Outdoor Vitals Ultralight Stretch Pillow
If 2.9 ounces in your pack is worth a better night’s sleep, then Outdoor Vitals’ Ultralight Stretch Pillow deserves a look. Relatively light. Exceedingly comfortable. As an admitted pillow skeptic I have been made a believer with this product.
- Adjustable fill
- Fully inflates in 2.5 breaths
- Stays in place
- A bit of overselling about the shape
- Extra weight in the pack
From my earliest days as a Boy Scout, the one thing I did was stuff clothes in a bag and use it as a pillow. WHY would I do anything else?
Well, I have been listening to numerous hiking podcasts this winter, and a recurring theme is that an inflatable pillow is worth the extra weight. I’m no gram weenie, but I am incredibly cheap (check my other reviews!). So I sat on the idea, until Outdoor Vitals (and a few competitors) began flooding my FaceBook account with ads for a "free" UL pillow. The pillow isn't really free. There was a shipping and handling fee of around $8, but I took the bait.
The pillow came with its own stuff sack, and I appreciated how compact it was. Outdoor Vitals advertised stuffing this into your pocket. Maybe a big jacket pocket, but yeah…
Weighed in at 2.9oz on my scale.
The top side has an indention that worked well cradling my head. I’m a side-sleeper, and this was comfortable against my ear.
The picture above shows the unique contour of the pillow. I actually think it is superior to the competition. The marketing claim is this is going to fit inside the hood of your sleeping bag. Yeah, that makes sense. So…
Those who know me, know I rarely sleep on the ground. I am a hammock hanger. But for the sake of testing, I went to ground on a cold February night. I put the pillow in the hood and drifted off to sleep. As temps dropped into the teens, I felt it was time to snug up the hood. FAIL! My head and that pillow did not fit into the hood. Reluctantly, I pulled the pillow out and put it under the hood.
Despite that, the pillow was still comfortable, and much better than sleeping on a clothes bag.
In the Hammock:
Back to my true love. I threw this pillow into my hammock last weekend and fell in love with it. Being fully inflated was too much. I played around with it and found two breaths was the right fill for me.
But here are the two things that won me over:
1) The pillow stayed in place in my hammock. With a bag of clothing every time you get up to pee. Or even if you roll over, there is a hunt to find the "pillow" in the dark and put it back in place. The OV Ultralight stayed put! I’d get up, and find it where I left it. I’d roll onto my side, and the pillow stayed in place. Not once in my two nights of using it did the pillow move away from where I wanted it to be. That alone was a major win.
2) The big winner was comfort. I thoroughly enjoyed this pillow. It might be an exaggeration to say it was as comfortable as my pillow at home, but in the hammock (or on the ground), it was a winner.
I got my pillow through the “free” promotional ad on Facebook, but I honestly think the $25 price tag on OV’s website is worth checking out.
My normal way of testing new gear is to first try it for a night or two in my backyard. If it passes the test, I take it out car camping, where I can easily bail on it if need be. Finally, it will hit the trail in my pack. This item has gone through the first two tests, and I am confident it will be a nice addition on the trail next month.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: ~$8
Where to Buy
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Current Retail: $24.97
Reviewers Paid: $8.00
16 x 10 in
ultratough 30D stretch nylon