Pillow Fight! How to Pick the Best Camping Pillow

When it comes to having a good, pleasant rest: An image of a mattress and a plush pillow come to mind.

When you’re backpacking across an entirely foreign land, not all the time will you have such luxury at hand. Having a camping pillow will not only offer you a good night sleep but also great convenience, too.

The best camping pillow can ease much of your problems by providing you with a comfortable sleep after a tiring day. Having a camping pillow makes the camping trip much more pleasurable. It allows you to focus on the fun of the trip instead of being irritated and uncomfortable all the time.

Things to consider before buying a camping pillow


Picking the best camping pillow out of the numerous models out there can be a very challenging task. However, the first thing you should focus on is the three major types of camping pillow. Go on and see if any of them suit your needs.

  • Compressible: Compressible camping pillows are made from soft materials that can be compressed … or squished easily. They take only a small amount of space in your backpack and can be very comfortable to some. Compressible Pillows are the closest you can get to a real bedroom-pillow; however, they’re heavier and relatively bulky.

Image source: The Comfy Traveler

  • Inflatable: True to its name, inflatable camping pillows are pretty much like a high-functioning and expensive balloon. At first, you can fold it and tuck it however you like and fill with air when you need it. Although it’s much noisier and extremely uncomfortable to sleep on than compressible pillows, it saves much more space.

Image source: Big Sky International

  • Hybrid: Hybrid camping pillows are the result of the combination of both compressible and inflatable pillows. In short, a hybrid pillow has the best essences of both worlds. They have a compressible top that gives you the soft cushion and an inflatable bottom to make space and support. The downside is that hybrid pillows are certainly much more expensive.

Image source: Survival Mastery

Choosing the right type of pillow can drastically reduce your search range and will benefit you in the long-term.

If you consider comfortability a significant factor, you should consider getting a compressible pillow. If you have a minimum budget then inflatable pillow – even with their inherent lack of comfort – is a choice. And finally, should you have a sizable budget, then the best thing to have is a hybrid pillow.


The next thing to keep in mind is the material of your pillow. The type, quality and make of the pillow are the deciding factors for its comfortability. Scrutinize the fabric carefully to ensure that you have the best performance out of the price.

After that, you can go on and check the many small but significant details the best camping pillows should have:


For compressible and hybrid pillows, the filling is the crème of the entire thing. Try to find makes that have memory foam filling, as they are much more comfortable to lie on. But overall, make sure that the foam is rigid but pliable enough for you to be comfy after a while.


This is one of the major criteria a good camping pillow should have, not necessarily the best. You don’t want to have a headache or a crick when you wake up. If your camping pillow cannot resolve that, it is pretty much worthless. Be certain that your pillow provides you with enough support and the fabric is soft and pleasant.


Image source: OutdoorGearLab


Camping pillows are meant to be mobile, and you can bring them anywhere you want within your backpack. Look out for the pillow’s weight when you bring them along, as they can adversely affect your stamina.

Ease of Use

A camping pillow is not a tent. It doesn’t need a dozen steps instruction or a fierce battle to figure out how to use it properly. It is doubtless extremely frustrating after a tiring day walking and sweating in the Sun and faces a puzzle. The best camping pillows should get ready quickly and allow you to drift off to sleep without swearing profusely beforehand.


Camping or backpacking is a very rough sport sometimes. You can tumble, fall, roll and maybe swim through challenging terrains that will destroy commonly made equipment in a heartbeat. A camping pillow must first be resistant to wears, tears and can take an adequate amount of punishments. Next, it should be waterproof as you don’t want to sleep on a soggy pillow after rain hit your campsite.

Packed Size

The size of your backpack is not infinite. And even if you have a spacious bag, you will want to conserve your available space. Having a pillow that takes up half or even an entire compartment of your backpack is not a good deal.


Your pillows might be pretty snugly and light, but make sure that it provides enough neck support. A comfortable pillow with minimal neck support can result in a bad neck position while you sleep. This not only will lead to a horrible morning afterward but can also create some health conditions later on.

Best Camping Pillow: Our 5 Picks

All things considered, here we will show the options for best camping pillows:

1.Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow

The DriDown Pillow is made from a synthetic core (or inner), with the top made from quality and special polyester. The pillow comes with a polyester insert that you can remove if you need to save weight. Instead, you can cover it with a jacket or a shirt as a makeshift replacement.

When combined, the entire pillow weighs approximately 5.8 ounces and with the insert removed, is a mere 2.8 ounces. It’s pretty comfortable, supporting almost all sleeping positions with extra fillings to the side for side sleepers. Pillows can be readjusted for stomach sleepers with a little bit of tinkering and placing.

The pillow has an amazing sense of the material of the quilted down. The pillow also offers great ventilation and won’t make you feel too hot during the night.


  • Great design and quality materials.
  • Removable insert.
  • Compatible for multiple sleeping poses.
  • Good ventilation.


  • A bit small and can be quite thin for some people’s preferences.

2.TETON Sports ComfortLite Self Inflating Pillow

The ComfortLite is an exceptional inflatable pillow that is worth mentioning on our list.

One of the aspects that make it stand out is the ability to inflate and deflate itself at your wish. From a neat 13×3.5×3.5 inches pillow pack; it can automatically inflate to an 18x10x4 pillow in a few seconds. It’s also easy to operate, you just need to twist the inflation valve, and it will instantaneously become a soft headrest.

After inflation, you can adjust the firmness of the pillow according to your preferences by using the valves.

The entire pillow is light, just like any other inflatables, being just 12 ounces. You can also roll it up into a bundle or fold it up to tuck into your backpack conveniently. This, along with the rapid inflation/deflation of the pillow makes it a wonderful pillow to use on the go.

The ComfortLite has two options as materials: You can either choose organic cotton top or a microfibre one. While both offer superior comfortability, microfiber is more durable than cotton and can be slightly smoother against the skin too. Besides the top, a non-slip and rugged base helps secure the pillow in place even against a wet ground.


  • Self-inflation pillow made for maximum convenience.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Light and packable.
  • Have material options for the top


  • User’s head can slip off at times, definitely would be a bit frustrating for some people.

3.Premium Shredded Memory Foam Camping and Travel Pillow

With ‘Made in the USA’ on the tape, the Premium Pillow has quite a reputation for quality crafting. Not only is it handmade, the design of the pillow is far more superior to most compressible pillows on the market.

Its size can accommodate an adult comfortably without much of a problem with a dimension of 19×14 inches uncompressed. The scale allows the user to make free head movements during the night without slipping and bumping the ground. The pillow can be compressed down to 10×6 inches in your backpack, saving a lot of much-needed backpack space.

The manufacturer also takes quite a lot of measures to ensure that the pillow is safe for use. The pillow conforms to quite a lot of regulations such as CPSC and CFC in its fabrics. So there’s nothing to worry about when you rest your head on it for the night.

The pillow is also thermo-regulating with special Polyester/Viscose Rayon cover to prevent overheating.

The downside is that it’s quite heavy, about 36 ounces, including sacks. If you’re a light traveler, you should be skeptic before choosing this pillow.


  • Handmade with transparent origin.
  • Superior design.
  • Great sizing – compatible for adults and backpack when compressed.
  • Thermo-regulating.


4.ONWEGO Camping Pillow / Inflatable Air Pillow

One of the few hybrid pillows on the list, the ONWEGO Pillow is a great choice in-between compressible and inflatables.

Much like the TETON pillow, ONWEGO can self-inflate and deflate at the twist of a valve. The pillow grants you great convenience and rapid usage with this neat little feature. The valve is easy to operate and can be used to adjust the firmness of the pillow for more comfortability.

Unlike a full-blood inflatable pillow sacrificing comfortability for rapidity, the ONWEGO doesn’t have that kind of problem. It has a smooth pillow top made of soft but durable moisture-resistant materials along with a foam interior. This design gives you the comfortability that an inflatable naturally lacks.

When fully inflated, the pillow is approximately 10×12 inches, just big enough to accommodate an adult quite comfortably. When uncompressed, the pillow is down to a sheet 5.5×6 inches that can be rolled and tucked fittingly to the side.

The pillow is about 10.5 ounces, a bit on the heavy side but it can still be acceptable.


  • Self-inflating.
  • Smooth, comfortable and moisture-resistant pillow top along with foam interior.
  • Great sizing both when inflated and deflated.


  • Just a bit heavy.

5.Sea To Summit Aeros Pillow Premium

It’s quite hard to find a pillow that balances both comfortability and compactness into one. Nonetheless, we found that the Aeros Pillow is the closest thing on our list that comes close to this medium.

The pillow is very spacious with a full size when inflated of 16.5×11.8×5.1. It can house an adult’s head and still have a lot of room to spare for movements. When fully deflated, it takes little to no space (1.2×1.3×3.2 inches) and can fit snugly in a coffee cup.

The pillow is very light, too. It is 4.2 ounces, eliminating all of the pillows on this list in term of weight. It is going to be a very promising partner in your backpack if you have a weight limit.

Besides compactness alone, the Aeros Pillow is also very comfortable. The polyester knit makes it both soft on the scalp and easy on the skull as well. The pillow also has synthetic fill in the case and a TPU bladder to limit moisture and increase comfort. It also has a support curve to fit the back of your neck comfortably preventing cricks after long usage.

Unlike the TETON and ONWEGO, the Aeros is not self-inflating. Nonetheless, it only takes about 5-6 large blows to inflate the pillow through the valve fully.

Although the Aeros Pillow is made for travel, it is very susceptible to leakage when manhandled, be cautious.


  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Quality fabric and comfortable design.
  • Decent inflation rate.


  • Can leak when roughly handled.

Proven Tips For A Better Sleep In Camping

Sleeping in the wilderness can be quite troubling and if done wrong, can even be challenging. But fear not, here are some tips for a better sleep while you’re camping:

Pick the right equipment: Picking good tents, good sleeping bags and other paraphernalia will give you a better night.

Avoid sleeping on the floor: Sleeping on the naked floor is very harmful. The cold ground can siphon out the heat from your body or when it’s wet, thus, can sicken you.

Bring sleeping essentials: Things such as camping pillows or blankets are a must when you plan on staying a night in the wild.

Bring sleeping essentials

Image source: Survival Mastery

Wear warm clothing: Unlike in the city, there won’t be convenient and effective in heating. During the night, the temperature can drop rapidly and if you don’t have a blanket at hand: It’s going to be a rough night. The terrain can also be rocky and uneven, hence, without a good camping pillow, you’d have a painful headache afterward.

Pick the right location: Don’t camp next to cliffs unless you have other options. Avoid wet or low areas to secure yourself from the possibility of getting swept by flash floods. And also consider your proximity to roads or other campers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Camping Pillows

Are they useful?

Yes, they are, very much. The point of a camping pillow, in general, is to support your neck and head without them cramping up. And you definitely cannot take a bulky bedroom pillow with you anywhere. A camping pillow will not only decrease the weight of your backpack but also grant you a good night sleep.

What kind is the best camping pillow?

It depends on you, as we’ve mentioned before each type of pillows is targeted toward a specific audience. Therefore, it’s ultimately up to you to decide which group you will join.

Does camping pillows cause health problems?

Some pillows are reported to cause allergies, but most of the time they are unknown brands. Try to find pillows with good ratings and vested for healthy usage.

A camping pillow is an important part of your inventory and should not be forgone. Whatever your choice is, we hope that this article helps you in finding out the best camping pillows!