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pillows for camping and hiking


  • a suitable pillow and mattress or bed is an important component of getting a good night's sleep
  • whilst one can use clothing as a pillow, it does not usually provide a great quality sleep - there are a range of “stuff bag” options in which you place a puffy jacket
  • height is an important factor especially for side sleeping which is how most of us sleep most of the time:
    • height should allow your neck to remain straight when side sleeping and not be bent down or upwards
    • men with broad shoulders will probably need around 4“ height
    • women with narrow shoulders will probably need around 3-3.5” height
  • a critical factor is the baffling and how well it prevents ballooning when you put your head on it, even when partly deflated (eg. Nemo Fillo, Trekology and Hikenture are great)
  • in Winter or cold conditions, some insulation is very useful but avoid those which are noisy when you move (eg. Thermarest)
  • ability to strap it to your mattress to avoid it slipping off is handy (eg. Nemo Fillo or Hikenture)
    • Sea to Summit pillows can velcro on to Sea to Summit air mats but this is a proprietary concept which means you can't mix and match brands
  • ability to remove and wash the cover may be important for some
  • for hikers, weight and size become important factors
  • a comfortable fabric surface that will wick away sweat and keep you cool on warm summer nights is nice
  • most pillows are air inflatable with just a few breaths and there are a variety of valve systems available:
    • double flap valve
      • open 1st flap to inflate and open both flaps to deflate - perhaps the best and simplest system and is used in most Sea to Summit pillows
    • twist valve
      • these can be a little cumbersome (eg. Thermarest) but some also have a push system to close the valve quickly whilst inflating and then you lock it by twisting (eg. Nemo Fillo)
    • button valve
      • these have a central button which when half pressed allows inflating and when fully pressed allows deflation (eg Trekology)
  • consider augmenting with a U-shaped foam travel pillow - it will also keep your neck warm
  • for car campers and overnight hikers, consider the comfort of the Nemo Fillo
  • for extended hiking where weight is more important, consider the Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down Pillow or for less weight, the Sea to Summit Aero Premium

memory foam pillows

  • Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
    • very comfortable but big, heavy thus mainly fro car camping, and can be less supportive than some pillows
    • small sized version may be OK for hiking
  • HEST pillow
    • almost like a home pillow for car camping
    • too big and heavy for hiking

best hybrid air pillows

  • Hikenture
    • $AU59
    • removable soft cotton cover with detachable elastic straps to anchor to mattress
    • contoured shape - although this does force your neck to be fully rotated when sleeping on your stomach which may be an issue for those with neck problems
    • 4.7“ fully inflated height will suit most people as it retains a nice baffle when partly deflated for lower heights
    • button valve system
    • 160g, 17”x12“ (44x31cm) and packs to 5”x3“ (similar to a ring pull drink can)
  • Nemo Fillo
    • one of the most popular pillows for car camping and relatively short hikes but also one of the heaviest as it has a thick foam padding
    • twist/push valve; rectangular design; stuff sack is attached to the pillow
    • 4” height, edges less tall; can attach straps;
    • machine-washable pillow cover
    • 260g, 17“x11”, packs to 6“x4”
    • $AU69
  • Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down Pillow
    • comfortable, not too heavy for hiking
  • Sea to Summit Aeros Down
    • has a layer of down for more padding, comfort and warmth than basic S2S Aero pillows, but still not great baffling / ballooning

ultralight air pillows to consider when weight trumps comfort

  • Trekology 2.0
    • kidney bean contoured shape; perhaps the perfect size for a pillow;
    • 3.5“ height in middle and about 1” higher on sides - although this does force your neck to be fully rotated when sleeping on your stomach which may be an issue for those with neck problems
    • great baffling system; rubber anti-slipping dots to increase frictions between your pillow and the sleeping mat.
    • no insulation so cold in winter
    • no cover, bit too noisy
    • 110g; 16“ x 12” folds to 5“x2”;
    • $AU24
  • Trekology Deluxe
    • nice but at only 3“ height will only be usable for those with narrow shoulders
  • Nemo Fillo Elite
    • ultralight version but only 3” height which means best for those with narrow shoulders
    • stuff sack is a bit too small to pack it away easily
  • Sea to Summit Aero Premium
    • nice double valve system and light but not great baffling
    • its light weight makes it one of the best for extended hiking trips
  • Sea to Summit Aero Premium Deluxe
    • much larger version but baffling and ballooning is worse
    • nice double valve system and light but not great baffling
australia/pillows.txt · Last modified: 2022/12/16 08:46 by gary1

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