Klymit Luxe Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Large but lightweight, adjustable, small packed size, quilted top
Cons: Silky outer fabric slides causes pillow to slide around, a little heavy for ultralight backpackers
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Klymit Luxe is a modified rectangular camp pillow that's quite large and light. It consists of an inflatable rubber/denier fabric bladder surrounded by a removable, quilted polyester sleeve. Nearly the size of a standard bed pillow, the Luxe's bladder stretches and gives with every movement, and its the self-centering X design aims to cradle your head and keep it from falling off at night.
After three weeks of use in Nepal's Himalayan Mountains, we can strongly say this pillow is comfortable and spacious. Measuring in at 22 inches long and nearly 13 inches wide, we enjoy the extra room this pillow provides. Its quilted polyester top is more than just an attractive pattern; it includes a layer of batting which adds comfort and cushion. The fabric is soft on the skin and the pillow's rubberized/denier fabric bladder offers a lot of give and take, stretching with every movement. This amount of give produces a sensation that somewhat resembles an actual pillow at home.
The Luxe inflatable bladder has built-in, vulcanized seams — termed "X Design" — that aim to channel the head back into the center of the pillow. The end goal is to keep your head from slipping off the pillow. While not overly wowed with the X Design, we do feel it works.
It is very soft and comfortable to sleep on, yet we noticed the silky nature of the pillow's polyester/polyamide shell has less grab against other fabrics, causing the pillow to slip out from underneath us occasionally. However, overall, the Luxe is much more comfortable than the average camping pillow.
One small drawback of this product is its weight. For an average backpacker, 6.4 ounces is a big deal. Yet for its size, the weight is pretty impressive. It's the largest model tested, but lands in the middle for total weight.
It's important to keep in mind that lighter always equals less weight but rarely equals more comfort. If you intend to use this pillow primarily for car camping at state parks or while traveling, the extra heft of this model shouldn't be a factor.
Ease of Use
The Luxe also scored well in this category. Its main support system is an inflatable rubberized bladder that requires about 3 to 5 breaths to inflate. The air level can be adjusted quickly with a large twist valve. We are partial to twist valves for their ability to release air at a very controllable rate, giving the user more command over support and comfort. The Luxe is easy to inflate and deflate. It folds over and rolls up like a mini sleeping bag and fits easily into its stuff sack.
Additionally, the Luxe's bladder can be removed easily from the the pillow's exterior sleeve, making it easy to throw the sleeve into the washing machine, sink or nearby creek for a quick wash.
For being the largest pillow we examined, we are quite impressed by its packed size. With a total packed volume of 0.8 liters, the Luxe doesn't demand too much space in a backpack, duffel, or carry-on. When compared to other inflatable pillows, its packed size is significantly larger.
The size of the Luxe makes it an appealing option for everything from car-camping to Summer camp. Its packed size also makes it a good option for a travel pillow. Although it's too heavy for ultralight backpackers, its size and comfort are fair trade-offs for extra ounces. It works for short backpacking trips in the summer when you don't need the hood of your mummy sleeping bag to keep warm. It's unlikely to fit inside a mummy hood, though, so we prefer to use it with rectangular sleeping bags in campground settings where parking is nearby.
This pillow provides sleepers with excellent support. After several weeks' use, we found the pillow's self-centering X Design less than superb, but still more effective than our initial impressions. To create the X Design, strategic areas of the rubberized bladder are vulcanized together, creating quilt-like depressions in the bladder that serve to keep the head in place. The depressions resemble those created by buttons on upholstered seat cushions or chairs.
We found them to be reasonably effective at cradling our heads, keeping our necks aligned and adding natural support. The other primary purpose of the X Design is also to help prevent the head from slipping off of the pillow by continuously channeling it back to center. We don't feel it works as well as touted, but we can say with surety that it is effective on an above-average level.
Considering its price tag, this pillow isn't exactly cheap. However, for those in the market for large and lightweight camping pillow, this one is adequately priced. It's comfortable, supportive, and one of the biggest camping pillows we've ever examined. All of that and more rolled into a reasonable packed size leaves us feeling good about what we paid and what we received.
As we've mentioned, the Klymit Luxe's overall appeal are its generous size, innovative X Design, twist-release air valve, and quilted-batting top. It's not the perfect pillow but is a very good option for campers who want a lot of room and comfort. We slept pretty well with this model under our heads.
— Jason Wanlass