The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow Review

This model is soft, small, and best for stomach sleepers who prefer flat pillows.
Sierra Designs 2018 DriDown Pillow
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Price:  $30 List | $26.66 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Soft surface, easy to use, versatile
Cons:  Little support, gets warm quickly, flattens overnight
Manufacturer:   Sierra Designs
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 31, 2019
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 4
  • Weight - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Packed Size - 20% 7
  • Support - 10% 6

Our Verdict

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.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Soft surface, easy to use, versatileVery comfortable, great support, easy to adjust thickness, small packed sizeLarge but lightweight, adjustable, small packed size, quilted topGreat value, very comfortable, easy to usePlush fabrics, lightweight and packable, easy to use
Cons Little support, gets warm quickly, flattens overnightHeavySilky outer fabric slides causes pillow to slide around, a little heavy for ultralight backpackersHeavy, large packed sizeComfort is limited to user's items, a little wide for tighter mummy bags, requires external source for padding
Bottom Line This model is soft, small, and best for stomach sleepers who prefer flat pillows.This pillow will please the vast majority of campers due to its superb comfort, adjustable support, and small packed size.This is as close to the size of a standard bed pillow as any camping pillow we've tested. It's large and comfortable.For those who don't travel far from their vehicles to the campsite, this model is inexpensive and comfy.Shed weight and size without sacrificing comfort and support.
Rating Categories Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow NEMO Fillo Klymit Luxe Therm-a-Rest Compressible Rumpl Stuffable Fleece
Comfort (25%)
10
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4
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8
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6
Weight (25%)
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6
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5
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7
Ease Of Use (20%)
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8
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9
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7
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9
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8
Packed Size (20%)
10
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7
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7
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6
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8
Support (10%)
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6
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7
Specs Sierra Designs... NEMO Fillo Klymit Luxe Therm-a-Rest... Rumpl Stuffable...
Type Compressible Hybrid: Compressible and Inflatable Inflatable Compressible Stuffable
Measured Weight (oz) 5.9 oz 9.0 oz 6.4 oz 8.6 oz 4.9 oz
Packed Volume (L) 2.0 L 1.4 L 0.8 L 2.6 L 1.1 L
Length 13 in 16 in 22 in 15.5 in 16 in
Width 9 in 9.5 in 12.5 in 9.5 in 10 in
Thickness High end: 6 in; Low end:2.5 in 4.5 in 5.5 in 6.75 in High end:8in; Low end 1 in
Stuff Sack included? Yes, with drawstring Integrated Stuff Sack. Velcro strap as well. Yes, with drawstring Yes, built in with drawstring Yes, with drawstring
Materials Shell Material: 20D Polyester Ripstop; Liner Material: 20D Polyester Taffetta; Insulation: 650FP PFC-Free Dridown Polyester, microfiber / microsuede outer layer Outer: 50/50 Polyester/ Polyamide Inner: Rubberized/75D Denier Polyester Outer: Polyester; Inner fill: Upcycled foam 100% Nylon 20D ripstop on face, 250g plush polyester fleece back

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Quality construction is definitely there with this pillow  as we have found with many products from Sierra Designs. However  most of our testers found that this pillow missed the target of nighttime comfort.
Quality construction is definitely there with this pillow, as we have found with many products from Sierra Designs. However, most of our testers found that this pillow missed the target of nighttime comfort.

Comfort


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.

Soft and cozy  yes. But it also heats up quickly once you lay your head upon it.
Soft and cozy, yes. But it also heats up quickly once you lay your head upon it.

Our Editors' Choice Award winner, the NEMO Fillo, as well as the Therm-a-Rest Compressible, received top scores for comfort. The Klymit Luxe and the TETON Sports XL also beat the Dridown for comfort.

Weight


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.

To reduce the weight and packed size of this pillow, pack only the outer shell and leave the inner pillow at home. Once at your campsite, stuff the shell with extra clothes, and you'll still have a duck down pillow top. We actually found this option provided a more supportive/dense pillow than the default version of the pillow. In this setup, it closely resembles the Therm-a-Rest Down Pillow.

Removing the pillow insert allows backpackers to cut weight and volume by stuffing the DriDown with extra clothes or jackets.
Removing the pillow insert allows backpackers to cut weight and volume by stuffing the DriDown with extra clothes or jackets.

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.

While the Sierra Designs pillow is easy to use  you can notice the oily imprint left on the outer shell after a few days of use.
While the Sierra Designs pillow is easy to use, you can notice the oily imprint left on the outer shell after a few days of use.

Packed Size


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.

The moderate packed size of the DriDown model. If you have a compression sack for your sleeping bag  we recommend tossing this pillow inside to save a bit of pack space.
The moderate packed size of the DriDown model. If you have a compression sack for your sleeping bag, we recommend tossing this pillow inside to save a bit of pack space.

Support


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 Sierra Designs' duck down and polyester fillers don't provide a great deal of support  especially for side and back sleepers.
The Sierra Designs' duck down and polyester fillers don't provide a great deal of support, especially for side and back sleepers.

Best Applications


The DriDown is suitable for sleepers who prefer a soft, thin pillow. It is best suited for car camping or backpacking ventures lasting only a night or two. However, if you remove the inner pillow and stuff the outer shell with clothes already in your pack, it can be justified to take along on longer trips. In this way, the DriDown pillow is quite versatile.

Value


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.

Eric Morken packs up the DriDown pillow into its stuff sack at a lakeside campsite in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Eric Morken packs up the DriDown pillow into its stuff sack at a lakeside campsite in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Conclusion


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