11 Best Backpacking Pillows In 2021

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Regardless of whichever outdoor adventure you indulge in, you will need the right gear for a safe and comfortable experience. If you are planning for an offbeat experience, such as sleeping in the wilderness, you will need the best backpacking pillow available, along with a sleeping bag and a tent.

These pillows are compact and portable and are guaranteed to give you a sound sleep. With the many options to choose from, picking one can be a task. What are the factors you should consider before choosing one? Our list of the best backpacking pillows and the buying guide will help you narrow down your search. So, keep scrolling and choose one that is versatile, lightweight, and comfy to help you sleep like a log.

Types Of Backpacking Pillows

  • Air-filled backpacking pillows 

This type of pillow makes use of flat or twist-and-pull valves that require breathing into them to inflate. Extremely compact and lightweight, these are good options for people that want to adjust the loft according to their needs. After you’re done using it, you can simply put some pressure to deflate the pillow and tuck it back into the bag.

  • Foam pillows

Instead of using air pressure, foam pillows cradle your head and neck by providing firm support with engineered materials. While they are almost as comfortable as the pillows in your home, they might not pack compactly and feel a little bulky.

  • Down or synthetic pillows

Combining insulating properties with materials like foam, these pillows are light in weight. However, the disadvantage here is that when you sleep, the pillow might decompress. If you like thinner lofts, this isn’t much of an issue, but people who prefer their pillows thick and high might find them uncomfortable.

  • Air and foam pillows

With a mix of both foam and air, these pillows have interior foam that inflates by sucking in outside air through a valve. You can also use a few breaths to get it to your desired level of height.

11 Best Backpacking Pillows In 2021

1. Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Pillow

Wise Owl Outfitters’ camping pillow is made of 100% polyester and can be used in your car, on a plane seat, or even a hammock. Cushioned memory foam is used as a filling, surrounded by a micro-suede cover that is super-soft to the touch. Once you’re done using it, you can simply stuff the compressible pillow back into its waterproof case. Supporting both your head and neck, this pillow will give you undisturbed sleep even when you’re on the go.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Dryer-friendly
  • Machine washable
  • Available in 3 colors
  • Can be used as a seat cushion

Cons

  • Might become slightly lumpy over time

2. SUCKCESO Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillows

This inflatable camp pillow comes in a set of 2 and is so lightweight that you can easily fold it for portability. The pillow takes shape with just 3 to 5 blows and the height can be customized by deflating it. Constructed from waterproof TPU and polyester material, it features grooves that provide relief to stiff muscles in your neck and shoulders, which can be a much-needed quality when you’re traveling with a heavy bag. Fitting sleek in your tent space or hammocks, these pillows are a must-have gear for backpackers.

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Easy to clean
  • Ergonomic design
  • 5 color options available
  • Ideal for all sleeping positions

Cons

  • Might need to be inflated frequently 

3. Rugged Camp Camping Pillow

Rugged Camp’s ultralight backpacking pillow features a 2-way air valve that requires only 3-5 blows for maximum inflation. Equipped with head and neck support, the pillow gives you the option of using it as lumbar support when you are sitting down. As it is made with waterproof knitted cotton, the pillow evens out your sleeping surface so you don’t need to deal with debris or rocks.

Pros

  • Non-slip
  • Puncture-resistant
  • Available in 4 colors
  • Ergonomic design
  • Packing pouch included
  • Resistant to rain and cold weather

Cons

  • Material might be slightly less breathable 

4. Hikenture Ultralight Pillow

Hikenture’s hiking pillow is great for long journeys because it remains resistant to air leakage, thanks to its thick TPU material and air-tight closure. The removable cover is soft and skin-friendly, offering optimum breathability for much-needed comfort in the outdoors. An inner layer of woven polyester adds coziness to help you sleep peacefully on hard surfaces, while the detachable elastic strap lets you mount it onto car, plane, or train seats while traveling.

Pros

  • Washable cover
  • Adjustable pillow height
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Supports all sleeping positions
  • Offers neck and shoulder support

Cons

  • Material might make slight ruffling sounds 

5. REDCAMP Outdoor Camping Pillow

With a weight of less than a pound, this is the best hiking pillow as it uses a high-quality flannel fabric on the outer cover. A polyester lining is used as a pillowslip, which remains soft against your skin and doesn’t cause any irritation when you sleep. The filling is made up of hollow fiber to give you maximum comfort, while the cover has a zipper closure so you can maintain the pillow’s fluff and effectiveness for long-term use.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Removable cover
  • 3 color options
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Might flatten slightly with overuse 

6. TREKOLOGY Ultralight Inflating Travel/Camping Pillows

Made with 80% polyester, TREKOLOGY’s pillow for sleeping bags weighs less than a can of soda, making it a breeze to carry on all your trips. This inflatable pillow can be used as lumbar support if you happen to be seated for long periods while traveling. With the curvature design, your neck and head are amply supported and the layers provide you with ultra-soft cushioning. For a peaceful night, this is the best camping pillow for side sleepers as well as those who like to sleep on their backs.

Pros

  • Anti-slip
  • Water-resistant
  • Compact design
  • Available in 4 colors
  • Easy to inflate and deflate

Cons

  • Might make a slight crinkling sound 

7. Klymit Pillow X Inflatable Camping & Travel Pillow

Klymit has come up with the best ultralight pillow for backpackers by combining 2 kinds of polyester that keep it durable through all your adventures. It also serves well as a seat cushion during instances of hunting or trekking. By placing it on rock-hard surfaces, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and gaze out at scenic views from hilltops for hours on end without your backside feeling uncomfortable. To keep your head perfectly positioned in the center, this pillow makes use of the unique self-centering X design. You can easily inflate or deflate it to meet a height that aligns your neck with the rest of your body.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Does not tear
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Puncture-resistant
  • Storage bag included
  • Comes in 3 color options

Cons

  • Might not be slip-resistant

8. Gold Armour Inflatable Camping Pillow

Gold Armour’s Inflatable Camping Pillow is quite convenient as it requires only 3 to 5 breaths to take the ideal shape and comes with a Quick Deflate feature. The thick and durable top layer provides you with adequate softness, while the detachable elastic latch keeps the pillow firmly in place. To increase surface friction, silicone dots have been embedded to make sure the comfortable pillow sits securely on any surface. In addition to keeping you cozy, it will also help your head stay well-positioned and insulated throughout the night.

Pros

  • Offers lumbar support
  • Carrying bag included
  • Available in 4 colors
  • Suitable for all kinds of sleepers
  • Can be used on sleeping pads and bags

Cons

  • Might deflate slightly with excessive use 

9. TETON Sports Camp Pillow

TETON’s best camp pillow features an innovative fiber filling to keep you warm in the cold, unforgiving outdoors. With a brushed poly-flannel pillowcase, you can enjoy the insanely soft feeling of the fabric against your skin. The pillow’s packed size is tiny and compact enough to barely take up any space in your backpack. After use, both the pillow and the case can be washed to maintain their quality and appearance.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Lofts up without help
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Storage bag included
  • Removable pillow case

Cons

  • The stuffing might bunch up sometimes. 

10.  Ballast Inflatable Beach Pillow

If you’re traveling to windy areas, Ballast has the best camping pillows that don’t fly away and stay put. The plush and padded top offers incredible comfort while the fabric works to wick away water and shed sand. You can inflate it in just a few breaths and attach it to camping or lounge chairs with the help of the strap provided at the rear. The pillow’s rectangular shape allows you to rest your head anywhere for quick naps or deep sleep.

Pros

  • 2 color options
  • Breathable fabric
  • Compact storage
  • Soft and lightweight
  • Storage bag included

Cons

  • Strap might not be too secure 

11. Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow

Therm-a-Rest’s best camping pillow inflates to a 4-inch thickness, allowing you to rest your head and neck on the coziest surface after a long and tiring day. The outer cover is made of brushed polyester and the pillow has a urethane foam filling that feels soft to the touch and keeps you well-rested. With the drawstring and cord lock, you can compress the pillow into the case and pack it tight with no hassle.

Pros

  • Anti-slip
  • Made of recycled polyester
  • Uses upcycled filling
  • Available in 8 color options

Cons

  • Some might find it to be bulky 

Now that we’ve looked at some of the best backpacking pillows out there, let’s see how you can choose the right one for your adventures.

How To Choose The Right Backpacking Pillow

  • Size and weight

Before you choose a pillow, identify where you will be putting it to use as camping and backpacking require different sizes. You must also keep in mind that the pillow packs into a small size and weight. Since you will be packing the pillow into purses or small crevices, it should be more or less the size of a soda can.

  • Slippery texture

Look for pillows that are anti-slip so you don’t constantly slide off in your sleep. Steer clear of fabrics like rayon and silk. Polyester and felt are excellent options.

  • Support and comfort

Support is paramount to comfort, as side sleepers need ample head and neck cradling so as not to wake up sore. Look for pillows that are suitable for all sleeping positions and feature ridges or grooves to relieve pressure in your muscles. A breathable fabric such as polyester or an inner lining of the same will keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you keep a pillow on a sleeping pad?

You can place the pillow on the sleeping pad and fasten it with the help of the strap at the rear. Some pillows even have anti-slip silicone strips for security. If not, head nets and shock cords can be used to attach pillows to sleeping gear.

  • How do you use the Nemo Fillo pillow?

You can inflate the Nemo Fillo pillow with a few breaths using the air valve, cover it with its case, and proceed to sleep on it.

Planning an adventure in the wilderness is all fun and games until you’re stuck with a bout of sleeplessness. As your days are filled with activity, getting some quality shut-eye is of the  utmost essence. While you may have packed your trustworthy sleeping bag, it might fall flat without the right kind of headrest. With our list of the best backpacking pillows, you can choose the right loft for any activity, be it trekking, hiking, or camping. These versatile products also work as seats or cushions and can provide you with lumbar support on trips that never seem to end. More importantly, they offer a comfortable place to rest your head and sleep before it’s time for your next adventure.

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Sristi Suman

Sristi Suman is a freelance content writing covering various segments and specialties. Driven by her love for writing, she expanded her arena to industries, including travel, automobile, FMCG, and infrastructure. She has been associated with MomJunction for more than two years and covers the products in the sports, adventure, travel, and health sections. Sristi continues to tread industry verticals and... more