The 8 Best Pillows for Camping & Backpacking in 2021: Buyer’s Guide

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Are you a camping or backpacking enthusiast?

Camping has significantly increased in popularity, with latest figures in 2018 showing 1.4 million households camped for the first time and a total of 77 million households in the U.S. contain someone who camps (Source:

Backpackers, Campers and outdoor lovers all appreciate the value of the right gear that provides comfort and value when they’re away from home, especially when it comes to sleeping in a tent or outdoors. This is why after buying one of the best pillows for camping and backpacking, your camping trips will never be the same!

If in the past, you’ve rolled some clothes up and used them as a pillow or used on old pillow you used to sleep with, you’ve come to the right place. The comfy camping pillows on our list guarantee a night of good sleep so you can wake up feeling active and refreshed. 

Our Reviews of the Top-Rated Camping and Backpacking Pillows (2021 Update)

Whether you’re sleeping in a sleeping bag or a tent, the best camping pillow will relieve your muscles at the end of a long day, support your neck, and keep your spine in an aligned position, so your back won’t hurt in the morning. At the same time, the pillows we’ve picked are lightweight and compact, so they won’t add unnecessary weight to your camping or backpacking gear. Check out our top picks. 

1. Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Camping Pillow

Not only does this pillow cradle your neck and support your head, but it also packs small to fit into your shirt pocket. The scalloped bottom edge keeps it centered between your shoulders, making it the best pillow for side sleepers, when backpacking or camping.

The regular model inflates to 13 x 9 x 4 inches and can fit into the hood of a sleeping bag. The large one measures 16.5 X 11.8 X 5.1 inches. When it’s deflated, the regular one weighs 2.7 ounces. 

Thanks to the synthetic lining, you will enjoy better airflow throughout the night. The soft brushed knit feels soft against your skin and can be easily washed to keep your pillow clean.

Inflating this pillow is straightforward, and you can manipulate the valve for the right firmness level. However, this pillow is more expensive than other models. 

What We Like

  • Good neck and head support. 
  • Packs small to fit into your shirt pocket. 
  • Stays centered and doesn’t move. 
  • Improved airflow. 
  • Soft brushed knit surface. 

What We Don’t Like

  • More expensive than other pillows. 

2. Klymit Pillow X Inflatable Camping & Travel Pillow

This pillow offers everything that you should look for in the best inflatable camping pillow. It’s compact, lightweight, rugged, and comfortable. 

Whether you’re a side or back sleeper, the X-design will keep your head centered for maximum support to relieve your muscles. It’s one of the lightest pillows on the market, weighing 1.95 ounces and packs to the size of 4.5 X 2.5 X 1 inches, almost the size of a wallet. 

Using 1 or 2 breaths, the pillow inflates to reach the size of 15 X 11 X 4 inches. By adding or releasing the air, you will be able to adjust the thickness, height, and firmness of the pillow. 

The 30D polyester top and 75D polyester bottom will last for long. However, both sides are rather slick, so the pillow will slide while you’re sleeping. 

What We Like

  • Compact X-shaped pillow. 
  • Centered pillow for back and neck support. 
  • Extremely lightweight.
  • Adjustable inflation. 
  • Durable fabric. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The pillow slides when you’re sleeping. 

3. WELLAX Ultralight Camping & Backpacking Pillow

This pillow is an excellent choice for outdoor adventures because it’s made of durable, water-resistant TPU fabric. It’s available in multiple colors and weighs 2.75 ounces. It comes with a sleep mask to help you relax at night. 

It inflates quickly to reach the size of 6 x 12 x 4 inches. When it’s deflated, the pillow measures 5 X 2 inches, so it’s as big as a soda can. This portable yet comfortable pillow won’t occupy much space in your backpack and can even be carried in your pocket. 

Once you open the air valve and breathe into the pillow, it will inflate in a few seconds. It won’t slide if you move a lot because the back is made of slip-resistant material. The top is made of super-smooth top-quality breathable silk that won’t get hot at night. 

The U-shaped surface supports your neck and head, making this an excellent pillow for back sleepers. However, regular inflation might be needed if you’re using it for several nights. 

What We Like

  • Durable and water-resistant fabric. 
  • Lightweight pillow deflates to a compact size. 
  • Easy to inflate. 
  • Smooth silk top. 
  • Can be used for lumbar support. 

What We Don’t Like

  • Tends to deflate over time. 

4. Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow

This compressible lightweight pillow is an excellent choice for backpacking adventures, airplanes, and road trips. It’s available in 4 sizes and multiple colors, so you can pick the most appropriate one. 

The foam expands to a 4-inch thick pillow that fully supports your neck and head, providing comfort even if you’re sleeping on uneven ground. The cord lock keeps the pillow compressed when it’s not used, so it won’t occupy much space. 

It’s machine-washable and will restore its fluff once you shake it before use. If you’re hiking or backpacking, this pillow might still feel a bit bulky. The large and X-large versions are less stuffed than the smaller ones, so you should take that into consideration if you’re looking for a high pillow. 

What We Like

  • Compressible lightweight pillow. 
  • Enough neck support.
  • Machine-washable.
  • Maintains its fluff. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The larger models aren’t that stuffed. 
  • Can be too bulky for backpacking. 

5. Trekology Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow

When deflated, this pillow weighs 3.4 ounces, so it’s an excellent choice for camping and backpacking trips. It deflates to the size of 5 X 2 inches and inflates to a generous size of 16 x 12 x 4 inches for maximum comfort. There are several colors available, and the pillow comes with a bag for easy transport. 

For most users, this is the best camping pillow for side sleepers as the curved surface supports your head and neck. The pillow is made of elastic water-resistant TPU fabric, while the back features anti-slip rubber dots that increase the friction between the pillow and the sleeping bag or tent to keep it in place. Moreover, the detachable latch design will help secure it where it should be throughout the night. 

The valve is effortless to use, and in 3 to 5 breaths, the pillow will be inflated. You can sleep on a soft or compact pillow, depending on how much you inflate it. Nevertheless, after a couple of nights, it will start leaking air. 

What We Like

  • Compact and lightweight pillow.
  • Soft water-resistant top. 
  • Anti-slip rubber dots to keep it in place. 
  • Easy and fast inflation. 

What We Don’t Like

  • Loses air. 

6. TETON Sports ComfortLite Self-Inflating Pillow

You’ll barely notice the presence of this compressible pillow. However, once inflated, it will provide your neck and back with the needed support and comfort. 

No pump is needed, as you simply open the valve, and the pillow will self-inflate to the size of 18 x10 x 4 inches in seconds. You can control how inflated the pillow will be, depending on how much you twist the valve.  

The soft microfiber top feels soft against your skin, while the nylon bottom keeps the pillow in place for a good night’s sleep even if you move a lot. Just wipe the pillow with a clean wet cloth, and it will be ready for use, as it maintains its fluff. 

If you don’t want to put the pillow in your backpack, you can carry it in its nylon stuff sack. However, if you feel hot at night, you might not like this pillow because it gets too warm. 

What We Like

  • Lightweight and compressible pillow. 
  • Self-inflates within seconds.
  • Ability to control the level of inflation. 
  • Soft microfiber top and nylon bottom to keep it in place. 
  • Comes with a carry sack. 

What We Don’t Like

  • It gets hot at night. 

7. Hikenture Camping Pillow with Removable Cover

Unlike other pillows that deflate with repeated use, this one comes with a separate bladder of reinforced TPU fabric under the TPU top to stay inflated. The inner layer is made of soft polyester for maximum comfort, while the removable soft cotton cover feels gentle against your skin. 

It weighs 5.6 ounces and measures 3 X 3 X 5 inches when deflated and 17.3 X 12.2 X 4.7 inches when inflated. This is the best backpacking pillow for stomach sleepers because you can adjust the pillow's height and firmness. You can also use it for lumbar support to reduce back pain. 

All you have to do is to click the button, and the valve will inflate your pillow in a few breaths. It comes with a detachable strap at the back to keep it in place if you’re using a sleeping bag. The pillow’s edge is sealed to prevent leaking during the night. 

If you prefer high pillows, this one won’t work for you. It also doesn’t pack very compact compared to other pillows. 

What We Like

  • Reinforced TPU bladder.
  • Sealed edges to prevent leaking.
  • Adjustable height and firmness. 
  • Detachable strap to keep it in place. 

What We Don’t Like

  • Won’t work if you prefer high pillows. 
  • Doesn’t pack compact. 

8. Coop Home Goods- Adjustable Camping Pillow

This full-sized pillow packs compact for camping adventures and trips. It’s made of bamboo-derived rayon and polyester to provide maximum comfort when you’re away from home. It doesnt get hot and feels very soft compared to other pillows. 

If you’re allergic, this pillow is for you because it’s hypoallergenic, dust, and mite-resistant. The stuff-stack is water-resistant, so it’s suitable for outdoor trips. Once put in the sack, the pillow will be compressed to half its size for portability. It doesn’t have to be inflated. 

Compared to other pillows, this one feels bulky. It weighs 3 pounds and measures 19 X 14 X 4 inches, but it’s more comfortable than other portable pillows. 

What We Like

  • Fluffy pillow. 
  • Made of bamboo-derived rayon and polyester. 
  • Hypoallergenic, dust, and mite-resistant. 
  • Water-resistant sack. 

What We Don’t Like

  • Feels bulky. 

How to Choose the Best Pillow for Your Next Camping Overnight or Backpacking Adventure

There are several good pillows that can help you enjoy your sleep in a tent or a sleeping bag. Here are a few features to help you pick the right one. 

Pillow Type

Pillows are either compressible, inflatable, or a hybrid of both. Compressible pillows are filled with foam or synthetic fibers and are readily comfortable as soon as you decompress the pillow and fluff it a little. However, they can still be a little bulky or heavy and might not work for hiking and backpacking trips. 

Inflatable pillows are either inflated using your breath or a valve that makes them inflate in a few seconds. You can easily adjust the height and firmness of these pillows depending on your sleeping style, and they are small and lightweight when deflated. However, some pillows lose air with time, and they can be a little noisy while you’re sleeping. 

Weight and Dimensions

When you’re going backpacking or hiking, the dimensions of everything your carry counts. You should look for the pillow's dimensions when it’s compressed or deflated to make sure that it fits in your back. You should also think about the weight because every extra ounce you carry will have an impact on your trip. 

How Do You Sleep

The shape of the pillow should be suitable for your sleeping style. If you’re a back sleeper, you need a relatively small pillow that stays stable throughout the night. Side sleepers often need a contoured pillow that cradles the head and neck to achieve maximum comfort while sleeping, while a soft pillow will work best for stomach sleepers.

Our Conclusion on Camping Pillows

Sleeping in a camping tent or sleeping bag can still be comfortable with the help of the best pillow for camping and backpacking.

We chose the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow because it packs small and is extremely lightweight. It also provides your head and neck with the needed support.

If you need something more affordable, you can check out the Klymit Pillow X Inflatable Camping & Travel Pillow. This pillow works great as a camping or backpacking pillow for both side and back sleepers, and you can easily adjust its height and firmness. 

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