is an issue for you during your adventure). As an added bonus, this pillow is the most inexpensive option on this list.
My husband and I have backpacked through diverse terrains ranging from the rugged wilderness areas of Yosemite and King's Canyon to the more beginner friendly paths of Lake Tahoe. Next year we are even planning to undertake the glorious 200+ miles of the John Muir Trail. We have hiked 12,000 foot passes, traversed rushing rivers, set up impromptu camps on everything from solid snow to granite outcroppings, and seen the wonders of hidden pristine lakes and patches of snow that remain year-round. Our experiences with wildlife including bears, deer, rattlesnakes, and bugs that we didn't even know existed have helped us refine our gear list to be as prepared as possible in the most light-weight, compact way. We have near perfected the art of campsite setup and teardown and can literally create a home away from home in mere minutes and pack it back up in the same amount of time. My husband's insatiable need to be in possession of the latest technological backpacking advancements has allowed us to experiment with many different types of equipment and even varying editions of the same piece of equipment. Even our honeymoon was a 55-mile backpacking adventure. Let's just say it's an obsession.
I look forward to helping you sift through the many options in the backpacking world to find the gear that will help make your trip (and many more to come!) unforgettable. Happy trails!