Best Backpacking Pillows

Backpacking pillows like any other are not one-size-fits-all. Taking time to find the right fit is essential. After all, your comfort depends on it. Considering that it is just a pillow, you have to wonder what features or attributes make one pillow a better choice than another.

If you have made the decision to buy a backpacking pillow or you are considering the move but are not sure what to look out for when making the purchase, here is a quick checklist that you can refer to when considering the different products.

What Should You Look Out for When Choosing the Right Backpacking Pillow

When considering which backpacking pillow is best to buy, you should have two things ringing at the back of your mind – comfort and portability. You should not forget there is the aspect of personal preference and with so many options available, picking the right one could be difficult but, this little checklist will help.


For something that is going to add on to the total weight of the load on your back, there is no question that weight is going to be an issue. It might be a couple of ounces but on those long hikes and walks, it can feel like a ton.

Different backpacking pillows have different weights and based on the equipment that you already have in your bag, you can decide what weight is more acceptable for you but the lighter the better.


The size of the pillow is important for two reasons. The first, it dictates how much space the pillow will take up in your bag. Considering that you have other resources and tools to take on your trip, every inch of space counts. Second, the size will also dictate how much support the pillow is able to offer. You have to be careful not to save space on your bag but end up sacrificing support. You should pick a pillow that offers common ground. Just the right size for your bag and for your head to rest on.


The aim of getting a good backpacking pillow is to improve comfort while sleeping. If you buy a pillow that does not offer this, then you have short-changed yourself. A good backpacking pillow should offer comfort above all else and one way you can improve your chances of this experience is considering what you will be using the pillow for. For instance, a pillow that is ideal for long trips by air or road might not be the best when sleeping at a camping site.


The pillow will be exposed to harsh conditions and is constantly squeezed in the bag. The materials should be strong enough to withstand the strain of backpacking while at the same time remaining soft and comfortable when you use the pillow.



If you are the type of adventurer that sleeps in vehicles, planes, and buses then durability is not that of a big deal. But if you are going out camping all too often, then consider the materials used to build the backpack pillow and find out if they are long-lasting.

Long lasting pillows should be useful for a decent amount of time, before replacing it.

Price & Warranty

Money matters, although most of these backpacking pillows pretty much cost the same and are affordable. Consider these 3 aspects though.  If the pillow bought serves its purpose, comfortable and do these pillows satisfy my individual needs.

Find out the warranty given from the manufacturer as well.

Additional Features

Companies have added very many different features to their products each with different style and look. But when it comes to a simple item like a pillow, additional features does not imply the pillow functions any better. On the contrary, it may damage the main function of the backpacking pillow.

However some have improved the quality and purpose of the pillow for instance the self -inflating feature present in inflatable pillows. It saves the time of one inflating the pillow, which is cool.

The removable and washable outer layers of some pillows are magnificent to the user providing a clean surface to sleep in. Low profile valves, quality stuff sacks, and simple to carry loops all additionally enhance the nature of a pillow.

Types of backpacking pillow

There are many types of backpacking pillows and the best one depends on the intended use of the pillow. Here is quick run up of the different types of backpacking pillows and the applications they are made for.

Compressible pillows – these pillows are filled with either fiber, down, foam or synthetic mixtures. They are the most comfortable and softest of the options you can get in backpacking pillows and mimic the same experience as sleeping on your pillow at home. If weight is an issue, those filled with down are the lightest but, they also come at a premium price. With compressible pillows, you should be ready to give up more space and they also happen to be difficult to clean.

Inflatable pillows – they are often touted as the best option for backpacker because they are lightweight, compact, affordable and easy to clean. Because they are filled with air, you can adjust the thickness of the pillow easily by altering the amount of air in the pillow. While they are lightweight and cost less, they are typically noisier and offer less comfort.

Hybrid pillows – If you can’t choose which of the two between inflatable and compressible pillows, hybrid pillows offer you the choice of having both of them in one. On one side, they are compressible and on the other, they are inflatable which offers an interesting option for backpackers. The downside however is their bulky nature which takes up a lot more space.


Best Backpacking Pillows for  Explorers and Hikers


If you are in search of a lightweight hiking pillow then this one is for you. It is one of the lightest backpack pillows out there and packs really small. It provides general support, holding your head and offering great stability. However, most of its outer casing is made of nylon, which some find uncomfortable.

It’s a budget-friendly, super minimized backpack pillow for ultralight explorers and climbers.


  • It packs really small.
  • It is lightweight.


  • Some find it uncomfortable.
  • It is noisy and a bit stiff.

Best Backpacking Pillow for Campers, Travelers and short trips


This is a hybrid pillow of a combination of an air pillow, foam topper and a soft tricot cover with a valve system that is built to inflate and deflate quickly and easily. For those that like thick pillows EXPED REM tops the list. It provides comfort at a lower weight, but it is slightly bigger to pack.


  • It is rather lightweight for a hybrid pillow
  • Comfortable especially for back and side sleepers


  • It has been found to be noisy.

Best Backpacking Pillows for campers and lengthy trips


As its name suggests, this premium pillow is adorned by an outer lined knit of polyester. In addition to the fact that it is comfortable, it’s made of quality fabric. This keeps your face dry and comfortable while you’re resting.

It comes in various sizes. If you happen to be the type that rolls off an inflatable pillow because it is a bit too small, then this is the best option for you as there is a larger pillow available. It has this very chic design that is appealing to the eye.


  • It is very comfortable
  • It comes in multiple sizes
  • It is easy to blow up.
  • It is packable and light.


  • Some find it to be a bit pricey

Best backpacking pillow for excursions and outdoor camping


The Nemo Fillo is a rectangular shaped backpack pillow that boasts of comfort and versatility. It is the most preferred by many customers. You can regulate how much air you need in the pillow to determine your chosen thickness. It is adjustable to how one is sleeping whether lying down or sitting upright. It is padded with extra foam for maximum comfort especially for back and side sleepers.


  • It is super comfy as it a hybrid pillow.
  • It packs pretty small.
  • It is adjustable to ones preferred thickness


  • It is a bit bulky than most pillows


Our best pick is the Nemo Fillo as we find it a befitting bargain, yet it serves its purpose to the fullest. With its self-inflating features, moderate size, and a great price this is a good pick for numerous reasons, one being saving some coins.

Picking a backpacking pillow for your camping, traveling and excursion needs make this backpack pillow very subjective. Consider those that matter to you instead of relying solely on overall scores. All things measured, choosing the correct backpack pillow improves the nature of your rest free from neck aches and pains.  It automatically provides you the experience of a good sleep outside the comfort of your home. We trust this information will satisfy you as you are on your twilight adventures at camping sites and in the upcountry.