Sleeping outdoors is certainly different from sleeping in the comforts and privacy of your own bedroom that’s why special gears are needed to achieve a restful slumber. One such gear is a camping pillow! A camping pillow is made from durable materials so it is suitable for use in harsh weather conditions. The material is also designed to provide ample support on uneven terrain. Even better, camping pillow is so portable, it won’t take much room in your backpack!

Image used under Creative Commons from Dave Dugdale

Apart from camping, these products can be used while traveling too! If you’re looking for the right camping pillow for you, here are our recommendations:

Best Camping Pillows

Image
Name
Pros
Cons
Bottom line
Therm-A-Rest Camping Pillow
  • Designed for camping and traveling
  • Packs small but expand big
  • Durable materials
  • Tendency to get lumpy
ONWEGO Camping Pillow
ONWEGO Camping Pillow
  • Pillow top cover and foam inner
  • Self-inflatable
  • Slip-resistant
  • Adjustable firmness
  • Prone to air leaks
Sea to Summit Camping Pillow
Sea to Summit Camping Pillow
  • Inflatable and portable
  • Features a multi-functional valve and knitted polyester cover
  • Ergonomically designed for optimum comfort
  • Expensive
  • Prone to air leaks
Teton Sports Camp Pillow
Teton Sports Camp Pillow
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Made with SuperLoft Elite 4-channel fiber fills
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Standard size runs small

Therm-A-Rest Camping Pillow


The Therm-A-Rest is an affordable, well-sized compressible pillow designed with campers and travelers in mind. It’s made from brushed polyester on the outside and ultra-soft urethane foam filling on the inside. It comes in different sizes so it suits all head sizes but if you want a more comfortable sleep, consider getting the XL size, which measures about 16.5 x 27 inches. In addition, the Therm-A-Rest camper pillow comes in various colors to choose from, perfect for those who’d like a little color coordination even while exploring the great outdoors.

Although the Therm-A-Rest camper pillow is not as portable and space saving as an inflatable pillow, it does pack to a small size when not in use and it expands big, ensuring a restful sleep night after night. Since it comes with urethane filling, there is a pronounced chemical smell during the initial uses but the odors should go away on their own. We only wish the pillow isn’t as lumpy, the fillings tend to cause the material go all uneven and this affects the user experience.

Also, watch out when you wash this pillow because it might come out thinner when you failed to follow the washing instructions. For this Amazon user, the Therm-A-Rest camper pillow is highly recommended for traveling and camping trips:

This pillow exceeded my expectations. As a side sleeper I need a lofty pillow and that’s not easy to find in a compressible travel pillow. This is great and definitely improved my rest on camping trips. It is washable, has a soft cover, compacts to about 1/4 of its full size.

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ONWEGO Camping Pillow

ONWEGO Camping Pillow
ONWEGO’s camping pillow is a dense, foam pillow all wrapped up with a soft pillow top for maximum comfort anywhere. This camping pillow is ergonomically designed to cradle the head and provide just the right level of support to the neck. Designed with comfort in mind, the adjustable safety air lock valve lets you inflate and deflate the pillow according to your preferred firmness without the hollow feel most inflatable pillows have.

We love how compact and user-friendly this camping pillow is. To inflate the pillow, just twist open the safety lock air valve and it will inflate on its own. To deflate, simply open the valve and squeeze out the air, it’s that simple. The ONWEGO camping pillow comes in a variety of colors to choose from, including yellow, red, and blue. It gets brownie points for the contoured surface because the pillow offers great neck support.

As for the downsides, we feel that we’re nitpicking because we never ran across glaring issues worth noting. Some may find the size too big; others may dislike the contoured shape of the pillow. After using the pillow, it tends to soften just a tiny bit in the morning. Minor issues aside, this user say the ONWEGO camping pillow feels absolutely heavenly that he slept in his tent like a baby:

I’m picky when it comes to pillows. I immediately purchased the ONWEGO pillowcase and it is this super soft, lightweight fabric. Seriously, the reason this is so highly rated is because it is amazing!! By the way I slept like a baby in my tent!

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Sea to Summit Camping Pillow

Sea to Summit Camping Pillow
Sea to Summit camping pillow is an inflatable and portable pillow fitted with a multifunctional valve and contoured shape for optimum comfort. It features a polyester knitted material that does more than just give the product a pillow-like feel and appearance, it wicks away moisture while you sleep, keeping you cool and comfortable all night long! The pillow is also filled with synthetic fiber fill that provides excellent support to the neck while the scalloped bottom edge of the pillow is designed to cater to back and side sleepers.

We love Sea to Summit camping pillow’s ergonomic design because it cradles the head perfectly without causing a stiff neck! The texture of the pillow gives Sea to Summit camping pillow a more luxurious feel. The size is quite compact so it’s made specifically for travelers and campers.

As for the downsides, the Sea to Summit camping pillow is quite pricey for a pillow that needs to be inflated manually. Filling the pillow with air takes only a few breaths but some self-inflatable pillows offer the same benefits without the hefty price tag. Also, the product is prone to air leaks. If it’s firm in the evening, there will be pronounced softness by the morning. That said, this Amazon user says the Sea to Summit camping pillow is worth every penny, so much that he’s using it as an everyday pillow:

My everyday pillow. Seriously, why not? This amazing pillow is always so easy to inflate/deflate. No more worries on sleeping with your memory pillows that always loss tension. I recommend it to anyone. Great for outdoor, travelling, and in your room literally.

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Teton Sports Camp Pillow

Teton Sports Camp Pillow
The Teton sports camp pillow is a lightweight compressible pillow made from SuperLoft Elite 4-channel fiber fill – the same material used in the brand’s sports sleeping bags. Perfect for camping, backpacking, hiking and trekking, this camping pillow is just 0.8 pounds in weight so it’s easy to carry plus it will save you space in your backpack as it compresses to a tiny square!The fiber fill is able to retain heat well so insulation is excellent. Even after repeated washing, the filling remains fluffy and soft.

We also loved the super soft washable pillowcase that comes with the pillow as well as the drawstring bag. As for color and pattern choices, this product is designed to complement Teton’s sleeping bags so expect the colors to be similar to that of their sleeping bags’. This nice, durable camping pillow offers ample head and neck support all night long. The only caveat is the sizing, which runs small. We wish this pillow comes in a larger size to suit more people. That said, this Amazon user says the Teton sports camp pillow is nothing short of fantastic when it comes to performance:

This little camp pillow is amazing. I was hesitant to buy a camp pillow at first because I didn’t think it would be worth it but this pillow is fantastic. It is easy to use, pack, and wash. The pillow case it comes with is very soft and feels good on my face when I sleep. It is also very fluffy and gives good neck support, which is crucial when camping.

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Types of Camping Pillows

There are two types of camping pillow types to consider, inflatable and compressible camping pillows. Each one has its own pros and cons:

Inflatable Pillows
Inflatable pillows are designed to be filled with air when in use. If inflated, the pillow provides adjustable support whenever needed. When deflated, the pillow can be folded, saving you space in your backpack. This design is perfect for camping because it’s portable and lightweight.

Compressible Pillow
Compressible pillows are camping pillows that can be compressed with other materials when in use. It’s not as portable as a regular inflatable pillow because it does not lay flat when stored but it does provide more support so it’s much more comfortable than inflatables.

Two chairs in front of a camping tent

Image used under Creative Commons from Chris Gardiner

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Pillow

There are hundreds of camping pillows on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? Consider these factors:

Size and Shape
The size and shape of the pillow are important because the comfort level that the product provides will depend on these factors. You want a camping pillow that gives you ample neck and head support in a shape that’s right for the size of your head.

Material
The best camping pillows are those made with a durable and supple material. Go for breathable materials that boost airflow without sacrificing durability or performance. It’s better to pay more for quality fabric that cheap material that doesn’t last any more than a single camping trip.

Support
The right camping pillow should provide enough head and neck support that you don’t wake up with muscle pain the morning after! Go for camping pillows with adjustable support so you can adjust the support the way you like it.

Warranty
The last thing you want is to be stuck with a defective product that you cannot use so make sure you get a camping pillow with excellent warranty offers.