When you start preparing for your camping trip, you will certainly think about the sleeping arrangement. However, you often concentrate on other things and a pillow doesn’t immediately to mind. But if you choose to add one to your setup, your comfort level will be increased significantly. A good pillow holds your head and neck in the right position so you can wake up refreshed and without pain. This is a big plus when camping – you want to have as much energy as possible for all the activities that await during the day.

These pillows are not like the ones you have at home – they have been designed differently to suit camping conditions better. For this reason they are made to be compact (especially when packed), very light and easy to take with you. There are a few different design options to choose from, but finding the best camping pillow depends on your sleeping habits and preferences, in addition to the quality of the pillow itself. Take a look at some great camp pillows we selected for you. Also, be sure not to miss the buying guide below, where we will give you some pointers so you can choose easily.

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How To Choose A Camping Pillow – Buying Guide

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When you set out to buy a new camping pillow, good support and comfort are most important to consider. This determines how rested you are going to be in the morning. However, this isn’t something universal – what’s great for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you if we have different sleeping habits. In addition to this, portability, small size and light weight must be considered too (since we are talking about best camping pillows). Take a look.

Type

Three types of pillows are most commonly used on camping trips: compressible, inflatable and hybrid (a mix of the previous two). Depending on whether you like a softer or a firmer pillow, as well as how much space you have in your backpack, one type can prove to be a better choice over the other.

A compressible pillow is very similar to pillows we have at home. It can be filled with down or synthetic materials (like foam) and feels really nice and comfy when sleeping on it. However, it won’t give you top-notch support and you won’t be able to adjust it. While it does compress and fold down, the pack is larger than inflatable pillows. For this reason it’s often not the best choice if you are oriented toward saving space. On the other hand, it’s great if you’re looking for added comfort and have some extra space.

An inflatable pillow contains a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) bladder, which is inflated with air. There are several upsides to this. You can adjust firmness and height of your pillow by adding or releasing small amounts or air from your pillow (creating optimal support). Also, it’s flat when you deflate it so you can easily pack it very tight. In addition to the air bladder, there is another layer on top. It’s made from polyester, nylon or other material and used to make the pillow more comfortable and durable.

Finally, a hybrid pillow get’s good features from both of the previously mentioned types. It has an inflatable bladder, meaning you can adjust it to your liking and it doesn’t take up much space. Furthermore, it has a soft layer for increased comfort when sleeping. It was added as an improvement to the rough feel some inflatables have, which isn’t very appealing to users. This layer is usually made of foam, so it can be compressed really well.

Size And Shape

These are the factors which greatly influence the overall comfort. Your new pillow must be sufficient in size to keep your head in place and give it good support. However, it must remain small enough so it isn’t a burden to take with you. This is a balance manufacturers are looking for. As you had the opportunity to see, we featured both small and large pillows in our camping pillow reviews, so you have plenty of options.

When it comes to shape, many manufacturers design their products ergonomically. Whether we use a sleeping bag or sleep on a sleeping pad in a tent, we already have limited space. Properly shaped pillow will keep your head and neck in line with your spine, distributing pressure properly and allowing you to relax. So, it’s certainly a bonus to get an ergonomic pillow for camping.

Support

Your new pillow must give you proper support, otherwise you might as well be sleeping on a pile of clothes, there won’t be any difference. Not all of us sleep in the same position – some sleep on their backs, others on their stomachs while some sleep on their side. If you are a stomach sleeper, your head doesn’t require much support to keep it in proper position. Because of this, stomach sleepers need and often use a thin pillow.

On the other hand, side sleepers need a thick pillow so their neck is in a straight line and their head doesn’t hang. If you are in the third group (back sleepers), you need something in between for good support – neither too thin nor too thick. These are general guidelines, but it still comes down to what your personal preferences are.

Weight

All camping pillows are designed with weight in mind. You will probably be bringing a camping tent and other equipment which will already weigh you down, and you don’t want a pillow contributing to that any more than it needs to. Manufacturers are oriented towards making the lightest pillow possible which will still have all the features we mentioned. Inflatable camping pillows are generally very light, while non-inflatable products like down or foam-filled pillows can be a bit heavier depending on their size. If you’re going RV or car camping, this really won’t be a problem. However, if you’re looking for the best backpacking pillow at the same time, weight must be considered.

Material

Manufacturers use various materials when making these products, to make them more durable and comfortable. Natural materials (cotton, flannel) in combination with down camping pillows have the highest level of comfort and breathability. This is a big plus if you get hot and sweaty when you sleep – it will make you night much better. On the other hand, inflatable pillows won’t allow any air circulation. However, they often come with some type of material (cotton, microfiber, polyester or other) on top to increase comfort.

Ease of Use

As we mentioned, it should seamlessly fit it your backpack. Many of these pillows are similarly sized to a soda can. When you decide to unfold them, you should do so with ease. Compressible pillows should open and fluff up mostly on their own (with a little help). Inflatable pillows should have a high-quality valve which will allow you to blow the pillow up quickly and hold the air inside without leaking. Some valves allow you to release small amounts of air to finely adjust firmness.

When it’s time to go home, you should be able to pack your pillow quickly – whether it’s rolling and compressing your pillow back into the sack, or releasing the air out before you fold it. If you are concerned about this, you should take a look at user experiences and see how the pillow performed.

FAQs

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Q: How To Wash A Camping Pillow?

A: Pillow hygiene is very important. You need to clean it from time to time to keep it safe for use, and avoid bad smells from dirt and sweat. Washing depends on the type of pillow you get. If you have a compressible foam-filled pillow, there is a large chance it’s perfectly safe to be put in a machine. Some manufacturers even recommend washing in a machine and drying in a dryer because the pillow gets even fluffier afterwards. However, be sure to always check the label.

If you have an inflatable pillow, the process is a bit different. Your pillow may come with a case which can be taken off and put into the washer without problem. It’s not recommended to put the pillow itself into a machine because the air bladder can get damaged. In that case it’s best to wash it by hand. Use warm water and a mild detergent, scrub it, rinse it with clean water and leave in the air to dry before storing it.

Q: How To Store A Camping Pillow?

A: Make sure your pillow is completely dry when storing it, whether you’ve just washed it or after using it, because you want to avoid mold and bad smells. Similar to sleeping bag storage, it’s best that you don’t fold your pillow tightly, but leave it unfolded. If you have an inflatable, you can also leave the valve open. Be sure to save the instruction manual and follow the instructions on storage (if there are any), so the product can last for many years.

Q: Are Camping Pillows And Travel Pillows The Same?

A: These are very similar, and many people consider them to be the same. However, there are some minor differences. For example, pillows made specially for travel are often smaller. They can also have a different ergonomic shape for proper neck support, because they are mainly used for sleeping in a sitting position. Anyway, these differences aren’t that significant and you should use the pillow you like. We featured several products in our list which can be used for any occasion – camping, backpacking or traveling.

Q: What Are The Advantages Of A Camping Pillow?

A: Compared to sleeping without a pillow there are numerous advantages. You will fall asleep easier, get a pleasant sleep during the night and wake up well rested in the morning. A combination of the best backpacking pillow and a good sleeping pad will prevent an aching body and keep you energized for all the things you plan on doing.

Globo Surf Overview

A camping pillow can make a big difference in your sleeping experience while outdoors. While it often isn’t top of the list, it’s an excellent addition to your camping gear. As we discussed, pillows come with different design features to match your sleeping preferences, so we’re sure you’ll be able to find the right one. It also makes a great gift for camping enthusiasts, if you’re wondering what to get for your camper friend or family member. Considering that camping pillows aren’t overly expensive either, you should definitely give them a try – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Have you tried a camping pillow that made it onto our list? Is it comfortable to sleep on? Is it compact and easy to take with you? What about durability? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.

Globo Surf Camping Pillows Reviews

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My wife got me the Ultralight Inflating Travel/Camping Pillows by Trekology after I constantly complained about my back pain after every camping trip. The pillow is very small and takes very little space but once in use it gives excellent support.

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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!