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The 8 Best Camping Pillows of 2024

We gathered camping pillows from Nemo, Sea to Summit, Therm-a-Rest, and many more to conduct head-to-head testing in search of the best products for your next night out in the great outdoors
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Best Camping Pillow Review
Credit: Jason Wanlass
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 28, 2024

The Best Camping Pillows for 2024


Over the last 8 years, our outdoors experts have purchased and tested heaps of unique camping pillows. The result is this review's comprehensive lineup of our top 16 models. We've traveled the world testing each product in tents, hammocks, RVs, and airplanes. We measured each against five key performance metrics: comfort, weight, ease of use, packed size, and support. After hundreds of hours of sleeping on the job, we've compared notes, measurements, and experiences on each pillow. We tested a range of products that include compressible, stuffable, hybrid, and inflatable to give you our favorite recommendations to improve your night's sleep, wherever you lay your head.

After choosing your pillow, other key components to getting good sleep outdoors include finding the best tent and making sure you have the right sleeping pad or best camping mattress. Sleeping pads are lighter and are mostly used in conjunction with a backpacking backpack, while mattresses are plusher and are good for general car camping. Regardless of what you enjoy doing in the outdoors, we're here to help you put together the perfect collection of camping gear.

Editor's Note: Our camping pillow article was updated on March 28, 2024, to include details on our testing process and to offer more recommendations along with our award picks.

Top 16 Camping Pillows - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 16
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Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$44.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$38 List
$22.75 at Amazon
$31.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$63 List
$52.49 at Amazon
Overall Score
64
86
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80
77
Star Rating
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Pros Ultra comfortable, tons of support, nearly the size of a regular pillow, stuffing can be adjustedVery comfortable, great support, easy to adjust thickness, washable exteriorComfortable and supportive, removable pillow case, packs up well, soft fabrics, easy to use, affordableGreat value, very comfortable, easy to useVery comfy, easy to adjust air volume, ergonomically shaped for back and side sleepers
Cons Large packed size, pricey, takes up a lot of luggage spaceHeavy and bulky, not for extended backcountry tripsNeeds to be thicker, too heavy for backpacking, difficult to separate pillow from pillow caseHeavy, large packed sizeMore expensive, down is allergenic to some users, a little heavier than its inflatable peers
Bottom Line If you spend most of your outdoor time in the backcountry, this pillow is a hard pass, but if space and weight aren't issues, this is a no-brainerThis pillow will please the vast majority of campers due to its superb comfort, adjustable support, and washable external layerThis memory foam core pillow is perfect for hammocking, tent camping, road trips, travel, or catching some winks on a van tripFor those who don't travel far from their vehicles to the campsite, this model is inexpensive and comfyA comfortable blend of down softness and air cushion for a little luxury at a low weight
Rating Categories HEST Pillow NEMO Fillo Wise Owl Outfitters... Therm-a-Rest Compre... Therm-a-Rest Air He...
Comfort (25%)
10.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (20%)
2.0
8.3
6.4
8.4
9.2
Packed Size (20%)
3.0
8.4
5.4
7.8
8.9
Support (20%) Sort Icon
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Ease of Use (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Specs HEST Pillow NEMO Fillo Wise Owl Outfitters... Therm-a-Rest Compre... Therm-a-Rest Air He...
Type Compressible Hybrid: compressible and inflatable Compressible Compressible Hybrid: compressible and inflatable
Measured Weight 32.8 oz 9.0 oz 16.2 oz 8.6 oz 5.4 oz
Packed Volume 11.4 L 1.4 L 6.8 L 2.6 L 0.6 L
Length 20 in 16 in 16 in 15.5 in 18 in
Width 15in 9.5 in 12.5 in 9.5 in 12.5 in
Thickness 7.5 in 4.5 in 4.5 in 6.75 in 4 in
Stuff Sack included? yes, with zippers and handle Integrated Stuff Sack. Velcro strap as well. yes, with drawstring Yes, built in with drawstring Yes, with drawstring
Materials Shell Material: Polyester; Shredded Polyester Foam Padding Polyester, microfiber / microsuede outer layer, inflatable bladder Shell Material: Polyester micro suede; Padding: Polyurethane memory foam Outer: Polyester; Inner fill: Upcycled foam Partially recycled polyester, down, urethane


Best Overall Camping Pillow


NEMO Fillo


86
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9.0
  • Weight 8.3
  • Packed Size 8.4
  • Support 9.0
  • Ease of Use 8.0
Weight: 9.0 oz | Packed Volume: 1.4 L
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable
Adjustable
Solid support
Easy to use
REASONS TO AVOID
Too hefty for long-distance backpacking
Difficult to store in stuff sack

The Nemo Fillo has been referred to as camping pillow royalty. For several consecutive years, this pillow has reigned supreme as our favorite choice for its consistently high scores in all of our testing metrics. The Fillo dons a microsuede cover and a foam filler that provides comfort you can count on. Primarily an inflatable design, the Fillo deploys with just a few breaths and has a twist nozzle to release air for customized support. What this pillow lacks in packed size (it's about the size of a softball), it makes up for with a remarkable combination of comfort and support. And because the stuff sack is attached to the pillow, you'll have one less thing to hunt down when packing up camp. We've simply exhausted ourselves searching for a pillow that can compete, leaving the Fillo still sitting squarely on its throne for another year.

An above-average weight is its main drawback, preventing the Fillo from being our first choice on extended backpacking trips. Weight-conscious users may find it difficult to justify this pillow's half-pound packed weight. And while we like the stuff sack being attached, some testers found it difficult to get the pillow stuffed into it. However, those who aren't as picky with the scale will enjoy the benefits of the Fillo in just about any outdoor setting. If you want a lightweight pillow for your backpacking adventures, check out the packable Sea to Summit Aeros.

Fabric Disclaimer
This pillow comes in two different fabrics, a microsuede that we love and a jersey that we do not. The microsuede is featured only on the solid-colored pillows (grey or green). The striped and heather print pillows are made of jersey fabric, which we found far less comfortable than the microsuede. We also suspect the jersey fabric may be less durable, as it's a much thinner material. Just be aware that we cannot recommend the striped version of this product.

Read more: Nemo Fillo review

camping pillow - we lugged the fillo around on a 5-day backpacking trip down the...
We lugged the Fillo around on a 5-day backpacking trip down the Washington Coast. It's a little heavier than most pack pillows, but we absolutely loved its comfort and support.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Impressive Bang for the Buck


Therm-a-Rest Compressible


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 8.0
  • Weight 8.4
  • Packed Size 7.8
  • Support 7.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
Weight: 8.6 oz | Packed Volume: 2.6 L
REASONS TO BUY
Affordable
Very comfortable
Simple
Durable
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy
Takes up a lot of pack space
Fabric collects debris

If you're seeking both comfort and a low price, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible might just be your find of the year. This massive compressible pillow provides a cushy landing for your head and is as close to the real thing as any camping pillow except the Hest. The Therm-a-Rest Compressible is stuffed to the gills with high-quality foam bits left over from the manufacturing of foam sleeping pads. These spongy discards are cocooned in a soft polyester case, offering a warm fleece side and a cool silky side. This pillow is ideal for campgrounds where you don't have to carry your gear far from your vehicle — its weight and size mean it's not suited for excursions into the backcountry.

The Therm-a-Rest earned top marks for its excellent comfort, ease of use, and support, but these scores were countered with lower outcomes for packed size and weight. Regardless of its split scoring, this pillow is very affordable and comfortable, and we think campers looking for both of these features will appreciate this fantastic deal. If you want something lighter and more compact without significantly sacrificing comfort, the Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down is a prime pick.

Read more: Therm-a-Rest Compressible review

camping pillow - letting our therm-a-rest tag along on a quick out-and-back...
Letting our Therm-a-Rest tag along on a quick out-and-back overnighter in the Utah Rockies. It isn't our first choice for longer backcountry jaunts, but we certainly love its size and comfort during shorter stints, when weight and packed size aren't as much of a concern.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

A High-Value Lightweight Compressible


REI Co-op Trailmade Mummy Bag Pillow


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Weight 9.4
  • Packed Size 7.8
  • Support 6.0
  • Ease of Use 8.0
Weight: 4.9 oz | Packed Volume: 2.5 L
REASONS TO BUY
Soft and comfy
Easy to use and clean
Very lightweight for a compressible
Appealing price tag
Fits into mummy bag hood
REASONS TO AVOID
Bulky packed volume
Does not repel water
Loft could be more robust

Backpackers say goodbye to noisy, uncomfortable blowup pillows thanks to the REI Co-op Trailmade Mummy Bag Pillow — the first compressible pillow we've found that is lightweight enough to seriously consider for backpacking. At an impressive 4.9 ounces, this is the lightest foam-filled pillow we've tested, offering backpackers a more comfortable option for sleeping off-grid. It even boasts a packed volume of 2.5 liters — most compressible pillows we've tested (with the exception of the Therm-a-Rest Compressible) are double or triple this volume. The Trailmade's other features include a contoured design that fits perfectly in most mummy bag hoods and a two-sided exterior, which allows campers to get their beauty rest on soft polar fleece or silky cool polyester. This pillow “inflates” by way of expanding high-density foam and compresses easily into a built-in storage compartment — so no more blowup bladders, twist valves, or lost stuff sacks.

During several nights of dozing high in the Swiss Alps, the scrap-foam core of the Trailmade (comprised of foam bits leftover from REI sleeping pads) held its form, offering sustained support through the night. That said, we noticed it's a bit short in the loftiness department at just 5.5 inches thick. Despite being amazingly lightweight for a compressible, this camping pillow still doesn't come close to the lightweight packability or tiny packed size of many inflatable models. Another important consideration is this pillow absorbs water quickly, but air dries slowly, so it's crucial to always protect it from moisture while in the backcountry. Bottom line, if you want more comfort while sleeping outdoors, you should consider making a little extra room in your pack for the reasonably priced Trailmade. On the other hand, those counting ounces who value space-savings over comfort may prefer the inflatable Sea to Summit Aeros.

Chilling near the iconic Matterhorn while we show off how easy it is to unpack our Trailmade - our fastest time was under three seconds.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Compact and Lightweight Luxury


Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down Pillow


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Weight 9.2
  • Packed Size 8.9
  • Support 7.0
  • Ease of Use 6.0
Weight: 5.4 oz | Packed Volume: 0.6 L
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable down pillow top
Very easy to adjust air volume
Excellent weight-to-comfort ratio
REASONS TO AVOID
Pricier
Down may be allergenic to some users

The Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down allows backpackers to have their cake and eat it too. Inflatable pillows are rarely associated with this much luxury, making this a clear backpacker's favorite for its ability to balance comfort and weight. Weighing only 5 ounces, this pillow comes very close to being the best at just about everything. It packs up small, offers great support, is easy to use, and is soft and comfortable. Admittedly, we were a little skeptical of a down-topped inflatable; it sounded a bit gimmicky, but during testing, the down layer legitimately offered an additional amount of comfort. If you're looking for a lightweight option that offers more than a little luxury, look no further.

Luxury car manufacturers don't apologize for their higher prices, and the same goes for the makers of the Air Head Down. A thick layer of feathers quilted below fine, silky fabric certainly raises the price point, which might turn away some potential buyers. Moreover, the inclusion of down might be allergenic or problematic for some shoppers. And yet, if you're willing to pay a higher price for a lightweight pillow that's more comfortable than a typical inflatable, this model fits the bill. That said, those shopping on a stricter budget will find the Therm-a-Rest Compressible equally comfortable and a few ounces lighter, albeit slightly more bulky.

Read more: Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down review

camping pillow - &#039;twas the night before our 6-dayer in the teton backcountry. the air...
'Twas the night before our 6-dayer in the Teton backcountry. The Air Head Down effectively balances lightweight with comfort, making it a reasonable choice for car camping or backpacking.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Best for Backpacking


Sea to Summit Aeros


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 6.0
  • Weight 9.9
  • Packed Size 9.0
  • Support 7.0
  • Ease of Use 6.0
Weight: 3.1 oz | Packed Volume: 0.4 L
REASONS TO BUY
Packs up very small
Minimal weight
Great adjustable support
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the most comfortable

The Sea to Summit Aeros is surprisingly comfortable despite being lightweight. Pressing the scales at a mere few ounces, this pillow deploys to a generous size. When packed, it condenses to about the size of a plum, making it virtually unnoticeable in your pack. The soft polyester cover is complemented by a flexible air cell, allowing the pillow to comfortably cradle your head. We feel the stretchiness of the cell is what sets this pillow apart from its peers. Contoured lines in the pillow go a long way toward providing a good night's sleep. When we added up all these benefits, there was no doubt in our minds about whether to bring a camping pillow on our next big backcountry trip. One tester has used this pillow for nearly a decade of backpacking, and it's still going strong — impressive durability for an inflatable pillow.

Despite not being as comfortable as most of the compressible or hybrid options in our lineup, this pillow keeps your head off the ground and provides a cradling layer of support. The Aeros also comes in Ultra Light, Premium Deluxe, and down-top versions, so depending on which end of the ultralight spectrum you fall on, you can select the one you prefer. Out of those options, this model is our favorite and the one we prefer for backpacking trips lasting several days or more. If you prefer a hybrid, the 3-ounce Nemo Fillo Elite is a lightweight option to consider.

Read more: Sea to Summit Aeros review

camping pillow - when it comes to getting good sleep on the trail, nothing compares...
When it comes to getting good sleep on the trail, nothing compares to the comfort and support this simple, lightweight pillow offers.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Best Lightweight Hybrid


Nemo Fillo Elite


74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 6.0
  • Weight 9.9
  • Packed Size 9.0
  • Support 6.0
  • Ease of Use 6.0
Weight: 3.0 oz | Packed Volume: 0.4 L
REASONS TO BUY
Primaloft cushion top
Lightweight
Packs down small
Easy to use twist air valve
Attached stuff sack
REASONS TO AVOID
A little too thin
Difficult to stuff into storage sack

Nemo took the best qualities of the Nemo Fillo and scaled them down to create the Nemo Fillo Elite. At just 3 ounces, the Elite packs a massive punch when it comes to comfort and support while still folding up into a tiny 0.4-liter package. The Elite's hybrid design starts with an air bladder core, layered by Primaloft padding, then surrounded with a soft jersey cloth pillowcase. It's a great choice for backpackers, climbers, or mountaineers who want more than a plain inflatable and are willing to carry an extra ounce or two in exchange for much more comfort.

Though it deploys into a generous 15 x 11" pillow, the thickness of the Fillo Elite left us disappointed. At only 3 inches tall, it doesn't rest high enough for most side sleepers to get adequate cushion between the head, neck, and shoulders. The stuff sack is also slightly too small. This allows the Elite to achieve an amazing packed size but makes it a little difficult to shove the pillow into place. Those looking for more loft without adding on too much weight should check out the compressible REI Co-op Trailmade Mummy Bag Pillow, which is a bit thicker and comes at a reasonable price.

Read more: Nemo Fillo Elite review

camping pillow - this pillow is a great option for the backcountry. it offers...
This pillow is a great option for the backcountry. It offers comfortable support for everything from a creekside nap in the 'Bama backwoods to a full night's rest.
Credit: Jason Wanlass


Most Innovative


Trekology Aluft 2.0


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 4.0
  • Weight 9.7
  • Packed Size 8.9
  • Support 6.0
  • Ease of Use 6.0
Weight: 3.8 oz | Packed Volume: 0.5 L
REASONS TO BUY
New features
Lightweight and small packed size
Easy to use
Inexpensive
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavier than peer ultralight backpacking pillows
Somewhat noisy to sleep on

When it comes to camping pillows, Trekology may be a slightly more obscure manufacturer. However, we were left feeling rather impressed following our first experience with the Trekology Aluft 2.0. The inflatable camping pillow market is already fairly saturated, so we were pleased to see a design where obvious effort was made to create quality-adding features. This pillow uses an entirely new, proprietary air valve to add and release air. It also employs a textured underside, which does a noticeable job of keeping the pillow in place. Additionally, it comes with a snap-on elastic strap designed to hold the pillow from moving by snuggly looping around most single-sized sleeping pads. Most inflatable pillows do not come standard with this strap. At best, some may have loops on both sides of the pillow, leaving the owner to design their own strap system. The Aluft is also ergonomically shaped and has a curved top that will fit most mummy hoods.

The extra strap and more complex air valve add half an ounce or more of weight to this pillow, which some serious backpackers may take exception to. The fabrics, overall design, and quality of the pillow are similar to many other brands, so the Aluft doesn't stand out much in these areas. However, we felt the unique innovations it boasts are valuable enough to be recognized in this review. Another inflatable model we like for backpacking is the lightweight Sea to Summit Aeros.

Read more: Trekology Aluft Pillow 2.0 review

camping pillow - the aluft is primarily a backpacking pillow, however, it also came...
The Aluft is primarily a backpacking pillow, however, it also came in handy during our long road trips.
Credit: Jason Wanlass


Best for Glamping


HEST Pillow


64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 10.0
  • Weight 2.0
  • Packed Size 3.0
  • Support 9.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
Weight: 32.8 oz | Packed Volume: 11.4 L
REASONS TO BUY
Uber comfy
Offers optimal support for all sleepers
Easy to set up
Can add/remove stuffing
Pillowcase stays cool
REASONS TO AVOID
Massive packed size
Expensive
Heavy when compared to peers

After testing dozens of pillows over the years, you can trust us when we say the Hest Pillow is the most comfortable camping pillow we've ever examined. Additionally, it's massive, easy to use, very plush, and at the top of our list for support. It's also the first adjustable compression pillow we've ever seen, allowing any user to customize it to their own comfort and support levels. To do this, simply unzip the pillow and remove the stuffing by hand until you have the exact pillow you want. This feature makes the Hest a perfect fit for side-, back-, and stomach sleepers. When you're done sleeping, roll the pillow into itself and cocoon it safely into its rugged, built-in carrying case.

Generally, when a camping pillow crushes a specific metric like comfort, it will come at the expense of top scores in other areas. In the case of the Hest, it received our lowest scores for weight and packed size. It is not ideal for any backcountry adventure like backpacking, river running, or mountaineering, where space and pounds are limited, but it is the perfect addition to any RV, trailer, tent, or hammock. The manufacturer also says the Hest is perfect for motels and Airbnbs. Bottom line, this is a great travel pillow if you're willing to free up a fair amount of luggage space to accommodate its larger packed size. Another option you might like is the supportive Nemo Fillo, which scored just slightly lower in comfort but was our favorite pick overall.

Read more: Hest Pillow review

camping pillow - the hest pillow is the most comfortable camping pillow we&#039;ve ever...
The Hest Pillow is the most comfortable camping pillow we've ever tested. It's perfect for a good night's sleep in the RV, a mid day campground nap, or for just chillin' cliff-side along the northern coast of France.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
86
NEMO Fillo
Best Overall Camping Pillow
$45
Editors' Choice Award
80
Therm-a-Rest Compressible
Impressive Bang for the Buck
$32
Best Buy Award
77
Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down Pillow
Compact and Lightweight Luxury
$63
Top Pick Award
76
REI Co-op Trailmade Mummy Bag Pillow
A High-Value Lightweight Compressible
$25
Best Buy Award
76
Sea to Summit Aeros
Best for Backpacking
$55
Top Pick Award
74
Nemo Fillo Elite
Best Lightweight Hybrid
$60
Top Pick Award
74
Rumpl Stuffable Fleece
$40
73
Klymit Luxe
$50
72
Teton Sports Pillow
$18
70
Cocoon Air-Core Hood
$30
70
Wise Owl Outfitters Memory Foam
$38
70
Sea to Summit Aeros Down
$65
68
Trekology Aluft 2.0
Most Innovative
$20
Top Pick Award
65
Exped Mega
$60
64
HEST Pillow
Best for Glamping
$89
Top Pick Award
64
Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow
$40

camping pillow - the trailmade is a-ok when it comes to comfort. we tested this model...
The Trailmade is A-OK when it comes to comfort. We tested this model during a 70-mile trek through the Swiss Alps. Then, we dug through piles of testing notes we've compiled through the years to see how the Trailmade stacks up against its peers.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

How We Test Camping Pillows


For this review, we've spent several years purchasing and using the best and most popular camping pillows with the end goal of figuring out which pillows you, the consumer, will enjoy the most. After conducting hands-on testing on each of them, we've narrowed our list to what we feel are some of the best pillows on the market. With the help of camping buddies and backpacking partners, these pillows were nestled under a head on a nightly basis throughout months of testing. Our review included a vast amount of travel to a wide variety of locations, including the red rock of Utah's National Parks, the backcountry of Montana, Minnesota's Boundary Waters, Washington's Olympic National Park coast, and Wyoming's Grand Tetons. We tested them in the deep woods of Alabama, Utah's Rocky Mountains, the moss-laden forests of Mount Rainier National Park, remote areas of Alaska, and the High Sierras of California and Nevada. We even took a few to Nepal on a trek to Mount Everest Base Camp.

Our camping pillow testing is divided across five different metrics:
  • Comfort (25% of total score weighting)
  • Weight (20% weighting)
  • Packed Size (20% weighting)
  • Support (20% weighting)
  • Ease of Use (15% weighting)

To get the full scoop on our testing process, visit our How We Test page.

Why Trust GearLab


Our lead camping pillow tester, Jason Wanlass, has spent the last 20 years of his life exploring the outdoors. He's an avid trail-seeker who has hiked and backpacked hundreds of miles of routes in Iceland, Nepal, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, and the Patagonia Region of Argentina and Chile. Closer to home, he hikes weekly in the foothills above his home in Utah and has backpacked countless miles in nearly every Western state. Whether wandering vast U.S. mountain ranges like the Sierras, Tetons, and the Cascades or catching a plane headed for one of the remote corners of the world, Jason knows the value of getting good sleep while on the move.

camping pillow - taking a snooze high up in the julian alps of slovenia. we feel a...
Taking a snooze high up in the Julian Alps of Slovenia. We feel a pillow's comfort is the most important feature in all of our testing metrics.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Analysis and Test Results


Whether car camping, backpacking, or paddling into the wilderness, we lugged pillows worldwide, took meticulous notes, and compared the products side-by-side. Then we scored each model in five core metrics: comfort, support, ease of use, weight, and packed size. After compiling their individual metric scores, we gave each pillow an overall score on a scale from 1 to 100. This score lets us rank the pillows and assess their overall performance. It's important to note that, while many of the scores are only separated by just a few points, each pillow excels in different ways. For example, an inflatable pillow and a compressible pillow may have similar total scores; however, the inflatable has lower scores for comfort yet may excel for weight and packed size. Likewise, a compressible pillow may have top scores for comfort but far lower scores for weight and packed size. In the end, it's important to consider each product's total score and their scores in each performance area to find the exact pillow that will work best for you and your camping needs.


Value


Unlike other products that we test at GearLab, camping pillows are relatively inexpensive. Regardless of their lower prices, we still found that some pillows offered more value than others. In fact, some of the most expensive ones were the least comfortable. In the realm of camp pillows, you'll generally pay a premium for less weight and smaller packed size. To achieve this, most high-priced pillows rely on an inflatable bladder. Lower-priced models are bulkier because they're constructed of foam or another soft padding. However, these materials also make the low-priced options typically more durable than the high-end stuff, adding to long-term value. On average, we also think they're more comfortable than the expensive packable pillows.

For its performance and low price point, we like the Therm-a-Rest Compressible and the REI Trailmade Mummy Bag Pillow. Both offer a great cushion for those who don't require something ultralight or ultra-packable. Consisting of foam and fabric, these products are simple, without a lot of moving pieces. In the end, we feel this simplicity gives them durability. In particular, the Trailmade is very lightweight for a foam compressible, and we feel it is an excellent option for snoozing in the backcountry. The Trekology Aluft 2.0 is another really well-priced option, especially if you want backpacking-focused features.

camping pillow - when we weigh the added features and decent performance against its...
When we weigh the added features and decent performance against its amazing price tag, the Trekology Aluft makes us very happy.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Comfort


Put simply, this metric rates the ahhhhh effect a pillow provides. For car campers, this is the most important criteria for selecting a pillow, and a strong consideration for backpackers, too, though weight obviously has to take precedence when you're carrying everything on your back. If you aren't comfortable, the likelihood of quality sleep decreases, along with probable harm to your next-day energy. Pillow type, shape and contouring, size, and the fabric of the outer shell are all factors that play into the comfort of a pillow.


The compressible pillows (not inflatable) rise to the top in this metric. A typical tradeoff for higher comfort is a larger packed size. All that plush filling can compress, but it can't disappear. Such is the case with the Hest Pillow. It is the most comfortable pillow we've ever tested, but it is also the heaviest, and it has the largest packed size. It features a stretched nylon outer shell that is pleasant and cool to the face and the ability to add or remove stuffing to find your perfect level of support.

camping pillow - the hest&#039;s comfort is unsurpassed. even when we weren&#039;t asleep, we...
The Hest's comfort is unsurpassed. Even when we weren't asleep, we often found ourselves hugging it for warmth or comfort.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Another one of our comfy favorites is the REI Trailmade. At 4.9 ounces, it is the lightest compressible pillow we've tested, making it a legitimate option for backpackers who are willing to trade a few ounces for superior comfort. We tested our Trailmade during a 70-mile trek through the Swiss Alps and found it to be very comfortable every time we laid our heads to rest. Specifically, its foam core provides one of the softest, most accommodating cushions we've gotten to use in the backcountry.

camping pillow - comfy pillow, beautiful glaciers, and no people. it doesn&#039;t get...
Comfy pillow, beautiful glaciers, and no people. It doesn't get better than this.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

In an attempt to achieve higher comfort with minimal packed size, hybrid models consist of an air chamber and a compressible top layer. We think the Nemo Fillo is one of the best at walking this tightrope between comfort and compressibility. Our reviewers also loved the feeling of the microsuede external shell when lying down for a nap. Among the inflatables, the Klymit Luxe scored high in our comfort tests. The quilted polyester shell combines with a rubber-based inflatable bladder to create a spacious surface that conforms effectively to different sleepers' needs and gives the product a great face feel.

camping pillow - jenna ammerman maximizes the comfort of a hammock by adding the top...
Jenna Ammerman maximizes the comfort of a hammock by adding the top award winning NEMO Fillo to the mix.
Credit: Ross Robinson

We feel the Hest most closely resembles a house pillow in comfort — it has a thick, dense foam core, resulting in a high level of comfort. The Sea to Summit Aeros didn't overwhelm us in this metric, despite having a thin layer of down. However, as an inflatable pillow, it goes a long way and is much more comfortable than other super lightweight inflatable pillows. The Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down is another inflatable topped with a thin down layer. We found this extra layer very effective and feel that the Air Head and Aeros are more comfortable than their strictly inflatable peers. When compared side by side, the Air Head Down is more comfortable than the Aeros Down.

camping pillow - amazingly lightweight yet incredibly comfortable. the aeros is...
Amazingly lightweight yet incredibly Comfortable. The Aeros is perfect for backpacking, and was our first choice for a shoreline backpacking trip along Washington's Olympic National Park coastline.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Also scoring decent marks for comfort is the Rumpl Stuffable Fleece. This pillow utilizes extra socks, clothing, or jackets as its fill. Due to the variation of possible stuffing, we had a little trouble assessing its true comfort. However, with careful and strategic stuffing of the sleeve, it can provide above-average comfort.

camping pillow - a full-length side zipper makes it easy to stuff clothes or a an...
A full-length side zipper makes it easy to stuff clothes or a an extra fleece into the Rumpl.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

An easy way to add comfort (and puncture protection) is to wrap your pillow in clothing like a balaclava or shirt. A few carefully wrapped garments can make a significant difference and turn a modestly comfortable pillow into a top performer. Don't use smelly clothes, though.

Weight


The weight of your pillow is a big concern if you plan to carry your camping pillow in your pack on long-distance backpacking excursions. Shorter backpacking trips lasting a handful of days may allow for some leniency, and this metric shouldn't be important at all to car campers. We used our scale to measure the weight of each pillow, stuff sack included. In the end, we were trying to identify the pillow that best balances comfort and weight.


The inflatable pillows we tested weigh much less than their hybrid and compressible counterparts. Easily crushing the competition, the Sea to Summit Aeros Down has the lowest measured weight in our lineup, with the Nemo Fillo Elite and regular Aeros nipping at its heels. The Nemo Fillo hybrid pillow is heavier, with the Wise Owl Outfitters Memory Foam and the Hest Pillow weighing the most of all contenders. To put things into perspective, the difference between the lightest and the heaviest pillows is 30.2 ounces or nearly 2 pounds.

The Rumpl Stuffable Pillowcase is one of the lightest non-inflatable pillows we tested due to its lack of built-in stuffing. The Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down is also decently lightweight. The Nemo Fillo Elite weighs just 3 ounces and offers more comfort and support than we expected for its lower weight, on par with the Sea to Summit Aeros (non-down version).

camping pillow - the nemo fillo elite is super lightweight, yet still comfortable and...
The Nemo Fillo Elite is super lightweight, yet still comfortable and supportive enough to keep us sleeping well during car camping trips or backpacking adventures.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Some of our reviewers preferred using the Klymit Luxe without its exterior quilted pillowcase. On its own, the bladder weighs 3.7 ounces, and it's very soft, comfortable, and rugged enough to use without a cover. This is a great option if you want a larger pillow that is lightweight.

camping pillow - we found the klymit luxe to be comfortable and supportive every time...
We found the Klymit Luxe to be comfortable and supportive every time we used it. When combined with its quilted outer shell, it's strong rubberized Denier fabric bladder is durable enough to expose the pillow to more than the inside of a tent or trailer.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Packed Size


The perfect do-everything camping pillow provides five-star comfort while taking up almost no space and weighing nearly nothing in a pack. We're still seeking that elusive and dazzling unicorn in the world of cranium cushions. Instead, manufacturers compromise between these opposing characteristics. However, this metric should not be important to car campers who don't have far to travel between their vehicle and the campsite. Volume becomes an issue when you have to fit everything you're bringing along in your backpack, and sacrifices must be made.


For this metric, we measured the volume of each product in its packed form. Packing down to just 0.4 liters are the Aero, Aeros Down, and Fillo Elite. Even though the Aeros Down includes a top layer of down, it packs up to almost the same size as the regular Aeros. Other top performers were the Trekology Aluft at 0.5 liters and the Cocoon Air-Core Hood and Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down at 0.6 liters. We were also very pleased with the packed size of the Rumpl Stuffable Pillowcase at 0.7 liters, but if you have to bring extra clothes just to stuff your pillow, the packed size benefits disappear.

camping pillow - the aeros down was one of our first choices for a six-dayer on the...
The Aeros Down was one of our first choices for a six-dayer on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park. Despite an extra layer of quilted down, we were surprised at this pillow's ability to pack into a teeny-tiny pouch.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

The Klymit Luxe is notable as well. Measuring 12.5 x 22 inhces, it is one of the largest pillows we studied but packs down to just 0.8 liters. On the extreme end of the scale is the Hest Pillow, with a packed size of 11.4 liters. But, as noted above, this is the most comfortable option in our lineup.

camping pillow - the nemo fillo is shown on the left in black with the grey luxe on...
The NEMO Fillo is shown on the left in black with the grey Luxe on the right. Neither take up a ton of space in a pack, but the Luxe tucks into smaller pack crevices.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Models with compressible fill can be made smaller by using a compression sack. We like to stuff them inside our sleeping bag compression sacks for simplicity and optimal packability.

Support


This metric scores the pillows on the loft they provide and how firm they remain from sunup to sundown. A pillow can be soft and comfortable but still not provide enough support to make the next day ache-free. Likewise, it can provide ample support, like some inflatable pillows, but not comfortable support. Your preferred sleeping position influences the amount of support you need. In general, stomach sleepers need a flatter cushion with less support, while side sleepers need a thicker, more supportive pillow to keep the spine aligned. Back sleepers seem to prefer support somewhere in the middle. Matching support to your sleeping habits is the best way to wake up fresh and minimize the chances of developing neck or backaches.


Inflatable and hybrid pillows like the Nemo Fillo aren't always as luxurious, but they do often provide great support. Moreover, inflatables allow for a range of support preferences thanks to the ability of the user to control the amount of air inside the pillow. We also really like the varied support of the Sea to Summit Aeros, which has a lower and higher end of the pillow.

camping pillow - the nemo fillo&#039;s layers of air, foam, and soft fabrics allow it to...
The Nemo Fillo's layers of air, foam, and soft fabrics allow it to reign supreme as one of the most supportive pillows available. We especially enjoyed the support it gave us while we simply did nothing at all.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

We were very pleased with the support provided by the Rumpl Stuffable. When the right combination of spare clothing is achieved (one of our favorite combos was a pair of pants wrapped in a fleece or down jacket), its support is substantial and quite impressive. But, if all your clothes are wet, or if you're wearing all your extra clothes for warmth, you'll find support and comfort coming up short. Of the ultralight pillows we tested, the Sea to Summit Aeros and Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down offer the most comfortable support. Our favorites though are the Nemo Fillo and Hest Pillow, which offer nearly the same support as a regular home pillow.

camping pillow - the air head down&#039;s quilted down top provides an extra amount of...
The Air Head Down's quilted down top provides an extra amount of support for side and back sleepers. Even with this extra luxury, it's still lightweight enough to shove in a backpack for a multiday backcountry trip.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Many of the compressible pillows fared very well in this metric. The Hest takes top honors, but the Wise Owl Memory Foam and Therm-a-Rest Compressible are also excellent.

If you prefer a softer, flatter pillow, that's okay. Look for a product that earned a lower score in our support metric.

Ease of Use


When you get to camp, you shouldn't have to struggle to keep your head cushion in place during the night. Likewise, your pillow should deploy quickly and pack and unpack with ease. Lastly, your pillow should be a breeze to wash and dry. In this metric, we considered a myriad of features related to how easy each pillow is to use. For simplicity's sake, we preferred pillows with attached stuff sacks. Searching for a misplaced stuff sack while packing up camp is less than desirable.


Between dirt, dogs, and drool, cleaning your pillow will eventually be necessary. The Teton Sports Pillow is a cinch to clean; just remove the pillowcase and toss it in the wash. Likewise, the REI Trailmade is machine washable and dryable, and it unpacks in less than 3 seconds. The Klymit Luxe also comes with a machine washable, removable pillowcase for easy cleaning. Models like the Therm-a-Rest Compressible can be thrown into the washer and dryer as-is, which is super convenient. Other models like the Aeros and the Sierra Designs Dridown Pillow are trickier to clean because the manufacturers advise against using a washing machine. Additionally, we found the inflatable pillows the easiest to clean because a simple wipe-down usually does the trick.

To unpack the Therm-a-Rest, simply uncinch the drawstring and unfold the pillow from its built-in stuff sack.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Inflating a pillow adds another step to the setup, but we don't think it's a big deal. Our favorite valve systems are found on the Nemo Fillo and Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down. Fine-tuning micro-units of air is an absolute breeze with the very effective twist valves on these models. Pillows like the Sea to Summit Aeros and its sibling, the Aeros Down, employ wide-mouth, flat valves, allowing for quick inflation and rapid deflation but a little less control when fine-tuning.

camping pillow - pillows that deploy, pack up, and wash easily score the highest in...
Pillows that deploy, pack up, and wash easily score the highest in our testing. The Sea to Summit Aeros's two-part air valve makes set up and tear down very simple.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Conclusion


Picking a pillow that best suits your camping or backpacking needs and sleeping style makes this gear category a subjective decision. Try to focus on the high-scoring products in the metrics that matter most to you rather than the overall scores. After all, selecting the right one will improve the quality of your rest, reduce aches and pains, and enhance the experience of overnighting outside. We hope this review helps you determine which pillow will keep you happy on your after-hours adventures at campsites and in the backcountry.

camping pillow - waking up fresh with the morning light after a comfy night&#039;s sleep...
Waking up fresh with the morning light after a comfy night's sleep is a pillow's purpose.
Credit: Ross Robinson

Jason Wanlass