I love camping – but let’s face it, sometimes it can get pretty uncomfortable. The ground is usually rock hard, so when you wake up in the morning, you’re sore all over.
Your back and neck feel awful and the only thing you want to do is visit a chiropractor.
Well, there is a very simple solution… get a good camping pillow.
The new breed of camping pillows are comfortable, light-weight and easy to clean, pack, and carry. Even the most hard-core campers are using them.
So which one do you choose?
Here is our guide to the 10 best camping pillows on the market right now, it will help you choose the right pillow for your specific needs.
10 Best Camping Pillows For Any Situation
To design the Fillo, Nemo combined baffled air cells with thick, luxurious foam and wrapped it all up in a washable jersey and microsuede cover.
In case you spill something on it, the pillow is pretty easy to clean and you only have to throw it in the washing machine.
You can get the pillow in five different colors, and it comes with an integrated stuff sack. Once you’ve deflated it and put it inside the bag, the camping pillow is about the size of a water bottle. It is also pretty adjustable and you can control the height with the inflatable baffles and locking valve.
According to Nemo, the Fillo is the perfect companion for all of your long backpacking trips. What’s more, you can also take it on the plane as it weighs 9.6 ounces.
Because of its size and comfort levels, Nemo Fillo is one of the best camping pillows on the market, and the top pick for 2020.
The ComfortLite from Teton is self-inflating and features a heavy-duty non-slip base that keeps the pillow in place. The upper shell of the pillow is made out of the trademark ComforTech Material which is extremely soft and durable. If it gets dirty, you can just go over it with a damp cloth.
You can adjust the height and firmness of the pillow with its rapid deflation/inflation valve. Once you’ve completely deflated it, it’s only 12 inches long and 3 inches wide.
The Teton pillow is a bit heavier than the Nemo Fillo and comes in at about 12 oz. That’s why you might be better off using it for camping and traveling instead of backpacking.
When you order the ComfortLite, you’ll also get a stuff sack with a drawstring closure included. Also, for this product, Teton offers a limited lifetime warranty, as long as you get a return authorization number from their website.
Best Bang For Your Buck
The pillow from Therm-a-Rest is made out of upcycled foam and polyester. Just like the Nemo Fillo, it only weighs 9 oz and it packs down pretty small, making it one of the best camping pillows on the market.
You can get the Therm-a-Rest pillow in Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large sizes. What’s more, it comes in nine different colors and patterns, so you can pick and choose which one you like best. The pillow is pretty easy to clean and if you get a stain on it, you can throw it in the washing machine.
Just like the rest of its products, Therm-a-Rest offers a two-year limited warranty for the pillow.
Furthermore, the pillow is also covered by the company’s “Better Sleep Guarantee”. So, if you’re not happy with it, you can return the pillow within the first three months of purchase, and get a full refund.
Best Inflatable For Backpacking
The Aeros Premium Pillow has been a tried-and-true classic because of how lightweight and compact it is. You can get the pillow in two sizes — medium and large, and inflate it in just five to seven breaths.
If you shop on Amazon, you can get the Aeros Premium in four different colors — magenta, gray, lime, and navy blue. Also, since 2019, Sea to Summit has made its Premium pillow compatible with its trademark Pillow Lock System.
What’s more, the pillow features a contoured TPU air bladder and a soft, polyester-knit exterior. It also weighs only 2.7 oz, making it one of the lighter ones on this list. Even though it’s not machine-washable, you can get rid of any stains by going over the pillow with a damp cloth.
On the other hand, if doing it by hand is too big of a hassle for you, you can always get the Aeros Pillow Case. The case is much easier to clean, and you can pop it in the washing machine whenever you need to.
Bestseller On a Budget
Trekology’s Camping Pillow is one of the best camping pillows for cars and an Amazon bestseller. Considering its features, it’s easy to see why it has become so popular.
To start, you can get it in eight different colors and when it’s deflated and fully folded, it’s only 5 inches long and 2 inches wide. In fact, since it also weighs 2.7 oz, the pillow is smaller and lighter than the average can of soda.
Earlier in 2019, Trekology came out with a new and improved version of the Ultralight, which is more durable than the last one. They’ve equipped the 2.0 version with an elastic TPU fabric that is water-resistant.
What’s more, the pillow also has a proprietary dot and latch design that makes it easier to sleep on. Now, the back of the pillow has rubber anti-slip dots that will increase the friction between you and your sleeping mat.
According to Trekology, you can inflate this pillow with just three to five breaths.
Best For Head Support
The Klymit Inflatable pillow is by far one of the lightest ones on the market right now, weighing only 1.95 oz. You can get it in four different colors, and it’s one of the best camping pillows for backpacking.
Also, the top of the pillow is made from a lightweight, 30D polyester fabric, while the bottom part features a sturdier, 75D polyester.
When you get the Klymit Pillow, it’ll also come with its own stuff sack. Once you totally deflate the pillow and put it inside the bag, it’ll be smaller than the average lighter. In addition to the X Inflatable version, you can also get the X Large, the Cush Pillow, and Luxe Pillow.
Just like with Teton, Klymit will also give you a limited lifetime warranty when you buy the pillow. What’s more, if you send your pillow back to Klymit for a repair or replacement, they will cover all shipping costs.
Best Lightweight Camping Pillow
The water-resistant camping pillow from Exped is made out of 50D polyester fabric. It also features an anti-slip honeycomb pattern coating on the back.
The Air Pillow UL weighs only 2 oz and comes with its own stuff sack. Also, when you fully inflate it, it’s only about 4 inches high and fits in the palm of your hand perfectly.
Because of its unique size and shape, the Air Pillow is possibly one of the best camping pillows for people who sleep on their sides or back. To get the best size, you can inflate it with just two breaths instead of the recommended three.
On Amazon, you can buy the pillow in two fun colors — orange and corn yellow. But if you find it in a bigger retail or camping store, you can also get it in red.
However, keep in mind that the Exped products are currently only sold in stores in Switzerland, France, and Italy.
The DriDown pillow features a versatile 2-in-1 design that’s perfect for your camping or backpacking needs. It’s made out of a high-performance shell fabric that’s water-resistant and weighs only 5.9 oz.
What’s more, the inside of the pillow is lined with a 650FP PFC-free fabric and the pillowtop fabric is a 20D polyester ripstop.
What makes the DriDown stand out from the competition is its unique inner pillow. The pillow is synthetic and completely removable.
So, when you’re going backpacking and want to lighten your load, you can take it out. Then, you’re left with the pillowtop fabric that you can inflate or stuff with clothes.
Now, the DriDown also comes in blue and red and with its own stuff sack. What’s more, you’ll also get a limited lifetime warranty for the pillow but only if it has a Sierra Designs logo on it.
Easiest to Set Up
The Cocoon is one of the best camping pillows if you don’t have a lot of space in your backpack.
It comes in three vibrant colors — wasabi green, blue, and purple topside and a gray back. You can also get it in three different sizes and weights, with the smallest one being only 5.5 oz.
The top shell of the Cocoon Ultralight is made out of 100% polyester microfiber, while the bottom is a 20 Denier Nylon. What’s more, the inflatable air core is located under a layer of high-quality synthetic filling.
Now, since the pillow is made out of nylon and polyester, you shouldn’t wash it in the washing machine.
Also, separate your colors to avoid a color transfer and don’t use bleach on the fabric. If you spill something on the pillow or make a stain, you can just hand wash it with a mild detergent in lukewarm water.
Largest Camping Pillow
Whether you have a big family or just like to sleep on a huge pillow — Big Agnes’ pillow is the most comfortable one you’ll find. It’s 15 inches long, 11 inches wide, and weighs only 7 oz.
However, if that’s not big enough for you, you’ll be happy to know that Big Agnes recently came out with a version that’s a whopping 30 inches long.
The cover top is made out of a plush polyester stretch and has a durable bottom made from the same fabric.
Unlike any of the other pillows on this list, the Sleeping Giant has memory foam inside of it so that it molds to the curves of your head and neck. It’s arguably the most comfortable camping pillow on the market right now. The Sleeping Giant comes with its own stuff sack and memory foam cover.
Also, it’s compatible with the Big Agnes Pillow Barn and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
What to Look for When Buying a Camping Pillow
Now, before you settle on which of these camping pillows, there are a few things you should consider.
The most important thing about finding the right-sized pillow is that it’s big enough to fit your entire head. If it’s too small, you’ll end up sliding off it and won’t get a good night’s sleep.
However, you also have to consider how big it is when it packs down. If you’re going backpacking, you need something compact that won’t take up too much space.
Another important factor is how heavy the camping pillow is and how much it’s going to weigh down your bag. If your bags are already too heavy, you should look into buying a pillow that’s advertised as ultralight.
On the other hand, if you’re camping in your car, you don’t have to worry as much about the pillow’s weight. Instead, you can focus on getting something bigger and more comfortable.
Just because you’re outdoors, that doesn’t mean you should compromise your lumbar support. In fact, the best camping pillows should feel just as good as your pillows back home. If you sleep on your side, consider getting something that’s easy to deflate.
Also, if space isn’t that big of an issue, you could also get a camping pillow with memory foam.
If you’ve decided that you’re not going to sleep on a big pile of clothes and want to buy a pillow, you have to make sure it’s comfortable. If you look hard enough, you can find one that’s just as cozy as your regular pillow. To ensure you’re buying the most comfortable pillow, consider its size, fabric, and adjustability.
Most pillows, camping or otherwise, come in a basic, rectangle shape, which as we all know, works just fine. But there are a couple of camping pillows that come in unique shapes to fit certain sleeping positions.
So, if you like sleeping on your back or side, you might want to find a pillow that’s advertised just for that.
Before you buy any camping pillow, you have to try and figure out how durable it’ll be. You should find out what kind of material it’s made from and if it’s water-resistant.
The best way to figure out how long your pillow will last is to check out the claims the company’s making and compare them to the reviews online.
How easy it is to pack a pillow will depend on its size, shape, and weight. There are some that can pack down to the size of a water bottle. On the other hand, some companies claim that you can pack their pillows to be the same size as a lighter.
If you don’t have a lot of space in your backpack, the smaller the pillow packs are, the better.
If you’re shelling out the big bucks for your pillow, it should come with a warranty to match. Some companies only offer two years for their products, while others give limited lifetime warranties.
So, if you think you’ve found the two best camping pillows but can’t decide which one to get, you should go for the one that has the better warranty.
Types of Pillows — How to Find the Best One
Depending on what you want in a pillow, there are five main types you can choose from:
Before you make up your mind about any of these camping pillows, you should first consider where you’re going and how you’re getting there. Also, think about how many people you’re sharing your tent with and how much space you have in your backpack or car.
Inflatable pillows are usually the lightest and possibly the best camping pillows for backpackers. After you’ve taken them out of their stuff sack, you have to blow air into the rubber or plastic valve to inflate them.
Depending on their size, most inflatable pillows need three to five breaths until they reach their maximum size. The more air you blow inside, the larger and firmer the pillow will become.
Most often, you shouldn’t fully inflate the pillows because they can become pretty uncomfortable. However, if you feel there’s too much air, just open the valve and let some of it out. Even though they’re the most compact type, they’re also the least comfortable.
What’s more, inflatable pillows usually make a lot of noise when you’re lying on them. With that said, they might not be the best choice for those of you who are light sleepers. But at the end of the day, if space is an issue in your backpack, inflatable pillows can’t be beaten.
Compressible camping pillows usually have foam, synthetic fibers, or downside feathers inside of them. They’re pretty soft, and most of them resemble the pillows you have at home. Compressible pillows are also the most comfortable type, making them the best camping pillows for shorter trips in the outdoors.
Out of the three stuffings, the pillows that have downside feathers reign supreme. They’re the most comfortable and lightweight but also come with a heftier price tag.
On the other hand, if you get a pillow with a foam or synthetic fiber stuffing, they won’t be as cozy. They’ll also be a bit heavier and bulkier than the camping pillows with feathers. But if you’re working with a tight budget, buying a pillow with synthetic or foam stuffing might be the way to go.
If you’re buying a compressible pillow, keep in mind that it might deflate a bit while you sleep during the night. Since they flatten out, they won’t provide that much lumbar support.
Hybrid camping pillows combine the best of both worlds — they’re as light as the inflatable type but as comfy as the compressible ones. The top part of the pillow features a compressible layer of fabric to ensure you get the lumbar support you need. However, the bottom part has an inflatable side that gives you more comfort and reduces its packing size.
For instance, the Nemo Fillo is a perfect example of a hybrid camping pillow. To start, it’s light and small enough to fit in your backpack. On the other hand, it’s still pretty comfy and you can take it on your long camping trips.
But hybrids aren’t without their faults since they usually come with a pretty hefty price tag. Also, they often come in only one pre-set size. So, unlike inflatable pillows, you can’t adjust the height to make it fit your needs.
Folding pillows tend to look more like bulky cushions, and they make the perfect RV companions. They might not be the best camping pillows for backpackers, but they’re still pretty compact when you pack them down.
If you have some sort of respiratory or digestive issues, a folding pillow is the way to go. It’ll provide enough comfort for you to lean on but won’t put any stress on your body. What’s more, due to its unique shape, when you’re resting on it, it can relieve any tension in your muscles.
A stuffable pillow is usually the least comfortable option out of all of these types. It’s basically a cushion cover or stuff sack that you put something into to make a pillow. Most often, they have simple fabric sleeves and light padding.
Stuffable pillows are pretty lightweight and don’t take up a lot of space. Also, they’re usually pretty cheap but you can even make them on your own if you’re on a tight budget. Stuffable pillows are probably the best camping pillows for those of you going on long treks with only your backpacks.
However, if you go with this type, you will be sacrificing a lot of your comfort. Even though they usually have a pretty soft topside, they’re only as comfortable as the stuffing you put inside.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Camping Pillow
Why You Need a Camping Pillow
To start, lying on the cold, hard ground can really mess up your back and neck. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll feel sore and probably more tired than you did before. With a camping pillow, you’ll get the support you need, without compromising comfort.
How to Wash a Camping Pillow
Almost all of the best camping pillows come with instructions on how you should wash and take care of them. But in case they don’t, to be on the safe side, don’t throw them in the washing machine.
Instead, you can hand-wash them in lukewarm water, using a mild detergent. If you get a stain on your camping pillows, take a damp cloth and a bit of dishwashing liquid and just rub it away. Also, if you can, always let your pillows air dry in the sun or on a towel rack. Just make sure they’re completely dry before you store them to avoid developing mold or mildew.
How to Store a Camping Pillow
After you’ve come back from your trip, you need to put all your gear away properly to ensure it lasts you a long time. First, wash your camping pillow following the manufacturer’s instructions and let it dry.
For optimal results, you should store your pillow in a closet so that it’s completely flat. But if you don’t have enough space for it, you can loosely fold it and leave the air valve open. Avoid leaving your pillow in the stuff sack because even the best camping pillows will start to smell over time.
The Difference Between a Camping and a Travel Pillow
The biggest difference between the two is that travel pillows are usually smaller than camping ones. They’re also not as good for longer trips or sleeping on the ground. If you want to, you can use a camping pillow for your travels, but not the other way around.
Finding the best camping pillows for you and your family might seem tough if you aren’t sure what you need. So, before you commit to buying any product, think about how you like to sleep and how much space you have in your pack or car.
If you’re someone whose number one priority is being comfortable, you should get a compressible pillow. On the other hand, if you don’t have much space in your backpack or don’t want to carry the extra weight, going for the inflatable might be your best choice.