Camping is all about roughing it — to an extent. Even the most diehard survivalists will admit that it wouldn’t hurt to have a little more comfort during your outdoor slumber. After all, a good night of sleep gives way to a better adventure the next day. Using an inflatable pillow can protect your sleeping surface from debris and rocks that are bound to wake you up at some point during the night, or leave you with neck and back pain. Plus, it’s easy to put away when you wake up, deflating manually or twisting a valve until it shrinks down to the size of a soda can.
Inflatable pillows aren’t just practical for camping or backpacking trips —they are useful for anywhere that you won’t be at home and need to get comfy. Think long drives, plane rides (especially those yawn-inducing red eyes), and hotel rooms that aren’t as clean as you hoped.
Along with inflation-based devices, there are compressible foam pillows available as well, offering increased comfort. However, these do weigh more than inflatable versions. Other factors include thickness, shape, and materials used, since it’ll be on your bare skin and might need waterproof features. Ultimately, these lightweight camping pillows are well worth the investment for a range of scenarios.
Read on our for a list of the best inflatable pillows below.
1. RikkiTikki Inflatable Camping Pillow
Seeking an inflatable pillow that feels just like the ones at home? RikkiTikki’s camping cushion is shaped just like a normal pillow but is ultralight and completely compressible. It also features a textured bottom to prevent it from slipping around your sleeping pad. People love the overall larger surface area, and that dirt or debris can easily be wiped off.
2. Trekology Ultralight Inflatable Camping Travel Pillow
BEST RUNNER UP
Trekology’s travel pillow is compact, compressible, and folds down to a 5 x 2-inch cylinder, which is tinier than a soda can. Still, it packs a punch in terms of support. Made with elastic TPU fabric that’s water-resistant and highly durable, it’s a similar quality to higher-end pillows on REI, but costs a fraction of the price. Trekology uses a valve that allows air to escape out, while it can be filled with just a few breaths. Unlike faulty valves on cheaper models, these actually hold in air.
3. SUKCESO 2-Pack Inflatable Camping Pillow
This two-for-one inflatable pillow pack is a best-seller on Amazon for good reason. Ideal if you’re camping in a particularly rugged environment, or if you like an additional pillow to sleep with, either in between or beneath your knees. They’re easy to wipe down with a wet cloth and don’t make sounds when moving your head around, unlike similar versions on the market. Although their lightweight nature seems to make a big difference for campers, one said the deciding factor was how easy it was to deflate.
4. COOP Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Camping Pillow
BEST FOAM PICK
For foam support that’s completely eco-friendly, take a look at Coop Home Goods shredded memory foam travel pillow, which includes a compressible stuff sack. Unlike inflatable versions, this is the closest thing to a normal pillow, so if you’re a light sleeper, it may be more sensible to opt for foam. The cover is washable, and you can remove some foam fill to improve spinal alignment. In terms of comfort, a buyer says, “the proof is in the pudding on how they FEEL, and on how our necks feel when we wake up.”
5. Hikenture Camping Pillow with Removable Cover
EASIEST TO CLEAN
Hikenture’s well-designed inflatable pillow has a removable cover that can easily be washed. No matter how down and dirty your camping or travel adventures get, this pillow can take the beating as opposed to others that feature a built-in cover. Customers found that while this model had the softest material, it is heavier compared to some other inflatable alternatives. Still, if you’re willing to sacrifice that for a step up in quality, Hikenture is the best choice for the price point offered.
6. LERMX Camping Pillow
BEST LUMBAR SUPPORT
If back or neck pain is what you’re worried about, this ergonomically shaped inflatable pillow provides the support you need at an ideal packing size, calling itself ”the most compact and ultra-lightweight inflatable camping pillow on the market.” One Amazon reviewer says the quality held up to pricier inflatable pillows that she’s used over the years, staying inflated all night despite dropping temperatures. Its shape also makes it a solid choice for those with a mummy sleeping bag who are sick of constantly deflating pillows.
7. TETON Sports ComfortLite Self-Inflating Pillow
BEST ADJUSTABLE FIRMNESS
Stop huffing and puffing over your travel pillows — this one by TETON Sports self-inflates via a twist valve. The same valve makes it easy to set your desired level of inflation, and the microfibre exterior feels comfy on your face. On the other side, a grey non-slip bottom stops it from sliding around. Since it’s mostly air-based, this pillow takes up practically no space at all in your luggage. One camper says, “It has a firmness that is closer to a regular pillow.”
8. Klymit Luxe Inflatable Pillow
BEST OVERSIZED PICK
If you frequently roll off your pillow during camping trips, go for an extra-wide pillow like this one by Klymit. The extra-large size and quilted hybrid-fill design blends air-based cushioning with polyester fill so you can finally sleep through the night. The smooth outer material feels pleasant against bare skin, and size-wise, it’s almost as big as a regular pillow but shrinks into a more compact size for packing convenience.
9. Cocoon Sleeping Bag Hood Pillow
BEST DUAL TEMPERATURE PICK
What’s a comfy night of sleep without a couple of good pillow flips? This dual temp inflatable pillow lets you sleep with a cozy microfiber side on cold nights, and switch to the micro-ripstop nylon side for additional comfort. This pillow is shaped to fit in the hood of a mummy sleeping bag but can be used with any outdoor sleeping arrangement. The built-in twist valve lets you adjust firmness, while a baffle design cradles your head better.
10. Rugged Camp Camping Pillow
Small but mighty, the Rugged Camp inflatable pillow is ultralight but comfy for achy necks and backs. At one 2.75 ounces, it won’t take up space in your backpack or be heavy to transport. The cover is made from waterproof knitted cotton, so you can power through the elements, even if you don’t have a sleeping bag. This pillow is puncture-resistant, and while the non-slip side is a perk for some, that means that you can’t flip it throughout the night.
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