The Best Camping Pillows in 2021

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Looking for a quality camping pillow to help you get a good night’s sleep?

Perfect, because we’re ready to help.

Camping pillows are a must if you’re looking to catch some Z’s while sleeping under the stars. These nifty little pieces of gear can make a world of difference in your ability to sleep comfortably, but it can be tricky to find just one because there are so many options to choose from.

Here are three features that make for a fantastic camping pillow :

  • Supportive. A good camping pillow should provide ample neck and head support.
  • Compact. These pillows should be able to pack down to just a fraction of their set-up size for transport.
  • Lightweight. The best camping pillows should weigh less than 1lb (450g).

Read More : 4 Things to Know Before Buying Camping Pillows

We understand how difficult it can be to decide on a pillow for your upcoming camping trip in the wilderness, which is why you’re on the right page.

Our top picks

Here’s a quick summary of all our favorite camping pillows. Read on for more details.

For Budget Minded : Teton Sports ComfortLite Pillow
“An affordable option for car camping trips.”

Best Value : Sierra Designs Dridown Pillow
“Can be a fluffy, luxurious camp pillow, or a lightweight backpacking sleep system.”

Best Comfort : NEMO Fillo Pillow
“One of the first models ever that effectively combines comfort, portability, and weight savings.”

Best for Backpacking : Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow
“Designed with thru-hikers in mind.”

Best for Side Sleepers : REI Co-Op Camp Dreamer Pillow
“Designed to provide a good mix of comfort and functionality.”

Best for Back Sleepers : Therm-A-Rest Lumbar Pillow
“Purpose-built lumbar pillow to provide maximum comfort.”

Best Compact Sized : Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow
“Takes comfort and portability to a whole new level.”

Best for Car Camping : Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
“Capable of providing a sleeping experience that’s similar to what you’d get at home.”

Best for Chilly Nights : Exped Down Pillow
“Jam-packed with a thick layer of down insulation.”

Best for Hammock Use : Kammok Puffin Pillow
“A curved, scalloped bottom edge that provides ample neck and head support as you snooze.”

Teton Sports ComfortLite Pillow

TETON Sports ComfortLite Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : TETON Sports
  • Size : 18” x 10”
  • Weight : 12oz / 340g

Budget-friendly to the core, the Teton Sports ComfortLite Pillow is the best camping pillow when it comes to affordability.

Made with self-inflating technology, this pillow simply needs to be unpacked from its included stuff sack to start inflating. It also comes with an easy-to-use valve, which allows you to adjust the pillow to your desired firmness.

The Teton Sports ComfortLite Pillow is built with a stretch microfiber fabric topper, which provides a super soft surface area for sleeping. It also has a non-slip grip base that helps prevent it from sliding around on your sleeping pad at night.

What We Like

  • Affordable. A great option for budget-conscious campers.
  • Soft fleece topper is comfortable to sleep on.
  • Non-slip grip on base for added convenience while sleeping.

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy and bulky. Too big to be used as a backpacking pillow.

Sierra Designs Dridown Pillow

Sierra Designs Dridown Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : Sierra Designs
  • Size : 13” x 9”
  • Weight : 5.5oz / 156g

Versatility meets functionality with the Sierra Designs Dridown Pillow. Crafted with a multi-functional design, this pillow can be a fluffy, luxurious camp pillow, or a lightweight backpacking sleep system based on your needs.

This pillow comes with a plush down-filled topper that weighs just 2.7oz (77g) and can be used on its own while you’re backpacking. All you need to do is fill the topper up with your spare clothing to create a cozy pillow for snoozing.

Alternatively, if you’re okay with a bit of extra weight and bulk, the Sierra Designs Dridown Pillow also comes with a removable synthetic-filled insert that can be placed in the topper for home-like comfort.

What We Like

  • Versatile. Can be a compressible or stuff sack pillow.
  • Affordable. Budget-friendly price tag for campers.

What We Don't Like

  • Bulky packed size. Storage bag is 9” x 4”.

NEMO Fillo Pillow

NEMO Fillo Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : NEMO
  • Size : 17” x 11”
  • Weight : 9.2oz / 260g

Nemo’s award-winning Fillo Pillow made waves in the industry when it was first introduced. That’s because it’s one of the first models ever that effectively combines comfort, portability, and weight savings in one package.

As an inflatable pillow, this model packs down to 6”x4” in its integrated stuff sack. It also provides plenty of neck support through its I-Beam baffled air cell construction and luxurious foam padding.

But, unlike many other high-end backpacking pillows on the market, the Nemo Fillo Pillow also comes with a fully removable pillow cover that’s machine washable for easy clean-up after your adventures.

What We Like

  • Exceptionally comfortable. Includes foam padding for added comfort.
  • Machine washable. Has a removable pillow cover for cleaning.
  • Neck support thanks to baffled air cell construction.

What We Don't Like

  • No attachment system. Often slides around on sleeping pads.

Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow

Big Agnes AXL Air Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : Big Agnes
  • Size : 16” x 10”
  • Weight : 1.6oz / 45g

If packability is your primary concern, the Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow might be what you’re looking for.

Designed with thru-hikers in mind, this pillow has an industry-leading 1.6oz (45g) total weight, making it one of the most portable on the market. This lightweight is due to the pillow’s minimalistic I-Beam construction, which allows it to inflate and deflate with ease.

Plus, the Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow has antimicrobial treatment built into the air bladder to prevent mold and mildew. It’s also designed with heat reflective technology to help you stay warm on chilly nights.

What We Like

  • Lightweight. One of the most portable options available.
  • Antimicrobial treatment prevents mold growth.
  • Heat reflective technology for added warmth.

What We Don't Like

  • Not machine washable. Can be tricky to clean.
  • Reduced comfort due to plastic-like nylon shell fabric.

REI Co-Op Dreamer Pillow

REI Co-op Camp Dreamer Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : REI
  • Size : 14” x 9”
  • Weight : 6.1oz / 173g

Designed to provide a good mix of comfort and functionality, the REI Co-Op Dreamer Pillow is ideal to bring along for car camping where portability isn’t the primary concern.

When unpacked from its integrated stuff sack, this pillow instantly starts to expand to its full size without the need for manual inflation, saving you time in camp. To allow you to get the right amount of firmness, you can easily adjust the inflation settings using the built-in hi-flow flat valve.

Finally, for next-to-skin comfort, the REI Co-Op Dreamer Pillow comes with an included quilted pillowcase that can be removed for machine washing.

What We Like

  • Machine washable. Includes an easy-to-remove pillowcase.
  • Instant inflation design makes set-up simple.
  • Adjustable firmness using the integrated valve.

What We Don't Like

  • Bulky packed size of 10” x 4” isn’t ideal as a backpacking pillow.

Therm-A-Rest Lumbar Pillow

Therm-A-Rest Lumbar Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : Therm-a-Rest
  • Size : 16” x 7”
  • Weight : 3.6oz / 102g

For campers with back pain, lumbar pillows are often a must-have item for sleeping comfortably. With the Therm-A-Rest Lumbar Pillow, long gone are the days of trying to create a make-shift back support out of your spare clothing.

This purpose-built lumbar pillow has a die-cut foam center and a self-inflating chamber to provide maximum comfort as you sleep. Plus, the pillow has a built-in valve so you can adjust the firmness to a more personalized level.

One of the best features of the Therm-A-Rest Lumbar Pillow is its weight savings. At just 3.6oz, it’s one of the lightest models on the market, which makes it an ideal choice weight to a minimum in their packs without sacrificing comfort.

What We Like

  • Lightweight for portability.
  • Self-inflating design can also be adjusted to the perfect firmness.

What We Don't Like

  • No stuff sack for transport.

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : Sea to Summit
  • Size : 13.4” x 9.4”
  • Weight : 2.7oz / 77g

Sea to Summit’s Aeros Premium Pillow takes comfort and portability to a whole new level.

Thanks to its curved internal baffles and scalloped bottom edge, this pillow manages to provide plentiful neck and head support for back sleepers. Its Aeros Premium construction design and 50D brushed polyester shell fabric also offers a good mix of comfort and softness as you sleep.

The Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow also manages to be highly portable due to its inflatable build and included stuff sack. Crafted with a multifunctional mini-valve, this pillow is easy to inflate, deflate, and adjust so you get the perfect amount of firmness, every time.

What We Like

  • Curved baffles provide a more natural sleeping experience.
  • Compact. Packs down to a tiny stuff sack.

What We Don't Like

  • Fairly expensive for a camping pillow.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : Therm-a-Rest
  • Size : 18” x 14”
  • Weight : 9oz / 255g

When it comes to home-like comfort, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible pillow is hard to beat.

In fact, due to a large amount of quality recycled foam filling inside this pillow, it’s capable of providing a sleeping experience that’s similar to what you’d get at home. It also has a soft brushed polyester cover that’s easy to wash by hand.

To increase its portability, Therm-a-Rest designed this pillow to quickly pack into its integrated stuff sack. While it’s still a bit bulky for backpacking trips, the Therma-Rest Compressible Pillow is a great option for car camping adventures where comfort is key.

What We Like

  • Home-like comfort thanks to compressible foam padding.
  • Soft to the touch brushed polyester covering for added coziness.
  • Recycled materials are environmentally friendly.

What We Don't Like

  • Bulky. Too large for most backpacking trips.

Exped Down Pillow

Exped Down Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : Exped
  • Size : 18.9” x 11.4”
  • Weight : 6.7oz / 190g

Few things beat the comfort of down insulation, and Exped’s Down Pillow proves just that. This inflatable pillow is jam-packed with a thick layer of down insulation for a bit of extra luxury and warmth when you’re outside.

It features an ergonomic shape that’s specifically designed to provide plentiful neck support while you sleep. Additionally, the pillow is also height adjustable, thanks to its combination valve that lets you find the perfect amount of inflation for your sleeping needs.

For ease of use, the Exped Down Pillow has a fully removable and machine washable 50D brushed tricot nylon covering so you can keep your gear clean and hygienic as you camp.

What We Like

  • Down insulation provides comfort and warmth.
  • Height adjustable for added comfort.
  • Machine washable removable pillow covering.

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive due to down insulation.

Kammok Puffin Pillow

Kammok Puffin Camping Pillows
Photo Credit : Kammok
  • Size : 17.5” x 10”
  • Weight : 2.9oz / 82g

Hammock campers often find that camping pillows just don’t work well for their needs because they slide around in the hammock. That’s where the Kammok Puffin Pillow comes into the picture.

This fully inflatable pillow features a micro-adjust twist valve to allow you to set it to your ideal firmness. Additionally, it has a curved, scalloped bottom edge that provides ample neck and head support as you snooze.

To top it all off, the Kammok Puffin Pillow features a velvet-esque cover fabric for next-to-skin comfort. It also has an included hammock accessory kit that allows it to stay securely in place at all times.

What We Like

  • Doesn’t slide around while you sleep in a hammock.
  • Adjustable firmness. The twist valve allows for fine-tuning of the pillow.
  • Scalloped shape provides ample neck support.

What We Don't Like

  • Not machine washable. Makes cleaning trickier.

Camping Pillows Buying Guide

With so many great camping pillows to choose from, it’s no wonder that it can be difficult to find the right model for your needs.

Up next, here are 4 key things about camping pillows to keep in mind as you shop.

Types of camping pillows

There are a whole lot of different types of camping pillows out there, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s how they perform in the real world :

  • Stuff sack pillows like the Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow, provide a comfortable outer shell that you can then fill up with your spare clothing for added padding. The main advantage of this type of pillow is that they tend to be fairly lightweight and portable. However, they usually aren’t as comfortable as some of the alternatives and they’re not very functional if you need to wear all your spare clothing to bed.
  • Inflatable air pillows such as the Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow, are popular choices among backpackers because they offer a decent amount of comfort in an exceptionally compact design. The drawback is that they don’t feel like a regular pillow, so they take some getting used to for most campers.
  • Compressible pillows such as the ENO ParaPillow, are packed full of foam or synthetic insulation. This allows them to mimic the comfort of your pillow at home when you’re outside. Of course, this added comfort comes at the expense of weight savings and packability, so they’re best for car camping trips where portability isn’t a top priority.
  • Hybrid pillows such as the Exped Down Pillow and NEMO Fillo Pillow combine the portability of a compressible pillow with the added comfort of a compressible alternative into one great package. As is expected, this type of pillow doesn’t excel in either portability or comfort, but it provides a happy middle ground for campers that don’t want to sacrifice either feature.

Sleeping style

Everyone sleeps differently, so it’s critical that you find a pillow that’s specifically designed to support your head and neck based on your sleep style.

Here’s what to look out for :

Back sleeper

In general, back sleepers tend to prefer pillows that have a curved or scalloped bottom, like the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow or the Kammok Puffin Pillow. This is because scalloped pillow bottoms help to place a camper’s neck in a more natural position for a better night’s sleep.

Alternatively, for back sleeping campers that have lower back pain and rely on a lumbar pillow either to prop up their knees or their back, models like the Therm-a-Rest Lumbar Pillow are often a good choice. These nifty little pillows can provide just the right amount of lumbar support, even in the wilderness.

Side sleeper

Side sleepers often struggle to find camping pillows that work well because they need a thick, firm pillow. Some models, like the REI Co-Op Camp Dreamer Pillow or the Teton Sports ComfortLite Self Inflating Pillow, which provide a lot of lofts are generally a good option for side sleepers.

Read More : How to Get A Good Night Sleep while Camping

Pillow materials

Camping pillows are made with some surprisingly complex materials. Here’s what you need to know :

  • Outer layers. For the sake of comfort, most camping pillows have a brushed polyester outer fabric, which provides a soft sleeping surface area. However, some, like the Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow, opt for a nylon fabric instead to save weight at the expense of comfort.
  • Inner layers. Most compressible models have either memory foam or synthetic fill material, which is soft, though not overwhelmingly packable. Inflatable pillows have baffled air chambers, which provide rigidity and neck support as you sleep. Some hybrid options, like the Exped Down Pillow, also have down insulation mixed into the air chambers for added comfort and insulation.

Pillow size and packability

Whether or not you need a highly packable camping pillow really depends on your style of camping.

Backpackers tend to prefer more packable models, like the Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow, which weighs well under 2oz (57g) and packs down to about the size of a small pill bottle.

In general, backpackers should opt for pillows that weigh less than 4oz (113g), pack down to under 4” x 6” (7.6cm x 15.2cm) and have an unpacked size of around 10” x 16” (25cm x 41cm) or less so they fit into a sleeping bag hood.

For car campers, less packable options with large unfolded surface areas, like the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow, work perfectly well and are often more comfortable. In these situations, weight is much less of a concern, so a pillow under 1lb (450g) is more than sufficient.

Moreover, packed size is less of a problem for car camping situations, so even a pillow with a packed size of 10 ”x 16” (25 x 41cm) or less would work just fine.

Read More : How to Pack Light for Your Next Camping Trip

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I wash my camping pillow?

If your pillow has a removable outer liner, simply take the liner off and place it in the washing machine on a gentle setting. Otherwise, spot-clean your pillow using a damp rag and non-detergent soap. 

Never machine dry your pillow – only air dry!

How do I keep my pillow from sliding on my sleeping pad?

Try placing your pillow inside your sleeping bag hood. Alternatively, some models have built-in grommets where you can attach a bungee cord that can then be strapped to your sleeping pad to stop everything from sliding around.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.