User Review: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
Source: bought it new
A great pillow...in some cases.
- Compresses to approx. 1/3 size
- Easy clean
- 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.