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Exped Air Pillow

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Exped Air Pillow pillow

Lightweight, inflatable comfort that beats a fleece in a stuff sack, if you're not scared away by the price.


  • Lightweight
  • Small size: very packable
  • Good quality
  • Comfort


  • Inflatables can spring leaks
  • A bit pricey
  • A little bit "talkative"


In my younger days, I felt confident that a fleece stuffed into a stuff sack was a sufficiently dreamy pillow to obviate the need for packing a separate one. Of course I also believed a military closed cell sleep pad was as comfortable as a Therm-a-Rest. Unless I am paring grams, I now take my Therm-a-Rest and, yes, my Exped Air Pillow, too.

And why not? At 2.82 oz/80g (weight does not include the provided repair kit) and a mere 5 inches by about 2 3/8 inches packed, the Exped Air Pillow (medium) is one sweet luxury item. The pillow comes in medium, large, or extra large sizes, in both this form and in  ultralight form. It is made of 75 D Polyester and TPU Polyether Film Laminate that is hydrolysis resistant. That translates into a smooth, quasi silk-like skin feel. For those wishing for an alternative, Exped makes a pillow cover.


This pillow arrives with a nicely finished stuff sack and a repair kit—directions, patches, and Exped Textile Glue. I usually stash the glue and a few patches in my backcountry repair kit and leave the rest behind.


Twin lie-flat valves inflate and deflate the pillow. Well, not quite twin—each is intended to optimize a directional flow of air: the inflate valve seals after each puff, the deflate valve lets air rush out. Two hearty puffs fill the 15-inch long, 11-inch wide, 3 1/2-inch thick pillow. One push with an open deflation valve and the pillow packs flat. Little time is used in the preparation or storing of this pillow; little space or weight is required for it, either.


While light in weight, the Exped Air Pillow seems durable. The materials appear to be of high quality, and I have seen no deterioration of appearance or performance in the months that I have had and used this pillow. The seams all seem solid. Even the stuff sack is thoughtfully finished with a hanging strap integrated in one end of it and a cord lock securing the open end.

The pillow itself is designed to be used in a variety of ways depending on whether or not the thickest part of the pillow is closest to your shoulders or not. I play around with it when I am settling in for the night until I find what feels best, but I appreciate this design, which gives me multiple options.

In general, I prefer the lower straight edge to be closest to my shoulders when I am on my back, the thicker curved part closest to my shoulders when I am on my side. This isn't a sinfully luxurious experience, like plopping down one's head on a thickly stuffed down pillow. Rather, it is about basic comfort and support: the Exped Air Pillow will cradle your head, helping to stave off stiff necks and encouraging sound sleep.


I have used the Exped Air Pillow now for a year, always taking it with me when I am backpacking, most recently in the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area and in the Pisgah National Forest. I recall with distaste past evenings when my fleece-in-a-stuff sack pillow failed me, leaving my head on the ground as the fleece shifted around. Not so with this pillow. It works as advertised.

I have used it for ground sleeping and for hammocking; it worked great in both scenarios. Unfortunately, I am usually a driver, so I don't know if this would be a boon in a car, but I can't think of any reasons why it wouldn't be excellent there as well (it is easily glove-compartment size).

Negatives? Unfortunately, I don't think the price point puts this in 5-star territory: $49 is a lot for an inflatable pillow. It can be a little "talkative," too—movements of my head on the pillow sound magnified by the hollow structure, but this has not impaired my sleep. I am not sure if this last point would be better resolved with the addition of a pillow cover; I suspect this would help.

The bottom line: if you are looking for a lightweight pillow that packs easily and can fit in nooks and crannies of a pack, consider this one. I have been impressed by its durability, and I have enjoyed having this luxury comfort item on my own treks. If the price doesn't scare you away, you may find that the Exped Air Pillow will meet your needs.

Source: received it as a personal gift

An innovative baffle design made this pillow originally stand out of the pack. After years of use, one of the baffles blew out, so I downgraded my rating some. There are many baffled air pillows on the market now that are just as good, if not better.


  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable


  • Baffles can break down

This little air pillow is in a class by itself, not at all like similar inflatable products. Exped's video (go to its website) outlines the many unique features.

For so many years, I would stuff all my clothes into a stuff sack and settle in for the night on said 'pillow'. It was efficient and it worked, but never very well. I didn't find camp pillows all that much more comfortable, at least not enough to pack them along. And the inflatable pillows seemed like nothing more than overrated plastic bags.

Until the Exped pillow came along. I have found it most comfortable, in tents and even my hammock. Its unique design allows it to be used in various positions. Two breaths of air is all it takes to inflate and it packs down to nothing. I take it on all my trips now. I like it so much in fact, that I bought a second one.

It also comes with a repair kit, so thanks to Exped, I now have a repair kit for my Thermarest as well!

Exped makes nice drybags too....

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25

This is a great, lightweight pillow. My sleeping experience has been upgraded.


  • Lightweight
  • Packs small
  • Comfort

I had been using a stuff sack full packed with clothes for my pillow. That did not cut it. After reading a couple of positive reviews of this air pillow I gave it a try. I have been very pleased. The pillow blows up quickly in 2 breaths. It packs down super small. I ditched the stuff sack it came with and roll it up with my sleep pad. 

The detail that sets this air pillow apart from others is the shape. It is contoured for both side and back sleepers.  The concave side fits around the shoulders as you sleep on your side. It cradles the head well and has a depression so your ear doesn't feel crushed. 

I expected the pillow to slide off the sleep pad, but it did not. It stays reasonably in place. A down pillow may be more comfortable, but for the weight and price this pillow is hard to beat.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25

It has improved my sleep a lot!


  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Packs small


  • Weighs more than a stuffsack with clothes in it

I ordered the pillow to get to the amount I needed to get free shipping from a web shop. I have tried other inflatable pillows in the past, but always ended up going back to the "sweater in the stuff-sack" pillow. The moment I tried the Air Pillow on the couch I knew I had made a great purchase.

I have had it with me for a six week hike, and it has improved my sleep on the trail a lot. It doesn't matter if i sleep on my back or my side, it's still supportive.

I was even tempted to swap out my regular pillow for it when I got home.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 270 NOK (US$ 45)

Great pillow, I use it for bike touring.


  • Very comfortable
  • Light
  • Inflates-deflates fast


  • None that I can think of.

I used to sleep on a "stuffable" pillow which was OK but required a bit of clothing to fill and often ended up too hard. This inflatable pillow is much better. Very comfortable for sleeping on my side or back. It folds nicely and, so far, has been puncture-free. Have had it for ~3 years / 50 nights.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 30$

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Price Historic Range: $9.97-$55.00
Reviewers Paid: $25.00-$30.00
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