Planning a Camping Trip: The Complete Guide SEE FULL GUIDE prev next Sleeping Pads Portable Showers Cookware Backpacking Tents Backpacking Gear Backpacks for Backpacking Backpacking Food Backpacking Sleeping Bags Tips for First-Time Campers Camping on a Budget Top Camping Destinations Best States to Camp Top National Parks Camping in the Fall Spring Camping Getaways How to Go Backpacking Complete Checklist Backpacking Destinations Setting Up Camp FAQs About Camping Tips for Non-Campers First Aid Packing List Tents Ultralight Tents Rooftop Tents Camping Furniture Hammocks Camping Accessories Lanterns Camping Pillows Planning a Camping Trip: The Complete Guide close Overview Outdoors Camping The 9 Best Camping Pillows of 2021 Catch some campsite shut-eye with the pillows on this list By Justine Harrington Justine Harrington Twitter University of Arkansas Justine Harrington is a TripSavvy writer based in Austin, Texas, where she covers topics spanning travel, food & drink, lifestyle, culture, social advocacy, and the outdoors. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 09/04/21 Share Pin Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong Our Top Picks Best Overall: Coop Travel and Camping Pillow at Coop Home Goods "It features adjustable support and won't easily go flat." Best Lightweight: NEMO Fillo Backpacking & Camping Pillow at Backcountry "Its thick luxury foam provides flexible comfort without that familiar balloon-like feel of other inflatable pillows." Best for Side Sleepers: Exped Mega Pillow at REI "It's soft to the touch and features fast and easy inflation." Best Ergonomic Shape: Sierra Designs Animas Pillow at Moosejaw "It contours nicely to your head shape and features a non-slip print to keep it firmly in place." Best for Backpacking: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sack Pillows at Hyperlitemountaingear "Holding clothing by day and supporting your head at night, this waterproof pillow is great for backpacking." Best for Car Camping: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow at Moosejaw "This pillow is extra-comfy and is made from upcycled foam and other recycled materials." Best Luxury: Sierra Madre Pufflo+ at Sierra Madre Research "It's easy to adjust this pillow's firmness and it conforms neatly to your neck and head." Best Budget: REI Co-op Trailbreak Foam Pillow at REI "This affordable pick folds up into its own pocket and doesn't require inflation." Best Inflatable: Trekology Aluft 2.0 Inflatable Pillow for Camping at Amazon "With its lightweight and non-slip design, this pillow provides ergonomic neck and back support." For some hardcore backpackers who think nothing of, say, logging 40 miles in 48 hours on the trail, perhaps bringing along a pillow isn’t a top priority. But for many of us, just because we’re sleeping in the great outdoors doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice getting decent sleep. “I think camping pillows are one of the most underrated pieces of camping gear,” says Alex Ross of the tour company Fresh Adventures. “If you aren't comfortable, you're more likely to skip camping, and it's all too common for people to wake up with sore shoulders, stiff necks, or to toss and turn all night without getting a good night’s sleep. It's possible that getting a proper camping pillow would help make camping even more enjoyable.” Read on to find out how to pick the best pillow for camping and backpacking, and which products are best when it comes to a lightweight size, luxury feel, ergonomic shape, and more. Best Overall: Coop Travel and Camping Pillow Coop Home Goods Travel and Camping Pillow. Buy on Amazon Buy on Coophomegoods.com What We Like Adjustable support Made of memory foam and microfiber Comes with a stuff sack What We Don't Like Only comes in one size The thing we love most about the Coop Travel and Camping Pillow is how much it’s just like a regular (supremely comfy) pillow while still being perfect for camping. That’s because this pillow features adjustable support in the form of medium-firm density so you stay aligned while you snooze. It’s also made from a comfy, shapeable, hypoallergenic mix of cross-cut memory foam and microfiber, so it won’t easily go flat. This pillow is relatively small and portable, at 19 x 13 inches (uncompressed), and it comes with a stuff sack with buckles to allow for convenient packing. Best Lightweight: NEMO Fillo Backpacking & Camping Pillow Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Moosejaw.com Buy on REI What We Like Lightweight Comes in various colors Limited lifetime warranty What We Don't Like Only comes in one size Light as a feather and therefore super-easy to tote along on your next outdoor adventure, the NEMO Fillo Backpacking and Camping Pillow weighs just 9 ounces and packs up into a compact shape as small as a russet potato. Despite its deceivingly flimsy shape and size, this pillow is anything but—its thick luxury foam provides flexible comfort without that familiar balloon-like feel of other inflatable pillows. Best for Side Sleepers: Exped Mega Pillow Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Moosejaw.com Buy on REI What We Like Soft Can be attached to sleeping pad Easy and quick inflation What We Don't Like Only comes in one color For side sleepers, firmness and extra height are key design features when it comes to the right camp pillow. Enter the Exped Mega Pillow, which uses a 3D design fleece padding with an air core to provide all-night comfort and support while you slumber on your side. The polyester tricot fabric is soft to the touch, and handily, there are three eyelets you can use to attach the pillow to your sleeping pad. A low-profile FlatValve allows for fast, easy inflation (a great feature when you’re sleeping on the cold, hard ground and need your pillow ASAP). The 8 Best Air Mattresses for Camping in 2021 Best Ergonomic Shape: Sierra Designs Animas Pillow Buy on Amazon Buy on Moosejaw.com What We Like Ergonomic shape Non-slip Lightweight What We Don't Like Only comes in one color The Sierra Designs Animas Pillow is near-peerless among camping pillows when it comes to ergonomic shape. It contours nicely to the shape of your head with a lightweight stretch top and bottom fabric and a brushed finish for added comfort. The siliconized print keeps this pillow firmly in place. At 15 x 10 x 4 inches, it’s the perfect size for taking with you on camping trips. Best for Backpacking: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sack Pillows Courtesy of Hyperlite Buy on Hyperlitemountaingear.com What We Like Comes in various sizes Can hold clothing Water-resistant What We Don't Like More expensive than other options The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sack Pillows is the first step towards sleeping well in the backcountry. For one thing, it serves dual purposes (always a plus, when you’re carrying a heavy pack and need to lighten the load). You can use it to store any unworn clothing by day and then as a pillow by night. It’s also markedly comfier than many other pillows of its kind, with 100-weight fleece lining. And, it even provides an additional barrier of protection against moisture in your pack, thanks to the waterproof fabric and fully taped seams with a water-resistant YKK zipper. The 8 Best Air Mattresses for Camping in 2021 Best for Car Camping: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow. Amazon photo. Buy on Amazon Buy on Moosejaw.com What We Like Eco-friendly Packs down easy Machine-washable Comes in various sizes What We Don't Like No adjustable support With its generous amount of soft foam fill and big, supportive size, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow provides a hefty dose of home-like comfort, no matter how hard the ground is. Besides being extra-comfy, you’ve gotta love that the foam is sourced from upcycled foam, and the cover is made from mostly recycled materials. This pillow also packs down easily, so you can take it anywhere. Best Luxury: Sierra Madre Pufflo+ Courtesy of Sierra Madre Buy on Sierramadreresearch.com What We Like Adjustable support Soft Weather-resistant fabric What We Don't Like Only comes in one size If you’re not one for skimping on luxury when you camp, the Sierra Madre Pufflo+ is as close to sleeping on a (supportive) cloud as you’re likely to get from a camping pillow. The Pufflo+ offers an ideal blend of comfort with its two-phase, super-soft top and supportive air bladder. You can find your perfect firmness by tapping the air valve to instantly adjust it. And the pillow conforms neatly to your neck and base of your head. Best Budget: REI Co-op Trailbreak Foam Pillow Courtesy of REI Buy on REI What We Like Packs down easy No inflation required Comes in multiple colors What We Don't Like Only comes in one size Looking for wallet-friendly comfort for your next camping trip? Get the REI Co-op Trailbreak Foam Pillow, which compresses to a fifth of its size, packing into its own pocket for easy storage or transport. There’s no inflation required—it simply expands to its full size when you unpack it. And this pillow is made with leftover bits of foam that the brand uses for their self-inflating sleep pads, which helps cut down on landfill space and boosts sustainability. The 8 Best Camping Cots of 2021 Best Inflatable: Trekology Aluft 2.0 Inflatable Pillow for Camping Trekology ultralight inflatable camping travel pillow. Amazon photo. Buy on Amazon What We Like Durable Non-slip Provides ergonomic neck and back support Comes in various colors What We Don't Like Only comes in one size Catch some much-needed campsite snooze time with the Trekology Aluft 2.0, which stands out for its compact, lightweight size (it folds down to a mere 5 x 2 inches, which is smaller than a can of soda), durability, and innovative anti-slippage design. Rarely do you get this much comfort with an inflatable pillow as it provides ergonomic neck and back support. The 11 Best Camping Blankets of 2021 Final Verdict The Coop Travel and Camping Pillow (view at Coop Home Goods) is our top pick for its awesome ability to provide adjustable support while you sleep. We also love its extra-cozy hypoallergenic mix of cross-cut memory foam and microfiber that’s soft on the skin. All that, despite being small, lightweight, and easily packable. What to Look for in a Camping Pillow Weight The ideal weight of your camp pillow will depend on what type of outdoor activity you plan on using it for. If you’re backpacking, you should get a collapsible pillow that weighs no more than a few ounces (3 to 4 ounces at most). If you’re car-camping or bringing your pillow with you when you travel, comfort and durability are more important than weight. Packed Size Portability is key if you’ll be bringing your pillow into the backcountry and therefore need it to pack down to a neat, compact size. You want your backpacking pillow to be compressible and able to pack up into a small ball so that it’s almost unnoticeable in your pack. Otherwise, if you’re car-camping (and thus not carrying your pillow around with you or trying to fit it into a backpack), packed size isn’t as much of a concern. The primary difference here is between inflatable and synthetic pillows. According to Ross, “There are ultralight inflatable pillows, which are the most packable, and there are synthetic pillows, which are usually more like your home pillow.” Material Again, if you’re car-camping, your pillow should be made of a comfy, soft material that’s easy to clean, ideally with foam fill or cushioning. If, on the other hand, you’re going backpacking, it’s important to look for an inflatable camp pillow that’s made from a rugged-yet-comfortable material, like polyester fabric or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). “Synthetic pillows are typically more comfortable, with inflatable pillows often jiggling and being loud when you move, but synthetic pillows take up more space and weigh more. You can also get pillows that are a mix of both, as well, for the best of both worlds,” says Ross. Durability Durability is more important to consider for backpacking pillows, which will likely incur more wear and tear than pillows you use for car camping. Aside from getting a hardy material (like TPU), look for a pillow with a protective cover of some kind. And if your pillow is inflatable, be sure that the valves are well-built and not prone to leaking. FAQs What are the different types of camp pillows? Camp pillows typically fall into four categories: inflatable, compressible, hybrid, and stuff sacks. Inflatable pillows definitely tend to be the most lightweight and portable (and thus perfect for backpacking). Compressible pillows are ideal for car-camping since they’re filled with comfy foam and synthetic fibers And hybrid pillows are a mix of both inflatable and compressible designs. Stuff sacks are simply sacks that you fill with your own clothing to inflate them. What are the most waterproof fabrics? Look for a pillow that either comes with a dry bag or is made from waterproof synthetic materials (which should be explicitly advertised). How should I wash my pillow? Some pillows are machine washable, while others definitely aren’t. You should always consult the washing instructions for your specific pillow before washing for the first time. Why Trust TripSavvy Justine Harrington is an experienced freelance writer who has been researching all things travel for TripSavvy since 2018. She spoke with camping experts and enthusiasts to discover what makes the perfect camping pillow. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 9 below. Continue to 9 of 9 below.