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Tripsavvy / Erika Owen
Tons of support
Slightly confusing to put on
Can get sweaty
No travel pouch
A plastic support structure makes this travel pillow completely unlike any other—in the best way possible.
We purchased the Trtl pillow so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
In a sea of travel pillows, the Trtl pillow stands out for its innovative design and soft support. It’s really more of a brace than a pillow, with internal plastic ribs that act as a support for your neck and shoulders.
I took the Trtl for a spin on one of my recent vacations, evaluating everything from its comfort level to price point. Read on to see what I found.
At first glance, the Trtl pillow looks more like a lap blanket than anything else, but I unfolded the fleece to find those patented plastic ribs inside. Once it was unfolded, I could wrap it around my neck as tightly or as loosely as I wanted. I appreciate the flexibility in sizing since it’s easy to assume travel pillows are one-size-fits-all products (when they most certainly are not).
I found it confusing to put on the Trtl for the first time. Fortunately, the pillow comes with handy stickers that point out which part of your neck or shoulder should go in each spot. Once I successfully put it on once, I felt like I had it nailed down for the future.
However, I didn’t realize that the Trtl pillow is meant to prop up the left side of your head, which isn't clear in the instructions. I spent a lot of time attempting to make the pillow work for both sides before realizing that it wasn’t possible. I was worried that the one-sided design would cause an uncomfortable kink on the right side of my neck, but the rigid inner structure kept it relatively straight and comfortable.
The Trtl’s fleece cover is incredibly soft, similar to a scarf, and the Velcro used to adjust the tightness of the brace held up well, too. I don’t imagine that I’ll need to replace it after a few months like I would with cheaper Velcro.
Trtl claims that it packs down to half the size of a regular U-shaped travel pillow—and that is no lie—but I found that the best place for your Trtl travel pillow is on top of everything in your carry-on to prevent it from being crushed.
I was disappointed that the Trtl doesn't come with a travel pouch, but it’s easy to attach to bag and luggage handles, making it very accessible when you need it.
Despite how uncomfortable sleeping on a structure of plastic ribs may sound, I was pleasantly surprised. The curve of the plastic made it easy to rest my head, while the fleece scarf kept the brace comfortably attached without any further adjustments. Even when it was wrapped tightly around my neck, this travel neck brace never felt claustrophobic, which is something I appreciated during my already crammed flight.
I felt like this neck brace also doubled as a soft scarf, keeping me warm and cozy for the duration of my flight. Since airplane cabins are usually set to a frigid temperature, you should be just fine with a little extra warmth—unless you’re the type of person that always runs hot. If you do tend to get warm, you might find the fleece to be a heat trap, forcing you to choose between neck support and temperature control.
While the plastic rib structure does seem resilient, accidentally stepping on this pillow or crushing it into the bottom of your suitcase will leave you without a functioning neck pillow. Unlike soft travel neck pillows that can be squeezed and stuffed into your bag, the Trtl pillow requires more careful packing.
The Trtl pillow will set you back around $30 and, to be honest, I would be willing to pay even more for comfortable, in-flight neck support.
What really sets the Trtl apart from other options for me is the fact that you can machine wash it. And without a travel pouch, it’s bound to pick up some dirt. Just throw it into the washing machine and it’ll be fresh and clean for your next trip in no time.
The Trtl pillow will set you back around $30 and, to be honest, I would be willing to pay even more for comfortable, in-flight neck support. The pillow wins for comfort and design, which are two of the most important aspects of a travel pillow. There certainly are more expensive (and less expensive) options, but Trtl is incredibly innovative and comfortable for its price tag.
As mentioned above, the plastic ribs in this patented design are unlike any other neck pillow out there. Less is more with the Trtl: less bulk, more ergonomic design. If you’re looking for a similar design, you won’t find it—Trtl stands alone.
One thing to note is that Trtl is completely different than the U-shaped neck pillows you often see in the airport shops, like the Aeris and BCozzy pillows. While it may not look like much at first glance—it very much looks like a scarf, if you don’t read the packaging—you’ll be glad you took a chance on this one.
If you’re looking for a supportive and comfortable travel pillow that won’t take up a ton of space, the Trtl pillow is a fantastic option that offers innovative design.
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