The 5 Best Backpacking Pillows

Sleeping in the woods under the stars is a dreamy experience that can be ruined quickly if you don't have a comfortable place to rest your head. To optimize your wilderness adventure, I personally recommend investing in one of the best backpacking pillows you can find. There are essentially three types to choose from:

  • Inflatable: These pillows inflate when you're ready to use them and deflate back down when you're done. The advantage is they're much lighter and take up less space in your bag. The downside is they don't have that fluffy, "pillow" feel.
  • Non-inflatable: These are small, compact pillows that either stuff into a sack or roll up like a sleeping bag. Often filled with foam, they're fluffier and feel more like a traditional pillow, but the tradeoff is that they're also significantly heavier and take up more space in your pack than an inflatable pillow.
  • "Stuffable" pillowcase: The most lightweight, bulk-free option for backpacking excursions is to simply take a small, outdoor-ready pillowcase you can stuff a puffy jacket or other soft item into. Some folks find this a bit lumpy while others can hardly feel the difference.

Once you've decided on a style, think about the ease of use, too. For inflatable styles, this means designs you can blow up quickly and deflate with ease. For non-inflatable versions, it means they're easy to roll up or fold down.

Below, I've rounded up a selection of the best backpacking pillows in all three categories to give you a range of options. Read on to find the perfect one for your next trip. (And a helpful hint: For the pillows that come in multiple sizes, I referred to the dimensions of the smallest option available.)