When you’re camping, a good night’s rest is crucial. Since quality sleep starts with comfortable head support, you’ll want a camping pillow as opposed to a standard bedroom headrest. But where do you begin your search?
When buying a pillow for the great outdoors, prioritize comfort and size. Consider how you sleep. If you sleep on your side or stomach, you’ll want a pillow that allows you to keep your face on it comfortably. Bigger pillows offer more surface area so there's less of a chance of your head falling off them at night. Size is also an important factor when you’re backpacking. Most camping pillows are either compressible or inflatable for maximum portability. Below, we’ve gathered the best camping pillows for catching some quality zzz's during your next outdoor adventure.
Best Overall: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow
Campers love the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow for its price, compressibility, and support. With a modest $20 price tag, this item from Therm-a-Rest offers everything needed in a camping pillow. It’s excellent for comfortable sleeping on-the-go, whether you’re resting on a plane or in a tent. While it doesn’t pack down flat, the pillow will fold into a backpack or suitcase. When left out, it expands into a soft, squishy four-inch thick pillow. Since comfort is key, the Therm-a-Rest offers a brushed polyester cover which feels soft against the skin. The brand is also environmentally-minded; the pillow's plush fill comes from upcycled Therm-a-Rest mattresses. After trips, you can toss it inside a laundry machine to clean it. The pillow isn't one size fits all, either; you can choose from eight different colors and four different sizes to ensure you're getting exactly what you need.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Teton Sports ComfortLite Self-Inflating Pillow
When deflated, Teton Sports’ ComfortLite Self-Inflating Pillow packs down to a mere 12 ounces, making it light and easy to stash inside travel packs, duffel bags, and backpacks. To prime the pillow for sleeping, open the twist valve and watch it fill up to its full 18 x 10 x 4 inches. Once it reaches the inflation level you prefer, you can simply push and twist to stop it. Roll around in your sleep a lot? No worries. The pillow comes with a heavy-duty non-slip base that keeps it planted to the ground even as your body shifts. The case comes in two different versions: a blue organic cotton top and an orange microfiber one. Both are soft, comfortable, and washable. The Teton pillow also comes with a nylon stuff sack with a shoulder strap for carrying.
Best Budget: Trekology Ultralight Inflating Travel/Camping Pillow
Trekology's camping pillow is one of the highest quality options you can buy on a budget. Its design offers neck and back support with layers of durable, water-resistant TPU fabric. To inflate the pillow, puff in three to five breaths. To soften it, press the button in the back to get it to the firmness of your preference, then close the valve. You can sleep without worrying about excessive movement — the backing is made from a slip-resistant material which prevents your head from moving around. When you’re ready to pack it away, the pillow can deflate within seconds. In its most compact state, it folds down to 5 x 2 inches and weighs 2.75 ounces. And, of course, it comes with a stuff sack for easy, clean portability. While most camping pillows don't offer a wide selection of colors, the Trekology gives customers a choice of eight cheerful hues.
Best for Side Sleepers: Nemo Equipment Fillo Pillow
At roughly $40, the Nemo Fillo Pillow isn’t the cheapest on our list, but it truly makes a difference for side sleepers. As a hybrid pillow, it marries luxury foam with air insulation, providing adjustability for your preferred height and firmness. As your head moves around at night, the Fillo offers plenty of surface area to keep you supported. Its design especially helps campers who don’t sleep straight. It has an inch of foam with a three-inch bladder for extra height to accommodate side sleepers all through the night. The pillow weighs just nine ounces and packs to the size of a water bottle. It also comes with an integrated stuff sack, which protects the pillow surface from camp dust. In terms of the case, Nemo offers soft microsuede options as well as jersey knit ones. If the pillow cover gets dirty, toss it in the wash to clean it.
Best Inflatable: Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow
The Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow is a reliable companion for backpacking trips because of its ultra-low weight and soft outer shell. It weighs only 2.8 ounces but manages to inflate up to five inches thick. To fill up the pillow, you breathe into the multi-functional valve like a balloon. The curved baffles create contours that cradle the head, and the scalloped bottom edge centers the device around the shoulders when you need to sleep upright in a plane or car. The brushed 50D polyester knit outer material is not only soft against the skin but also highly durable. The synthetic fill between the case and the TPU bladder provides comfort and wicks away sweat. For sizing, your options are regular and small. Color-wise, users can pick between green and blue.
Best for Head Support: Klymit Inflatable Camping Pillow
Ever find your head rolling every which way on your pillow at night? Klymit’s Inflatable camping pillow has a self-centering X design that keeps you supported and stabilized. You can adjust the height and pressure to your preference. No matter how rough your trip, the bottom material of the headrest consists of a durable 75D polyester that resists tears, punctures, and abrasions. The Klymit comes in a range of different sizes. The lightest pillow weighs less than two ounces and packs down to the size of a lighter. The largest provides more room, measuring 17 x 12 x 4.25 inches when fully inflated, as opposed to the regular size which has dimensions of 15 x 11 x 4 inches. Do keep in mind that the Klymit pillow isn’t the most comfortable design for stomach and side sleepers.
Best Lightweight: EXPED Ultralight Pillow
At 1.6 ounces, the Exped Ultralight Pillow is the lightest of all of our selections. It packs to the smallest volume with a 2 x 5-inch size. Though its price tag isn't the cheapest, it can make a significant difference for anyone who needs the extra space in their backpack or duffel bag. The Exped UL pillow, made from 20 denier polyester, is lightweight but durable. Like most camping pillows, it has a flat valve for inflation and deflation. It also features an anti-slip GripSkin honeycomb pattern to keep it from sliding away from your head at night. The pillow has indentations in the middle to comfortably accommodate your head. In terms of where to place it, you can secure it to a sleeping pad with two eyelets or fit it inside the hood of a mummy bag. To store it away, put the pillow inside of its stuff sack when you’re back on the road or trail.
Best Luxury: Coop Home Goods Camping and Travel Pillow
Just because you’re on a camping trip, it doesn’t mean that you can’t expect high-quality, premium comfort. This handcrafted luxury camping pillow from Coop Home Goods will make you feel like you’re sleeping right in your own bed. It has a breathable, cool pillowcase made from a synthetic bamboo blend. If you overheat in your sleep or are resting in a warm area, the pillow will stay cool thanks to the cover's thermoregulatory properties. The case is also hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. Comfort-wise, the pillow consists of memory foam that molds to your head shape. Besides its functionality, the foam is CertiPUR-US certified, which means that it’s free from harmful, ozone-depleting chemicals. The pillow won’t pack down very small, but it’s still lightweight and easy to carry around. When folded to its smallest size, it measures 11 x 6 inches. There's also a convenient stuff sack that you can stuff the pillow into once you’ve gotten your beauty sleep.
Our writers spent 2.5 hours researching the most popular camping pillows on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 13 different pillows overall, screened options from 11 different brands and manufacturers and read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative).