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Sea to Summit Aeros Review

Top Pick Award
Price:   $43 List | $34.90 at Amazon
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Pros:  Very small packed size, lightweight, great support
Cons:  Not super comfortable
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit

Our Verdict

The Sea to Summit Aeros pillow earned our Top Pick for Backpacking. It was the highest scoring pillow according to our metrics, scoring very well in several categories. We loved its minimal weight and packed size, as well as the support it provided our head, neck, and spine. It is our pillow of choice for extended backpacking trips. That said, in comparison to the other pillows in this review, its comfort was clearly inferior, and it was more of a hassle to use. This pillow is excellent for specific purposes - like backpacking - but not for all-around use. Our Editors' Choice winner, the Nemo Fillo, however, is great for short backpacking trips and for car camping. If these sound more like your needs, then we highly recommend the comfortable and supportive Fillo!


RELATED REVIEW: A Hunt for the Best Camping Pillows

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Type Packed Volume Weight
76
$43
Top Pick Award
Inflatable 0.4 L 3.1 oz
75
$40
Editors' Choice Award
Hybrid: Compressible and Inflatable 1.4 L 9.0 oz
73
$23
Best Buy Award
Compressible 2.6 L 8.6 oz
70
$40
Compressible 2.1 L 5.8 oz
68
$20
Compressible 4.5 L 10.0 oz
66
$49
Inflatable 0.2 L 1.7 oz

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Ross Robinson
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
July 19, 2015

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For this review, we tested the regular size of the Sea to Summit Aeros, an inflatable pillow that costs a little over $40. We were excited to find an inflatable pillow that offered a decent amount of comfort, in addition to its small packed volume and light weight. We also liked that the thickness of the pillow was simple and easy to adjust, allowing us to hone in on our ideal thickness. Although the Aeros' comfort did pale in comparison to the compressible pillows in this review, our Top Pick for Backpacking is a worthy addition to your pack on multi-day backcountry ventures.

Performance Comparison


Blake Stave proudly shows off the Aeros pillow during a five day canoeing trip in northern Minnesota.
Blake Stave proudly shows off the Aeros pillow during a five day canoeing trip in northern Minnesota.

Comfort


The Aeros was significantly more comfortable than the other inflatable pillow in this review, the Exped Air UL. This is mostly accomplished thanks to its soft outer polyester cover and greater thickness. Additionally, one side of the Aeros is elevated an inch higher than the other side, giving you a couple options to help fit your ideal thickness. Despite these features, it was still less comfortable than the NEMO Fillo and all of the compressible models we tested. While the Aeros' contouring did help cradle our heads, there was still a noticeable wobble to the pillow. This is also one of the smallest pillows we tested, so it doesn't offer any extra real estate for your head. It wasn't unbearable, but comfort is not where this pillow excelled.

If you are a side sleeper, try sleeping on the thicker side of the pillow for maximum comfort. Back sleepers, try the opposite.

Weight


Weight, or lack thereof, is an area where the Sea to Summit pillow performed very well. Weighing only 3.1 ounces on our scale, this pillow was the second-lightest in this review. Although it was 1.4 ounces heavier than the Exped Air UL, we would still prefer to take the Sea to Summit on extended trips because it's so much more comfortable and easy to use.

Ease of Use


Again, the Sea to Summit was the easier inflatable pillow in this review to operate. It only takes 3 large breaths to fully inflate it. If you want to let out some air, simply adjust by pushing the small button inside the inflation valve to slowly release air. We found this easy to do without risking all the air escaping. It easily fit inside the hood of any sleeping bag we put it in, too. Packing the pillow back into the stuff sack was also a breeze, unlike the difficulty of squeezing the Nemo Fillo into its intended sack. Being on the small and slightly wobbly side, though, this pillow did work its way out from underneath our heads occasionally in the night. It cannot be machine washed or dried either. Also, as with all inflatables, blowing it up and adjusting until it fit our comfort level was more work than simply unpacking a synthetic fill pillow like the Therm-a-rest Compressible.

Inflating this pillow is achieved in just three quick breaths.
Inflating this pillow is achieved in just three quick breaths.

Packed Size


Our Top Pick for Backpacking packs away to a small cylinder. Taking up only 0.4 liters of space, it is easy to justify bringing it along. Here again, the Aeros was second best only to the Exped Air UL.

This pillow's stuff sack is large enough to easily slide the pillow inside and pull the drawstring tight.
This pillow's stuff sack is large enough to easily slide the pillow inside and pull the drawstring tight.

Support


The Sea to Summit provided the firmest support of all pillows in this review. If you like firm pillows, fill this one up on three breaths and it will stay that way until sunrise.

This pillow provided firm support throughout the night. We also liked that you can adjust the support you need with the valve.
This pillow provided firm support throughout the night. We also liked that you can adjust the support you need with the valve.

Best Applications


We found that the best application for this pillow would be for backpacking trips lasting several days or longer. We could also imagine bringing this pillow along while traveling, as it doesn't take up much space and could be handy on long car or plane rides.

Although the Aeros is great for longer backpacking trips, if you want a little more overall comfort and don't mind a few extra ounces, we highly recommend picking up the Nemo Fillo instead.

Value


If you take long trips into the backcountry and long for some lightweight comfort, this pillow has good value, costing $43. For its small packed size and weight, it provides significantly more comfort than your dirty fleece jacket likely would.

This small  lightweight inflatable pillow was handy on a backpacking trip in Alaska.
This small, lightweight inflatable pillow was handy on a backpacking trip in Alaska.

Conclusion


Overall, we were impressed with the Sea to Summit Aeros. For backpackers, using this pillow is a definite upgrade from a mound of clothes from your pack. Its packed size and light weight make it almost unnoticeable in your pack. However, what you will notice is a lack of neck discomfort/pain the following day. While we don't recommend this pillow for primarily car campers, we do strongly recommend it for backpackers, and even travelers, who want an actual pillow without the extra baggage.

Our Top Pick for Backpacking easily fit into the hoods of the mummy sacks we tested them in.
Our Top Pick for Backpacking easily fit into the hoods of the mummy sacks we tested them in.

Other Versions


The Aeros Premium is available in two sizes, regular (featured in this review) and large.

Aeros Ultralight Pillow
Aeros Ultralight Pillow
  • Cost - $36.95
  • Weight - 2 oz
  • Inflate pillow in just a couple of breaths with the multifunctional valve
  • Available in regular or large

Aeros Traveller Pillow
Aeros Traveller Pillow
  • Cost - $34.95
  • Weight - 1.8 oz
  • Highly effective addition to your daypack or carry-on
  • One size

Aeros Premium Deluxe Pillow
Aeros Premium Deluxe
  • Cost - $69.95
  • Weight - 6.9 oz
  • Full-size version for increased backcountry luxury
  • Inflated size = 23.5" x 16" x 5.5"
Ross Robinson

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 17, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.4)

100% of 5 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
6 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (3)
4 star: 50%  (3)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jul 25, 2015 - 05:24am
Adam.B · Skier · Australia
This pillow would have to be the best pillow I have bought EVER.

It is very comfortable to use, firm or slightly deflated. It packs up to such a small size it is suitable for any trip.
I have used this pillow for Backcountry touring and in my military life, and it meets all my requirements for both.

I find this very comfortable despite that OGL review put this in the Cons.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Sep 21, 2015 - 06:18pm
Pepito · Camper · Gatineau, Québec
I used to have two "AIR PILLOW M" from "Exped" with the "AIR PILLOW CASE M", and it did the job for me as it was supporting my head. But it wasn't comfortable at all. I didn't really care until my girlfriend (really picky about her sleep) couldn't sleep at all with it. So I bought two "AEROS PRENIUM PILLOW(s)" from "Sea to Summit", and now I sleep better and my girlfriend found that now she can sleep really well.

This pillow is better in almost every way or near to what Exped as to offer (weight, support…), but the Exped as a liner you can wash aside. So I'm not really looking forward to hand wash and air dry this pillow often in the future. Plus they don't have the loops on the side to secure the pillow. That explains the 4 stars rating.

Also, something really interesting to avoid putting all your saliva, bad breath and humidity in the pillow when inflating:
You can use the "SCHNOZZEL PUMPBAG UL M" from "Exped" to infalte it. It is the complete right fit; the Exped Pumpbag is the right tool to inflate with the valve. It will fit with just a little bit of efforts like any Exped valve and it will never damage your multifunctional valve (Probably the same manufacturer for the pieces of the 2 brands).

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 17, 2017 - 02:35pm
bikermanlax · Road Biker · Wisconsin
Works well in my Warbonnet Blackbird hammock. Much more comfortable than expected.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 18, 2015 - 06:16pm
TJ F · Backpacker · California
This is the pillow that converted me to inflatables. SO light and small and inflates with two or three breaths. I really like the multi-functional valve that allows you to just press the center to deflate to your liking or pop the whole valve for instant deflating. It's too firm for me when fully inflated but it takes about a second to dial it in.

Curious why more camp pillow companies don't include loops on the side that would allow the pillow to be secured to a pad. If the Aeros had that I'd give it six stars.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 22, 2015 - 09:43am
Daemon Angel · Backpacker · Belgium
In the past I always slept with my head on my spare clothing.
For some reason my ear would start to hurt from this and I would keep waking up during the night because my ear was really painful.
I'm a side sleeper and have reasonably broad shoulders so with sleeping on a small pile of clothing my neck and arm would start to hurt while sleeping on a sleeping pad (thermarest) as well.

I bought this and I really love it. I don't mind the small weight price you have to pay and it takes up almost no space. It's like half of a 33 cl can.
It is easy to inflate as the valve blocks air coming back out and only takes a few exhales. So you add and add until it is firm enough, then just close it and done. In the morning pop both valves open and role it up and done.

Due to the lining it is really soft and feels nice against your face.
It is thick enough so my neck has no issues at all, my ear loves the soft liner and my shoulder and arm are not as painful anymore.

Regarding the "wobble" described in the review. I indeed experienced the same. I did however manage to (almost) eliminate this with finding the correct amount of "hardness"/inflation of the pillow.
Too hard and the head wobbles, too soft as well, but a zone in between makes it very acceptable.
In hotels you often have worse "real" pillows (way too thin or lumpy).

Conclusion: it is going on every trip from now on!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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