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Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

16 reviews
5-star:   5
4-star:   4
3-star:   6
2-star:   1
1-star:   0
5

A great pillow...in some cases. There are several…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new

Summary

A great pillow...in some cases.

Pros

  • Lofty
  • Compresses to approx. 1/3 size
  • Easy clean

Cons

  • Not suitable for backpacking
  • Fabric absorbs moisture

There are several reviews of this product already...but multiple perspectives can be a very good thing when it comes to evaluating gear online. As others have mentioned the pillow has both an impressive and durable loft. For those who like a lot of pillow...you will find that the Thermarest pillow is a lot of pillow in an impressively compressible package.

The pillow is also very easy to clean and care for...simply throw it in the washing machine on a gentle-cycle and toss in the dryer. You can also use the dryer to dial in the amount of loft you desire...as the pillow will regain (perhaps even gain?) loft in the dryer...if you want less loft...substitute machine drying for air-drying.

While I love this pillow on planes and when crashing on a friend's couch...I find this pillow unsuitable for my backpacking and kayaking needs. Even with its impressive compression...and its compression is impressive (which I imagine is why some find it suitable for backpacking)...it simply takes up too much space in my pack. Of course...when backpacking my "large" pack of choice is the ULA Ohm2.

Similarly...I tend to kayak small rivers and streams...so my kayak of choice is a Heron 9XT. If sea-kayaking or using a larger pack the compression of this pillow might be more than adequate...but since I prefer small and light most of the time...this pillow often requires too much sacrifice in terms of other clothing and gear.

Finally...living and playing near rivers and other damp environments...moisture management is of serious importance to me...as it seems staying dry when the weather turns...or the river does (ha!)...is an all but impossible task. Here again the pillow comes up a bit short for me.

I can of course take measures to keep the pillow relatively dry...but this often requires additional gear (dry-bags) and care (make sure it is always out of weather)...and I prefer my gear to be as "fire-and-forget" as much as possible. Moreover...I have been mostly unsuccessful at preventing the pillow from becoming damp in the moist evening air before and during the hours I sleep. To some level this can be mitigated by keeping the pillow in a dry bag till ready to crash...but the pillow still manages to become damp along the edges where the heat from my head cannot keep the fabric dry.

All in all then...this is a great pillow for some purposes (it is by far the best pillow I have ever used on a plane or on a train!)...but when space is at a premium I think most people will find that the pillow simply requires too much compromise...and is not perfectly suitable for damp and moist environments.

3

It pains me to do it — especially because I LOVE…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $30 for 2 Pillows

Summary

It pains me to do it — especially because I LOVE my NeoAir Trekker pad — but this is probably the first piece of gear I've purchased and am not completely in love with. Sure, I was a bonehead and didn't have the chance to test it before buying it, but I never expected foam to be this firm in a pillow. Comfort aside, it truly is compressible and packs down to less than half its expanded size.

Pros

  • Compresses into built-in storage pocket
  • Sueded fabric easy to keep clean
  • Denim Blue is about as American a color as can be

Cons

  • Foam is too firm for my liking
  • Loft is too high for my liking
  • Too bulky for backpacking

I'm sure y'all wondered when it would happen, and — here we go — I've finally had to review a piece of gear I'm not 100% completely, head-over-heels in love with. This is my personal preference.

The way we all sleep has a lot to do with personal preference, and while the subject is highly subjective, this review is my honest impression of the product.

That said, there's always a lesson to be learned and a positive to take away from a negative experience. Mind you, I don't hate this pillow outright and I've not used it for kindling - yet. 

My biggest mistake was buying this pillow online, denying myself the opportunity to test it out first inside a brick-and-mortar store. For those of you that love winning the lowest-priced auctions, or love the convenience of door-to-door shipping, well...this goes to show there are still times it's best to experience something in-person.

In terms of appearances, it's a pleasant pillow. I bought a set of the medium-sized pillows in Denim Blue. I love blue jeans, and I love America, so naturally, it seemed like a good fit. The sueded fabric is easy to keep clean, and rugged enough to not easily snag or tear. 

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The fabric pillowcase is filled with compressible foam blocks. Simply fold the pillow in half, tuck it in as far as possible into the pouch sewn onto the outside, and tighten the cinch to secure it. Therm-a-Rest was even mindful enough to make the pocket reversible, turning-out to reveal a smoother, silk-like side more suitable for sleeping. 

P1000593.jpg

When it comes to sleeping, I usually use one pillow in my bed at home. That said, I don't need a high amount of loft or height to my pillow. This pillow is deceiving in that it remains relatively flat after you've unfolded it. Fluffing it up makes it at least twice as thick. For those of you who prefer that, it's perfect, but for me, it's not only too high a pillow, but too firm of one, too. 

The bulkiness and weight — despite being compressible — would be a concern for me if I thought about taking this with on a backpacking trip. Even for those of you who would find this pillow comfortable, I highly doubt you would be willing to sacrifice the amount of space in your pack (or atop/below it) this pillow would require.

I rate this at 3 stars, right in the middle. While it was my fault for not testing the pillow, the height and firmness are permanent, non-changing features of this pillow. Even when I've tried to keep it flat after unfolding it, the pillow still finds a way to fluff up.

P1000594.jpg

DrPhun

My wife and I have a couple of these in different sizes i.e. med and large. The med one has a little more loft than I would like and the large has a bit too little loft. I have thought about opening a seam on one side a little and taking some flling out of the one and putting it in the other, and sewing the seam back up. You could do the same, taking a little out. That is often how they make pillows - sew the four sides of the pillow, leaving one side not quite finisehed, turn it inside out through that hole (well they make them inside out, so they woudl actually be turning it rightside out), blow in the filling, and then sew up the remaining bit.


10 months ago
DrPhun

Yes, I do only use them for car camping, or on airplanes, otherwise I just use a stuff sack with whatever is convenient stuffed in it.


10 months ago
Kaylee RETAILER

I camp pretty lightly, but this is my one luxury item I will not go without when backpacking. Throwing it into the dryer with some tennis balls will soften the fill.


9 months ago
Kaylee RETAILER

Use the draw string on the down pillow and stuff a t-shirt in it so that it doesn't go completely flat on you.


8 months ago
0

I have mixed feelings about this pillow. The other…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25

Summary

I have mixed feelings about this pillow. The other couple of backpacking pillows I've used in the past were inadequate for me, just too small. This one is big enough and has enough loft, I just haven't gotten used to the foam feel of it yet.

Pros

  • Adequate loft to get your head at least to parallel when on a sleeping pad
  • Packs to about half its fluffed out size
  • Shell material is comfortable (two different materials on each side)

Cons

  • Firm foam feeling takes time to get used to
  • A bit large for backpacking (but I do it anyway)

In the past I've used smaller fiber filled pillows but ended up carrying two of them to try and get the height I need. But they always slid off of each other and I was constantly waking up trying to fix them. I decided to try this pillow because it fluffs up to be pretty thick and it is firm enough to maintain some level of height.

I've only used it a couple of times so far and since I use firm feather pillows at home, I've had a difficult time adjusting to the feel of the firm foam nuggets. I still think it's better than what I was doing before and I'll likely get used to it the more I use it.

At 52, there are a few things I want to bring for comfort and a pillow is one of them so I don't mind carrying this in my backpack. Compressed, it actually fits in the top lid.  The one I have is about 18" x 12" so it is the smaller version.

Maybe in the future, I'll sleep with it at home for the week prior to backpacking so I'm more used to it.

0

This is a pillow!!!! It contains foam that will provide…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $20

Summary

This is a pillow!!!! It contains foam that will provide plenty of loft!!! It does exactly what a pillow should do, provide comfort for your head.

Pros

  • Great for side sleepers!!!!
  • Keeps its loft!!!!
  • Not too hard, not too soft!!!
  • Luxury item when backpacking!!!

Cons

  • A little heavy!!
  • Doesn't compress well!!

I have never slept better until I got one of these pillows. I have had all kinds of other pillows and let me tell you this is the best, because it is a real pillow. Blow-up pillows are as comfy as a beach ball, slipping from your head and deflating in the night. Down pillows are oh so light but as flat as my pancake breakfast.

I use the Therma-Rest pillow when backpacking or camping, it is my chosen luxury item. Yes, it does take up more room in my backpack and weighs more than I like, but it is so worth it. I highly recommend this product and the only reason it doesn't get five stars is because of weight and lack of compressibility. 

0

Completely comfortable and potable. I love this pillow…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $20

Summary

Completely comfortable and potable.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compressible
  • Washable

Cons

  • Colors

I love this pillow for backpacking trips! I have tried many pillows and this one is tops. I purchased the medium sized one and it fits perfectly in my pack.

I know that when I pull it out to use it it will fluff back into shape in no time and is just plain comfortable. No more 'flat' expensive ones...this is at the top of my list.

Another huge plus is that it is washable. It comes out of the washer looking (and smelling!) brand new!

0

Comfortable, compact (compresses to about a fourth…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $27.95

Summary

Comfortable, compact (compresses to about a fourth of its size), and reasonably priced.

Pros

  • Only 12oz
  • Compresses to about 1/3-1/4 its size

Cons

  • No pillowcase

This is a great pillow for traveling and camping. It's surprisingly comfortable and the large (16″ x 23″) that I purchased is a close to "normal" size pillow.

The only issue I have is that it doesn't come with a pillowcase. Even though it is machine washable having a pillowcase that can be easily shed and washed would be great. You can purchase a "standard" size pillowcase but as I said it's close-to "normal" size, so it will be swimming a little in it.

0

Awesome product! We have been using these pillows…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: I don't remember

Summary

Awesome product!

Pros

  • Super comfortable
  • Compact

Cons

  • Must be stored "open" when not in use

We have been using these pillows for over a year now and they hold up great. Easily washable in the laundry. 

If you are looking to have the comfort of a pillow but are worried about the space taken up I reccomend buying the smallest size and tucking a jacket under it to raise it up to feel more like a bigger pillow. There isn't much reason to buy a large one. You won't have to worry about the comfort, it's amazing. 

Keep in mind that the stuffing is small cubes of memory foam so they compress and expand.  With that being said, we found that if you leave the pillow rolled up for a month or two at home it takes quite a few hours to re-expand and even then it's not great comfort.  We open them up now and when we hit the trails the foam re-expands very quickly.  Even a few days is ok, it's just when it's folded up for long periods that it becomes a problem.  Remember to wash it.  

0

This is a nice pillow, I guess. I'm just not sold…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25

Summary

This is a nice pillow, I guess. I'm just not sold on the idea of pillows. If you are going to bring one, buy a full sized for car camping or stuff a coat underneath the head of your bag.

Pros

  • Small

Cons

  • Chunky

Just look at the picture above. This pillow can be a little chunky. It's ok, but isn't that why you buy and pack and use a pillow? A jacket feels about equally chunky when placed under the head of a good mummy bag. My wife and I took this on our honeymoon, but didn't use it after that.  

I would not highly recommend this.

1

Wow!!!! This is an amazing pillow! I have now had…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: Pillow
Fill: Foam
Weight: Light!
Price Paid: $24

Wow!!!! This is an amazing pillow!

I have now had this for a while, I got it to replace a down REI brand pillow that I thought was neat, but this one seriously blows it out of the water!!! It's perfect for car camping, day trips, overnighters and I say backpacking too (because I'm comfort driven) Tips to using it though, since when you get it it won't be fluffy. The directions say wash it and let it dry before first use and I think this is crucial! After I did this to mine, it grew to twice the size!

I love it though, really! I feel like I have the perfect camping sleep system, coupled with my Thermarest Prolite Plus! (I spoiled myself). Well worth the $$$ well worth it for a good night sleep like this!

0

* Trailspace Pick for Family Camping Value * Weight:…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Therm-a-Rest for testing and review)

Summary

* Trailspace Pick for Family Camping Value *

therm-a-rest-compressible-pillow-100x100
Weight: 7 oz
Fill: recycled self-lofting ProLite foam
Dimensions: 12" x 16"
12" x 4" (packed)
MSRP: $17.95

Pros:

Sufficiently comfortable, the Therm-A-Rest Compressible Pillow is an affordable, environmentally-friendly choice for family camping. It's filled with the star-shaped foam scraps left over from manufacturing Therm-a-Rest ProLite mattresses. The pillow rolls up easily and neatly into its own flap, becoming a quarter of its full size. Also available in medium (9 oz) and large (12 oz).

Cons:

Even the smallest size is larger than most backpackers are willing to carry. After being stored compressed it’s initially quite lumpy, but washing and drying gives back its loft and a more uniform feel. Though the foam fill remains slightly lumpy to the touch, it isn't noticeable when sleeping on it.

Review originally published as part of Backpacking and Camping Pillow Comparison review.

0

After 6 months around the world, from Asia to Europe…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: rectangular
Fill: 700 fill down
Temperature Rating: Any
Weight: Very light!
Price Paid: Gift

After 6 months around the world, from Asia to Europe to America and beyond this pillow is by far THE BEST thing have ever had the pleasure of owning!!!

It has been used in every situation thinkable and has provided me with many many more hours of rest and sleep that I would not have had if it wasn't for this product!

If you think its too large for traveling don't! It can be squeezed into anywhere and the fact that it returns to normal once unrolled is AMAZING!

Buy it and you won't regret it once!

0

I dont care what everyone says about packability I'm…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $25

I dont care what everyone says about packability I'm taking his pillow everywhere. Car camp, backpack, road trip. I'll sacrifice weight for the comfort it brings. 

0

I bought this pillow for leg and torso support, owing…

Rating: rated 2.5 of 5 stars
Weight: 9 oz
Price Paid: $27

I bought this pillow for leg and torso support, owing to knee pain from a knee replacement surgery without such support. The pillow is fine around the house but not thick enough for the support needed. I'm looking for an inflatable for my backpacking and tent camping needs.

There is nothing wrong with the pillow other than the lack of thickness. I did think that for backpacking it took up a lot of room and weighed a lot to do too little.

0

A great pillow if you aren't too concerned about space…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Design: Rectangular Dragonfly Print
Fill: Synthetic
Weight: 9 oz

A great pillow if you aren't too concerned about space and weight. Very soft and comfy. The small size is decent for those who toss and turn, or sleep on their side. Compressible fill expands in a matter of minutes to provide a firm and uniform surface.

Unfortunately, it only compresses to about 1/3 its size by rolling up into itself and cinching with a pullcord. Wish it would compress more. Otherwise, a fine pillow.

0

I like this pillow....although mine seems to have…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars

I like this pillow....although mine seems to have noticeably less filler than my wife's (who got hers a few months before me)...whether I just got an anomaly I don't know, but it still keeps my head nice and padded and warm. I got the small size, fits in my mummy-bag head area (?) nicely. Mine seems to compress more over the night, I wish I had hers.

0

Excellent little pillow! Money well spent on something…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: rectangular
Fill: ProLite Foam
Temperature Rating: NA
Weight: 7 oz. / 198 g.
Price Paid: $17.95

Excellent little pillow! Money well spent on something I originally thought to be over-the-top. It compacts well to a small size and is extremely light. BUY THIS PILLOW!

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For the pros and cons of this and 15 other backpacking and camping pillows, read Trailspace’s “Backpacking and Camping Pillow Comparison” in the Gear Guide.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

currently retails for:
$14.44 - $34.95

where to buy:

Specs

Small
Weight 7 oz (198g)
Dimensions 12 x 16 in. (31 x 41 cm)
MSRP $17.95
Medium
Weight 9 oz (255g)
Dimensions 14 x 18 in.
MSRP $22.95
Large
Weight 12 oz (340g)
Dimensions 16 x 23 in. (41 x 58 cm)
MSRP $27.95