Best Backpacking Pillows

Doing anything groggy, sleep-deprived, and grumpy is miserable. Don’t let travel or hiking get in the way of a good night’s rest. With the right pillow, mat, and camping blanket, you can sleep almost as well as when you fall asleep mid-series on the couch. In order to have enough energy and do outdoor activities or hikes, you need to be strong, alert, and well-rested enough to do so.

The key to making sure you get a great night’s rest is a quality backpacking pillow. A pillow that is compact and light is simple to bring with you anywhere. These specific pillows are also designed with weight in mind. Make sure you look into which type of size, shape, and material you will want in a pillow for backpacking. All of this will depend on the terrain or weather that you'll be encountering.

Standout Picks

nemo fillo pillow
Comfort is key when purchasing a high-quality backpacking pillow, and the Nemo Fillo pillow is one of the most comfortable and versatile backpacking pillows available on the market. Nemo’s Fillo pillow is made with a combined design that allows it to compress while also adjusting like an inflatable.
therm-a-rest compressible pillow
For a more affordable choice, campers on a budget might want to take a look at the Therm-A-Rest Compressible camping pillow, which provides many great features for outdoor enthusiasts trying to save some money. At first glance, the pillow might not seem too impressive, but when you use it, you’ll find it offers many of the benefits you’ll enjoy.
Trekology UltraLight
This is an enhanced version of an already loved product. With this new version of the Trekology Ultralight, they have added in more internal layers to make the camping pillow more comfortable and also made the pillow more durable and water-resistant with elastic TPU fabric.
Amazon Link
$16.99
sea to summit aeros pillow
If you’re interested in getting a pillow that is small and lightweight, then the Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium just might be the pillow for you. It’s excellent for backpacking since it’s small and light, so it’s easy to pack and carry and gives you the support you need to get a great night’s rest.
exped air pillow ul
Since 1997, Exped has been producing high-performance outdoor gear. Utilizing classic Swiss design, each product is well thought out and beautiful. The Air UL pillow is no exception.
cocoon ultralight air core pillow
If you’re a camper that wants a best camping pillow that’s very lightweight and easy to carry, then you’ll like the options and features provided by Cocoon’s Ultralight Airflow Pillow. This pillow only weighs 5.8 ounces, meaning you can easily pack it down and carry it with you.
Amazon Link
Klymit X Inflatable
Another good, affordable option for a lightweight pillow is Klymit Pillow X Inflatable Pillow, which is designed to be both lightweight and durable.
coop home goods pillow
This is one of the more unique pillows on our list. This is a smaller version of Coop Home Good's luxury full-size pillows and features memory foam. It's a small pillow that still manages to pack in all the comforts of home.
Amazon Link
$59.99
teton sports camp pillow
If you own any Teton Sports sleeping bags, you'll feel right at home with this pillow. These fully washable best camping pillows are made to match the interior design of the backpacking sleeping bags and give you an all-around great rest. Having the ability to adjust the firmness would be nice, but it's also nice to not have to deal with any inflation with this pillow.
Amazon Link
$14.99
therm-a-rest trekker pillow case
The Therm-a-rest Trekker Pillow Case is a little different from the other options on our list. while most pillows you might be looking for are actually pillows, this is just a case. This is great for anyone not looking to add too much bulk to their pack, but also looking for a little extra comfort.
Amazon Link
$12.95

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

Backpacking pillows come in a wide variety of fabrics, and some work better for holding the pillow in one spot. When you’re looking at the pillow’s fabric, you want to consider how good the fabric feels against your skin, and how much noise it makes as you move around on it.

Inflatable pillows that use nylon material on the outside can be a bit louder than other pillows, squeaking and creating noise as you move your head. For some campers, this is too annoying to handle, and they prefer fabric options like cotton, nylon, or polyester. However, other campers don’t find this to be a feature that bothers them, so it’s a matter of preference.

When thinking about external fabric options on your pillow, think about what is really important for you so that you can get a good night’s sleep. If you can easily bring a pillowcase along with you to reduce noise on some of these lightweight, inflatable pillow options, then you shouldn’t have a big problem dealing with them in the great outdoors.

Weight

If weight is really something that matters and you want a lightweight, easy-to-pack pillow, then an inflatable pillow might be the choice for you.

Typically, inflatable pillows are filled with air, and this allows them to be more lightweight, compact, and firmer than what you’ll get out of a compressible or hybrid pillow. With an inflatable pillow, you blow air into a valve to fill up your pillow and also use the valve to adjust the pillow’s thickness and deflate it.

Most inflatable pillows are designed to blow up and deflate efficiently and easily. They can create noise when you move your head, however, unlike either compressible or hybrid pillows. Many inflatable pillows on the market today are designed to be compact and light, but they aren’t as durable as hybrid or compressible pillows.

You often need to be more careful with how you sleep on them, and you also may let go of some comfort features with an inflatable pillow. Inflatable pillows do tend to cost less than either hybrid or compressible pillows, so that’s another nice benefit for campers looking to buy a pillow on a budget.

Features

While the shape of a pillow may not seem like an important feature, it is. The shape can provide more comfortable rest and give you more positioning options.

Many of these pillows are shaped like rectangles, but not all of them are. You’ll find that when shopping around for best camping pillows, they come in a variety of shapes and options. Some will be rectangular, but others will not be, and many will have various modification options that you’ll either want in a pillow or be able to live without if you are shopping on a budget.

On our list above, the Exped Air Pillow is a modified rectangle design and gives you minimal head movement when you sleep. In contrast, the Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium has a scalloped bottom edge to keep the pillow around your shoulders. At first glance, both of these pillows appear to be rectangular, but each offers its own features and modifications for comfort and support.

You’ll also discover that some backpacking pillows are u-shaped, while others are shaped in other ways. Whatever shape you feel is most comfortable, along with the modifications you feel help you sleep, is what you’ll want to consider when looking at pillow shape. What best suits you might not suit another person, so look around, try things out, and see what feels comfortable.

Value

When talking about a good nights rest, can you really put a price on it? We don't think so, but when shopping, the value of an item is always something to consider. However, when we talk about the value of an item, we are talking about more than just the price. To determine the overall value, we took the materials, comfort, size, durability, and price into account. Sure, you could buy a one-time use uncomfortable pillow for two dollars, but then what will you be left with after the trip?

Luckily, backpacking pillows tend to be fairly inexpensive and provide a lot of comforts when sleeping away from home. Before deciding on a pillow, take a look at all of the aspects and then decide which would be best for you.

Top 10 Picks

1. Nemo Fillo

nemo fillo pillow
Amazon Link

Comfort is key when purchasing a high-quality backpacking pillow, and the Nemo Fillo pillow is one of the most comfortable and versatile backpacking pillows available on the market. Nemo’s Fillo pillow is made with a combined design that allows it to compress while also adjusting like an inflatable.

Read more

Materials
The Nemo Fillo Backpacking Pillow is a bit heavier when compared to some of its competition, but it is lightweight enough to carry along and also is built out of memory foam to support tired muscles. The Nemo Fillo Backpacking Pillow comes with an integrated stuff sack, so you can pack the pillow down so small it will fit inside your hand. The memory foam on the pillow is also mesh-covered, meaning this material helps the foam pack down smaller.

Weight
This pillow, including the case and all, weighs in at 10.4 ounces.

Features
The pillow includes a three-inch inflatable bladder as well, which helps you adjust the cushioning and height of the pillow so it feels perfect for you when you rest. Another great feature of the Nemo Fillo Backpacking Pillow is that it packs down to a smaller size than most other competitor’s products. So, this pillow is easy to fit into a backpack, making it easier to carry.

Value
Yes, this nemo fillo pillow does cost a bit more than some of our other options. However, the adjustability that you get from this air/memory foam hybrid is unbeatable. Additionally, it's compactness when not inflated and it's durability really make this a valuable investment.

2. Therm-A-Rest Compressible

therm-a-rest compressible pillow
Amazon Link

For a more affordable choice, campers on a budget might want to take a look at the Therm-A-Rest Compressible camping pillow, which provides many great features for outdoor enthusiasts trying to save some money. At first glance, the pillow might not seem too impressive, but when you use it, you’ll find it offers many of the benefits you’ll enjoy.

Read more

Materials
The outside of the Therm-A-Rest Compressible Pillow is made from brushed polyester, making it very comfortable to lay on, with soft urethane foam filling up the inside of the pillow. The pillow also comes in several sizes, so you can order the size that is right for you.

Weight
This pillow weighs 15-ounces.

Features
The Therm-A-Rest Compressible Pillow is extremely comfortable regardless of its simple design, and it brings a lot of support to tired muscles. It’s very easy to sleep on this pillow, although it is a bit heavier than some of its competition when it’s packed down.

Value
For the price, this is one of the most affordable and yet still very comfortable pillows available on the market. It’s made from foam that expands to be large but packs down small so that the pillow fits more easily into a backpack. So, if you are looking for the best camping pillow, you should consider the Therm-a-rest compressible model as it is one of the best products on the market.

3. Trekology UltraLight

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$16.99
Trekology UltraLight
Amazon Link

This is an enhanced version of an already loved product. With this new version of the Trekology Ultralight, they have added in more internal layers to make the camping pillow more comfortable and also made the pillow more durable and water-resistant with elastic TPU fabric.

Read more

Materials
Trekology's highly durable elastic TPU fabric provides cushion and makes the outside of the pillow feel soft to the touch. The inflation and deflation of this pillow are simple. You can inflate it with the touch of a button and 3-5 breaths. To deflate, you simply press the quick deflate button and it is flat in no time.

Weight
This trekology ultralight pillow only weighs 2.75-ounces and compresses down to smaller than a banana. While this pillow is lightweight and does provide comfort, it’s not quite as comfortable as some of the other pillows on this list, so there is a bit of a trade-off between weight and comfort with this pillow.

Features
This Trekology travel pillow is durable and thick, making it one strong, long-lasting product. It is also lighter than a few other pillows similar to it, making it a good choice for those that want to pack light.

Value
Pricewise, this is a steal. Combining the durable TPU material, compactness, and lightweight, once you throw in the price, you'll see this pillow's value in gold. It is one of the cheapest options on our list.

Amazon Link
$16.99

4. Sea to Summit Aeros

sea to summit aeros pillow
Amazon Link

If you’re interested in getting a pillow that is small and lightweight, then the Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium just might be the pillow for you. It’s excellent for backpacking since it’s small and light, so it’s easy to pack and carry and gives you the support you need to get a great night’s rest.

Read more

Materials
The sea to summit aeros pillow is made from a brushed 50D polyester knit, which makes the pillow both soft and strong. Between the pillowcase and the TPU bladder, the Aeros pillow has a synthetic fill that helps with comfort and also controls perspiration levels when you sleep.

Weight
The regular-sized pillow weighs 3.21-ounces. The large-sized pillow weighs 4.23-ounces.

Features
This pillow comes with a scalloped bottom edge that centers the pillow over your shoulders, no matter how you sleep. The Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium also gives you adjustable support, which is nice since this is an inflatable pillow that has a softcover as well as a baffled air chamber, making this pillow more comfortable than most other inflatable pillows. The curved internal area of the pillow also contours to give your head extra support. While it may not be as comfortable as some other heavier pillow designs, but it’s pretty decent for a blow-up pillow.

Value
The monetary value of this pillow depends on the size that you want. Obviously, the larger pillow costs more than the regular-sized pillow. There have been a few concerns about the comfort of this pillow, but for an inflatable pillow, we are still impressed.

5. Exped Air UL

exped air pillow ul
Amazon Link

Since 1997, Exped has been producing high-performance outdoor gear. Utilizing classic Swiss design, each product is well thought out and beautiful. The Air UL pillow is no exception.

Read more

Materials
When using a backpacking pillow in combination with a sleeping bag, the pillow can sometimes slip away from you. The Exped Air UL has an Anti-slip honeycomb grip skin that will keep the pillow in place. There is a flat, inconspicuous valve for inflation and a small, built-in, pin for deflation.

Weight
This pillow only weighs 2.1-ounces. When packed away this pillow is about the size of a can of soup, 4.7-inches by 2-inches. Fully inflated it is 18.1-inches by 11.8-inches, with a 4.7-inch height.

Features
The adjustable height and inflation of this pillow are ideal for sleeping in different positions. It is recommended to not fully inflate the pillow if you would like it to feel a bit more cushioned.

Value
It is slightly more expensive than our other options, but for what it offers, and with its compression and lightweight design, you’ll get a lot of support and rest when you use this pillow.

6. Cocoon Ultralight

Where to buy
Amazon Link
cocoon ultralight air core pillow
Amazon Link

If you’re a camper that wants a best camping pillow that’s very lightweight and easy to carry, then you’ll like the options and features provided by Cocoon’s Ultralight Airflow Pillow. This pillow only weighs 5.8 ounces, meaning you can easily pack it down and carry it with you.

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Materials
The Cocoon Airflow Pillow is inflatable and made with a bubble style that includes a thin sheet of synthetic feel on the outer area of the pillow. This synthetic outer shell offers a lot of comfort and support as you sleep.

Weight
As mentioned, this pillow weighs 5.8-ounces.

Features
Aside from durability, this pillow can also be packed down to the size of a baseball, making it very small when you put it into your backpack. Another nice feature that comes with this pillow is its lift, making it very comfortable and it also feels great when you touch it. Cocoon’s pillow is fully inflatable and also adjustable, allowing you to control where you want your pillow’s fill to be. Plus, the cozy microfiber shell that the pillow is designed with adds extra features of comfort when you sleep. Another bonus about this pillow is its easy-to-use twist valve, which makes it simple to inflate and deflate.

Value
This pillow is easy to use, lightweight, and compacts to a very small size. There have been minimal durability concerns and the price is decent! Overall, if this is the style of travel pillow that you are looking for, it's a great investment.

Amazon Link

7. Klymit X Inflatable

Klymit X Inflatable
Amazon Link

Another good, affordable option for a lightweight pillow is Klymit Pillow X Inflatable Pillow, which is designed to be both lightweight and durable.

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Materials
Klymit's Inflatable Pillow is made for great its size and durability. The top fabric is made from 30-denier polyester while the bottom is made out of 75-denier, making it highly durable.

Weight
At 1.95 pounds, the Klymit X is one of the lightest best camping pillows out and is very inexpensive, especially for its size and durability.

Features
This pillow is a great option for those looking for a pillow that fits directly into the hood of your sleeping bag and can be inflatable to your preference. While it could do with a little more comfort, if you're a back sleeper, you shouldn't mind at all. For those tummy or side sleepers, you might feel that your head isn't cradled enough.

Value
You may start to notice a trend here. Most of these pillows are reasonably priced! This Klymit pillow is no exception. It is reasonably priced, lightweight, and adjustable.

8. Coop Home Goods

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$59.99
coop home goods pillow
Amazon Link

This is one of the more unique pillows on our list. This is a smaller version of Coop Home Good's luxury full-size pillows and features memory foam. It's a small pillow that still manages to pack in all the comforts of home.

Read more

Materials
The durable cover of this coop home goods pillow is made from a blend of Polyester and Bamboo-derived Viscose Rayon. These materials are thermo-regulating and this blend is ideal for hot sleepers and/or hot environments. Uncompressed, this pillow is a pretty decent size, 19-inches by 14-inches. When compressed and stuffed into the carrying case, it is 10-inches by 6-inches. One thing to remember is that the carrying case is not waterproof, however, Coop Home Goods does sell a waterproof pillowcase separately.

Weight
This is the heaviest pillow on our list, weighing in at 36-ounces. Arguably, this may also be the most comfortable pillow. If you do not have to walk or hike far to your campsite, this may be your best option.

Features
You can easily adjust the fullness of this pillow at home. Simply, remove however much foam you wish to take out and you will end up with a flatter pillow. If you'll be sharing this pillow, we suggest storing the foam in a safe place in case your family members want something fluffier. Another one of the best things about this pillow is the fact that it is machine washable. While some reviewers are not happy with the weight of the pillow, everyone agrees that this is an incredibly comfortable pillow.

Value
You get what you pay for, right? While the price of this pillow may come as a shock to some, it is one of the more luxurious models on our list. It doesn't compress down incredibly small, nor is it lightweight, but it is incredibly comfortable! We consider this one more of a "glamping" pillow.

Amazon Link
$59.99

9. Teton Sports

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$14.99
teton sports camp pillow
Amazon Link

If you own any Teton Sports sleeping bags, you'll feel right at home with this pillow. These fully washable best camping pillows are made to match the interior design of the backpacking sleeping bags and give you an all-around great rest. Having the ability to adjust the firmness would be nice, but it's also nice to not have to deal with any inflation with this pillow.

Read more

Materials
The plush fill of these pillows is made from SuperLoft Elite 4-channel fibers. If you own any Teton Sports sleeping bags, you’ll recognize that it is the same filling that is inside the bag. Many reviewers describe this fill as “fluffy,” as well as not being too firm nor too soft. The outside of the pillow is made from P5 Poly hi-count that is soft and comfortable and won’t be affected by the climate. Even if it’s raining, it won’t feel sticky of humid.

Finally, the included pillowcase is made from 100% flannel! It is soft, warm, and great for cold-weather camping.

Weight
Nothing to celebrate nor complain about here. This pillow weighs in at 10-ounces.

Features
Like many backpacking pillows, this pillow comes with a barrel lock oxford stuff sack. There is no inflation or deflation needed, so you won’t be waking anyone up when you’re ready to lay down. The included pillowcase and the pillow itself are both machine washable.

This pillow is available in four different colors. If you are a person who likes all of your gear to match, you’ll be happy to know that the pillowcase colors all correlate with the interior color of Teton Sports sleeping bags.

Value
Considering the ease of use, washing abilities, affordability, and comfort of this pillow, it’s a great investment. Some reviewers recommend ordering two if you prefer a firmer feel. At this price, honestly, you could order about three for the same price as one of the inflatable options. Additionally, Teton Sports supplies a limited lifetime warranty.

Amazon Link
$14.99

10. Therm-a-Rest Trekker Pillow Case

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$12.95
therm-a-rest trekker pillow case
Amazon Link

The Therm-a-rest Trekker Pillow Case is a little different from the other options on our list. while most pillows you might be looking for are actually pillows, this is just a case. This is great for anyone not looking to add too much bulk to their pack, but also looking for a little extra comfort.

Read more

Materials
This pillowcase is as it sounds, a case in which you can stuff something to create an actual pillow. If you're used to stuffing your clothes into a dry bag and using that as a pillow, you might like this option as it is more comfortable than a dry bag. The bag itself is made from urethane.

If you can get over that it's not an actual pillow, it's great. It isn't inflatable so it will never pop. It doesn't add a ton of bulk to your pack and you will always have it available, so long as you have something to stuff it with. It's also the cheapest option on the list because it is very simple and doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles.

Weight
This pillowcase weighs 2.24-ounces.

Features
The comfort of the case itself is dependent on what you put into the bag. That means you'll have to bring soft, puffy clothes with you in order for this to work as a soft pillow, while a firm pillow would require a lot of clothing to be stuffed inside. And definitely mind the buttons, zippers, or metal parts that could get uncomfortable against your face.

However, if you aren't planning to bring a lot of clothes or won't have much to stuff inside this case, an inflatable pillow is a must.

Value
This is the cheapest "pillow" on our list. In reality, it's a pillowcase. The stuffing is provided by you. Considering the fact that you have to bring your own stuffing (clothes, sheets), we don't consider this addition to be very valuable. We wanted to include it to give you a wide range of options.

Amazon Link
$12.95