Backpacking Pillows

Why You Should Consider Purchasing Backpacking Pillows

Hiking is an enjoyable adventure that is fun and exciting while also providing exercise, fresh air, and reduced stress. However, hiking is not all that enjoyable if you get a horrible night’s rest or are hauling around heavy, bulky, and unnecessary items. To make your hiking or camping trip more enjoyable, we suggest purchasing a backpacking pillow. In this article, we will explain why you should consider purchasing backpacking pillows.

This is a more convenient option versus hauling your full-size, bulky, and heavy pillow you use at home throughout the woods, or even worse, up a mountain. Before purchasing any backpacking pillow, it will be helpful to know what a backpacking pillow is, how many types and options there are, and if you actually need one for your trip.

What is a Backpacking Pillow?

What is a Backpacking Pillow?

Backpacking pillows run smaller and are significantly lighter than traditional pillows you sleep on at home. These pillows are specifically designed to be easy to tote around, assemble, and provide you excellent sleep so that you are well-rested in the morning. Most of them even come with its own keep sack that clips onto your backpack, no need to try to stuff it in your backpack.

Types of Backpacking Pillows

Backpacking pillows come in three different types. They are either inflatable, foam-filled or even a stuff sack option. The inflatable option allows you to inflate to your custom level of head and neck support and is also a lot smaller and easier to store than foam-filled pillows. This pillow option also usually comes with soft textured pillowcases that make the pillow extra comfortable. The cases are usually machine washable too!

The drawback of this option is that anything inflatable can lose air during temperature fluctuations and can deflate if damaged. However, these pillows are usually made of thick material and are hard to puncture. 

The positive side of this option is they do not retain heat so they are less likely to become moldy as the foam-filled pillows may. The foam-filled pillows are the most comparable to the pillow you lay on at home but usually smaller and compact. They are often more comfortable and offer more support than the other two options.

The stuff sack pillow option is the most portable of the three since it is actually a sack that you can stuff in your pocket. You fill the soft textured pillow sack which is similar to a pillowcase with the clothes you already packed for your trip. This is the lightest, cheapest, and most space-saving option. However, this pillow can often be lumpy and hopefully, you’re filling it with clean clothes otherwise this option can also be smelly.

What Type of Backpacking Pillow is Right for You?

There are hundreds of options when choosing a backpacking pillow. They all differ in fabric, weight, shape, size, life expectancy, and level of neck support. The main question you need to ask yourself is what types of camping trips do you take the most and how much use and dependability will you desire from the pillow?

If you are going to be camping in the back of your car, then size and weight aren’t really an issue. You aren’t having to tote the pillow far distances.

If you are camping on a mountain after hiking all day, then size, weight, and dependability are extremely important. If you suffer from neck, back, or shoulder pain then a backpacking pillow with more support or even larger size is recommended.

If the pillow is not going to receive much use, then the stuff sack is recommended since this pillow option will last the longest since you provide the pillow stuffing yourself.


No matter what type of backpacking pillow you choose, sleep is an absolute must. Your pillow choice has a huge impact on how well you sleep so we recommend you pack a comfortable and supportive backpacking pillow that checks all your boxes. Backpacking pillows ensure a good night’s rest since they offer support, dependability, and convenience making your camping trip even more enjoyable.

Sore necks, shoulders, and backs from sleeping in uncomfortable situations can cause you to run away from that mountain instead of towards it. They are relatively inexpensive and can last for years of use as well. Whether you are car camping or hiking, there is a type of backpacking pillow that will be perfect for you.

Written by Michaela Rossman

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