Much of the debate over whether or not to bring a backpacking pillow on a camping or hiking trip has to do with weight and space. Why carry a pillow when you can use a stuff sack filled with soft clothes already in your pack instead?
Of course, the debate varies based on what kind of backpacking you plan on doing, where you will be sleeping, and what time of year you plan on backpacking.
If you plan on sleeping in a car, how much you bring along with you is less of an issue, while if you plan on backpacking the old fashioned way with a tent or hammock, weight and space will be your biggest concerns.
Additionally, if you plan on backpacking in the summer opposed to the shoulder seasons, you’ll have less clothing to stuff a sack with to use as a headrest.
Walking for many hours a day with a heavy pack puts a lot of stress on your body. Bringing a proper backpacking pillow to sleep on during your travels will help relieve some of the pressure by keeping your spine in proper position. For those of you who do not carry along a sleeping pad, a pillow will keep your head from being on the floor of your tent. Backpacking pillows are specially made to provide this comfort while being easy to carry along in a pack.
Additionally, many backpackers find that because they are used to their pillows at home, they have better sleep quality by bringing along a backpacking pillow on their travels.
Enjoy your travels and sleep soundly without getting pesky neck cramps.
The option closest to what we use at home, compressible pillows use filler to provide head support. These fillers often include down, synthetic fibres, foam, or a combination of the three.
While compressible pillows are probably the most comfortable option, they are also the heaviest and take up the most space.
The lightest pillow option that also takes up the least amount of space, inflatable pillows are quickly inflated by blowing air through a valve.
Due to their nature, they can also be the firmest backpacking pillow option depending on how much air you put in.
Hybrid backpacking pillows feature both compressible and inflatable components. These pillows have a compressible top to increase your comfort, as well as an inflatable bottom that can be adjusted for firmness.
The inflatable bottom helps keep the weight and volume down in your pack.