REI Co-op Trailbreak Foam Review
Cons: Large packed size, not adjustable
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Trailbreak Foam
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|Pros||Inexpensive, very comfortable and supportive, easy setup||Very comfortable, great support, easy to adjust thickness, washable exterior||Creative design features, packs up small, lightweight, inexpensive, ergonomic shape||Comfortable and supportive, removable pillow case, packs up well, soft fabrics, easy to use, affordable||Inexpensive, comfortable, easy to use|
|Cons||Large packed size, not adjustable||Heavy and bulky, not for extended backcountry trips||Noisy to sleep on, lacking in comfort||Needs to be thicker, too heavy for backpacking, difficult to separate pillow from pillow case||Heavy, large packed volume, becomes lumpy after extended use|
|Bottom Line||Supremely comfortable and very affordable, this model is a great option for enjoyable nights at the campground||This pillow will please the vast majority of campers due to its superb comfort, adjustable support, and washable external layer||We love this pillow because it offers innovative features most backpacking inflatables don't have, all at a great price||This memory foam core pillow is perfect for hammocking, tent camping, road trips, travel, or catching some winks on a van trip||If you need a simple and comfy pillow strictly for car camping, this is a solid and affordable choice|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Trailbrea...||NEMO Fillo||Trekology Aluft 2.0||Wise Owl Outfitters...||TETON Sports XL|
|Packed Size (20%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Trailbrea...||NEMO Fillo||Trekology Aluft 2.0||Wise Owl Outfitters...||TETON Sports XL|
|Type||Stuffable||Hybrid: compressible and inflatable||Inflatable||Compressible||Compressible|
|Measured Weight||10.1 oz||9.0 oz||3.8 oz||16.2 oz||10.0 oz|
|Packed Volume||6.3 L||1.4 L||0.5 L||6.8 L||4.5 L|
|Length||18 in||16 in||17 in||16 in||16 in|
|Width||14 in||9.5 in||12 in||12.5 in||9 in|
|Thickness||7 in||4.5 in||4 in||4.5 in||4 in|
|Stuff Sack included?||Built in stuff pouch||Integrated Stuff Sack. Velcro strap as well.||yes, with drawstring||yes, with drawstring||Yes, with drawstring|
|Materials||Polyester, foam||Polyester, microfiber / microsuede outer layer, inflatable bladder||Shell Material: Polyester; Bladder: TPU/thermoplastic Polyurethane||Shell Material: Polyester micro suede; Padding: Polyurethane memory foam||Fill: SuperLoft Elite 4-Channel Hollow Fiber; Inner Shell: P5 Poly Hi–Count; Outer Shell: 100% Brushed Flannel|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This model consists of a polyester, dual-side use pillowcase over a pile of repurposed sleeping pad foam scraps. It boasts a large surface area of 18 inches long and 14 inches wide. Unsurpassed scores for comfort, support, and ease of use, sit in stark contrast to the bottom of the barrel scores for weight and packed size, making the Trailbreak a pillow ideal for car camping and RV adventures that don't have weight or packing restrictions. We enjoyed many nights settling into its supreme comfort and often woke up more refreshed when compared to using inflatables, hybrids, and other stuffable pillows.
Spend one night at camp burrowed into the Trailbreak and you'll immediately understand why we give it such high comfort scores. Its eco-friendly core consists of high-quality scrap foam, leftover from the manufacturing of sleeping pads — and REI didn't skimp. This pillow is literally right on the verge of being overstuffed, giving it the ability to softly cradle your head from sundown to sun up.
Often, the foam in compression pillows tends to move during the night, separating to either end of the pillow, leaving very little cushion for your head. However, the Trailbreak's fabric to foam ratio is nearly perfect, leaving no free space for the foam to shift, resulting in unified, consistent comfort. In fact, some of our testers woke up in the same position they fell asleep in. This pillow is quiet as a mouse, incredibly soft, and comes with two different fabrics for warmer or colder sleeping.
This model offers two face fabrics—one thinner, cooler side for warm nights, and one warmer and cozier fleece-like side for colder nights. The fleece side does pick up and hold onto more forest litter (twigs, dirt, lichen) if you drop it on the ground than other models, but we recommend keeping any model off the forest floor anyhow. We've tested some very comfortable pillows over the last several years, but this one stands out more than any other in this metric.
In many backcountry sports, ounces matter. This pillow is quite heavy in the backpacking, mountaineering, and climbing worlds. It is easily one of the heaviest pillows we've tested in the last 5 years. We feel it's simply too heavy for any backcountry sport where the weight of every gear piece is more critical.
Some of our backpackers considered making this pillow their luxury item, but in the end, they couldn't justify the extra weight for longer, multi-day, or multi-week journeys on the trail. Yes, you can get away with it for a quick overnight, but we wouldn't recommend it for regular backpacking.
In the areas it excels, the Trailbreak does so with top scores. However, the downsides of the pillow come with some of our lowest scores — packed size being one of them. Even when rolled up tightly, this pillow is much larger than an average loaf of bread, resulting in the largest packed size of all camping pillows we've ever come across. Again, for adventurists who are weight and size-conscious, this isn't the pillow for you. The manufacturer claims it stores at 1/5 of its size. We simply could not achieve this dimension. Roughly speaking, this pillow stows at about 1/3 its size.
We enjoyed relentless support from this pillow over several nights of rest in the woods. Its overstuffed design keeps the foam core from shifting during the night, resulting in consistent cushioning and comfort. Ideal for side and back sleepers, the Trailbreak supports the head with a substantive cushion that is equally soft and accommodating. We feel this pillow mimics our home pillows better than anything we've tested.
Ease of Use
Unlock a simple toggle-loop fastener — this pillow does the rest. That's about the entire setup process for the Trailbreak. Once unfolded, the high-quality foam core quickly expands into a thick, large, comfy cradle for your head. Stowing the pillow takes a slight amount of elbow grease, but it's nearly as easy. Simply tuck one end of the pillow into its built-in pouch and reconnect the toggle into its loop.
This pillow doesn't like to be pushed around. Whether we chose to lay on the pillow's warm fleece side or cool silky side, its fabrics displayed an amazing amount of natural grip. Simply put: The Trailbreak stays in place and your head stays in place. Sleeping in the outdoors doesn't come easy or comfortable to everyone; however, we did experience longer stretches of sustained sleep using the Trailbreak, because it stays put and we didn't slip off the side. We also love that it's machine washable and dryable.
As for this model's long-term use, we feel the pillow's toggle-loop fastener is a bit weak. After consistent use, we feel the stitching on both sides of the fastener is prone to give out eventually. In our opinion, the pillow should have two fasteners instead of one to reduce stress in this area.
In terms of comfort, ease of use, and support, the Trailbreak offers far more than what its modest price may suggest. Sometimes simple is just better. The instant we felt this pillow with our hands, we wanted to lay our heads on it. It performs better than similar compressible pillows, it's made well, and it stays in place. All else aside, we feel this pillow's comfort, alone, is enough to justify its price.
Made for campgrounds in national, state, and regional parks that you can drive your vehicle to, this pillow is a must-have for sleepers who demand a good pillow to snuggle up to in the outdoors. Especially useful for anyone putting comfort above all else, this model might be the one to get your pickiest sleeper to be happy under the stars. Best of all, this comfort comes at a low price.
— Jason Wanlass
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