Best Backpacking Pillows Reviewed & Rated for Quality
There’s nothing quite like traveling the world with just a super light backpack. You can move with more freedom and you don’t have to worry about dragging along a ton of stuff that is only going to weigh you down.
But to enjoy this luxury, sometimes things have to be left behind. With these top backpacking pillows, you’ll never have to leave your pillow behind again.
The best are ones that are super light and that don’t take up a ton of space in your pack. We love compressible backpacking pillows because they shrink down to just a fraction of their size and inflate in no time to give you a comfy and clean pillow to catch some serious Zs with between travel.
So take a peek at the options on this list before you head out for your next big adventure.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Smaller than a soda can
Comes with travel back
No slip grips on back
Weighs just 100 grams
Inflates and deflates rapidly
10 Best Backpacking Pillows
1. Trekology Ultralight Inflatable
Smaller than a soda can
Comes with travel back
No slip grips on back
Weighs just 100 grams
Inflates and deflates rapidly
Some issues with leaking air
The Trekology Ultralight Inflatable is one of the best ultralight backpacking pillows on the market today. Combine this product with your favorite backpacking tent, and you’ve got a super lightweight sleeping situation that will make your friends jealous. And in 3 to 5 breaths, you’ll have a comfy spot to lay your head after a long day on the trail.
Inflates In a Flash
The Trekology Ultralight Inflatable blows up and deflates in a flash. With about 3 to 5 strong breaths, you will have a totally inflated pillow that is ready to accept your weary bones after a long day on the trail. For this, we give tons of Ease of Use points.
We like that this product can be used for a standard pillow and also to provide lumbar support, should you require that. When fully inflated, the product measures 16 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 4 inches tall. This makes for a more ergonomic design that is ideal for side, back, and stomach sleepers alike. We give points for Comfort here.
We also like that you can adjust the firmness of the pillow to suit your exact needs. And if you’re in a rush to leave in the morning, there is a quick-release on the pillow that lets out air super quickly so it can be deflated and rolled back up into your pack in no time.
This product is newly redesigned with a more flexible and sturdy TPU fabric that is also resistant to water.
Also new to this edition are rubber dots on the back of the pillow so you won’t be slipping around on your sleeping surface all night. And there’s even a strap on the underside of the pillow to slip over a sleeping mat for even more added security against slipping. We love these Features and give tons of points for this.
Smaller Than a Can of Soda
This is truly one of the most compact pillows on the market today. In fact, this little guy folds down to just 5 inches by 2 inches which is ultimately smaller than the size of a can of soda, so we give major points in the Size category.
This option weighs just 100 grams or about a fourth of a pound. It is so small that you will have no trouble slipping it into your pack or even into your pocket. We love that it comes with its own handy pack for storage to keep in nice and compact in your backpack.
You can purchase this product in 4 different colors: black, navy blue, orange, and teal.
Cost and Value
The Trekology Ultralight Inflatable rings up towards the bottom of our price range and we love its value because it is one of the lightest products on our list and can even fit in your pocket, and because it was updated with new features that make it a more desirable backpacking companion.
2. Klymit X Inflatable
Weighs less than 2 ounces
Collapses to size of lighter
Can be used as seat cushion
2 breaths to inflate
Unique X design
Pillow slides around
The Klymit X Inflatable is an insanely lightweight option that won’t have you sacrificing all of your comforts. It can double as a seat cushion and has a unique design to keep your head in the middle, no matter what position you sleep in. Did we mention that this product collapses down to the size of a lighter? Beat that for backpacking space-saving.
Small as a Lighter
The Klymit X Inflatable it perhaps the smallest and most compact of any product on our list or on the market. It weighs in at just under 2 ounces and collapses to be about the same size as a lighter.
When inflated, it measures 15 inches, by 11 inches, by 4 inches. When deflated and collapsed into the stuff sack, it measures 4.5 inches, by 2.5 inches, by 1 inch. That is so teeny tiny that you will never have to worry about leaving your pillow behind again.
We give all possible points for Size for this product.
Unique X Design
This features a unique X design that works to keep your head in the center of the pillow, regardless of what sleeping position you adopt. We give major Features and Comfort points here.
This option blows up with just around 2 breaths and can be adjusted to fit your desired firmness. We give Ease of Use points here.
To top it off, this product is super durable and comes with a lifetime warranty from authorized sellers.
Cost and Value
The Klymit X Inflatable rings up in the middle of our price range and we love its value because it is the most compact option on our list and because it comes with a lifetime warranty.
3. Nemo Fillo
Soft cover options
Use with or without foam
4 inches of total height
Collapses to smaller than water bottle
Machine wash cover
Can be a little noisy
The Nemo Fillo Inflatable is the best of both the comfort of the compression pillow and the convenience and size of the inflatable pillow. With a layer of cushy foam that can be removed if weight is an issue, and with a deflated size smaller than a bottle of water, you will be able to get the comfort and packing size that you need.
The Nemo Fillo is a mix of an inflatable and a compression. We like that you can mix and match these features to suit your size, weight, and comfort needs. We give major points for Size and Features here.
There is a 1-inch layer of foam that can be inserted or removed based on your needs. Plus, you’ll get a total of 3 more inches of air height which you can adjust according to your comfort preferences, so we give major points for Comfort here.
When fully assembled and inflated, the product measures 17 inches, by 11 inches, by 4 inches. When compressed it measures 5.9 inches by 3.9 inches. It weighs in at 9 ounces, so it isn’t as light as a true inflatable, but you can adjust based on your needs.
Micro-Suede and Jersey Knit
The Nemo Fillo comes in two different styles. If you get a solid color option, the cover is made of micro-suede. If you choose a striped color option, the cover is made of jersey knit.
Either way, you’ll be sleeping in supreme comfort and you’ll be able to remove the cover to wash in the washing machine, so we give Ease of Use points here.
Cost and Value
This rings up at the very top of our price range and we like its value because it offers multiple different size and comfort options all in one product and because it can be tailored for your exact needs.
4. WELLAX Ultralight
Weighs less than 3 ounces
Collapses to be super small
Comes with eye mask
Can still slip around
The WELLAX Ultralight runs a close second to the Nemo for being one of the most comfortable inflatable pillows on our list and on the market. It is ergonomically designed to suit all sleeping styles and even comes with a few handy bonuses that will make getting sleep on the trail that much easier.
The WELLAX is loaded with features for your comfort. It is made from durable TPU which is both strong, flexible, and water-resistant so you can take it anywhere.
The back of the pillow is coated in an anti-slip material so you won’t have to worry about your pillow slipping and sliding all over your sleeping bag at night.
And to top it off, you'll get a silky smooth eye mask to shut out all of the world’s distractions and catch Zs no matter where you go or what time it is. We give major Feature points here.
It features a new ergonomic design which makes it an ideal fit for any kind of sleeper (side, back, and stomach).
When inflated, the pillow measures 16 inches, by 12 inches, by 4 inches. It features tapered indentations in the middle to make a nice little cradle for your head. We like that you can adjust the firmness of the pillow based on your comfort preferences, so we give lots of Comfort points here.
It blows up in just a few breaths and deflates as quickly to be stuffed compactly into its stuff sack. Ease of Use points for this. When compressed it measures 5 inches by 2 inches. It weighs only 2.75 ounces, so it’s a great lightweight option and we score it well in the Size category.
Cost and Value
The WELLAX rings up towards the bottom of our price range and we love its value because it offers more comfort and compact pacing ability than most others on our list at a price you’ll love.
Made from recycled foam
Super soft and cozy
Multiple size and color options
Comes with drawstring travel bag
Foam can be clumpy
The Therm-a-Rest is one of the best compressible backpacking pillows out there. While it’s not the smallest or the most lightweight, it still fits the bill for a backpacking pillow and will fit in any of your hiking backpacks. With tons of colors and sizes to choose from, you’ll have no problem getting the just right product for your pack.
The Therm-a-Rest is not an inflatable pillow like many others on our list and on the market. Rather, it is a pillow comprised of foam that can shrink down to a small size so that it fits nicely into your pack.
The foam is very soft and supportive, and can be used for head support while you sleep or lumbar support while you are actively traveling. In fact, the urethane foam is recycled from discarded foam from Therm-a-Rest’s mattresses. We give Comfort points here.
The cover is made from a soft polyester that will feel nice and smooth against your face. This entire pillow is machine washable and we give points for durability and Features here.
This product comes with its own travel bag that secures with a drawstring to help keep the pillow compactly compressed when it is not in use. Simply pull out the pillow and it expands in seconds. We give major points for Ease of Use because of this.
Multiple Size Options
The Therm-a-Rest comes in multiple different size options for you to choose from so you can make the best decision based on the space you’ll have available in your pack. All pillows measure 4 inches thick when inflated, and we’ll go through the size differentials below.
The small measures 16 inches long by 12 inches wide when expanded and weighs 7 ounces (just under half a pound). When compressed, it measures 13 inches long by 4 inches wide and thick.
The medium measures 18 inches long by 14 inches wide and weighs 9 ounces. When compressed, it measures 14 inches long by 5 inches wide and 6 inches thick.
The large measures 23 inches long by 16 inches wide and weighs 12 ounces. When compressed down, it measures 16 inches long by 7 inches wide and thick.
The extra-large measures 27 inches long by 16.5 inches wide and weighs 15 ounces (still under 1 pound). When compressed down, it measures 18 inches long by 7 inches wide and thick.
We love all of these sizing options and score this product super well here because it allows you to make the perfect pick between comfort and space in your pack.
Cost and Value
The Therm-a-Rest rings up in the high middle of our price range and we love its value because it is one of the more comfortable options on the market and because it comes in so many sizes and color options so you can really cater to your exact needs as the buyer.
6. Coop Home Goods
Super comfortable option
Adjust for your body
Compresses to half the size
Water resistant stuff bag
A little on the heavier side
The Coop Home Goods allows you to take all of the comforts of home with you into the wild. This adjustable option allows you to move foam around to fit your exact needs while not taking up tons of space or weight in your pack. And it comes with a handy sack that helps to reduce its size by half.
Reduces to Half the Size
This is another incredibly comfortable option that still manages to stay compact enough to tag along with you on your travels. In fact, this is Coop’s famous luxury pillow in travel form. Major points for Comfort here.
This product measures 19 inches long by 14 inches wide when it is fully expanded. When compressed, it measures 10 inches long by 6 inches wide. Because this is a bit on the larger size, we take away some points in the Size category.
With stuff sack and pillow, this product weighs in at 2 pounds. So it may not be the lightest pillow on the list, but you can leave your backpacking stove behind in exchange for a good night’s sleep.
To compress, simply stuff in the sack provided, link to your pack, and you’re ready to hit the road. Because guess what? The stuff sack is water-resistant so you don’t have to worry about getting rained on. We give Ease of Use and Features points here.
This option is made of the same high-quality materials as the Coop’s home pillow. It is made in the United States and is free from phthalates, formaldehyde, and ozone depleters so you can feel safe about putting your face on it.
We like that this product is fully adjustable and that you can add and remove foam as you need to to get the perfect fit for your body. Always hold on to foam you remove in case you want to add more foam back later.
This product is approved for back, side, and stomach sleepers. It is finished in a super soft bamboo and polyester fabric that is also super breathable so you can sleep through the night without dealing with pools of sweat around your face.
And to top it all off, this entire pillow can be thrown into the washing machine on cold. Do not bleach as this could damage the foam. Dry on low heat, but ensure that you have dried completely so mold doesn’t develop. Durability and Features points are given for this.
Cost and Value
The Coop Home Goods rings on the higher end of our price range and we love its value because it brings all the comforts and quality of the Coop home pillow to your backpacking experience. And it comes with a 5-year warranty to boot.
7. Wise Owl Outfitters
Waterproof stuff sack
Different size options
Breathable suede finish
Machine washable and dryable
Different colors to choose from
Foam can be chunky
The Wise Owl Outfitters is another excellent compressible option that won’t force you to sacrifice comfort while you’re out on the trail. It comes with a wonderful and fully waterproof stuff sack, and you’ll be able to choose from a variety of sizes and colors so that you can get the right Wise Owl for you.
Waterproof Stuff Sack
The Wise Owl Outfitters comes in a few different size and color options for you to choose from, though all expand to be 5 inches thick (which is the thickest on our list so far).
The small measures 16 inches by 11 inches and weighs 9 ounces (so a little over half a pound). It compresses down to 9 inches by 6 inches.
The medium measures 18 inches by 14 inches and weighs 11 ounces. When compressed, it measures 10.5 inches by 6 inches.
The large measures 23 inches by 16 inches and weighs 13 ounces. It compresses to 12 inches by 7 inches.
Though you are free to make any choice of size, we suggest the small as the most feasible for backpacking. We dock Size points here.
In order to compress the pillow, you’ll stuff it into the waterproof stuff sack. That means you’ll be able to secure the sack on the outside of your pack without having to worry about your pillow getting wet. Major Features points here.
To expand, simply release the drawstring and pull the pillow out and you’ll have a comfy headrest in seconds. We give Ease of Use points here.
Finished in Mico-Suede
The Wise Owl Outfitters features a foam filling that is finished in micro-suede. The suede is breathable and also baby-soft to the touch, so we give loads of Comfort points here. What’s more, this product is totally machine washable and is even dryer friendly as well.
You can purchase this option in 5 different colors to suit your specific preferences.
Cost and Value
This rings up on the lower end of our price range and we love its value because it comes with a waterproof stuff sack and offers breathable sleeping comfort as well as different sizes to choose from.
Smaller than a can of soda
Easy to use
Water resistant cover
Not super comfortable
The Rest-A-Camp Inflatable is another good and compact option. It collapses down to b smaller than a can of soda and can be blown up in just seconds with a few solid breaths. The cover is water resistant and can be washed, and the pillow boasts a durable design that you’ll be able to use for seasons to come.
Weather Resistant Cover
This features a cover that is weather-resistant so you can feel confident about backpacking through any kind of weather. The cover can also be removed and washed in the washing machine. We give Features points for this.
That being said, this product lacks some of the comforts that you’ll find in others on our list, so we docked points in this category.
Ultralight and Compact
The Rest-A-Camp is another tiny package that you can fit in practically any bag. While it measures 15 inches, by 12 inches, by 4.5 inches when fully inflated, it deflates down to smaller than a can of soda that you can easily hold in your hand. The product weighs just 4 ounces so we give points for Size here.
We like how easy this product is to inflate and deflate and give points here.
Cost and Value
This rings up in the middle of our price range and we like its value because it is super lightweight and small so it can fit in most backpacks with no problem.
Cover is machine washable
Cotton fill is even
Comes with travel pack
Great for chilly backpacking environs
A little too flat for some
This is an incredible little budget-friendly option that is an amazing companion if you are planning on backpacking in colder regions. It’s comfy, easy to clean, and won’t weigh your pack down, even if it doesn’t compress to the super small size of some others on this list.
The REDCAMP features a flannel cover that is warm and cozy against your face. This is an ideal companion for backpacking in cooler environs.
The fill of this pillow is made from spun cotton (100%) and we like this feature because it allows for a totally smooth sleeping surface. While other foam pillows on our list have been reviewed by some as lumpy, you won’t have to worry about that here. We give Features and Comfort points for this.
This option compresses easily into the travel pack it comes with so we give Ease of Use points here.
However, this product is a bit on the larger size so we take Size points. It measures 20 inches long by 12 inches wide when expanded and 11 inches by 6 inches when compressed. It weighs in at 11 ounces, which is still less than a pound, but certainly not the lightest on our list.
Easy to Clean
This is easy to take care of and clean, no matter what the trail throws at you. It fits nicely inside of the drawstring stuff bag to keep it free of dirt and debris while backpacking. The cover can also be removed to wash in the washing machine. It can be dried as well.
Cost and Value
The REDCAMP rings up at the very bottom of our price range and we love its value because it comes with a 1-year warranty and is the most affordable option on our list.
Stuff sack attached
A little thicker
Easy to inflate and deflate
No very heavy
Slippery bottom that slides
This is last on our list but it still gets the compact pillow job done. Still lightweight and with a little extra in the lift department, you’ll be able to get some sleep no matter what terrain you’re sleeping on. Plus, you’ll enjoy the convenience of a stuff sack that is attached so you won’t ever lose it.
Stuff Sack Attached
The RikkiTikki comes with the stuff sack actually sewn onto the pillow itself. The stuff sack still has a drawstring so we give points for Ease of Use and Features here. Plus, this product is easy to clean by being thrown in the washing machine so we give points for that as well.
A Little Thicker
This is a little thicker than other inflatable options by about a half-inch. When inflated, it measures 15 inches, by 12 inches, by 4.5 inches. This, along with the cotton cover, provides a little extra comfort that we give points for.
It deflates and rolls up like socks to about the size of a can of soda. And it weighs in at 4 ounces, so it is not the lightest on our list, nor the heaviest.
Cost and Value
The RikkiTikki rings up in the middle of our price range and we like its value because it offers decent comfort and a few cool features that set it apart from others on the list.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When we were compiling the products for this list, one of the most import criteria we considered was size. As any backpacker will now, every single ounce counts, so it was important for us to provide products that were both lightweight and compact so that they can find room in every pack.
But depending on the kind of backpacking you’ll be doing and the kind of space you have available, you may find yourself in the market for a slightly larger (and more comfortable) pillow that may weigh a little bit more. For this reason, we provide a mix of the ultra-lightweight pillows on the market as well as the slightly heavier compressible foam pillows.
Comfort was also a major consideration of ours. While the goal would be to get as comfortable a night’s sleep as you would in your own home, that is rarely possible while you’re out on the trail. But there are some pillows that take you a step closer to that goal.
We value the best mix of lightweight and compact with comfort. Most reviewers prefer the foam compressible pillows for comfort, though you have to give some up in the space and weight department. However, we feature a few inflatable pillows with new innovations that make them pretty comfortable as well.
Ease of Use
In terms of ease of use, we look at how easy the pillow inflates and deflates, or how easily it can be stuffed into its stuff sack. We also take into account cleaning here and whether or not the pillow can be washed in the washing machine.
When considering features, we look at things like anti-slip grips on the backs of pillows so they don’t slide around on your mat or sleeping bag while you’re sleeping. We also look at the fabric and breathability of each.
As always, we want to bring you products that give you the most for your money. Here we have a range of prices where more expensive does not necessarily mean more compact.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you're heading out on a backpacking adventure, you'll need to take some steps to ensure you protect your body and back from harm. One of the best ways to do this is by packing light. Here are some essential tips on how to keep the weight down when you're backpacking:
1. Make sure you have the right bag. You’ll want one with enough space to store all of your essentials, but one that also won’t be too large to hike and maneuver with.
2. Lay everything out and take away about ¼ to ½ of it (especially if you’re a new backpacker)
3. You only need 1 week’s worth of clothing. You can wash them.
4. Pack items that can be used for multiple purposes rather than items that can only be used for one thing.
Make sure you wash your pillow well after each trip. This process will look different if you have an inflatable versus a compressible. Also ensure your pillow dries completely before storing as this will help to prevent molding.
Other Factors to Consider
We want to make sure products hold up to heavy use. We look at seams, materials, how well a product holds air, and at valves to make this determination.
We like products that can resist the elements, as this means you can carry the pillow on the outside of your pack without worry about water damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do I need a pump to inflate my pillow?
No. You can inflate your purchase with a few big breaths.
q: What is the smallest option on the list?
The Klymit is the lightest and smallest.
q: How do I get compressible pillows into the stuff sack?
Simply roll the pillow like a pair of socks and slide the sack over. It will fill to the sack and compress down.
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