A good night’s sleep can make the difference between feeling rested and feeling tired. For people who are on the trail, a good night’s sleep is important to stay alert and safe when spending time in the great outdoors. A backpacking pillow can enhance your night’s sleep on the trail and ensure that your sleep is not ruined.

Our list of the 10 Best Backpacking Pillows provides you all the information needed to find lightest and most comfortable design. Not all pillows are made equal, but with our picks, you can choose from the best. We will also discuss what features you should look out for and what designs might best suit your needs.

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

How To Choose A Backpacking Pillow – Buying Guide

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When you are deciding which backpacking pillow is the best to buy, you will have to decide which design and what features will best ensure your comfort. There are differences in each backpacking pillow design that can enhance your night on the trail and make using a backpacking pillow enjoyable. From the type to the shape, every person has their own preference on personal comfort. The best backpacking pillow will deliver maximum comfort in a compact and lightweight design. With a backpacking pillow, you won’t have a reason to not take comfort on the road with you.

Type

There are generally three types of backpacking pillows that you can choose from. Each type will have its own level of comfort and packability. The most common types of backpacking pillows are inflatable, compressible, and hybrid.

Inflatable: This type of backpacking pillow is, without a doubt, the lightest and most packable design. Inflatable pillows can either be self-inflated or require some breathing work on your end. The inflatable pillow is an excellent design because it starts off small and compact but can expand to quite a large size. Some pillows are so small when stored, you have to mind not to lose it. Inflatable backpacking pillows can be easily carried on the trail or stored away. The only downfall to inflatable pillows is that they don’t offer the same comfort level as a real pillow. Nothing can compare to a real pillow, but an inflatable one is great for those who want a cushion for their head but are worried about their packing space.

Compressible: Compressible pillows are the most similar type to a standard home pillow. Compressible pillows also look like a standard home pillow, just in a much smaller size. These pillows are set apart in their style because they can be quite high tech. From down and synthetic fillings to special shapes and fabrics, compressible pillows deliver comfort. Compressible pillows will feel the most like a standard home pillow. They can deliver great support and snuggle, while still packing down to a small size. However, a compressible pillow will never be as small as an inflatable design. For backpackers, size and weight is important but if you’re not worried about fitting a pillow, a compressible type is the way to go.

Hybrid: Hybrid pillows are an excellent attempt at balancing and combining the styles of the inflatable and compressible pillows into one design. Hybrid designs have an inner air bladder and a padded outer layer. The inner air bladder means that this type of pillow can still compress down but has more support than an inflatable pillow. There are many different hybrid pillows on the market and each will have their own shape, fabric, and air bladders. You should look for two features in a hybrid pillow that can help you determine which is better for you. Some hybrid pillows allow for the padded outer layer to be removed for easy washing. Other hybrid pillows feature one solid design. Removable layers can be great for washing but be careful that you don’t lose it either. Hybrid pillows are great for backpackers who are still trying to save space, but don’t want to sacrifice comfort.

Weight

In general, most pillow designs will only have a few ounces of difference between them. For backpackers, every ounce can count when they have to carry their gear strapped to their shoulders and resting on their hips. Every bit of weight counts for backpackers, so finding a lightweight backpacking pillow is important. If you are concerned about weight, you should choose the lightest and most compact pillow design. If you are willing to sacrifice a few ounces, you will gain an edge on comfort.

Size

Most backpacking pillows are smaller in design to keep them portable, but size is important for a good night’s sleep. If you have a larger head, a small pillow can leave you frustrated and with a sore neck. If a pillow is too small, it can also move around too much, making you play a balancing game throughout the night. You should try to find a backpacking pillow that is similar to the size of pillow you would normally use at home. Though home pillows are rather large, there are many backpacking pillows that are great at being compact for storage and carry but can expand to a comfortable size.

Comfort

Comfort is important in a backpacking pillow because every camper wants a good night’s sleep. While size can affect the comfort of your pillow, so can a sleeping position. A pillow that is too small is frustrating to sleep on because your head can easily slip off. However, some sleeping positions can change the comfort of your pillow too. Many companies go to great lengths to ensure their design will cradle your head and support your neck, no matter the preferred sleeping position. Not all companies are successful in their attempts, so you should try different pillows before you buy.

If you are a back sleeper, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a comfortable backpacking pillow. The size and shape of the pillow likely won’t affect you and you’ll have a large variety of designs to choose from. If you are a side sleeper, you will want to pay attention to the shape of your pillow. Shapes that are longer and thicker tend to provide more support for you neck and back, if you sleep on your side.

Generally, you should ensure that a pillow is thick enough to support your neck, as this will maximize your comfort. You shouldn’t invest in a pillow if you are still trying to add additional support by putting a jacket on the bottom.

Packability

Packability is the golden rule. After all, if you can’t pack your pillow, why take it with you at all? Inflatable pillows are the most packable design but may not be the most comfortable. A compression pillow delivers more comfort but may not be as packable as you need. A hybrid could be right what you need, split down the middle. Just ensure that you can easily pack your backpacking pillow and you are good to go. Be aware that some designs are seriously compact, so keep a mind for where it’s stored because you wouldn’t want to lose it!

Durability

Durability is important because it can mean the difference between restful sleep and nagging aspirations. It would be frustrating if your backpacking pillow popped on the trail. Durability can be affected by the material used in your backpacking pillow. The best backpacking pillows will be made of high-quality materials to ensure that it is long-lasting. A top rated ultralight backpacking pillow should last you forever. Seriously. Your backpacking pillow should either be lost or passed down among the generations.

Shape

There are many different shapes of backpacking pillows. Some designs are a traditional square shape and others have been specially made to be contoured. There are shapes reminiscent of kidney beans and others have a shape uniquely their own. There isn’t one shape better than others because it all comes down to personal preference in what a person finds comfortable.

Lift

Lift is important because it can determine how much support the backpacking pillow delivers for you neck and head. Sleeping on the ground isn’t the most comfortable, but a great backpacking pillow will keep your head elevated. Inflatable or hybrid backpacking pillows can be great because the lift can be customized depending on how much air is inflated into the bladder. If you are prone to a sore neck, you should find a backpacking pillow that delivers generous lift and some extra padding to keep you comfortable on the trail.

FAQs

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Q: What is a backpacking pillow?

A: A backpacking pillow is a pillow that comes in a compact and portable design. Backpacking pillows are the modern solution to bringing a home comfort on the go. If you’ve ever slept without a pillow or stuffed a jacket under your head, you know it’s uncomfortable and leads to a poor night’s sleep. Backpacking pillows seek to deliver comfort on the trail in a design that can be easily added to your backpacking gear. Backpacking pillows are durable and versatile enough to be used on any trip to any destination. The best backpacking pillows will compact themselves into a size so small, you can even risk losing it. Remember where you stashed your pillow and keep an eye out, so it doesn’t get accidentally lost!

Q: How are they different than your everyday pillow?

A: If you’ve ever tried to stuff an everyday pillow into a small space, you’ll know it can be quite the challenge. A backpacking pillow is different from an everyday pillow because it can be easily taken on the road. Backpacking pillows are lightweight and compact. They are designed to take the comforts of home, on the road with you. Backpacking pillows eliminate the hassle of trying to pack and bulky item. With a backpacking pillow, you don’t have to sacrifice the comfort of an everyday pillow when you head out for a night on the trail.

Q: Is a backpacking pillow necessary?

A: No, backpacking pillows aren’t necessary, but they can greatly enhance your night on the trail. A backpacking pillow is gear that won’t save your life, but it is up to personal preference. If you struggle to have a good night’s sleep when you’re out on your adventure, a backpacking pillow can be a great investment and item to have with you. For some campers, a backpacking pillow will be deemed necessary because of the level it comfort it brings to their trip. It is up to you to decide whether or not a backpacking pillow is necessary, but we are certain that after one night’s sleeping with a top rated backpacking pillow, you won’t want to adventure without one.

Globo Surf Overview

When it comes to your backpacking pillow needs, finding the best backpacking pillow is important. A great backpacking pillow can add comfort when you want to spend time on the road. With a backpacking pillow you can rest easy. A top rated backpacking pillow will last you throughout the years. So well, in fact, that you should be able to pass it down through the family. If you know exactly what you need and want, you can save time and money by investing in the best backpacking pillow for you!

Do you own one of the backpacking pillows that made it onto our list? Let us know how it has worked for your outdoor needs in the comments section below.

Globo Surf Backpacking Pillows Reviews

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I never could get a good night sleep on my backpacking trips because I never fest comfortable. Since I have the Bamboo Camping and Travel Pillow by Coop Home Goods I can relax and sleep and feel great.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!