How Do I Choose Camping Pillows

How Do I Choose Camping Pillows?

There are many detrimental factors that could attribute to a positive or negative camping experience. Since the idea of sleeping in a tent in the wilderness for many is rather unpleasant, selecting adequate and essential gear is key to having an enjoyable camping experience. From the right tent to sleeping bag to mattress to pillow, everything factor plays a key role in your upcoming camping trip. We hope we are able to tackle some of your lingering questions that could hopefully simplify your camping decisions. 

Camping gear may not be the first essential on a person’s list are camping pillows; however, it is important to note that camping pillows may be the difference between a good and bad night’s sleep.  Camping pillows are typically offered in a variety of shapes, materials, brands, and sizes. Key things to look for in a camping pillow are head and neck support, as well as ultimate comfort. While trying to choose a camping pillow, some important factors to think about are the type of trip, regular sleeping position, and duration of the trip. 

Type of Camping Trip 

Two people sitting near a campfire.
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Understanding and identifying the type of camping trip will be very helpful in narrowing down your camping pillow options. This is because certain camping pillows are more adequate and recommended for some trips rather than others.

Car Camping

Car camping trips generally consist of driving up to a local campsite and utilizing your vehicle as your set-up and sleeping site. In the case that your desired camping trip is car camping, bringing a regular pillow from home may be the best option. This is because your regular, larger pillow will be the most comfortable. For car camping, you are able to bring a larger pillow since you will have more space. In addition, bringing a pillow designed for camping may be rather uncomfortable and rugged compared to your pillow from home. Campers should note that bringing a pillow from home may suffer some wear and tear, so it is recommended to set aside your designated pillow for camping. 

Tent Camping

Camping in a tent is generally a smaller area in comparison to car camping. Because of this, a smaller, compact camping pillow is recommended in order to save space. Campers do not need to worry about the weight of the pillow since it does not play a crucial factor in the decision making process. Therefore, a compact yet heavy pillow will suffice for campers looking to camp in a tent. 


Now if you were deciding to camp in a tent, but intend on backpacking to your desired location, a compact and light camping pillow is highly recommended. This is because backpackers must reduce the amount of unnecessary weight and space. 

Duration of the Camping Trip

A person with a blue backpack overlooking a forest.
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While the type of trip plays an essential factor in deciding the perfect camping pillow, the duration of a camping trip is also important. Whether you are planning a trip for two nights or two weeks, the difference in camping pillows will ultimately change your camping experience. Campers who are generally camping for 1-2 nights typically can get away with a camping pillow that is less supportive. Now for campers who intend on camping for over a week, a high-quality, supportive pillow is recommended. 

Sleep Position

A person relaxing at the entrance of their tent.
Image Source: Unsplash

Your preferred sleep position plays a key role in deciding the type of camping pillow to purchase. The three main sleeping positions consist of: stomach sleepers, side sleepers, or back sleepers. Generally, stomach sleepers prefer less support in comparison to other sleepers. Because of this, thinner, flatter camping pillows are recommended for those who sleep on their stomach. Choosing a thinner and flatter pillow will offer the highest level of comfort for stomach sleepers.

For individuals who tend to sleep on their side, a thicker, well-supported pillow is recommended in order to offer support and level out their head and spine. Back sleepers are in the middle of side and stomach sleepers in the fact that they require medium support. For back sleepers, a camping pillow that is labeled as medium support is recommended in order to achieve maximum comfort. 


Although a camping pillow is such a small piece of gear on a long list of camping essentials, selecting the perfect camping pillow for your trip is crucial. No one wants to hike through the wilderness for hours and come back to an uncomfortable camping site. This is why the perfect camping pillow will make your upcoming camping trip much more enjoyable since it will provide you with a good night’s rest and comfort throughout the night. We hope this has provided you with some clarity on choosing the best camping pillows for your upcoming camping trip. 

Written by Nina Le

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