Choosing a camping pillow

by | Feb 22, 2024

Choosing a decent camping pillow can be the difference between a great night’s sleep or an uncomfortably sore neck, and whether you’re camping as part of an epic trek, or simply relaxing for a few nights under the stars, the right pillow can help you make the most of the next day. So what types of pillow are there and how do you choose?

  • The right camping pillow can make a big difference to your comfort.
  • Whether you are trekking or chilling, a good night’s sleep is important to make the most of your time away.
  • The different types of camping pillow available and how to choose.

The first thing to do when choosing a camping pillow is to decide what kind of camping you need it for. If you are going on a three-week epic adventure trek, you’ll obviously want something incredibly light that can be packed up as small as possible, whereas a pillow for weekend on a luxury site might not need to be quite so specific.

Then of course, there’s your budget. Many sports and leisure activities have a whole world of carefully engineered kit available and it’s easy to spend way more than you need to for your requirements, or possibly worse, spend way more than you need to on a pillow that doesn’t really fulfil your requirements. Likewise, you might not spend enough, end up with a pillow that doesn’t do the job for you, and have to spend again.

To get a good rest, your camping pillow and mattress should support your spine, neck and head so that your body is aligned during sleep – just like your pillow and mattress at home and they usually fall into one of two groups – compressible foam or inflatable.

Inflatable micro pillows can fold down smartly to the size of a small orange, have their own stuff sack, and although they can come in different sizes from small, to medium, to large, they are generally far lighter.

Some inflatables will be more comfortable than others as they may incorporate fleece padding and/or air baffles and they should still be reasonably compact when folded size, although they do fall at the heavier end of the inflatable camping pillow spectrum.

Look for added insulation if you are concerned about temperature and remember that the weight of the pillow should largely be dictated by the type of camping you are doing. You might, sensibly, want to go lighter and highly packable for trekking or go heavier and more comfort-focused for your favourite campsite weekend jaunts.

You also need to consider how important to you it is that your camping pillow uses ecofriendly materials and is recyclable at the end of its useful life.

There are lots of options out there so, think about what kind of camping you need it for, what really are the most important and sensible features for your needs, how important eco-friendliness is, and last but not least, your budget. Then do your research and once you’ve made your decision, shop around for the best deal you can get.

Your perfect pillow is out there…