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Therm-a-Rest Compressible Review

For those who don't travel far from their vehicles to the campsite, this model is inexpensive and comfy.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $25 List | $24.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great value, very comfortable, easy to use
Cons:  Heavy, large packed size
Manufacturer:   Therm-a-rest
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 31, 2019
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Weight - 25% 5
  • Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Packed Size - 20% 6
  • Support - 10% 8

Our Verdict

At first sight, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible did not impress us. Taking it out of the box, it looks and feels like a lumpy mess. However, after several nights of pleasant sleep, we were reminded of the sage advice concerning book-cover judgment. We were won over by the comfort this pillow provides, as well as its simplicity and support. Comfort, however, often has drawbacks in weight and packed size, which is true for this pillow, but we loved sleeping on it. Its strong performance and low price make it a clear choice for our Best Buy Award.

If you plan on extended ventures into the backcountry but wish to stay in the same price range, the Rumpl Stuffable Fleece Pillow and the Therm-a-Rest Down Pillow are stuffable pillows that offer great packed size and less weight. They are not as simple as this pillow, though, and the comfort and support are dependent on the user's ability to adequately stuff them with padding.

New Prints and Colors
Therm-a-Rest continues to drop new colors and patterns on this value-driven pillow, yet everything else about it remains the same.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $24.95 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great value, very comfortable, easy to useVery comfortable, great support, easy to adjust thickness, small packed sizeLarge but lightweight, adjustable, small packed size, quilted topVery small packed size, lightweight, great supportPlush fabrics, lightweight and packable, easy to use
Cons Heavy, large packed sizeHeavySilky outer fabric slides causes pillow to slide around, a little heavy for ultralight backpackersNot super comfortableComfort is limited to user's items, a little wide for tighter mummy bags, requires external source for padding
Bottom Line For those who don't travel far from their vehicles to the campsite, this model is inexpensive and comfy.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.This backpacking model increases nighttime head support and decent comfort at minimal weight and volume.Shed weight and size without sacrificing comfort and support.
Rating Categories Therm-a-Rest Compressible NEMO Fillo Klymit Luxe Sea to Summit Aeros Rumpl Stuffable Fleece
Comfort (25%)
10
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9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
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5
10
0
6
Weight (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
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7
10
0
7
10
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8
Packed Size (20%)
10
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6
10
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7
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
Support (10%)
10
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8
10
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9
10
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8
10
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9
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7
Specs Therm-a-Rest... NEMO Fillo Klymit Luxe Sea to Summit Aeros Rumpl Stuffable...
Type Compressible Hybrid: Compressible and Inflatable Inflatable Inflatable Stuffable
Measured Weight (oz) 8.6 oz 9.0 oz 6.4 oz 3.1 oz 4.9 oz
Packed Volume (L) 2.6 L 1.4 L 0.8 L 0.4 L 1.1 L
Length 15.5 in 16 in 22 in 14 in 16 in
Width 9.5 in 9.5 in 12.5 in 8 in 10 in
Thickness 6.75 in 4.5 in 5.5 in High end: 5 in; Low end: 4 in High end:8in; Low end 1 in
Stuff Sack included? Yes, built in with drawstring Integrated Stuff Sack. Velcro strap as well. Yes, with drawstring Yes, with drawstring Yes, with drawstring
Materials Outer: Polyester; Inner fill: Upcycled foam Polyester, microfiber / microsuede outer layer Outer: 50/50 Polyester/ Polyamide Inner: Rubberized/75D Denier Polyester Polyurethane bladder, Brushed 50D Polyester Knit Cover 100% Nylon 20D ripstop on face, 250g plush polyester fleece back

Our Analysis and Test Results

We selected the smallest version of the Compressible for our review (it comes in four different sizes). It is a compressible pillow made of upcycled Therm-a-Rest mattress scraps, encased in a suede-like polyester shell. At $25 MSRP, this soft, thick pillow packs a lot of pleasure into its price. Although the weight and packed size of this pillow do limit its uses, it delivers on car camping trips.

Performance Comparison


Blake Stave enjoys a peanut butter burrito while relaxing in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. The Therm-a-Rest can double as a back rest  or even lumbar support in its packed form.
Blake Stave enjoys a peanut butter burrito while relaxing in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. The Therm-a-Rest can double as a back rest, or even lumbar support in its packed form.

Comfort


The Therm-a-Rest is one of the most comfortable of all the pillows in this review and therefore received high scores in this metric. The pillow is large enough to tolerate a few turns in the night. It is also thick and soft. Incredibly soft. We loved how the outer shell felt against our cheeks. You just might let out an audible "Ahhh" when you lay down on this pillow after a long hike.


Stomach sleepers, however, might find it a little too thick. In that case, consider the flat Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow. The TETON Sports XL is another inexpensive model that scored just below the Compressible in this metric. Two pillows that scored a little below the Therm-a-Rest for comfort but are the Rumpl Stuffable Fleece and the Therm-a-Rest Down Pillow. Both are stuffable pillows, which use extra clothes, socks or jackets as filler. They have the potential to be nearly as comfortable as this model, but their DIY nature places the responsibility of comfort on their user.

The Therm-a-Rest is soft  thick  and large. Comfortable? Oh yes.
The Therm-a-Rest is soft, thick, and large. Comfortable? Oh yes.

Weight


The Therm-a-Rest weighs in on our scale at 8.6 ounces, which doesn't scream backcountry use. For comparison, our favorite backpacking model, the Sea to Summit Aeros, weighs 3.1 ounces. For walking from car to campsite, though, the weight is negligible. It also is a viable option for an in-flight snooze on a plane or for catching some shuteye while riding shotgun on a long road trip.


Ease of Use


This model does offer incredible simplicity. We like that the stuff sack is built into the design of the pillow. Just roll the pillow up, tuck it into the lip of the pillowcase, and pull the drawstring tight. It also fits snug in every mummy sleeping bag hood we tested it with and didn't move around much in our sleep. Furthermore, it can be machine washed and dried. The TETON Sports XL proved simple and easy to use for similar reasons. Additionally, the nature of the pillow's exterior fabric gives the pillow some grip, keeping it in place.


Upon receiving this pillow, send it on a trip through the washer and dryer (set to tumble dry) to help decompress the foam inside the pillow and increase its loft.

Packed Size


Ross Robinson rolls up and packs this compressible pillow into its built-in stuff sack in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Ross Robinson rolls up and packs this compressible pillow into its built-in stuff sack in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

One of this pillow's drawbacks is its packed size. Stuffed into its attached sack, the Therm-a-Rest has a volume of 2.6 liters, which is on the large end of the spectrum of models we tested. If the packed size is a primary concern for you (but you still want a little comfort), the Sea to Summit Aeros is our Top Pick for Backpacking. Car campers, however, shouldn't consider the scores in this metric too heavily.


Support


The thickness of this pillow provides sufficient support and great comfort.
The thickness of this pillow provides sufficient support and great comfort.

The Therm-a-Rest compresses slowly after you lay your head down, but doesn't flatten. It's firm enough to provide decent support to side and back sleepers alike. Models with an inflatable air chamber offer greater support and don't flatten at all throughout the night. The REM and Aeros granted the most support of all contenders.


Best Applications


We loved using this product for car camping and even took it along on a five-day canoeing trip where weight and packed size weren't major issues. Due to its heftier size and weight, though, this isn't an ideal pillow for multi-day hiking or backpacking trips.

Value


The Therm-a-Rest provides the best value of the pillows in this review, and it, therefore, earned our Best Buy Award. Twenty-five bucks is a great price for nighttime comfort and painless necks the following day.

Conclusion


The Therm-a-Rest Compressible is a great budget option that doesn't feel cheap. Sure, it's not the best for multi-day backpacking trips due to its weight and size, but it is great for shorter trips, such as car camping weekends and mid-day campsite hammock naps. It's also a great option for a travel pillow and would be a welcomed addition if you're trying to catch some sleep aboard a plane or in an airport. Its comfort is unrivaled in this review. Furthermore, our eco-hearts are glad to see such a fine product come from upcycled materials.

Although this pillow appears lumpy  it doesn't feel lumpy under your head. Our Best Buy winner was one of our favorites and definitely one of the easiest on our wallet.
Although this pillow appears lumpy, it doesn't feel lumpy under your head. Our Best Buy winner was one of our favorites and definitely one of the easiest on our wallet.


Ross Robinson