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Nemo Fillo Elite Review

A great option for folks who want comfortable sleep without sacrificing pack space or added weight
Nemo Fillo Elite
Photo: NEMO
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Price:  $45 List | $44.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, packs up small, reasonable comfortable, built-in stuff sack
Cons:  Thin for side sleepers, stuff sack is too small, valve is finicky
Manufacturer:   Nemo
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 6, 2021
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Packed Size - 20% 8
  • Support - 20% 6

Our Verdict

The Nemo Fillo Elite is a lighter version of our reigning favorite pillow, the Nemo Fillo. The differences between these models are significant. This Elite version shaves off a lot of weight and packed size at the expense of comfort and support. Designed specifically for longer outdoor adventures, this pillow will appeal to backpackers, climbers, or mountaineers who desire the most comfort possible for the least amount of weight and size. This pillow is not perfection, but it scores neck-and-neck with our favorite backpacking-focused model, and is a great choice for bringing a reasonably comfortable head cushion into the backcountry.

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Pros Lightweight, packs up small, reasonable comfortable, built-in stuff sackVery comfortable, great support, easy to adjust thickness, washable exteriorVery small packed size, lightweight, great supportInexpensive, very comfortable and supportive, easy setupInexpensive, comfortable, easy to use
Cons Thin for side sleepers, stuff sack is too small, valve is finickyHeavy and bulky, not for extended backcountry tripsNot super comfortableLarge packed size, not adjustableHeavy, large packed volume, becomes lumpy after extended use
Bottom Line A great option for folks who want comfortable sleep without sacrificing pack space or added weightThis pillow will please the vast majority of campers due to its superb comfort, adjustable support, and washable external layerThis model increases nighttime head support and decent comfort at minimal weight and volumeSupremely comfortable and very affordable, this model is a great option for enjoyable nights at the campgroundIf you need a simple and comfy pillow strictly for car camping, this is a solid and affordable choice
Rating Categories Nemo Fillo Elite NEMO Fillo Sea to Summit Aeros REI Co-op Trailbrea... TETON Sports XL
Comfort (25%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
10.0
8.0
Weight (20%)
8.0
3.0
8.0
2.0
2.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
9.0
Packed Size (20%)
8.0
6.0
8.0
2.0
3.0
Support (20%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Specs Nemo Fillo Elite NEMO Fillo Sea to Summit Aeros REI Co-op Trailbrea... TETON Sports XL
Type Hybrid: Compressible and Inflatable Hybrid: Compressible and Inflatable Inflatable Stuffable Compressible
Measured Weight (oz) 3 oz 9.0 oz 3.1 oz 10.1 oz 10.0 oz
Packed Volume (L) 0.4 L 1.4 L 0.4 L 6.3 L 4.5 L
Length 15 in 16 in 14 in 18 in 16 in
Width 11 in 9.5 in 8 in 14 in 9 in
Thickness 3 in 4.5 in High side: 5 in; Low side: 4 in 7 in 4 in
Stuff Sack included? Yes, built-in with drawstring Integrated Stuff Sack. Velcro strap as well. Yes, with drawstring Built in stuff pouch Yes, with drawstring
Materials Polyester jersey fabric, synthetic PrimaLoft Insulation, inflatable bladder Polyester, microfiber / microsuede outer layer, inflatable bladder Polyurethane bladder, Brushed 50D Polyester Knit Cover Polyester, foam Fill: SuperLoft Elite 4-Channel Hollow Fiber; Inner Shell: P5 Poly Hiā€“Count; Outer Shell: 100% Brushed Flannel

Our Analysis and Test Results

For those who spend a lot of time sleeping in the backcountry, we feel the Fillo Elite is a contender for achieving great sleep upon a lightweight pillow. This pillow also employs a layered system, consisting of an inflatable air cell with a Primaloft cushion on top. These two layers are then sandwiched inside of a soft, jersey blend pillowcase. It's a great choice for extended adventures where ounces and pack space must be taken into consideration.

Performance Comparison


We crashed on the Fillo Elite in the back of a truck at the...
We crashed on the Fillo Elite in the back of a truck at the trailhead and while camping along rivers, lakes and streams. We slept on it in tents, directly on the ground and even in our own beds.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Comfort


When compared to its dainty packed size and weight, the Fillo Elite delivers on comfort. It's not the most comfortable pillow on our list, but its effective layering of a stretchy air cell, Primaloft insulation, and soft jersey-blend exterior, synthesize into one of the more comfortable ultra-lite inflatable pillows we've come across. To be transparent, it's still an inflatable pillow, subject to all of the drawbacks of sleeping on an air-filled bladder; however, the added padding in the form of the insulation cushion offers noticeable comfort and noise reduction. Nemo's patented twist valve also allowed our testers to make small air adjustments as they searched for their preferred inflation volume.

The Fillo Elite's I-beam, baffled, air cell adequately kept our heads centered on the pillow. Additionally, the jersey blend pillowcase feels like a T-shirt stretched across this pillow. It offers just enough friction to prevent our faces from slipping off the pillow in the middle of the night. We found pillows with microsuede or microfiber face fabrics to be more comfortable. We also have some worry that the thin jersey fabric could be more susceptible to wear and tear over time in comparison to other face fabric options.

It packs up small and is the perfect size to easily shove into a...
It packs up small and is the perfect size to easily shove into a spare pocket on your backpack. Oh, and bison are rad.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Compared to other backpacking-specific models, this model has a significant amount of real estate. The Fillo Elite measures 15 inches across and 11 inches wide, which gives your noggin a touch of extra space to move around at night. Overall, this model's advantages in comfort are its surface area and thin cushion atop the inflatable bladder, while it falls back a step with a face fabric that we think could be better.

When fully inflated, the Fillo Elite doesn't sit as high as many other inflatables. This thinner design makes for a good option for stomach sleepers. Simply inflate it fully, lay on it, and let the air out until your desired comfort level is reached.

Weight


We were impressed when we placed the Fillo Elite on our scale. We knew it would weigh in relatively light; however, its size and overall comfort fooled us into thinking it would weigh more than it actually did. It's not the lightest pillow on our list, but it's near the top of the leader board. When you compare its weight against its overall comfort and size, it's clear why it's one of our favorite ultralight backpacking pillows.

Just a few breaths can completely fill the Fillo Elite. We found the...
Just a few breaths can completely fill the Fillo Elite. We found the twist valve to be a little stubborn at times, but for the most part this pillow is easy to use.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Ease of Use


Removing it from its stuff sack and inflating the Fillo Elite is quite simple and straightforward; however, closing off the twist valve without losing air was surprisingly a little more difficult than we anticipated. The valve sits close to the air cell, causing lips, face, and fingers to be pushed increasingly farther away from the valve as the cell expands. This makes it difficult to find enough leverage to close the valve since the valve must be pushed downward and twisted at the same time to close it. While pushing it downward, we often forced air out of the bladder, requiring us to start over. It works okay, but we've found better valves on other models.

The Fillo Elite just barely fits in its stuff sack. We found it the...
The Fillo Elite just barely fits in its stuff sack. We found it the most effective to hold the bag with both hands and shove the pillow into place with both thumbs.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

We feel the Fillo Elite's stuff sack is a titch too small, making it difficult to stow. Similar type inflatable pillows generally can be folded over and rolled up before slipping them into their stuff sack. However, we had difficulty doing this with the Fillo Elite. We do like the fact that its stuff sack is attached to the pillow so it's easy to keep track of, but its smaller size makes it awkward to roll up the pillow and fold it inside. In the end, we found the easiest way to stow the pillow is to hold the sack with both hands and use our thumbs to shove the pillow into place. The smaller stuff sack makes this more difficult than necessary. We also feel this repeated force over time may place unneeded stress on the pillow's seams and interior air cell.

We like that the stuff sack is  built-in, although we wish it were a...
We like that the stuff sack is built-in, although we wish it were a little larger.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Finally, we like the fact that the air cell can be removed from the outer pillowcase. This is convenient if you would ever need to patch the inflatable bladder, and makes for easy washing of the pillow's exterior. The opening to remove the inner air cell is quite small, making the process a little difficult. We feel the opening (which is about 3 inches wide) should be another inch wider.

The Fillo Elite packs up small. An inch or two longer than a stick...
The Fillo Elite packs up small. An inch or two longer than a stick of gum, this pillow packs down to the overall size of a small potato.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Packed Size


Scoring right at the top for packed size, the Fillo Elite is ideal for backpackers, climbers, or mountaineers who have limited storage space and plan to spend several nights sleeping in the outdoors. It's a tight fit, but once shoved into its stuff sack, this pillow boasts one of the smaller packed sizes of the dozens we've looked at over the years. This is distinctively impressive when we consider the deployed size of the pillow and the extra layer of Primaloft insulation that it offers.

This pillow is a great option for the backcountry. It offers...
This pillow is a great option for the backcountry. It offers comfortable support for everything from a creekside nap to a full night's rest.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Support


As with most inflatable pillows, the Fillo Elite offers impressive and adjustable support. The product's twist valve allows sleepers to adjust the pillow's air volume at micro-increments. This allows for customized support settings through a simple twist. That said, the support provided by this pillow, and most other inflatables, is a dense, relatively unforgiving support that tends to push back on you. However, when compared against similar pillows, the Fillo Elite does seem to provide support that is ever so slightly more comfortable than its peers. It's important to note here, though, that the Fillo Elite only offers a maximum of 3 inches of support, which is among the least loft of any model tested. Side sleepers might prefer a bit more height.

Nemo's twist valve on the Fillo Elite works, but it's not the most...
Nemo's twist valve on the Fillo Elite works, but it's not the most user-friendly. The design makes it easy to unintentionally lose some air when trying to close the valve.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Value


When measured against its peers, the Fillo Elite performs as well or better than the myriad of inflatables currently on the market. Scoring comparatively high marks for packed size, weight, comfort, and support, this pillow is worth the price tag. It's ideal for adventurists looking for a lightweight pillow that packs up small and achieves more comfort than models that are bladder-only inflatables.

Being so small and lightweight, it's easy to bring this model on...
Being so small and lightweight, it's easy to bring this model on nearly any backcountry adventure. Want to hike in and nap by a waterfall? Well, sure, go for it with the Fillo Elite, as well as other more practical applications.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Conclusion


We give the Nemo Fillo Elite extra points for using 100-percent post-consumer Primaloft insulation. A great inflatable camping pillow is a challenging undertaking for any manufacturer. When considering the balance this pillow achieves between, comfort, weight, packed size, support, and overall appeal, we feel the Fillo Elite is one of the best for consumers looking to cut weight, maximize space, and sleep well.

Jason Wanlass