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Exped Air Pillow UL

rated 2.5 of 5 stars
photo: Exped Air Pillow UL pillow

If you are looking for good sleep outdoors (and who isn't?), the Exped Air Pillow UL is very light and comfortable. But be very gentle with it, and hope that it lasts.


  • Really light
  • Comfortable


  • Baffle broke leaving pillow uncomfortable
  • leak

I am on the fence over this product, because it is very light and works well, but mine "deformed" in roughly 20 nights use. Not a very long life for the product. 

This pillow has a really good design to it. Instead of one big chamber like some other air pillows (which leave a big mound for your head to roll off), this one is contoured to cradle your noggin. All of the perimeter is raised and the middle is slightly lower. One of the longer sides is raised higher than the other. So if you sleep on your side that would go under your neck, or if you sleep on your back you may want towards the top of your head to have it slightly raised.

It is the most comfortable pillow I have used. It supported my head well. It was tall enough and large enough to function well. And weighing less than 2 ounces. I should state that I used the size Medium, and they also make a size Large. 

Exped has other versions of this pillow. I actually tried out the original Air Pillow (red color) before trying this one. It worked really well, but they came out with this Air Pillow UL (yellow), and being a bit of a lightweight fanatic I wanted to try the lighter one out. On their site, it says the Air Pillow is 3 ounces, and the Air Pillow UL is 2 ounces. I think mine came out to under 2 oz, maybe closer to 1.5 without the stuff sack, which I didn't use when backpacking anyways.

Now I see they have an Air Pillow Lite, which is in between the two. It uses a thicker fabric than the UL, and online it says it is the same weight and same dimensions, so not sure how that is possible. And they have the Comfort Pillow, which has some foam in it and weighs 7 ounces according to the Exped site.

The design is similar to a camping air mattress. There are baffles that give the pillow shape. This was the thing that broke on mine. One of the baffles must have torn, and left the pillow with a huge lump in the middle. It was no longer comfortable after that. And I don't know how one would repair that. Not long before the baffle tore, the pillow developed a slow leak to it.

I used the pillow approximately 20 nights. I was always careful with it and it always was on top of a sleeping pad, either foam or air. It was used in warmer weather, above 40 degrees. I really expect a product like this to last well over 100 nights with good care. 

I returned mine, and decided for now not to try another. I hope that I received a dud and others do not have this problem. I am tempted to try out the Air Pillow Lite with the thicker fabric. I wonder if the baffle material or connection is different?


Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $55

Version reviewed: M

A very lightweight and compact inflatable pillow that is designed for both back and side sleepers.


  • Compact
  • Light weight
  • Ease of use


  • Not as comfortable as a foam pillow
  • Cost

I have used all three sizes, but use this one (medium) for short trips when I want to keep my pack light and compact. This is the smallest of the range and weighs just 45g. It packs down really small and only takes a couple of breaths to inflate. It fits into a bag and packs down to the size of a packet of tissues.

The valve is flat and serves both to inflate and deflate the pillow. There are two loops either side of the pillow for attaching it to your sleeping bag or another pillow. It seems well constructed (Anti-slip Grip Skin honeycomb-pattern coating) and I have not had any problems with delamination (I have had to return an Exped mat some years ago as it delaminated). 

I am a side sleeper, so I use it with the thick end under my neck. This keeps my spine aligned and comfortable. It is small enough to fit into the hood of my sleeping bag so it does not move around when I am asleep. It is comfortable enough, but it is never going to be as comfortable as something like a Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow, but it takes up a fraction of the space in my backpack, so the tradeoff is worth it. I prefer to use a pillow cover which a has a softer and more comfortable feel.

My only niggle is the valve. I prefer a two-valve system, even if it is the same hole, such as the valves used by Sea-to-Summit

Overall, I have had many comfortable nights' sleep with this pillow. It packs down really small and weighs next to nothing, a tradeoff I am willing to take, though some may prefer the larger size for more comfort, especially if you are a restless sleeper. 



Used for many nights on trails and mountains in the UK in all weathers and seasons.

Source: received it as a personal gift

Worked good for a few trips, but one night it just separated at the seam.


  • Comfortable with the neck notch


  • Won't last more than a few trips and not repairable when the seam comes unglued.

Worked good for a few trips, but one night it just separated at the seam where the halves are hot glued together. Even with the included patch kit, it is not possible to repair an edge seam split.

I won't be buying another one and don't recommend it. The price is too high for such a short lifetime.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $45

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Price Current Retail: $23.99
Historic Range: $23.99-$55.00
Reviewers Paid: $45.00-$55.00
Weight 1.6 oz 2.1 oz
Size 15 × 10.6 × 4.3 in 18.1 × 11.8 × 4.7 in
Product Details from Exped »

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