Never underestimate what a good night's sleep can do for you. When you are camping or travelling, you need to be on top form to make the most of your day, and it all starts with a quality night's sleep. Of course, when you are trekking, you will want to maximise as much space in your backpack as you possibly can, and a bulky pillow is not a good use of space. However, camping pillows are not what they used to be, so now you don't need to trade comfort for space.
Camping pillows are specifically made to be compact, yet provide good support to ensure you get proper rest - especially if you're going to be camping for several nights. The support that a decent pillow and camping mat can offer your neck, head and spine will serve to align your body during sleep, and therefore improve your recuperation and give you more energy to tackle the day.
These pillows have come leaps and bounds over the years and are no longer air-tight sacks of stale breath. The new contemporary designs are made with thought and can fold down to the size of a lime without compromising on comfort. There are even options that are similar to ‘real’ pillows, with a memory foam filling and comfortable lining, so you don't need to fret about being poorly rested during your trip.
Here are our top picks for the best camping pillows on the market today:
The best camping pillows 2021
Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.
Therm-a-rest Compressible Pillow
This handy travel companion offers excellent comfort and support but folds down small enough to fit in your pack. The Therm-a-rest Compressible Pillow offers all the luxuries without being bulky for example the medium pillow rolls to the size of a 1-litre water bottle and measures 36cm long, 46cm wide, and 10cm deep was plumped into a pillow. It is also made with foam offcuts, up-cycled from the manufacturing process of the equally impressive Therm-a-rest ProLite sleeping mat. The brushed polyester outer is soft and made from 60% recycled materials. If you are looking for a sustainable, supportive and compact option then this would be an excellent choice for you.
Pros: Environmentally responsible, lightweight, very comfortable, fully machine washable
Cons: Some options will pack up to a smaller size
Size: 46 x 36 x 10cm
Weight: 260g (Medium)
Machine washable: Yes
Cabin Max Memory Foam Travel Pillow
If you have a car, are camping somewhere for several days or are on the hunt for a general travel pillow, then this memory foam pillow with a washable cotton cover provides ideal comfort and support while flying, camping, and travelling. It is created with ergonomic memory foam, which adapts to fit your neck and head, while the durable open-cell memory foam makes it a durable and long-term option. Additionally, It comes in a practical travel bag, which rolls up to a convenient 10 x 22cm size.
Pros: Comfortable and supportive
Cons: Large, heavy, not fully machine washable
Size: 42 x 25 x 7cm
Machine washable: Yes (cover only)
Fillo Elite Ultralight Backpacking Pillow
This award-winning pillow offers backpackers a little extra luxury after a long trek without the added bulk. Once folded into the integrated stuff sack it comes to the size of a lime and needs only a little air to fill it up 8cm deep. The pillow itself uses a three-layer foam system and a jersey cover so you can expect a soft and supportive place to rest your head.
Pros: Lightweight, low-profile
Cons: Expensive, not fully machine washable
Size: 39 x 27 x 8cm
Weight: 80 g
Machine washable: Yes (cover only)
OEX Traverse Self-Inflating Pillow
OEX's self-inflating mechanism is operated and pumps up the pillow to provide good all-night support without deflating. This pillow is a great size, measuring 36 x 8cm when fully inflated, and compact and portable when packed away into its 19 x 8cm bag. In terms of the fabric, it is made with a suede finish and is soft to the touch.
Pros: Extremely lightweight and compact
Cons: Not overly comfortable, between build qualities available
Size: 36 x 19 x 8cm
Exped Air Pillow
Exped is a tested and trusted expedition brand, so you can expect the same quality as its highly-rated dry bags. The pillow is made with 50D nylon which will keep it puncture-free while remaining comfortable. In terms of size, the pillow when fully filled up measures 38 x 27 x 11cm in size, allowing for a night of great sleep. When packed up, it comes to 12 x 5cm – a good size for anyone looking to minimise space and maximise comfort.
Pros: Extremely portable, lightweight, robust, easily stored
Cons: Air inflated, not overly comfortable compared to other options
Size: 38 x 27 x 11cm
Machine washable: No, wipe clean
Our overall top pick is the Therm-a-rest’s Compressible Pillow due to how compact and comfortable it is and at a reasonable price for what you get.
For trekkers and backpackers, you may want to consider an inflatable pillow as it takes next to no room in your pack. However, if you are setting up camp near your car or in a location for several days, the memory foam options would be a good pick. They are also still portable; they are just a bit bulkier.
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