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Sea to Summit Aeros Review

This backpacking model increases nighttime head support and decent comfort at minimal weight and volume
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $43 List | $42.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Very small packed size, lightweight, great support
Cons:  Not super comfortable
Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 21, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Packed Size - 20% 8
  • Support - 20% 8

Our Verdict

The Sea to Summit Aeros could easily become one of your favorite pieces in your backpacking setup. It's small and lightweight enough to hide away almost unnoticed in your pack, but its presence is appreciated when laying down to rest. There is also plenty of adjustable support with this Sea to Summit contender. Some inflatable pillows feel like a blown-up ziplock baggie, but this one stands apart from those models with its soft polyester cover, baffled air chamber, and ergonomic shape for mummy sleeping bag hoods. It is our pillow of choice for extended backpacking trips. One of our testers has been using this pillow on all backcountry trips (on dirt and snow) for three years now and hasn't experienced any issues in durability, either.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

For this review, we tested the regular size of the Sea to Summit Aeros. We were excited to find an inflatable cushion that offered more comfort than you might expect from an air-filled bladder. This pillow is lightweight and has a small packed volume. It's also thick, simple and to adjust, and easy to pack away. 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 all of the other inflatable pillows we reviewed. This is accomplished mostly thanks to its soft outer polyester cover over the baffled air chamber design and greater thickness. Additionally, one side of the Aeros is elevated an inch higher than the other side, giving you a couple of options to help fit your ideal thickness. While the Aeros' contouring did help cradle our heads, there is 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 isn'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 model performs very well. Weighing only 3.1 ounces on our scale, this pillow is lightweight enough to all but disappear in your pack. Although it is heavier than the other inflatable pillows we tested, we still prefer to take the Sea to Summit on extended trips because it's much more comfortable and easier to use. Weight is where spending extra money often pays off.


Ease of Use


The Sea to Summit is one of the easiest inflatable pillows we have tested to operate. It fully inflates in just three breaths. If you want to let out some air, adjust by pushing the small button inside the inflation valve to slowly release air. This is a great design that allows more fine-tuned adjustments without the risk of all the air escaping. The Sea to Summit and fits into the hood of almost any mummy bag. Packing the pillow back into the stuff sack is a breeze.


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 merely unpacking the synthetic fill pillows we tested.

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

Packed Size


Our backcountry Top Pick 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 is bested by other inflatable pillows we tested, yet it still soars ahead of the rest of the competition, because of the other features it brings to the table. This pillow is great for backpacking trips lasting several days or longer. We also like bringing this pillow along while traveling, as it doesn't take up much space and is handy on long car or plane rides.


To save even more space, squish this pillow inside a compression sack along with your sleeping bag.

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 provides firm support in comparison to most other models reviewed. 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.

Value


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

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 are impressed with the Sea to Summit Aeros. For backpackers, using this pillow is a definite upgrade from a mound of clothes from your pack or a climbing rope. Its packed size and low weight make it almost unnoticeable in your pack. However, what you will notice is a lack of neck discomfort/pain the following day. While it's not the best choice for primarily car campers, backpackers and even travelers who want an actual pillow without the extra baggage will appreciate this one thoroughly.

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.

Ross Robinson