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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
Therm-a-Rest Compressible
Credit: Therm-a-Rest
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Price:  $30 List | $29.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great value, very comfortable, easy to use
Cons:  Heavy, large packed size
Manufacturer:   Therm-a-rest
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 21, 2019
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 17
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Weight - 20% 3.0
  • Packed Size - 20% 6.0
  • Support - 20% 7.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9.0

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. It's a great option for car camping.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $29.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
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$20.00 List
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$18.00 List
$17.99 at Amazon
$15.00 List
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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, washable exteriorInexpensive, very comfortable and supportive, easy setupCreative design features, packs up small, lightweight, inexpensive, ergonomic shapeInexpensive, comfortable, easy to use
Cons Heavy, large packed sizeHeavy and bulky, not for extended backcountry tripsLarge packed size, not adjustableNoisy to sleep on, lacking in comfortHeavy, large packed volume, becomes lumpy after extended use
Bottom Line For those who don't travel far from their vehicles to the campsite, this model is inexpensive and comfyThis pillow will please the vast majority of campers due to its superb comfort, adjustable support, and washable external layerSupremely comfortable and very affordable, this model is a great option for enjoyable nights at the campgroundWe love this pillow because it offers innovative features most backpacking inflatables don't have, all at a great priceIf you need a simple and comfy pillow strictly for car camping, this is a solid and affordable choice
Rating Categories Therm-a-Rest Compre... NEMO Fillo REI Co-op Trailbrea... Trekology Aluft 2.0 TETON Sports XL
Comfort (25%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
4.0
7.0
Weight (20%)
3.0
3.0
2.0
6.0
2.0
Packed Size (20%)
6.0
7.0
3.0
9.0
4.0
Support (20%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Ease of Use (15%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
9.0
Specs Therm-a-Rest Compre... NEMO Fillo REI Co-op Trailbrea... Trekology Aluft 2.0 TETON Sports XL
Type Compressible Hybrid: compressible and inflatable Stuffable Inflatable Compressible
Measured Weight 8.6 oz 9.0 oz 10.1 oz 3.8 oz 10.0 oz
Packed Volume 2.6 L 1.4 L 6.3 L 0.5 L 4.5 L
Length 15.5 in 16 in 18 in 17 in 16 in
Width 9.5 in 9.5 in 14 in 12 in 9 in
Thickness 6.75 in 4.5 in 7 in 4 in 4 in
Stuff Sack included? Yes, built in with drawstring Integrated Stuff Sack. Velcro strap as well. Built in stuff pouch yes, with drawstring Yes, with drawstring
Materials Outer: Polyester; Inner fill: Upcycled foam Polyester, microfiber / microsuede outer layer, inflatable bladder Polyester, foam Shell Material: Polyester; Bladder: TPU/thermoplastic Polyurethane Fill: SuperLoft Elite 4-Channel Hollow Fiber; Inner Shell: P5 Poly Hiā€“Count; Outer Shell: 100% Brushed Flannel

Our Analysis and Test Results

We selected the smallest version of the Therm-a-Rest 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. For the price, 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. We loved using this product 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.

Performance Comparison


Therm-a-Rest Compressible camping pillow - blake stave enjoys a peanut butter burrito while relaxing in the...
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.
Credit: Jenna Rae Ammerman

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.


This 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.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible camping pillow - the therm-a-rest is soft, thick, and large. comfortable? oh yes.
The Therm-a-Rest is soft, thick, and large. Comfortable? Oh yes.
Credit: Jenna Rae Ammerman

Weight


The Therm-a-Rest weighs in on our scale at 8.6 ounces, which doesn't scream extended backcountry use, when compared to other models we tested which weigh in much lighter. 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.


Packed Size


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.


For many experienced backpackers, this pillow may simply be too big. However, car campers, hammock-enthusiasts, RV-ers and jet-setters shouldn't consider the scores in this metric too heavily.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible camping pillow - ross robinson rolls up and packs this compressible pillow into its...
Ross Robinson rolls up and packs this compressible pillow into its built-in stuff sack in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Credit: Jenna Rae Ammerman

Support


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. However, it doesn't perform as well as models with an inflatable air chamber, which offer greater support and don't flatten at all throughout the night.


Therm-a-Rest Compressible camping pillow - the thickness of the therm-a-rest compressible provides sufficient...
The thickness of the Therm-a-Rest Compressible provides sufficient support and great comfort.
Credit: Jenna Rae Ammerman

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. 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.

Value


The Therm-a-Rest provides great value among the pillows in this review. It's 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.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible camping pillow - although this pillow appears lumpy, it doesn't feel lumpy under your...
Although this pillow appears lumpy, it doesn't feel lumpy under your head. It's really comfortable, and a relatively inexpensive option for car camping.
Credit: Jenna Rae Ammerman

Ross Robinson
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