The Best Backpacking Pillows in 2021 (Reviewed & Compared)

For Your Next Camping or Hiking Trip in 2021

February 26, 2021

Whether you’re planning to go on a solitary hike to nourish your soul or you’re organizing a camping trip with your best buds, you’ll want to find the best backpacking pillow for your needs. In this comprehensive review, we compiled a list of the top favorites you won’t want to leave home without next time you’re in the mountains. Besides that, you’ll learn a thing or two about how to select the right backpacking pillow for your specific needs.

So sit back and keep on reading to find out what our top picks are for the highest-quality backpacking pillows on the market.

Our Top Three Picks

Company
Features
Overall Score
Best Backpacking Pillow - Nemo Review
Best Backpacking Pillow in 2021
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    Lightweight

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    Easy to inflate

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    Soft, jersey-blend covers

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    Easy to clean

Best Backpacking Pillow - Therm-a-Rest Review
Best Budget-Friendly Camping Pillow
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    Light as a feather

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    Fits anywhere

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    Soft face fabric

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    Inexpensive

Best Backpacking Pillow - Sea to Summit Review
Best for Stomach Sleepers
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    Soft, yet durable

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    Ultralight

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    Pillow lock system prevents slipping during the night

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    Curved stability baffles will cradle the head

Best Backpacking Pillow - Sierra Designs Review
Best Backpacking Pillow for Side Sleepers
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    Light and practical

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    Very comfortable

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    Doesn’t move during the night

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    Made from the highest-quality materials

Best Backpacking Pillow - Teton Review
Best for Sitting
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    Durable

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    Versatile

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    Quickly inflates and deflates

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    Free lifetime warranty

Best Backpacking Pillow - Klymit Review
Best Neck Pillow
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    Lightweight

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    Easy to inflate and deflate

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    Soft polyester material

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    You get a lifetime warranty

Best Backpacking Pillow - Zpacks Review
Best Lightweight Backpacking Pillow
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    Ultrasoft

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    Very light

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    Made in the US

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    2-year warranty

Best Backpacking Pillow - Big Agnes Review
Best Pillow with Antimicrobial Properties
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    Ergonomic shape ensures comfort

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    Lightweight

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    Puncture resistant

Best Backpacking Pillow - Western Mountineering Review
Best Down Pillow
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    Comes with a built-in stuff sack

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    Versatile

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    Lightweight

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    Provides neck support

Best Backpacking Pillow - Cocoon Review
Best Pillow for a Sleeping Bag Hood
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    Anti-microbial

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    Compact (smaller than your fist when packed up)

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    Can be used in cool and hot sleeping conditions

Backpacking Pillow Reviews

NEMO Fillo Elite Ultralight Backpacking Pillow Review

Best Backpacking Pillow - NEMO Fillo Elite Ultralight Backpacking Pillow Review
  • Best Backpacking Pillow

  • Weight: 2.8 oz

  • Type: Hybrid

  • NEMO Lifetime Warranty

  • Price: $44.95

PROS :
  • Lightweight

  • Easy to inflate

  • Soft, jersey-blend cover

  • Comes with its own stuff sack

  • Easy to clean

CONS :
  • Lack of user reviews on the official website

Our pick of the best of the best backpacking pillows in 2021 is much like the flagship Fillo Elite, though this one is significantly lighter and smaller than the original. 

The Fillo Elite Ultralight is designed with a 100% Post-Consumer Recycled Primaloft insulation layer for extra cushioning, a 3″ I-beam baffled air cell, and a jersey cover. This popular backpacking pillow is easy to inflate and simple to wash in a machine. With your purchase, you’ll also receive an internal stuff sack, as well as NEMO’s lifetime warranty.

According to many backpacking pillow reviews, this is an excellent pillow not only for backpacking adventures, but also for smaller travel trips, sleeping on an airplane, and giving your lumbar the support it needs. For more options, you can take a look at our top list of travel pillows.

Therm-a-Rest Trekker Pillow Case Review

Best Backpacking Pillow - Therm-a-Rest Trekker Pillow Case Review
  • Best Camping Pillow for a Low Budget

  • Weight: 2.3 oz

  • Type: Pillowcase

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Price: $12.95

Rating 9.7

Get the Best Deal
PROS :
  • Light as a feather

  • Fits into your pocket

  • Soft face fabric

  • Inexpensive

CONS :
  • Some users claim that the official website’s descriptions are a bit misleading (it’s not a stuffable pillow, but a pillowcase you can stuff)

The Trekker Pillow Case is a compact, practical, and extra-light camping pillowcase that you can stuff with soft materials to give you the ultimate comfort you need. 

Its exterior is covered with brushed polyester, which makes it even softer when pressed next to your face. This pillowcase is light as a feather and is ideal for travelers and hikers looking for a minimal-weight option. Since it measures 14″ x 17″ and weighs only 2.3 ounces, it will easily fit in a shirt pocket.

Many customers believe this to be the best travel pillow for backpacking, calling it the ultimate must-have for every nature enthusiast.

Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow Review

Best Backpacking Pillow - Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow Review
  • Best Backpacking Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

  • Weight: 2.1 oz

  • Type: Inflatable

  • Lifetime guarantee

  • Free shipping on orders over $50.00

  • Price: $39.95–$44.95

Rating 9.9

Get the Best Deal
PROS :
  • Soft, yet durable

  • Ultralight

  • Pillow Lock system prevents slipping during the night

  • Curved stability baffles will cradle the head

CONS :
  • Not machine-washable

The Aeros Ultralight Pillow comes in two sizes, a regular and a large one, and there are three attractive colors to choose from. This premium inflatable backpacking pillow features an ultra-soft 20-denier stretch polyester exterior and a sound-proof TPU air bladder for comfort and extra support. 

Reviews of the best lightweight backpacking pillows note that the inflation, customization, and deflation takes only a few seconds due to the innovative patent-pending mini valve. More recently, Sea to Summit updated this bestseller to be compatible with its one-of-a-kind Pillow Lock system.

So if you’re looking for a good backpacking pillow, reviews confirm that this is a durable and strong choice, not to mention a comfortable one. Due to its incredible softness, we believe it’s just right for stomach sleepers. Not only that, but users also praise Sea to Summit for being very responsive to customer questions and inquiries.

Sierra Designs Animas Pillow Review

Best Backpacking Pillow - Sierra Designs Animas Pillow Review
  • Best for Side Sleepers

  • Weight: 2.1 oz

  • Type: Inflatable

  • Limited warranty policy

  • Free shipping on orders over $49.00

  • Price: $24.95

Rating 9.9

Get the Best Deal
PROS :
  • Light and practical

  • Very comfortable

  • Siliconized print keeps pillow in place

  • Made from the highest-quality materials

CONS :
  • Only ships to the US

According to the company, the Animas Pillow is the “lightest weight, most comfortable pillow for sleeping outside.” We completely agree, and here’s why: This is a small, practical backpacking pillow with an ergonomic shape for added comfort. Thanks to its trendy siliconized print on the bottom, the pillow stays in place the whole night. With this in mind, we believe this is a good option for restless sleepers and side sleepers.

Another reason this is practically the best inflatable backpacking pillow: the 20D polyester fabric feels amazing against your face. The fact that Sierra Designs also includes a storage bag is an added bonus. However, the product isn’t available for international shipping.

TETON Sports ComfortLite Self Inflating Cushion Review

Best Backpacking Pillow - TETON Sports ComfortLite Self Inflating Cushion Review
  • Best Camping Pillow for Sitting

  • Weight: 6 oz

  • Type: Self-inflating cushion

  • Free lifetime warranty

  • Free shipping on orders over $49.00

  • Price: $18.99

Rating 9.8

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PROS :
  • Durable

  • Versatile

  • Added stuff sack with drawstring closure

  • Quickly inflates and deflates

CONS :
  • Heavier than other backpacking pillows on our list

Our next pick is heavier than the other options on this list, but it’s still a worthwhile mention thanks to its excellent quality. TETON Sports’ ComfortLite Self Inflating Cushion is described as a cushion for multiple-purpose sitting. 

Reviews of the best backpacking pillows and pads claim that this self-inflating pad is ideal for camping or even as a comfortable cushion to use perhaps while attending an athletic event or outdoor concert. It features a slip-resistant, heavy-duty base that keeps the cushion secure and a soft, yet durable microfiber top. Not only that, but it inflates and deflates very quickly.

As a bonus, you receive a free lifetime warranty for this product, just in case, as well as a stuff sack with a drawstring closure.

Klymit Pillow X Review

Best Backpacking Pillow - Klymit Pillow X Review
  • Best Neck Pillow for Backpacking

  • Weight: 1.95 oz

  • Type: Inflatable

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Free standard shipping on orders over $50.00

  • Price: $24.95

Rating 9.7

Get the Best Deal
PROS :
  • Lightweight

  • Easy to inflate and deflate

  • Soft polyester material

CONS :
  • The X-shape may be slightly uncomfortable for some sleepers

Klymit’s bestseller, the Pillow X, is a light, high-quality pillow that’s about the size of an average lighter when packed. Due to its innovative “X Design,” you receive superior head support and comfort throughout the night. 

The best light backpacking pillow for added neck support, it’s available in two attractive colors. And for those who like to customize their sleep environment, it can be adjusted for pressure and height. The 30D polyester face material makes it ultra soft when pressed against your delicate skin.

Customers rave about how compact and light this backpacking pillow is, and the majority of buyers recommend it for hiking or other adventures where you don’t want to carry too much heavy stuff. The only complaint we came across was from one user who claimed that the X can be slightly uncomfortable in certain spots.

Zpacks Medium Pillow Review

Best Backpacking Pillow - Zpacks Medium Pillow Review
  • Best Lightweight Pillow

  • Weight: 1.4 oz

  • Type: Compressible

  • Two-year limited warranty

  • Free US shipping on orders over $100.00

  • Price: $35.00

PROS :
  • Ultrasoft

  • Very light

  • Made in the US

CONS :
  • Can be a bit loud

Zpacks’ best ultralight backpacking pillow combines the ultimate comfort of a pillow with the functionality of a dry sack. This backpacking pillow is made in the United States, and it comes with a two-year limited warranty against any defects in the workmanship and materials. 

This ultra-comfy backpacking pillow features soft micro fleece on one half of the inside, letting you turn the dry bag inside out before packing it with your extra clothes. The top portion of the lightweight Medium Pillow seals with hardened velcro, making it easy to close and roll. 

Overall, users are satisfied with their purchase of nearly the lightest backpacking pillow on the market and would buy this item again. Nevertheless, one customer claimed that this backpacking pillow is a bit crinkly and loud when you lie on it.

Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow Review

Best Backpacking Pillow - Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow Review
  • Best Inflatable Pillow for Backpacking With Antimicrobial Properties

  • Weight: 1.6 oz

  • Type: Inflatable

  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

  • Free shipping on orders over $50.00

  • Price: $39.95

Rating 9.8

Get the Best Deal
PROS :
  • Antimicrobial materials used

  • Practically the most comfortable backpacking pillow thanks to its ergonomic shape

  • Lightweight

  • Puncture resistant

CONS :
  • Seams may come undone

According to Big Agnes, the AXL Air Pillow is a comfortable camp pillow that even Goldilocks would approve of. One of the main features of this quality backpacking pillow is the micro-release button that allows you to fully customize the plushness level to your personal liking. 

As we searched for the best backpacking pillow in our review, we examined each product’s thickness and comfort. We’re glad to say that Big Agnes’ AXL Air Pillow is just the right thickness for a night of restful sleep. The stretch nylon feels very comfortable, and it’s also puncture resistant. Best of all, since the material is antimicrobial, you don’t need to worry about nasty odor-causing bacteria.

According to positive customer reviews, this is a light, tiny backpacking pillow with the perfect ergonomic shape for ultimate comfort throughout the whole night. However, according to one user, the seam came undone quickly. Since the customer service is very responsive, we believe this issue was dealt with in a timely manner. 

Western Mountaineering Cloudrest Down Pillow Review

Western Mountaineering Cloudrest Down Pillow Review
  • Best Down Backpacking Pillow

  • Weight: 5 oz

  • Type: Compressible

  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

  • Free shipping Price: $70.00

Rating 9.9

Get the Best Deal
PROS :
  • Comes with a built-in stuff sack

  • Versatile

  • Lightweight

  • Provides neck support

CONS :
  • Not budget-friendly

Western Mountaineering’s Cloudrest Down Pillow is expensive but well worth the price. This lightweight hiking and camping pillow features a built-in stuff sack that lets you compress the pillow down. 

This pillow weighs 5 oz, and to ensure ultimate softness, it’s filled with 800 power goose down, the most luxurious pillow filler. Not only that, but this will be one of the comfiest backpacking pillows you’ll find. Best of all, this is a versatile product; you can take it with you camping, hiking, and even on an airplane flight.

Overall, customers would purchase this item again. Many praise the Cloudrest Down Pillow for being lightweight, yet supportive. The only downside we can think of is its high price point.

Cocoon Sleeping Bag Hood Pillow Review

Best Backpacking Pillow - Cocoon Sleeping Bag Hood Pillow Review
  • Best for a Sleeping Bag Hood

  • Weight: 3.8 oz

  • Type: Inflatable

  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

  • Free shipping on orders over $50.00

  • Price: $28.95

Rating 9.7

Get the Best Deal
PROS :
  • Can be taken anywhere

  • Antimicrobial

  • Compact (smaller than your fist when packed up)

  • Can be used in cool and hot sleeping conditions

CONS :
  • Not puncture-proof

Cocoon’s Sleeping Bag Hood is a traditional, inflatable pillow filled with synthetic fibers. This exclusive compressible backpacking pillow is made from polyester microfiber and 20-denier nylon, making it anti-microbial and soft to the touch. 

Since its design is very versatile, you can easily fit it into the hood of a mummy bag, or use it any way you want. Best of all, you can completely customize your sleep experience depending on the weather! This means you can rest on the cozy microfiber side on chilly nights, or if you’re a fan of cooling pillows, there’s the micro-ripstop nylon side for when it’s too warm.

According to reviews of the top-rated backpacking pillows, the one-of-a-kind baffle design—which features a pocket to cradle the head—delivers extra comfort. Many even state that the Sleeping Bag Hood Pillow is the best they’ve ever tried. On the flip side, a few customers said that this pillow can be easily punctured.

Finding the Top Backpacking Pillows

– A Buyer’s Guide –

Now that we’ve covered which items we recommend, it’s time to explain what you should be looking for when shopping for the right backpacking pillow for you. We’ll briefly go through the different types of backpacking pillows, and then we’ll discuss what else you need to consider when making a purchase.

A Backpacking Pillow Comparison Between the Main Types Available

Backpacking pillows can be placed in one of the three following categories: compressibles, inflatables, and hybrids.

Compressible pillows are typically filled with different synthetic fibers and foams (or a combination of both). These pillows are extremely comfortable, and you can use them right when you unpack them. However, the downside to compressibles is that they’re bulky and heavier than other types of backpacking pillows. If you still choose to go for a compressible pillow, get one with down feathers, as these are the softest.

Inflatables need to be inflated before you can use them. We love inflatables, as you can see from our backpacking pillow review. You can either self-inflate these by blowing them up or auto-inflate them by opening a valve and allowing the pillow to expand. The good thing about inflatables is that you can customize the level of comfort. 

Furthermore, inflatable camping pillows are the lightest and possibly the most practical to take with you on the road. On the flip side, they may be noisy when you move around in your sleep, and they also tend to be stiffer than other options.

Hybrids are a blend of compressibles and inflatables. Hybrid backpacking pillows are comfortable and fluffy, but their inflatable bottom is supportive. On the downside, they aren’t as light as an inflatable pillow.

You can always opt for a quality pillowcase—although they aren’t backpacking pillows per se. According to the reviews of backpacking pillows, it’s best to pack these pillowcases with your clothes. Plus, they’re typically much cheaper than other options. Also, there’s zero risk of a puncture. 

On the flip side, a pillowcase’s level of support and comfort depends on the amount of clothing and materials you stuff into it. For instance, if you don’t have enough clothes with you, you may end up with an uncomfortable pillowcase.

What Is the Best Backpacking Pillow? Important Aspects to Consider

The Face Fabric

Manufacturers tend to use different face fabrics on their backpacking pillows. Generally, the most comfortable face fabric is either fleece or brushed polyester, whereas ripstop nylon is less comfy.

We highly recommend avoiding ripstop nylon if you’re a heavy nighttime drooler. Ripstop nylon as a face fabric is sticky and slippery, meaning it will probably cause a big mess. Additionally, similar fabrics like rayon should also be avoided.

The Size and Weight

Keep in mind, the thinner and smaller the best backpacking pillow for you is, the more packable and lighter it tends to be. 

However, if the pillow is too thin or too narrow, it won’t give you enough support. The majority of people should be good with a backpacking pillow that’s around 13″–15″ wide (you’ll want wider if you’re a restless sleeper). As for the height, we recommend stomach sleepers go for a thinner pillow, while side and back sleepers choose a pillow with more loft and support.

If you’re looking for the lightest option, you’ll want to consider the best inflatable backpacking pillow. Typically, you don’t want to add anything to your backpack that’s over 3 oz.

Durability

Durability is guaranteed with each and every product in our backpacking pillows review. Of course, remember that there’s a slight risk of inflatables being punctured or having leaky valves. Although this may happen to you, the good news is that the majority of manufacturers will provide you with a replacement or make a repair.

Keeping It Clean

Finally, the best backpacking pillows should be easy to clean and keep fresh. Fortunately, all three types of the backpacking pillows on our list are very easy to maintain and clean. We recommend using a detergent or soap to wash your pillow by hand and then leaving it out to air dry.

Wrapping Up

All in all, the best backpacking pillow for you will make a huge difference between just surviving the night and sleeping like a baby. Remember, no matter which backpacking pillow you choose from our list, you’re guaranteed to wake up more rested and ready for another day of exploring nature.

FAQs

Do you need a pillow for a sleeping bag?

Again, this depends on how you like to sleep and how important comfort is to you. If you were to ask us, we would definitely bring a pillow with us for some added comfort. 

What kind of pillow should I use for backpacking?

The answer to this question is simple: it depends entirely on you! If you’re searching for a light backpacking pillow, then definitely go for an inflatable one, but if you prefer comfort and support over all else, then we suggest a hybrid. To get a better idea, check out our detailed reviews on the best backpacking pillow above.