Camping pillows

10:53 a.m. on October 26, 2008 (EDT)
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I usually either use my sleeping bag stuff sack with my odds and ends of clothing inside for a pillow or use my camelbak semi-inflated for a pillow. Now a days in my early 50's, if I don't use a pillow my nostrils fill with fluid and my nose is heavily stuffed up in the morning.

11:17 a.m. on October 26, 2008 (EDT)
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I met someone once who caried "water wings" (you know the childrens pool toy) as a pillow. light weight and packs down small. Personaly, I prefer my extra clothes and/ or backpack as a pillow.

1:20 p.m. on October 26, 2008 (EDT)
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When I used to winter camp in the Sierra in the late 70's, I would use my boots as a head rest. One time my boots had gotten real saturated with snow crystals and when I woke in the morning they had froze and being pinched in from my head I could not get them on. So I snowshoed that day with my down booties and gaiters on instead.

10:46 p.m. on October 26, 2008 (EDT)
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Stuff sack filed with extra clothing, I have never carried anything just for the single purpose of being a pillow.
That would violate one of my personal rules.

9:45 p.m. on October 27, 2008 (EDT)
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There is something that needs to be said about breath-ability..... I have made all my stuff sacks out of sil-nylon, and there is nothing more uncomfortable on a hot sticky night then a sil-nylon pillow. I always end up wrapping a layer or two over the sack or I can't sleep.

7:35 p.m. on October 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Hey, I do that too, I put a jacket around my sack after I stuff it with clothing. Makes it more fuzzy and warm!

12:16 p.m. on December 8, 2008 (EST)
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I carry a small pillowcase made by thermarest. I just stuff whatever I can find into it, and it makes a soft, comfortable pillow. Plus my wife bought it for me as a gift, so that is extra nice too.

11:04 p.m. on December 8, 2008 (EST)
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I have used the pillowcase by thermarest with a partially inflated platypus or ziplock. I've also used one of those disposable inflatable plastic pillows, but they're noisy and you need a straw to blow them up, and I keep losing the straw.

11:55 a.m. on December 9, 2008 (EST)
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The Thermarest pillowcase is actually a double sided stuff bag. One side is nylon, but turn it inside out and the exterior is a soft felt, nice for a pillow. To complete the pillow, put a small thermarest seat inside!. The seat works just like their bigger pads. It is self inflating. It hardly needs any air in it to make a nice pillow. Plus it rolls almost flat to store it and it will keep your fanny dry when you have to sit on a soggy log at lunch time.

10:00 p.m. on December 9, 2008 (EST)
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I have a Colman (heavier than I live but very comfortable) self-inflating pad that has a blow-up pillow attached. If I'm traveling lite with just my foam pad, I stuff clothes into a stuff-sack and use that.

5:44 p.m. on December 11, 2008 (EST)
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On my trips I always bring a Platypus 1L bottle. It weighs .8oz and folds down to nothing. Thats what I use for my pillow, either filled with air or water. And its surprisingly comfortable.

3:14 p.m. on December 16, 2008 (EST)
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Whereas I do a little sewing, I purchased ≈ ½ yard of a soft cotton material (at least from a 42" wide bolt of material). Then make a pillow case type enclosure/envelope. The 42" wide bolt provided me the capability to make mine approximately 12' wide by 17" long with a 4" overlap area. There is an extra 4" flap to cover the end. I could have made mine up to 17" wide (½" seam allowance) but, the larger the pillow case the more clothing it takes to fill it... 12" X 17" is fine for me.
When I want to use it, I just stuff some piece of clothing into it. I find sweaters work the best. The cotton feel is warm to the touch, which is nice during snow camping.

Good Luck -Adrian

6:07 p.m. on December 17, 2008 (EST)
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Several years ago I used a stuff sack packed with some clothes but never was able to make it comfortable. It always felt hard and gave me a headache. Then I purchased a Therm-a-Rest Wrap-it pillow but never was able to get enough clothes in it to make it high enough. Then I tried using my dirty clothes bag but it was too large for the few clothes I had available. Now, I use my day pack (packed with rain gear, pants, and other clothes) as a pillow base and I add a stuffed flannel pillow cover (purchased from Dick's) with clothes packed inside as my pillow. This combination is more comfortable than any other method I have tried.

1:53 p.m. on December 18, 2008 (EST)
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I have a pillow from thermarest and it depends what i am doing if i take it or not. If i am back in the woods for 4 days and i don't have the room then i usually will take my clothes and bundle them up, but if it is just for a weekend i like to have my pillow. Spoiled i guess!!!!!

4:43 p.m. on December 18, 2008 (EST)
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I had the thermarest fleecy stuff-sack, and it is marginally comfortable under most conditions. That being said, I returned it, and I will eat the 2oz. for the Western Mountaineering Cloudrest(4.0 for the WM, and 1.8 for the TR). I saw one, held this beauty, and was hooked. It is wonderful looking and feeling and smelling, and it tastes good too. I am in the camp that appreciates better quality sleep at the expense of a few ounces. I can't wait to spend the $40.

5:32 a.m. on December 23, 2008 (EST)
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After spending two days out of a four day trip with a HORRIFIC headache and stiff neck from sleeping on a sack filled with clothes that became misshapen overnight, I always bring a pillow now.


1:10 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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we took a regular size memory foam pillow and cut it into 3rds. stuffs way little, and expands to be comfy at nite. may be a little heavy, but to sleep well is worth it

2:36 p.m. on February 28, 2009 (EST)
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I like feeling good in the morning, good night sleep is important. I get a sore neck with a sack to sleep on. I pick up one of these on sale for $9 this winter. Haven't been out till spring to try it but looks and feel like it will do the job, Packs up small and light.

11:01 p.m. on February 28, 2009 (EST)
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Well that link worked when I posted it earlier If your interested go to Canadian tire website and cut and paste this into thier search...

Obus Forme Sleep Essentials Travel Pillow

Its about 8"x 8" removable cover for washing comes in a good sack with draw string just big enough for your head.

1:10 a.m. on March 1, 2009 (EST)
Perry Clark
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440 forum posts

Still looking for the best solution for myself. In my younger years, a pillow was whatever ended up under my head--clothes, pack, boots, log, rock, whatever. Then I gradually moved to the "find something and roll it up" interest group. Now, as the mileage starts to pile up and I figure that even if I were to have something to prove, I wouldn't succeed in proving it anyway, I'm migrating further, now to the "a decent night's sleep is worth the effort" camp. Right now it's a tightly rolled fleece blanket picked up for about $4 at the local drugstore, but that's gonna make way for improvements soon.

9:18 a.m. on March 1, 2009 (EST)
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I carry a small goose down pillow (~10x20) that I picked up online for ~$10. It compresses nicely in the pack, and works great at night when fluffed up. A good nights sleep is more important to me than a good hot meal, so all the fancy food and cooking gear is left home to make room for the pillow.

11:27 a.m. on March 4, 2009 (EST)
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I usually stuff all of my clothes into a fleece jacket. Sometimes I get creative, but I still frequently wake up with a headache. Maybe I need to investigate further...

7:45 p.m. on March 5, 2009 (EST)
Alicia MacLeay @Alicia
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I'm adding to this thread very late in the game, but two years ago I published a pillow comparison in the Gear Guide:

Pillows are quite subjective, but you can see also see some user reviews here:

My favorites were the Western Mountaineering Cloudrest:

and the Kelty Luxury Pillow (for car camping or travel only though):

The reality is that unless I'm car camping, I often leave a pillow behind unless it's very small and light. Beware though, some have really noisy coverings, which I personally found way too annoying and I couldn't even bear to sleep on.

8:14 p.m. on March 5, 2009 (EST)
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Alica, Thanks so much for you post I have been going over and over reviews and this thread trying to decide the best direction to go. I can tell just by a quick look at the links that it will me make the right decision.

8:37 p.m. on March 5, 2009 (EST)
Alicia MacLeay @Alicia
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Good luck! Pillows are so personal. Lots of people are perfectly happy with a balled up fleece or a stuff sack pillow. I still do that sometimes, but often end up with a sore neck. The wrong pillow can be just as annoying though and I thought a few I tried were more not much more comfortable than a balled up fleece.

If you genuinely want a "real" pillow to carry, I'd look at the WM Cloudrest. It's 5 oz. Even my husband, who favors the balled up fleece in a stuff sack approach, has used it.

Good luck!

3:13 p.m. on March 13, 2009 (EDT)
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I use this one by Cocoon. It has an air bladder that you fill up to however firm you want it. I can't sleep on a bag of clothes very well...


3:23 p.m. on March 13, 2009 (EDT)
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May 25, 2020
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