Best Backpacking Pillow – The Top 3 Of 2019

Experienced travelers usually advise bringing a special pillow used for picnic and camping outdoor. A good pillow means providing good sleep and helping to rehab your energy for the next adventure. In this article, you will have an insight about how to choose the best backpacking pillow from helpful reviews of the outstanding pillows for travel.

Why Should You Invest in A Camping Pillow?

Pillow is essential to ensure deep sleep in addition to a good camping tent. If you do not normally use a pillow when sleeping, your head will be positioned lower than the heart when lying down, so blood will flow to your head much more than normal. That’s why you may find it difficult to have a deep sleep. Also, when sleeping, many people have the habit of lying on the side so if there is no pillow under the head, the head will be laid aside, which may cause pain and inflexibility to the neck.

Why Should You Invest in A Camping Pillow?

Image source: TreeLineBackpacker

However, when traveling, a normal pillow occupies a rather large space on the backpack, so many manufacturers have introduced some types of the pillow which are designed especially for traveling. A camping pillow has the same function with a normal pillow, but it’s foldable so you can carry it anywhere you want. That is why a backpacking pillow is an indispensable item for the travel or picnic.

Things to Consider Buying A Camping Pillow

Three types of camping pillow

First, let’s take a look at three typical kinds of backpacking pillows to determine what the best is for you.

–           Inflatable Pillows: are all filled with air to make them lighter and firmer than the two other camping pillows below. Inflatable pillows are foldable, so they take the least space in your backpack. And you only need to blow air into the pillows to inflate or deflate by a valve, and they are ready to use. Although inflatable pillow is the most economic camping pillow, this traveling pillow offers the least comfort and much more noise when moving in your sleep.

 Inflatable Pillows

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–           Compressible Pillows: are filled with down feathers which are the softest and the most lightweight. The pillows are flat to ensure little-occupied space on your backpack. When you want to use the pillow, you need to pump it up and enjoy your sleep like at home. Thanks to soft fabric, most people agree that they find more comfort when using compressible pillows than the inflatable kind.

Compressible Pillows

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–           Hybrid Pillows is the combination of two types of pillow above. The top is like a compressible pillow which ensures the comfort to users while the inflatable bottom reduces the space needed to carry around.

Hybrid Pillows

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Criteria for Evaluation

The below criteria can define the best backpacking pillow:


To offer the comfort in use, a camping pillow has to meet the need of users in size, shape, material to ensure the best experience and deep sleep. More importantly, the best backpacking needs to make users feel like they are sleeping at home; means they should be common with normal pillows. The pillow should have nice surface fabric so that you may feel the smooth on your face. Moreover, the pillows must be firm enough to support your head and neck but at the same time not too firm to have neck pain when you awake. Regarding comfort, the compressible pillows may have more advantages than the other kinds.


The camping pillows will be carried around and should take the smallest space as well as the most lightweight. The inflatable pillows, for sure, are much lighter than the other pillows due to air takes most of the space inside the pillows.

 Ease of use

The camping pillows should be easy to use and don’t take too much time to prepare. The easiest to use pillow is for sure the compressible pillows which are ready for use. Or at least, you should choose the type of pillows that don’t require too much time to pump to inflate. Moreover, the material of the pillows should be easy to clean and dry so that they are ready for different trips.

Size & Shape

The greater the size and shape, the less-suited a camping pillow is for long day trips. The pillows should be small with easy to folder shape to put into the backpack. While at the same time, the too small pillow may make it more uncomfortable when sleeping. Thus, you need to consider the suitable size of your camping pillows carefully.

 Ease of use

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Many of us may be sided-sleeper or have to roll a lot on sleeping. The supportive pillows will ensure proper move of both head and neck to avoid pain or tiresome after you awake.


Reviews can say a lot about the quality of a camping pillow. Based on the sharing of other users, you will have better judgment about both the pros and cons of the product instead of a flattering advertisement. You should read reviews from reliable websites and make a comparison before decide to buy a backpacking pillow.


No matter what material of a pillow, to ensure good sleep, the inside of the pillow needs to be filled so that your head position will be stable.


The fabrics on the top of the pillows need to be soft like normal sleeping pillows. This is the essential criteria to ensure the best sleep. Also, fabrics should be easy to clean and dry out for the next use.


Image source: Hike It. Like It.


Durability is another important factor that should be taken into careful consideration. A backpacking pillow needs to adapt to hash weather and outdoor condition. Materials, fabric, brand reliability and warranty service will determine the lifetime of a camping pillow.

Self-Inflating vs. Inflatable

As for inflatable pillows, you need to pump the air into the pillows through a valve when you want to use so that you will control the flat of the pillows. Despite being lightweight and portable, this type of pillow takes the time to prepare and fold up. Choosing the inflatable or self-inflating pillows depends on your habit and preference.


This is importance factor to check with compressible pillows. The compressibility will ensure the quality and comfort of the pillows.

3 Best Backpacking PillowReviews

1.Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

Made of upcycled mattress scraps, Therm-a-Rest is thick and super soft to ensure decent support for sleepers. Its size is also suitable for anyone who has the habit of turning while in the sleep. It compresses slowly after laying your head; and just after couple minutes, you will want to let out audible “Ahhh” after a long day with many activities. However, this 2.6 liters volume and also 8.6 ounces weight may be not for multi-day trips or taking some outdoor sports activities like hiking or jogging. Thus if you want to find a great value pillow which helps you to have the best sleep while in the short term or car trips, Therm-a-Rest is just for you.


–           Great value

–           Very comfortable and supportive

–           Easy to use

–           Provide decent support while sleeping

–           Machine washable

–           Reasonable price

–           A wide range of colors and designs


–           Heavy, large packed size

2.ONWEGO Inflatable Air Pillow

Onwego inflatable air pillow is another great pillow for camping outside. The cover fabric is soft and smooth thanks to plush foam. Combined with the contoured center, Onwego offers the incredible support for your neck and head. This pillow can inflate itself up to haft of the firmness, other than that; you can control the fill by blowing into the valve. It’s lightweight with only 10.6 ounces, and deflated pillow takes to 6 inches in your backpack. You can rest assure to bring Onwego on long journey or sports activities.


–           Comfortable and supportive

–           Easy to use, inflate and deflate

–           Moisture material

–           Compressed size and weight


–           Makes noise during movement

3.TETON Sports ComfortLite Self Inflating Pillow

Have you ever tried self-inflating pillow which can change their size and fill based on your movement? If not, Teton sports comfort like a self-inflating pillow is your must-buy item. When you roll in your sleep or pack the pillow, it can come down from full size of 18x10x4 inches to 13x3x3 inches. Or you can adjust the firmness by twisting the valve.

Stretch microfiber on the top of the pillow makes it soft and smooth. Moreover, the non-slip bottom will ensure you feel comfortable when rolling or sleep on your side.


–           Firm and supportive

–           Soft and smooth surface

–           Easy to inflate, deflate

–           Easy to clean


–           Quite heavy (about 12 ounces)


There are many options to define the best backpacking pillow, like the convenient, comfort in use, packed size and also what type of journey you are taking. In this article, we have pointed out the three best in the market right now. Hopefully, you will always find the best dream and enjoyment while on the long journey thanks to the camping pillows.