The 8 Best Camping Pillows

Published on 04/24/2023 · 10 min readThe right camping pillow can leave you more well-rested for your outdoor adventures! Check out our top pillow recommendations in the list below!
Hunter Reed, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Hunter Reed

Photo by Hunter Reed

Camping is a great way to escape regular life and reconnect with nature. However, spending a night in the great outdoors can be uncomfortable without the right gear. One essential piece of gear that often goes overlooked is a good camping pillow. A camping pillow not only provides comfort and support for your head and neck, but it also helps you get a good night's sleep so you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized for your outdoor adventures. Nothing is worse than waking up before a full day of exploring to find that you slept a bit wrong and have a sore neck!

In this article, we will explore the top-recommended camping pillows that will make your next camping trip more comfortable and enjoyable. Whether you're a seasoned camper or a first-timer, you'll want to take note of these pillows to ensure a good night's rest under the stars!

Types of Camping Pillows

There are a few different types of camping pillows and it’s helpful to understand the differences before diving into the top-recommended pillows! Here are the main types:

  • Inflatable Camping Pillows: Can be inflated to the desired level of firmness and are typically the most lightweight and packable.
  • Compressible Camping Pillows: Made of compressible foam or down materials that can be compressed to save space in your backpack
  • Hybrid Camping Pillows: Combine the features of inflatable and compressible pillows, providing the support of a foam pillow with the adjustability of an inflatable pillow
  • Adjustable Camping Pillows: These pillows have adjustable straps or cords that allow you to customize the level of support for your head and neck.

Other Criteria to Think About

Aside from the type of pillow you want, there are a few other basic things to think about when shopping around for a camping pillow!

  1. Size and Weight: This is more of a concern if you are backpacking. If that’s the case, look for a camping pillow that is lightweight and compact enough to fit easily into your backpack. Consider the size of the pillow when packed and how much space it will take up in your backpack. If you find you often roll around a lot at night, size would be an important consideration for you as well as you may want to look for something bigger with more surface area to ensure your head stays on your pillow all night, some camp pillows can be quite small!
  2. Sleeping Position: Consider your preferred sleeping position when choosing a camping pillow. Side sleepers may need a higher and firmer pillow, while back sleepers or stomach sleepers may prefer a flatter pillow.
  3. Material and Durability: Look for a camping pillow made of durable materials that can withstand the wear and tear of outdoor use. Consider the pillow's cover material, fill material, overall construction, and how easy it is to wash and take care of. When I camp I often get my gear pretty dirty, so I prefer a pillow with a washable cover that’s easy to maintain.
  4. Price: Camping pillows come in a range of prices, so consider your budget and choose a pillow that offers good value for money.

Ok, let’s get into our list of the best camping pillows!

1. Nemo Fillo Abyss Camping Pillow

The NEMO Fillo Luxury Pillow is a popular choice among campers due to its high level of customization and comfort. It’s a hybrid pillow that features a combination of memory foam and air insulation to provide superior support. The NEMO FIllo has a soft, washable cover that can be removed for easy cleaning, and it packs down small into the included stuff sack, making it easy to transport on camping trips.

This is the camping pillow I have used for years, and I find that not only is it a comfortable camping pillow, but it also keeps me warmer while I’m sleeping than classic inflatable pillows since the foam provides some insulation. The pillow is also available in two different sizes and weights, so campers can choose the one that best fits their needs.

2. Exped Air UL Pillow

The Exped Air Ultralight Pillow is very packable yet is still quite comfortable, making it an ideal backpacking pillow. Unlike the NEMO Fillo Luxury Pillow, which is inflatable and foam, the Exped Air Pillow UL is just a straight inflatable pillow that is designed to take up minimal space in your backpack.

The exterior is a high-quality polyester fabric and features an ergonomic design that provides a high level of support for your head and neck. The multi-functional valve allows for quick and easy inflation and deflation but prevents air from escaping while you sleep, ensuring that you can get a good night's sleep without having to constantly adjust the pillow. The weight of this pillow is only 1.6oz, so if you’ve previously not carried a pillow on backpacking trips due to weight concerns, this is the perfect option for you!

3. Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is a unique camping pillow that offers superior comfort and convenience. Unlike the NEMO Fillo Luxury Pillow and the Exped Air Pillow UL, which are both inflatable, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is a foam-filled pillow. It uses a soft, high-loft foam that provides top-tier cushioning and support for your head and neck but is still very compressible. The foam filling is designed to maintain its loft over time, so you can enjoy the same level of comfort on your 100th trip with this pillow that you did on your first trip with it. The pillow comes with a polyester cover that is both soft and durable, making it an ideal choice for extended camping trips. The cover is machine-washable and can be easily removed for cleaning. It also comes in a few different fun pattern options! It’s not only great for camping but it also makes for a great travel pillow to use on airplanes or in the car!

4. Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow

The Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow is a highly innovative camping pillow that sets itself apart with its highly advanced design and technology. It is an inflatable pillow that has some light synthetic insulation on the top, making it more cushioned than other inflatable pillows. One of the main standout features of the Aeros Premium Pillow is its use of a 3D construction that provides excellent support for your head and neck. The pillow features a contoured shape that cradles your head and keeps it centered on the pillow, even if you move around during the night. It also has a PillowLock system on the bottom of the pillow (the nylon side, without the synthetic insulation), which easily attaches to a Sea to Summit sleeping pad to prevent the pillow from moving around at night. Similar to the Exped Air UL, the Aeros uses a highly advanced valve system that allows for easy and precise inflation and deflation but prevents air from escaping while you sleep.

At 2.7oz, the Aeros Premium Pillow is also lightweight and packable, making it easy to transport on camping trips or toss in your backpacking bag. It also comes with a handy stuff sack that makes it easy to pack and carry. Though this model has synthetic insulation, there is another model, the Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow, which has a layer of down insulation on top, which provides even more insulation than this model.

5. Therm-a-Rest Air Head Pillow

The Therm-a-Rest Air Head Pillow offers exceptional comfort and support, while also being incredibly lightweight and packable. It uses a hybrid construction that combines the comfort of a soft, brushed fabric cover with the support of a self-inflating foam core.

The Air Head Pillow has an adjustable height, which allows you to customize the pillow to your specific needs. It has a self-inflating air chamber that you can adjust to increase or decrease the pillow's height, ensuring that you get the perfect level of support for your sleep style and preferences. The shape of the pillow is meant to fit perfectly inside the hood of a Therm-a-Rest sleeping bag to prevent movement of your pillow in the night.

Like the other camping pillows mentioned, the Air Head Pillow is also easy to pack and transport and comes with a handy stuff sack for convenient storage. It is a bit heavier than the previously mentioned pillows at 5.6oz, but still doesn’t weigh much!

6. Western Mountaineering Cloudrest Down Pillow

Slightly pricier than other options, The Cloudrest Down Pillow is super plush and soft. This pillow is unique in that it is filled with high-quality, 850-fill goose down that provides superior insulation and cushioning, while also being lightweight and packable. It has a soft, brushed fabric cover that provides a comfortable surface to rest your face on and is easy to clean and maintain.

Another notable feature of the Cloudrest Down Pillow is its use of a unique trapezoidal baffle design that helps to keep the down filling in place, preventing it from shifting or clumping during the night. This ensures that you get consistent support and cushioning throughout the night, no matter how much you toss and turn. The stuff sack for this pillow is built in, which I find to be super convenient since it can sometimes get disorganized with all the stuff sacks in my tent, and things can get lost.

7. Klymit X Pillow

The Klymit Pillow X Pillow is a unique design that is intended to be self-centering to keep your head and neck in the ideal position for maximum support and comfort. It is covered in a durable, 75D polyester fabric that is both lightweight and easy to clean. It’s a fully inflatable pillow, without any foam, which keeps the weight under 2oz. It comes with a stuff sack and the inflatable valve is super easy to use, only needing three or four breaths to blow it up entirely.

8. TETON Sports ComfortLite Self-Inflating Camp Pillow

The TETON Sports ComfortLite Self-Inflating Camp Pillow is a highly-rated camping pillow that features a self-inflating design that makes it easy to set up and use. Unlike the previously mentioned inflatable pillows where you need to blow air into the valve, on the TETON Sports ComfortLite, you can just open the valve and the pillow will inflate on its own, and then you can lock the valve ensuring no air escapes. Though most inflatable pillows don’t require much effort to blow up, it is nice to have the self-inflating option when you are dead tired after a long day of hiking, driving, or doing other outdoor activities. It has a high-quality microfiber cover that provides a soft surface for your head and neck to rest on and is machine washable.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right camping pillow can be the difference between a restful night's sleep and a miserable night of tossing and turning. It’s important to be well-rested when you are camping to ensure you can get the most out of your trip. With so many options available, it can be tough to know where to start, but hopefully, this list has given you some good ideas! Whether you're backpacking and looking for a lightweight and packable pillow or car camping and looking for maximum comfort, there's sure to be a camping pillow on this list that will meet your needs. So, do your research, consider your needs, reach out to a Camping and Hiking Expert here on Curated if you still have questions, and get ready to enjoy a great night's sleep on your next camping trip.

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