If you’re in a hurry and want to find out what the best camping pillow is, we recommend the Trekology Camping Pillow.
If you’re tired enough, you’ll be able to fall asleep without a pillow. When I went backpacking through the Himalayas, this was the thought that crossed my mind as I unrolled my sleeping bag and laid my head down on my fleece jacket. And you know what? I was 100% right! After walking 20 miles a day with several thousand feet in elevation change, I probably could’ve fallen asleep standing up.
However, while that might be the case for me, it is a rather extreme example. For most of you, using the ground or your jacket isn’t a reasonable (let alone comfortable) option, but bringing your pillow from home isn’t really the best idea either. That’s why we’ve laid out some of the best camping pillows, so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep even when you’re far from home.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following camping pillows:
- Trekology Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow
- Rugged Camp Camping Pillow
- Wise Owl Camping Pillow
- Redcamp Outdoor Camping Pillow
- Trekology Camping Pillow
How easy will this be to pack? It’s a question you should be asking yourself for everything you want to bring. Especially if you’re going to be backpacking, it’s important to keep in mind that all of your belongings are going to need to fit inside your pack. For most people, once they’ve got their tent, sleeping bag, food, and other camping essentials, it’s hard to find room for “less important” things like a good pillow to sleep on.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of pillows that pack down to the size of a soda can, so unless you’re packed to max capacity, there’s no need to give up on comfort. And if you weren’t planning on stuffing your backpack as full as possible, you can be a little more generous with the type of pillow you end up going with. For example, an inflatable pillow from Walmart packs down incredibly small, but that’s because all you have to do is blow air into it. Air will soak up the cold coming from the ground, and it’s not as comfortable as a pillow that has something else inside.
Arguably the whole reason you want to get a pillow in the first place, the level of comfort it provides isn’t something you should overlook. What is it filled with? I’ve brought a travel sized My Pillow while trekking before, and even though it doesn’t compress down as much as some other products, it was incredibly comfortable. Some pillows are filled with air, which means they’re easy to shrink down and put away, and you can adjust how “soft” you want it just by adding or removing the air inside. When you’re first learning how to camp especially, I usually suggest you lean more toward comfort. Because of this, I like to go with a memory foam or fiber fill, instead of air.
It’s worth it to pay attention to the shape of the pillow too. There isn’t much to support your body when you’re camping, so whatever pillow you decide to use is going to be the extent of it. Some are more ergonomically designed, while others are not, and differences like these can make or break your overall experience. Pair it with a great sleeping pad or air mattress, and you won’t even notice you aren’t sleeping on a cloud.
Even though it probably won’t be exposed to the elements as much as your tent, durability isn’t something to brush off. Aside from size, one of the biggest reasons I don’t recommend using your normal pillow for outdoor use is because it will get beat up and dirty really fast. Even if you don’t put it directly on the ground or in the rain, the fabric will get dirty just by touching everything else in your pack.
To avoid this, you’ll want a product made with an easy to clean, water repellant material. Polyester is the most common, and while it isn’t my personal favorite, it still is a very good option for those of you looking for comfort and durability.
Best Camping Pillow Reviews
Remember when I said that there are camping pillows out there that are the size of a soda can when packed away? Well, this Trekology camping pillow is one of them. In fact, it’s even smaller than that, coming in at 5×2 inches when fully rolled up. After blowing into it a few times, the pillow will inflate to a width of 16 inches, which fits well with most sleeping bags, cots, or pads.
Because comfort is important, Trekology utilized an ergonomic design for their pillow. The built in curvature helps give you the support you need, especially around your neck, so you wake up feeling more relaxed and refreshed that you would with a flat pillow. The material is also water resistant and anti-slip, so not only will the water and dirt come off easily, but your head will stay where it belongs – on the pillow.
– Packs down small
– Easy to inflate
– Water resistant
– Ergonomic shape
– Anti-slip material
– Too stiff to really feel comfortable, though the support is great
Another inflatable pillow, Rugged Camp’s camping pillow is quite similar to the product from Trekology. The size dimensions are the same, they take roughly the same amount of breaths to inflate, and they both pack down into a cylinder the size of your hand. However, they are different in a few important areas.
The material of this pillow is waterproof, knitted cotton. My skin is sensitive to textures, so I’m careful about what types of fabric I let myself come into contact with on a regular basis. Because of this, I prefer cotton more than polyester, so I have to admit I’m a little more biased toward this pillow than the one discussed above.
It is puncture resistant, and resists water well enough to be easy to clean and take care of it when it gets wet or muddy. Overall, it does a good job of covering over any rocks or uneven ground that might make sleeping uncomfortable, and offers great support for extended camping trips.
– Knitted cotton
– Water and puncture resistant
– Ergonomic design
– Small and lightweight
– Easy to inflate without worrying about leakage
– Too stiff and flat to be very comfortable
Looking for a pillow that’s focused more on comfort than packability? You’ll love Wise Owl’s camping pillow, made out of memory foam to provide a place for your head to rest that might be more comfortable than your pillow back home! This product is 5 inches thick, offering more than enough cushioned support for your head and neck.
Because of the memory foam structure, it doesn’t compress down into as small of a package as inflatable pillows. However, it is still shorter than a foot, and there are 3 sizes to choose from so you can customize what you would like based on how much room you’ll have to carry it. As someone who’s used a My Pillow while camping, I can tell you that the extra bulk from a pillow with memory foam is completely worth it. Unless you’re an avid backpacker looking to cut down size and weight anywhere possible, you likely won’t mind the bulk.
– Super comfortable
– Memory foam adjusts to your body shape
– 3 sizes to choose from
– Come in multiple colors
– A little large and bulky
Who else here likes flannel? Soft and warm, it makes more than just great shirts thanks to Redcamp’s flannel camping pillow. If comfort is something that you value, and flannel is your thing, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to this pillow. Though it will be a bit harder to clean than some of the others listed in this review, it still is fairly easy to remove and wash the pillow slip and sun dry it.
Coming in at a little under a pound, the weight isn’t too significant. The size, on the other hand, is a bit bigger than an inflatable pillow, so it will take up more space. However, just like with the last pillow, the primary goal isn’t to be small and lightweight, but comfortable. For those of you looking for a cozy pillow to remind you of home while you’re out in nature, you won’t be disappointed with this product.
– Soft and warm
– Comfortable material and fill
– Great size
– Outside cover is fairly easy to clean
– It’s a little thin (not much fill on the inside)
– Takes up a fair amount of space in your pack
Another one by Trekology, this camping pillow has a few noticeable differences compared to the ultralight inflatable pillow listed above. First, while it is still inflatable, it comes with a removeable foam cover that will be more comfortable to sleep on. The cover is easy to wash, and you can always sleep on the pillow without it if it’s not your style or happens to be dirty.
Even with the added foam, this pillow still packs down to a size smaller than a soda can. There’s even a pad attachment that connects to your inflatable sleeping mat, so the pillow won’t move during the night even if you’re tossing and turning. The ergonomics is also great for head and neck support, as well as back support if you wanted to use this pillow as a cushion while you sit for a long time.
– Packs down small
– Easy to inflate
– Foam cover for comfort
– Pad attachment to connect to your sleeping pad
– Great ergonomics
– The foam cover isn’t as thick as some people might like
Unless you’re into glamping, spending a night in a tent will never be as comfortable as your own bed back home. However, there are ways to make the experience a little more pleasant, and getting yourself a good camping pillow is one of the best ways to do this.
Trekology’s camping pillow covered all of the important points for us, from packability to comfort to durability. Because it’s inflatable, it can be deflated and rolled up to a size smaller than your hand. Blowing it up is also easy, usually taking about 3 full breaths on average. Typically I’m not a fan of the inflatable pillows, simply because they aren’t as comfortable as something filled with foam or other types of fibers. However with this pillow, the addition of the foam cover sealed the deal for me, considering it was above average in every other area too.