Fluff it up: What’s the best camping pillow for you?

January 02, 2020

Fluff it up: What’s the best camping pillow for you?

Looking for a good camping pillow but overwhelmed with the gazillion choices out there? Worry no more as we help you break down different categories in choosing the best pillow in the market.  

An ideal pillow is something that provides adequate support and comfort whether you camp, stay inside a car through the night or hike. Having a pillow makes a huge difference and most of the pro campers would agree. There are many high-quality camping pillows in the market, but it is very important to consider certain key factors which will make a significant difference in choosing the a pillow that suits you best.

Camping Preference

The type of camping adventure and sleeping habits will determine the type of pillow you need. Comfort level, weight and size of the pillow will vary depending on how you camp whether it’s outdoor camping or backpacking. People who camp outdoors in campsites or parks can carry  bigger pillows, whereas those who are hiking and backpacking are usually limited by the weight they can carry. Luxurious pillows that provide the best comfort level are heavier and those which are light in weight provide only a certain degree of comfort.

Car Campers

Car camping is one of the most common, popular and most convenient way to spend your camping adventure outdoors. This allows campers to carry a more luxurious pillow for the adventure experience. Therm-A-Rest compressible pillow is one of the best camping pillows for car campers. It is one of the plush pillows you can find in the market and it offers excellent comfort. Car campers will be able to carry this heavyweight super-sized pillow easily.



The hikers’ preference will be completely different to those of car campers because they carry all their gears in one backpack and therefore, space is crucial. Backpackers should look for a more comfortable and compact camping pillow. Pillow size and weight are equally important, so check for all these factors before purchasing your pillow. There are many exclusive camping pillows for backpackers which you should check out.

Finding the Right Pillow

Camping pillows come in different shapes, sizes and materials. All pillow manufacturers always claim that they are the best camping pillow providers, but you important factors have to be considered. A pillow that provides comfort and perfect posture to your head throughout the  night is the best pillow of them all. The pillow should easily be setup and maintained. Weight, size and dimensions also play  major roles in shortlisting the best camping pillow.

Camping pillows are of three different types – compressible, inflatable and hybrid. Each and every single one of these pillows have their own unique characteristics. Compressible pillows are filled with foams, synthetic fibers and down feathers. Inflatable pillows, as the name indicates, are pillows that are inflated with air. Hybrid pillows is a mix of the other two types of pillows, with a compressible upper layer and an inflatable bottom layer.

Types of Camping Pillows

Once you’ve determined which kind of camper you are, the guide below  will help you find the right pillow for your adventure. Understanding and considering all the different types of pillows and their characteristics will give you an idea on which kind of pillow will be perfect for your trip.

Compressible – These are camping pillows that are filled with synthetic materials – foam or feathers and in some cases a perfect blend of the two materials. They are lightweight and they occupy less space. Compressible pillows are firm, meaning, they give the head sufficient support. The main disadvantage associated with compressible pillows is that they may flatten after a long time of use, bringing some discomfort. Also, they tend to be bulky.

Air Pillows

Inflatable – Inflatable pillows depend solely on air for their functioning. You have to inflate them by blowing air through a valve to become turgid enough to support your head and neck. Note that inflatable pillows do not offer as much comfort as the compressible pillows. They have also been reported to make a lot of noise as you twist and turn your head. However, crush compressible pillows shine over compressible pillows when it comes to ease of portability; one only needs to deflate them to reduce their size by 95%. 

Self-inflating pillows – these pillows are more of a straightforward choice because they are easy to use and more comfortable than other types. The foam in a self-inflating pillow adds to its weight, which should be considered. Pillows that require you to fill air in it will seem to be more of a practical option, but these pillows are cumbersome to inflate and their internal section could be easily infected by bacteria.

Hybrid Pillows – hybrid pillows combine the advantages of both compressible and inflatable pillows. They are designed to have the compressible side on top with inflatable side at the bottom to primarily provide support during sleep or rest. 

Other Factors:

Level of comfort – Comfort levels offered by a pillow should be one of the first and most important factors to consider. The level of comfort offered by a camping pillow can be evaluated based on the size, materials used and its firmness. Compressible pillows offer the best comfort. Inflatable pillows offer the least comfort of all pillow types. The only drawback of compressible pillows is that, the firmness of it will reduce with time. 

Shape and size – The level of comfort you get from a pillow will vary depending on its dimensions. Head and neck support is very important and the pillow you buy should deliver excellent support overall. A good night’s sleep can be achieved only if the pillow fits your head size. Pillows that are compact in dimensions will be perfect for backpackers.


User friendly – Compressible pillows are the most user-friendly ones of them all, followed by hybrid and inflatable. If you are looking for a stress-free pillow overall, the compressible is the right choice for you.

Material – Durable and supple material based pillows are the best. Pillows manufactured using breathable material components are highly durable. High quality material based pillows are costlier but more durable than low cost pillows.

Weight – Since camping usually involves a lot of traveling and trekking, it is prudent to go for a light weight pillow. A heavy pillow is cumbersome to carry around, not to mention it’s not the only item you will be packing in your camping bag.  However, if you still need a heavy pillow, go for it. Maybe just have enough storage space and reduce foot travels. Backpackers usually go for lighter weight pillows. Car campers and RV outdoor campers need not worry about the weight of camping pillows since they can carry heavier ones with them.

Cost – All this cannot be complete without mentioning the cost of the pillow. Some pillow are just too expensive – especially the luxury models – to be bought just for a mere one week camping. However, don’t look to save too much, invest in a camping pillow that will keep you warm and comfortable at night. 

Pillows for Different Types of Sleepers


Another important aspect for choosing the best pillow is to determine the type of sleeping habits you have should not be overlooked. Even though each of us has a  unique sleeping position, we can safely generalized our sleeping positions into 3 subcategories – back, side sleepers, and the ones who sleep on their stomach.

Stomach sleepers don’t need a lot of support and will find flat and thin pillow an ideal choice. If you are side sleeper on the other hand, you will need a thick and supportive pillow that keeps the head leveled with the spine when lying on the side, giving you maximum comfort. Pillows offering medium support will be more than enough for those who sleep on their back. 

Inflatable pillows come in different customizable options and are much cheaper when compared to compressible type of pillows. Price should not be the sole deciding factor when buying your pillow. Comfort and support should be the key deciding factors.

There is a vast variety of camping pillows in the market – ranging from luxurious to affordable types. Choosing the best one comes down to determining exactly what you need – and looking for a camping pillow that delivers exactly that. However, keep the time of the year, weight, and material used to make the pillow in mind.