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Best Camping and Backpacking Pillow of 2024

Maya Rivera

Written by Maya Rivera

From Utah canyons to Thailand cliffs, Maya is a rock climbing aficionado who enjoys a bit of camping and hiking in the off-season.

This post was last updated on April 23, 2024.

Best Camping and Backpacking Pillow of 2024

Trying to find the best camping and backpacking pillows can be as exhaustive as a lengthy hike. You want something that will fit in your backpack without hogging space, something so comfortable it feels like your pillow from home, and something that will survive the harsh outdoor elements. The search for the ultimate camping pillow ends here at Therm-a-Rest Compressible, a piece of outdoor gear that ticks all these boxes.

Our review team has spent countless nights under the stars, experiencing the vastness of nature while cosy in their tents, and they've tried an extensive array of pillows for camping and backpacking. After much debate and testing, we've chosen our top picks based on multiple factors including comfort, durability, packability, and more. And our ultimate winner? The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow.

Whether you are a budget camper looking for cost-effectiveness or an ultralight backpacker prioritising less weight, we've got you covered. While we celebrate the Therm-a-Rest Compressible as our top choice, there are a couple of worthy runners up as well. To ensure you're well-equipped for your next adventure, check out our posts on the Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags, Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads, and Best Backpacking Tents.

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

8.2 /10
Nemo Fillo Camping and Backpacking Pillow
Nemo Fillo
Bulk
8
Comfort
9
Durability
9
Ease of Use
8
Weight
7

The Nemo Fillo snags the top pick spot because it's the most comfortable pillow on the market that comes in a small, lightweight package. There are lighter pillows, and there are more comfortable pillows, but this one is perfectly balanced between comfort and bulkiness.

Runner Up #1

8.0 /10
Therm-a-Rest Compressible Camping and Backpacking Pillow
Therm-a-Rest Compressible
Bulk
4
Comfort
10
Durability
9
Ease of Use
10
Weight
7

The Therm-a-Rest Compressible is the pillow we recommend if you want a lot of comfort, and aren't too worried about your pillow taking up a lot of space in your backpack. It is very, very comfy. We recommend sticking to the small or extra-small sizes.

Runner Up #2

7.2 /10
Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Camping and Backpacking Pillow
Sea to Summit Aeros Premium
Bulk
8
Comfort
6
Durability
7
Ease of Use
7
Weight
8

The Sea to Summit Aeros Premium is a great choice for those who are prioritizing weight and bulk, and aren't as concerned about comfort. It's definitely not as comfortable as our other 2 picks, but it is lighter and smaller.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)

Comfort

Even if in the middle of nowhere, your pillow can still feel like home, so choose a camping pillow based on comfort, prioritizing materials that feel good to the touch and a design that supports your sleeping position.

Durability

Considering the rough conditions of the great outdoors, you'll want a camping pillow that's made from durable, rugged materials to withstand the test of terrain and time.

Ease of Use

Given how tired you might be after a long day of hiking or climbing, an ideal pillow should be simple to inflate and deflate, with bonus points if the cover is easy to remove and clean.

Weight and Size

Outdoor adventurers know every ounce matters, so look for a pillow that's lightweight and packs down small without compromising on the comfort you need after a long day of exploration.

8.2 /10

Nemo Fillo

$44.95
The Best Camping and Backpacking Pillow

Based on our research and testing, we think the Nemo Fillo is the best Camping and Backpacking Pillow on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Nemo Fillo Camping and Backpacking Pillow
Bulk
8
Comfort
9
Durability
9
Ease of Use
8
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Perfect blend of comfort and bulk
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Made from durable materials

Reasons to Avoid

  • Bulkier and heavier than some of the true ultralight options

The NEMO Fillo backpacking pillow strikes an impressive balance between comfort and portability, making it a standout choice in the market. Unlike many inflatable pillows that sacrifice comfort for weight savings or bulky compressible foam options, the Fillo combines the best of both worlds. Its ingenious design features an inflatable core that makes up most of the pillow's mass, topped with a thick layer of foam. This thoughtful combination allows your head to sink comfortably into the pillow while maintaining a lightweight and compact form factor.

One of the standout features of the Fillo is its user-friendly inflation valve. It's easy to inflate to your preferred firmness, and if you happen to overinflate it, the simple deflation option lets you adjust the thickness to match your personal sleeping preferences. This adjustability is a boon for side sleepers who often require a specific level of thickness for optimal comfort.

However, some users may find the built-in stuff sack a bit finnicky to use. A handy technique to overcome this challenge is to fold the pillow in half, roll it up, and then pull the stuff sack over the rolled-up pillow. This method ensures a secure and hassle-free packing process.

One minor drawback is that the Fillo can tend to move around on a typical sleeping pad. To counter this issue, wrapping the pillow in a buff or similar fabric can be an effective solution. This doesn't compromise the pillow's comfort but does keep it in place throughout the night, ensuring a peaceful night's sleep.

8.0 /10

Therm-a-Rest Compressible

$31.95
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Therm-a-Rest Compressible is a great choice if you're looking for a camping and backpacking pillow to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Camping and Backpacking Pillow
Bulk
4
Comfort
10
Durability
9
Ease of Use
10
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Extremely compact relative to how big it gets
  • Comfortable plush surface
  • Great value for the price

Reasons to Avoid

  • Might be too bulky for ultralight backpackers
  • Surface material may not be ideal for hot climates

If you're in the market for a backpacking pillow that prioritizes maximum comfort without much concern for its bulkiness, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible pillow is the clear choice. I found it to be incredibly comfortable, on par with the comfort of my home pillow, although your home pillow's quality may play a role in that comparison. In fact, it impressed me so much that I've even adopted it as my regular sleeping pillow at home, guaranteeing a fantastic night's sleep.

This pillow is crafted from foam pellets and fabric, striking a balance between comfort and weight. While it's not excessively heavy, its bulkiness is a noticeable drawback. Fortunately, the foam's impressive compressibility, combined with a cleverly designed built-in pouch and cinch strap, help reduce its size considerably. However, it's worth acknowledging that it still occupies a significant amount of space in your backpack, which may be a concern for some. Thankfully, it's available in various sizes, with the smaller ones offering a solution to the bulk problem without compromising comfort. The larger sizes, on the other hand, seem better suited for car camping, although at that point, you might as well bring your home pillow.

One standout feature is the pouch and cinch strap design, which functions as a built-in stuff sack, simplifying packing and keeping things organized. The face fabric feels luxurious for sleeping, with no pilling issues. Moreover, it stays firmly in place on a typical nylon sleeping pad, eliminating the need for additional attachment systems and ensuring that your pillow won't wander off during the night. While it may look a bit deflated when initially removed from its stuff pouch, the foam pellets fully reinflate within a few minutes, provided you don't wait until the last minute to prepare for bed. In conclusion, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible backpacking pillow offers top-tier comfort for those willing to accommodate its bulk, making it an excellent choice for a restful night's sleep on your outdoor adventures.

7.2 /10

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium

$54.95
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium is a great choice if you're looking for a camping and backpacking pillow to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Camping and Backpacking Pillow
Bulk
8
Comfort
6
Durability
7
Ease of Use
7
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Solid comfort and support
  • Packs down extra small
  • Durable materials
  • Easy and fast to inflate

Reasons to Avoid

  • Surface feel might be noisy for some
  • Size and shape might not be universally suitable
  • Valve not great for making small adjustments to inflation

The Aeros Premium Pillow from Sea to Summit is a game-changer when it comes to a good night’s sleep out in the woods. Forget the days of a crumpled up hoodie serving as a poor excuse for a pillow, this thing is the real deal. It's lightweight and compact, making it a backpacker's dream, yet it delivers solid comfort and support.

The pillow's exterior is made from a silky smooth polyester that feels soft to the touch, great for snoozing on, while the inner TPU bladder prevents moisture intake. The quick inflation and deflation mechanisms also make it easy to use and adjust during your nights under the stars.

However, don't mistake this pillow for a full-size one you may have at home, as some users have found it a little bit on the smaller side. It's also not as plush or as high as a traditional memory foam pillow. Plus, there are those who've mentioned the noise factor - it can be a bit crinkly, which may bother light sleepers.

Many users admire the durability of the Aeros Pillow, applauding the quality manufacturing that Sea to Summit has provided. It has performed impressively in different environments and has proven itself highly resistant to tears and leaks. Definitely a piece of gear that can withstand the rigors of the outdoors.

Then there's the price - it's a bit pricier than most backpacking pillows out there. Some think it's worth the investment for a good night’s sleep on multiple camping or hiking trips. Others, however, feel a bit of sticker shock and would rather opt for cheaper alternatives.

Overall, customers who bought this product have generally expressed high satisfaction. The Aeros Premium Pillow gets praises for being comfortable, lightweight, and durable, making it the companion of many happy campers and backpackers. However, the price and noise factor may be a put-off for some.

8.0 /10

TETON Sports Camp Pillow

$17.99
Best Budget Camping and Backpacking Pillow

Based on our research and testing, we think the TETON Sports Camp Pillow is a great pick if you're looking for a camping and backpacking pillow that is more budget friendly, without sacrificing too much in quality.

TETON Sports Camp Pillow Camping and Backpacking Pillow
Bulk
6
Comfort
8
Durability
7
Ease of Use
10
Weight
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Provides excellent neck support
  • Inexpensive yet reliable
  • Comes with a stuff sack for easy storage
  • Removable and washable cover

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not as comfortable as some higher-end models
  • Inflation requires more effort than self-inflating pillows
  • Might be too small for some users

Leading off our list of worthwhile budget-friendly backpacking pillows is the ever-reliable TETON Sports Camp Pillow. This gadget has been a staple of many a camper, and it's not hard to see why.

First off, its design is straightforward and practical. It's a simple rectangular pillow that's neither too big to lug around, nor too small for comfort. The stuff sack is a nice touch, as it allows campers to easily tuck it away when not in use.

Speaking of comfort, the TETON Sports Camp Pillow doesn't skimp on it. Buyers found it to be pretty cozy, with a lightweight, soft, and soothing material that's perfect for resting your head after a long day of hiking or trekking.

Despite this plushness, though, the pillow is impressively durable. Users have praised how it retains its shape even after multiple uses, suggesting good quality workmanship. It appears to stand up well to the rigors of outdoor use, which is a plus in any camper's book.

In terms of size, most found it to be just right–small enough to not take up much space, but substantial enough to provide support for the neck and head. Some, however, thought it was a tad small, but that's a matter of personal preference.

On the flip side, a few customers grumbled about the thickness (or lack thereof), saying they had to fold it or supplement it with clothing for additional support. So, it's not unlikely you'll have to add some padding to get the perfect fit. Nevertheless, it provides a decent level of comfort and support for most.

Finally, at such a wallet-friendly price, the TETON Sports Camp Pillow is hard to ignore. It’s a great solution for an outdoor enthusiast who's looking for a simple, no-frills pillow that doesn't blow the budget.

7.6 /10

Nemo Fillo Elite

$59.95
Best Ultralight Camping and Backpacking Pillow

Based on our research and testing, we think the Nemo Fillo Elite is a solid choice for those looking for a lightweight camping and backpacking pillow option to go play hard outside with.

Nemo Fillo Elite Camping and Backpacking Pillow
Bulk
6
Comfort
8
Durability
7
Ease of Use
8
Weight
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Can be inflated to your preference
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Made from durable materials

Reasons to Avoid

  • A bit pricey compared to other options
  • Only available in one color

The Nemo Fillo Elite is a backpacking pillow that stands a cut above the rest. Compact, lightweight and equipped with a host of handy features, it's grabbed our attention as a go-to solution for all your camping and backpacking needs. From hikers to climbers, families out for the weekend to solo travelers on a cross-country trip, owners of the Nemo Fillo Elite are hailing it as a game-changer.

This pillow weighs in at a featherlight two ounces. If you're a dedicated backpacker looking to conserve pack space without compromising on comfort, you'll appreciate just how small and light this pillow really is. Customers have reported the elite ease of carrying it around during trips, tucked away conveniently in a backpack.

But don't let its minimal weight fool you. The Nemo Fillo Elite offers a surprising amount of comfort and support. It mixes air and foam in its design, a feature buyers are praising for the excellent support it provides to the head and neck, making those hard ground nights a lot more comfortable.

One of the great things about this camping pillow, user reviews show, is the adjustable height right up to three inches. This allows for personalised comfort depending on the sleeper's preference. Inflating and deflating it is reported to be quick and easy too, which makes setting up your sleep system a breezy task.

Finally, it features a soft jersey blend cover which scored high on customer comfort ratings. This, coupled with its simple care instructions - the cover is removable and machine washable - makes upkeep a piece of cake.

On the downside, the Nemo Fillo Elite may not be the most affordable backpacking pillow out there. Some buyers have also pointed out that the surface area might be too small for people with a larger build. It's not the thickest pillow on the market either, which some users have mentioned could limit its comfort level for side sleepers.

Overall, the consensus amongst users is that the Nemo Fillo Elite is a solid investment if you're a hiking or camping enthusiast looking for a compact, lightweight yet comfortable pillow. It earns high marks for its portability and customizable comfort, although the smaller surface area and thickness could be deal breakers for some.

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