While on a camping or backpacking trip, space is often at a premium. Backpackers are especially mindful of the weight of each item they’re carrying. Finding a good camping pillow that is lightweight and packs down well will be an advantage for both campers and backpackers. Inflatable pillows are usually the most space-efficient since they can be deflated and rolled up tightly into a small bag. Many come with their own carrying case, often even built into the pillow. If your campsite is near the car, you may focus more on comfort than weight and space efficiency, so a pillow that doesn’t pack down as small could be a viable option.
On occasion, camping and backpacking can be a damp affair. If wet weather hits, it’s not uncommon for everything in the tent to feel wet, even if it didn’t get direct rain. Choosing a pillow that is water-resistant will ensure that the pillow won’t absorb any moisture.
Camping pillows come in different lofts, or heights. The loft dictates how supportive and comfortable a pillow will feel for different sleepers. Some prefer a high loft while others sleep best on a low-loft pillow. Most inflatable pillows can be adjusted to whichever loft you prefer by either adding or removing air. Side-sleepers will be most comfortable with a medium-to-high-loft pillow. Back-sleepers generally have the same preference. Low loft pillows may be the most comfortable option for stomach sleepers.
Travel pillows average between $15 and $30, with a few costing up to $50. In the $15 range of the price spectrum, camping pillows tend to be either polyester-filled with a polyester cloth covering, or a simple inflatable pillow. In the $20-$25 range there are far more options of materials and features, such as cloth-covered inflatables, self-inflating valves, a variety of foam fillings, and more natural fibers. In the $25 and up range, the pillows feature more complex structures and natural components, such as a layer of foam over an inflatable section, bamboo covers, memory foam, and removable covers for effective and easy cleaning.
Camping can get a little dirty so choosing a camping pillow that can be easily cleaned is important. Many foam pillows are washing machine friendly, while many inflatable pillows can be wiped clean. Some camping pillows come with cases that can be separated and thrown in the washing machine once you get home. Down pillows often need to be professionally cleaned. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning directions.
Return Policy & Warranty
When shopping for the best camping pillow, it’s worth looking into the return policy and warranty on the pillow. Some companies offer a 100-day trial in which you can use the pillow and return it for a full refund if you’re not happy with it. Other companies offer a lifetime warranty. A good return policy and warranty is especially useful for inflatable pillows which could get damaged and deflate permanently.
Other Tips for Sleeping Well While Camping
Sleeping in a cozy tent in nature can be a magical experience. But it can also be uncomfortable and difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Sleeping on the ground in a new environment with strange sounds can make for a restless night. With the right gear and routine, however, sleeping while camping can be refreshing and comfortable. Here are our top tips for sleeping well while camping.
Make Sure the Rest of Your Tent Bedding is Comfortable
Investing in quality camping gear can help you get the best sleep possible while out in nature. A comfortable pillow, a high-quality sleeping bag, and a camping mattress can all help to make your slumber while camping a positive experience.
Sleeping bags come in a variety of shapes, weights, lengths, and temperature ratings. Choose one that fits your desired length and width. If you’re car camping, you won’t need to consider how much the sleeping bag weighs as much as you will if you’ll be carrying it with you on an overnight backpacking trip.
Camping mattresses come in a variety of sizes and materials. Some are self-inflating and roll into a small tube while others are heavier and more suitable for car camping.
Before you pack up and head out, it’s a good idea to test out your sleeping setup. If your mattress and pillow are inflatable, check to make sure nothing is leaking. Crawl into your sleeping bag to make sure it feels roomy enough for you to move around at night, but not so big that it won’t keep you warm and secure.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Maintaining good sleep hygiene will help ensure you’re sleeping well while camping. Sleep hygiene is the bedtime routine, rituals, and behaviors you follow before sleep. If possible, go to bed around the same time you usually do while camping. Staying well hydrated and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed will help you sleep, too. If you’re having a hard time falling asleep in the new environment, try some relaxation techniques. Ensure you’re sleeping at a comfortable temperature for your body to properly thermoregulate. If your sleeping bag is too warm, unzip the top or bottom a bit for more ventilation. If you’re cold, try putting on a pair of socks or a hat to warm up.
More Tips for Good Sleep