The Sierra Designs DriDown is a compressible pillow with some great features, overshadowed by a few drawbacks. It's comprised of a polyester pillow and an outer shell with a down topper. The down filling helps reduce the weight of this pillow and provides a very soft pillow top. So soft, in fact, that the pillow flattens out over the course of the night, giving little support. It also heats up quickly, making it less useful in the summertime. For sleepers who prefer a thin pillow, though, this could be a great choice.
Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Soft surface, easy to use, versatile
Cons: Little support, gets warm quickly, flattens overnight
Manufacturer: Sierra Designs
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Our Analysis and Test Results
In terms of texture, the DriDown is very appealing right out of the box. It has a nice feel, is crafted with care, and feels great in your hands. The silky ripstop shell incorporates a quilted, 650-fill down, which gives the pillow a nice overall feel. When put to the test, however, the pillow performed just barely above average for comfort. The key reason is minimal padding, provided by the system's inner pillow, which compresses easily during the night. Additionally, the down topper retains heat. Some of our reviewers, who prefer cool pillows, felt this was a significant drawback. We like the pillow, but we wish it pushed back a little when it came to overnight, consistent support.
In this metric, each pillow was weighed separately and then scored accordingly for weight. The Dridown landed right in the middle. Its lightweight blend of polyester and down is adequate for a backpacking trip. However, for trekkers more conscious about weight, this pillow may be on the heavier side when considering the pillows we tested, which are half the weight and offer far more support.
Ease of Use
Earning its highest marks for ease of use, the Dridown stuffs and unstuffs easily into its stuff sack and requires virtually no setup. Its smaller design allows the pillow to fit nicely into the hood of any mummy bag. That said, the silky rip-stop shell resembles the material used for sleeping bag shells, resulting in a slippery combination. We lost our Dridown more than once during night. Additionally, down doesn't wash easily, so this pillow requires a little extra care when cleaning the exterior shell.
After calculating the packed volume for each of the pillows we reviewed, the Dridown is in the middle of the road for packed size, just where it landed in our weight rankings. Overall, this pillow is an average performer when it comes to packability and weight. Being a compressible pillow, it's important to note the Dridown packs tighter than any of the other compressible versions we examined. In part, this is due to its use of down. The major reason is the inner pillow simply doesn't have a lot of fill. As mentioned, you can leave the inner pillow at home and stuff this model with extra clothing from your pack to reduce packed size and weight.
This pillow provides the least support of all contenders in this review. Throughout the night, the DriDown pillow flattens out to be quite thin. That said, the manufacturer didn't seem to cut any corners in its construction. It's well-made and has a great feel. Simply put, the DriDown is a very basic pillow with lower amounts of fluff. The result is a thinner pillow without much support. Thin-pillow lovers just might be in heaven with this pillow. For more support, consider pretty much any other model in this review.
The DriDown model offers moderate value. Its versatility, low weight, and small packed size make it suitable for more than just car camping. Yet, it might only satisfy specific sleepers regarding comfort.
With its highly-touted duck down filling, we expected the Sierra Designs DriDown to be a real luxury item. However, it fell to the middle of the pack in nearly every scoring metric. Although we like this pillow, it doesn't perform as well as the other products included in this review.
— Ross Robinson