Just like with sleeping pads, you have two main choices when it comes to camping pillows, which are foam and inflatable. An inflatable camping pillow has a few advantages over a foam pillow, the biggest one being that an inflatable pillow can be deflated when not in use, and wont take up nearly as much room in your bag. Of course the one big thing that you have to worry about is popping your pillow, something that foam pillow users definitely do not have to worry about.
Inflatable Camping PillowWhat to look for when you are looking at inflatable camping pillows.
- Padded - Some inflatable camping pillows are just an inflatable core and that is it, but there are others that use a bit of padding and softer outer material to give your head a bit more of a luxurious camping experience. The downside to these luxuries is that they add weight, but you should always put a good night of sleep ahead of weight savings.
- Shape - Most camping pillows come in the standard rectangular shape, but this isn't the only option available to you. There are a few shaped camping pillows out there that, while small, might give you a better sleep experience.
Best Inflatable Camping PillowA few of the best inflatable camping pillows out on the market.
- Exped Air Pillow - The Air Pillow is a great, basic inflatable camping pillow. It features a divot in one side, so that your neck can fit right in and you can get the best sleep possible. One side is also slightly thicker than the other, further adding to your comfort. The pillow weighs 3 ounces, or 85 grams.
- Mont Bell U.L. Comfort System Pillow - Another basic inflatable pillow from Mont Bell. This is just a standard rectangular shape without any snazzy features. What does stand out about this pillow is the weight, which at 2.3 ounces, or 65 grams, is likely the lightest inflatable pillow you will find.
- NEMO Equipment Inc. Fillo Pillow - Another rectangular inflatable camping pillow, but this one has a few extras worth mentioning. The outer is micro brushed, so very soft and comfortable to sleep against. There is also a full inch of memory foam to provide a little extra cushion, and an elastic on the underside to secure some extra clothes or whatever else to the underside, to add even more padding. No word on how much it weighs, but it's definitely more than the other two listed.
Alternatives to Camping PillowsWhile a camping pillow is a great luxury item to have along, when space matters it can be difficult to justify the space for it. Many campers and backpackers make do with folding up a few items of clothing, like a sweater or any other insulating layer, and laying their head on that at night. One big advantage of this technique is that you have warm clothes to wear in the morning.
If you want to make this set up a little more comfortable without adding a lot of bulk or weight to your backpack, a microfiber pillow case can be stuffed with whatever clothing you have on hand, which makes a great pillow.