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The Best Backpacking Pillow - 2021

Last updated on March 18, 2021

We looked at the top 12 Backpacking Pillows and dug through the reviews from 50 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Backpacking Pillows.

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Our Picks For The Top Backpacking Pillows

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best Overall

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Backpacking Pillow

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Therm-a-Rest

Compressible Travel Pillow

Overall Take

Multiple Color OptionsYou'll find this backpacking pillow comes in a choice of 10 prints, including eagle, cranberry, gray mountains and denim.

Experts Included
DWYM Sports and Recreation Experts plus BestReviews, Road Affair, No Place Called Home, Outdoor Gear Lab, Trailspace, Armchair Empire and 6 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Durable fabric that resist scratches and stains in case of a spill or accident."
Cons
"It's heavy."
  Also Consider

Wise Owl Outfitters Compressible Foam Backpacking Pillow

Wise Owl Outfitters

Compressible Foam Backpacking Pillow

Overall Take

Most VersatileIn addition to using this backpacking pillow when hiking, it's also perfect for air travel, road trips and camping expeditions.

Experts Included
DWYM Sports and Recreation Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Ultra-Comfy

Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Hypoallergenic Backpacking Pillow

Coop Home Goods

Memory Foam Backpacking Pillow

Overall Take

Bamboo CoverThis bamboo memory foam pillow is very comfortable while small enough for backpacking.

Experts Included
DWYM Sports and Recreation Experts plus BestReviews, Nest Maven, A Sleepy Wolf, Trip Savvy. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Pillow is compressible for lightweight travel. Memory foam filling. Includes a cooling cover made from bamboo and a blend of other materials."
Cons
"You may notice an off-gassing odor when you order this pillow."
  Easy to Clean

Rest-A-Camp Inflatable Ultralight Backpacking Pillow

Rest-A-Camp

Inflatable Ultralight Backpacking Pillow

Overall Take

Removable CoverThis inflatable backpacking pillow has a removable cover that can be washed and it packs down to a very small size.

Experts Included
DWYM Sports and Recreation Experts plus Camp Away, The Drive, Hiker Lodge, The Best A-Z. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Comfortable, super light, requires less effort and time to inflate, easy to deflate, exceptional head and neck support, durable construction."
Cons
"Some users complain it leaks air after a few uses. It can be hard to deflate and store in its tiny bag."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
19

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the backpacking pillows available to purchase.
12

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

50

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: BestReviews, Road Affair, No Place Called Home, Outdoor Gear Lab, Trailspace.

15,241

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 12 Backpacking Pillows and also dug through the reviews from 50 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Backpacking Pillows.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval
Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Backpacking Pillow


Our Expert Score

8.4
12 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.3
2,514 user reviews

Our Take

Since this backpacking pillow is lightweight and compact, you won't have any trouble adding it to your gear. The inner soft foam filling expands to 4-inches thick for added comfort. The cover also happens to be constructed from a brushed polyester, which is nice and smooth against skin.

What other experts liked

Durable fabric that resist scratches and stains in case of a spill or accident.
- BestReviews
July 1, 2019 | Full review
The lightweight rectangular pillow compresses down for packing and, when the cord lock is released, it springs into a soft 10.2-centimetre-thick (4-inch-thick) pillow.
- Road Affair
July 28, 2018 | Full review
This model does offer incredible simplicity. We like that the stuff sack is built into the design of the pillow. Just roll the pillow up, tuck it into the lip of the pillowcase, and pull the drawstring tight. It also...
- Outdoor Gear Lab
Wow!!!! This is an amazing pillow!I have now had this for a while, I got it to replace a down REI brand pillow that I thought was neat, but this one seriously blows it out of the water!!! It's perfect...
- Trailspace
I always like smart design work, and I think it really shows that the company did its research before manufacturing the pillow. Speaking of design, you have a pretty nice selection of colors and patterns to choose from. I went...
- Armchair Empire
This measures at exactly about 42 by 67 centimeters. The impressive thing about it is that it gives you the feeling of being at the comforts of your home.
- The Z9
July 7, 2019 | Full review
At its maximum loft, the pillow feels like the perfect size for travel. It’s larger than the pillow offerings on most airplanes but noticeably smaller than a standard-size pillow (which means you won’t be bumping your neighbor).
- Mattress Clarity
August 30, 2017 | Full review
It is capable of a loft of four inches when unfolded giving it the ability to adequately support your head, neck, and shoulders as you sleep. The cover is made from brushed polyester that adds to its comfort. Comfort is...
- Bedding Pal
The Therm-a-Rest compressible feels the most like a regular pillow and offers excellent comfort for a decent price.
- Compare Outdoor Gear
Therm-a-Rest offers sizes S-XL so you can be sure to get the best size for your application. As well as camping, these would be perfect for travel on a plane, train, or road tripping with the family. They are so...
- Adventure Rig
June 2, 2017 | Full review
The foam can expand to attain a big pillow or compress to achieve a small-sized pad.
- Best Pillow Sleepers
September 18, 2018 | Full review

What other experts didn't like

Traditional design won't support the neck and head from moving while sleeping.
- BestReviews
July 1, 2019 | Full review
It's heavy.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
However, more than a few people ended up with a shredded cover and the foam pieces spilling out all over the place during the initial washing and drying of the pillow.
- Armchair Empire
Sometimes looks bumpy and lumpy.
- The Z9
July 7, 2019 | Full review
I did not like that it didn't have a way for me to attach it to a carry-on and I didn't love how lumpy the pillow got after a lot of use.
- Mattress Clarity
August 30, 2017 | Full review
Some users found that the fabric tore easily while washing and compressing.
- Bedding Pal
It weighs roughly the same as the Nemo Fillo, but it’s packed size is almost twice as big.
- Compare Outdoor Gear
Not the smallest, most packable pillow out there but for the comfort it is a trade-off
- Adventure Rig
June 2, 2017 | Full review
According to some users, the pillow lack durability
- Best Pillow Sleepers
September 18, 2018 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Rest-A-Camp Inflatable Ultralight Backpacking Pillow

Our Expert Score

0.0
4 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.6
278 user reviews

Our Take

There are a ton of fun colors in the removable pillow cases that can be taken off and washed as needed, a much desired feature in a camping pillow. The whole pillow packs down to be hardly larger than a soda can and it can be inflated in seconds.

What other experts liked

Comfortable, super light, requires less effort and time to inflate, easy to deflate, exceptional head and neck support, durable construction.
- Camp Away
It's comfortable, practical, ergonomic, and provides good head support. You can adjust the thickness, and it's great if you have little space to carry things.
- The Drive
At 4 ounces this is a true ultralight camping pillow. When fully inflated it’s a generous 15 x 12 x 4.5 inches. The very agreeable brushed cotton pillowcase is easy on the skin. The Rest-a-Camp Ultralight Pillow inflates with just 3 or 4 good deep breaths.
- Hiker Lodge
Enables you to sleep comfortably in your camping area. Made from durable yet flexible TPU Fabric material that makes it durable.
- The Best A-Z

What other experts didn't like

It’s extremely small for larger heads.
- Camp Away
Some users complain it leaks air after a few uses. It can be hard to deflate and store in its tiny bag.
- The Drive
Cannot stay inflated throughout the night.
- The Best A-Z

Overall Product Rankings

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Backpacking Pillow

1. Therm-a-Rest Compressible Backpacking Pillow

Overall Score: 9.5
Reviews Included: 15

Wise Owl Outfitters Compressible Foam Backpacking Pillow

2. Wise Owl Outfitters Compressible Foam Backpacking Pillow

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 1

Rest-A-Camp Inflatable Ultralight Backpacking Pillow

5. Rest-A-Camp Inflatable Ultralight Backpacking Pillow

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 5

WELLAX Ultralight Inflatable Backpacking Pillow

6. WELLAX Ultralight Inflatable Backpacking Pillow

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 5

TREKOLOGY Ultralight Inflating Backpacking Pillow

7. TREKOLOGY Ultralight Inflating Backpacking Pillow

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 5

MARCHWAY Ultralight Inflatable Backpacking Pillow

9. MARCHWAY Ultralight Inflatable Backpacking Pillow

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 5

RikkiTikki Inflatable Lightweight Backpacking Pillow

10. RikkiTikki Inflatable Lightweight Backpacking Pillow

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 5

HuTools Inflatable Ergonomic Backpacking Pillow

11. HuTools Inflatable Ergonomic Backpacking Pillow

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 5

TETON Sports Washable Backpacking Pillow

12. TETON Sports Washable Backpacking Pillow

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 5

Our Backpacking Pillow Findings


Therm-a-Rest Compressible Backpacking Pillow

What We Liked: Since this backpacking pillow is lightweight and compact, you won’t have any trouble adding it to your gear. The inner soft foam filling expands to 4-inches thick for added comfort. The cover also happens to be constructed from a brushed polyester, which is nice and smooth against skin.

Simplemost Media


Wise Owl Outfitters Compressible Foam Backpacking Pillow

What We Liked: This backpacking pillow is a cinch to keep clean, as it’s machine washable. The pillow features a soft micro-suede exterior and a plush memory foam interior. Included with your purchase is a handy carry bag, which can be placed inside a backpack or suitcase.

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Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Hypoallergenic Backpacking Pillow

What We Liked: The memory foam that is built-in to this backpacking pillow really sets it apart as a comfortable option that doesn’t force you to sacrifice your comfort for the weight of your pack. The ability for this to pack down small is a nice feature and the natural bamboo covering helps you know it was made with quality products.

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Rugged Camp Ultralight Ergonomic Inflatable Backpacking Pillow

What We Liked: This comfortable backpacking pillow was built with your spinal comfort in mind as it boasts a ribbed and curved design that will allow your head to rest peacefully on it without putting a kink in your neck. The cupped design even helps keep your head in place while you’re sleeping and the pillow packs down into its own carrying case.

Simplemost Media


Rest-A-Camp Inflatable Ultralight Backpacking Pillow

What We Liked: There are a ton of fun colors in the removable pillow cases that can be taken off and washed as needed, a much desired feature in a camping pillow. The whole pillow packs down to be hardly larger than a soda can and it can be inflated in seconds.

Simplemost Media

Our Backpacking Pillow Buying Guide

Backpacking is a game of numbers. It involves hiking as many miles as you can during a day. Or, perhaps for you, it’s more about the elevation you can gain and the views that come with it. Whatever your goals (and how hard you like to push yourself!), most backpackers will agree that lowering the weight of your pack is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself.

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Why bother carrying something that’s bulky and heavy like a traditional pillow when you only have one bag on your back and you’re carrying it for days on end? This desire drove the industry to design the smallest and lightest pillows for this purpose because sleeping with a pillow for your head to rest on is good for your neck and back, which are parts of your body that you really don’t want acting up when you’re countless miles from civilization.

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The ideal backpacking pillow will be lightweight and small enough to not take up noticeable room in your pack. Inflatable pillows are currently the best in these regards since the air from your lungs will end up creating all the volume and cushion that you will feel when you rest your head on it.

Inflatable pillows are often made from materials that are similar to your sleeping pad. When you are looking at inflatable camping pillows, look at the material that the covers are made of. The covers are like robust pillowcases that will often have their own small amount of padding and they are made from much softer materials like bamboo or cotton. Some backpacking pillows even have a strap that can be used to fix it to your sleeping pad and ensure the pillow remains in place.

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The cover of an inflatable pillow will probably get grimy as you use it, so it benefits you to find one that is washable so you can keep it fresh over the course of its life.

Ergonomics play a big part in how comfortable we are when we sleep. Backpacking pillows can have ergonomic design features built into place like a rounded pillow that creates a concave surface where your head lays. This will allow your neck to be supported while your head can be slightly lower, which is a natural alignment that is comfortable for your spine.

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Backpacking pillows are a small luxury when you’re in the wilderness, and their size also makes them very useful for putting behind your lower back when you’re sitting at the office or on public transportation. These small pillows will give your lumbar support when you need it and they can become used daily rather than just once every while when you’re on the trail.

DWYM Fun Fact

Pillows are so useful and common that they extend well beyond the world of civilized humans. We can find examples of animals in nature using their arms as pillows or even piles of leaves or sticks. The idea is that your spine wants to be in alignment and the use of a pillow is often the best way to achieve this. For us humans, we want our neck to be supported by the pillow but our head should rest slightly lower than the neck portion; this allows our spines to be as straight as possible and we end up getting better sleep with fewer neck issues this way.

The Backpacking Pillow Tips and Advice

  • Choose unique colors so you and your camping party can all know which pillow is theirs.
  • Backpacking pillows make great lumbar pillows for times when you’re on long flights, public transportation or even at the office.
  • Wrapping a slick pillow in one of your t-shirts is an easy way to have a makeshift pillowcase if your pillow tries to slide out from under you. The shirt even adds soft comfort to the mix, further enhancing your slumber.