Luke Cuenco 08.15.22 Those that like to keep the camping experience genuine (meaning no glamping or RV camping) but also don’t want their necks
Table of Contents
1. Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
The Author’s Choice
I tend to have a bit of trouble sleeping with very stiff pillows. For me, comfort is more about the ability for me to move around and have my head be comfortable. That’s why my pick for the best camping pillow would be the Therm-a-Rest Compressible pillow. The compressible pillow might not be the best at space-saving or weight-saving, but it more than makes up for it with its sheer comfort when you’re out camping in a sleeping bag.
2. NEMO Fillo Elite Luxury Pillow
The Editor’s Pick
The NEMO Fillo Elite Luxury Pillow is a backpacking and travel pillow for resting your head on every adventure. When you can bring your own pillow with you, sleep will surely be more comfortable. Inflate to your desired firmness plus a layer of recycled PrimaLoft insulation for extra cushion. The jersey cover is ultra-soft for resting your skin against. This one is great for adjustability and is comfortable enough to use in most camp settings and light enough to bring along backpacking. Best of all it’s machine washable making it infinitely reusable and fresh!
Pros/Machine washable, lightweight, compact, and comfortable
Cons/kidn of expensive compared to other options, pillow is kind of small
Bottom Line/A great jack of all trades!
3. HEST Pillow
Even better than my pick for this category in terms of comfort, the HEST pillow rises head and shoulder above what is considered comfortable for a camp pillow. Whether you’re living the van life or traveling via airplane, out camping with the family, or sleeping on your BFF’s couch, this will prop your head up nicely while you snooze. Soft, cozy, and less bulky for travel than your at-home pillow.
Pros/Maximum Comfort and Size so you can sleep in style
Cons/Expensive, Very Large, Very heavy – not a good option for anything other than normal camping or traveling
Bottom Line/A great option for those who are traveling by car and want something consistent to rest their head on
5. Trekology Ultralight Inflatable Camping Travel Pillow
Most affordable Option
In my research, this particular pillow has come across as the most affordable yet still comfortable camp pillow out there. The camp pillow compresses down into a small bag about the size of a soda can and fills up with just a few puffs of air. Where the Trekology Ultralight really shines is in its small footprint, and lightweight (only 3.8 oz). The unique “U” shaped design makes its a perfect fit for mummy style sleeping bags and during winter camping or backpacking this could turn out to be a very helpful option.
Pros/Lightweight, inflateable, durable and easy to use
Cons/Fabric is noisy and the pillow isn’t very comfortable compared to other (heavier) options on this list
Bottom Line/You’re trading comfort for compactness and features with this one
I’m stuck out on a trail and I don’t have a dedicated camp pillow. What is my best option?
In the absence of a dedicated camp pillow, your best option is to use a jacket or some other type of clothing folded up to your comfort. A better way to accomplish this would be with a stuff sack or perhaps even the sack that you store your sleeping bag in. If you stuff one of these up, it will keep the contents bundled together better which should be enough to keep your neck elevated for a comfortable night’s sleep in an emergency situation.
Are there camp pillows that are better for particular seasons?
Yes, there are some camp pillows out there that fare better in colder and hotter weather dependent on their design. One of the best brands for winter or fall weather camping pillows is the Therm-a-Rest brand which has great insulative properties. Any pillow with down in it is also a good option for colder temperatures. The air-filled pillows also tend to be better for summer months but once again, they lack the same comfort that bulkier pillows have,
Why can’t I just sleep without a pillow?
You could. I have, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Pillows are important because they keep the head aligned with the neck and backbone during sleep. If a person’s spine or neck is not in a neutral position, they may wake up during the night, causing sleep loss. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the goal should be to keep the head in a neutral position. Keeping your head in this position also keeps your neck and head from falling into an awkward position which could cause pain when you wake up and make for an uncomfortable day.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.