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Looking more like a scarf than a pillow, the Trtl breaks the U-shaped mold. The thoughtfully engineered “pillow” consists of a soft and breathable fleece wrap that velcros around your neck. Within the fleece is a flexible neck support frame designed to contour to any head, neck, and jaw. The support frame hinges at a 90 degree tilt between your shoulder and neck, and can be repositioned on either shoulder or beneath your head to a position most comfortable for you.
Half the size of most U-shaped travel pillows, the Trtl can easily be folded up inside or attached to the handle of your bag. The Trtl pillow is lightweight at a little under half a pound, hypoallergenic, and machine-washable.
On a mission to revolutionize the way we sleep on-the-go, mechanical engineers Michael Corrigan and David Kellock decided to reinvent the travel pillow. The Glasgow-based duo hatched the plan while lamenting the challenge of sleep on airplanes. Unsatisfied with the bulky, awkward and unsupportive U-shaped travel pillow model, Corrigan and Kellock were determined to create something better.
Pulling from five years of sleep ergonomics research, the pair of mechanical engineers invented the Trtl (pronounced “turtle”) Travel Pillow. Quite unlike conventional U-shaped pillow, the soft, lightweight Trtl Pillow looks like a scarf or small blanket. The breathable but sturdy fabric wraps around your neck and secures an internal support brace that cradles your head and chin as you sleep. The flexible brace and fabric work together to provide comfort and ergonomic support. Since its unveiling, the Trtl pillow has enjoyed plenty of press and accolades, appearing on Insider’s Travel Smarter series and Good Morning America and winning the company the award for E-commerce Exporter of the Year at the Scottish Export Awards.
Read on to learn more about the innovative newcomer in our in-depth Trtl Pillow review, which discusses Trtl benefits, features, and other purchase considerations.
Travel pillows are designed to offer neck support to those seeking to sleep or relax while sitting upright in a seat. Frequently spotted on airplanes, travel pillows can also be used to reduce neck strain and promote comfort on long car rides, train trips, and other on-the-go snoozes.
Since it was patented in 1929, the U-shaped pillow reigned over the travel pillow market. But within the last 10 years or so, manufacturers have started to think beyond the U-shape and experiment with new designs and materials. Today’s market boasts travel pillows in a variety of styles, from infinity symbol-shaped bamboo fabric pillows to cushioned, blindfold-like pillows that fit over your eyes. Depending on their design, pillows may provide seated users with head, neck support, and/or lumbar support, in addition to other benefits like sound-reduction.
Based on our research, here’s what customers are saying about the Trtl Pillow:
In summary, many owners claim that the Trtl Pillow was able to provide sufficient neck support and enabled them to sleep on long plane rides where other pillows disappointed. After a flight, many reviewers reported feeling more rested and experiencing reduced neck pain. However, many users agree that the fabric can be overly warm, particularly for those who tend to sleep warm or during insufficiently air-conditioned flights. Some users found it was difficult to wrap the scarf tight enough to achieve desired support. Another common theme among reviewers was varying qualities in the same product; some report receiving products with a flimsier plastic brace than previous orders.
Customer reviews and press coverage have been overwhelmingly positive, but is Trtl Travel Pillow right for you? Before making your purchase, here’s what you need to know about the Trtl Travel Pillow:
Despite its unorthodox shape, the Trtl Pillow is fairly intuitive to use. When folded up, the pillow can be unfurled by separating the velcro. After unfolding the wrap to arms length, you should hold the fabric behind your neck as though you were putting on a scarf. Position the support brace to a comfortable position, then secure the wrap around your neck with velcro.
You can position the support brace anywhere in front of your neck, including underneath your chin or over either shoulder. When you tilt against the brace, the fabric between the flippers contours your jaw or face while the gap between the lateral bands holds your neck in a neutral position.
The Trtl is marketed as “scientifically proven” to be better for your neck than traditional U-shaped travel pillows. The claim is backed by independent research from the Institute of Motion Analysis and Research (IMAR) at the University of Dundee.
Helmed by Professor Rami Abboud, Head of Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery / Director of Institute of Motion Analysis and Research at the University of Dundee, the study compared the Trtl to some of the market’s best U-shaped models. Using motion analysis, the researchers tested pillows in a simulated airplane to assess whether the products were able to keep participants’ heads and necks in a healthy position. The study found the Trtl is better able to hold the head in a neutral position than conventional memory-foam U-shaped pillows. 9/10 study participants preferred the Trtl to traditional travel pillows.
The Trtl Pillow is designed out of a soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic fleece that comes in a choice of colors, including grey, coral, red, and black. Enclosed within the fleece is a plastic neck support brace that is firm but flexible enough to conform to your head and neck. The Trtl is secured by long strips of velcro so you can adjust the brace to your desired tightness.
The Trtl Travel Pillow weighs around 4.8 ounces (slightly less than a third of a pound) or about the same as a newspaper. When folded up, the pillow measures 3 x 1.5 x 3 inches or about the size of a small book. The Trtl is roughly half the size of traditional travel pillows.
Designed for no-fuss care, the Trtl Travel Pillow can be cleaned with a conventional washer and dryer. The manufacturers recommend removing the plastic brace before putting it through a wash cycle. When you re-insert the brace after drying, be sure to properly orientate it within the wrap.
In addition to product features, it’s worth taking into account certain other factors before deciding on a travel pillow. Here are a few key purchase considerations for the Trtl Travel Pillow:
Trtl backs its pillow with a 60-day return policy, offering full returns to customers who return the pillow within 60 days of the initial purchase. Customers are advised to contact Trtl with their order number via email to find out the return process and any applicable shipping costs for their particular order and location.
The Trtl Travel Pillow ships from a network of warehouses to destinations all over the world. Orders within North America, Europe, Australia, and many other destinations ship free. Most orders within the continental U.S. ship within four to seven working days.