Which camping pillow is best?

A good camping pillow can make the difference between a glorious, calming time in the woods and fitful sleep that means you wake up achy and miserable. While changing up your routine and roughing it can be a great break, there’s no need to cause yourself discomfort. If you’re looking for a quality, easily packable camping pillow, Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Deluxe Pillow is the top choice. 

What to know before you buy a camping pillow

Your day-to-day pillow

On your bed at home, do you like a firm pillow or one that your head just sinks into? Memory foam or fiberfill? Getting your camping pillow to closely resemble what you’re used to sleeping on can ensure comfort and keep your body from experiencing the shock of a big change in consistency. 


If space is tight, such as when you’re flying to your camping trip, find a camping pillow that takes up as little room as possible. Inflatable pillows are a great option when space is limited. 

Ease of cleaning

Camping gear gets dusty, dirty and maybe even rolled in the mud. Pillows, which go right by your face, should be as clean as possible. Opt for a pillow with a cover that’s easily removable and stands up to repeated washing.

Making the most of your camping pillow

A camping pillow may not exactly replicate your down-filled, deluxe pillow at home. If bringing your pillow from home is not an option (like if you’re backpacking and space is at a premium), there are still things you can do to sleep comfortably with a camping pillow. For starters, if you’re using an inflatable pillow, don’t inflate it fully. Leaving just a bit of air out of an inflatable pillow makes it more closely resemble a regular pillow.

If you don’t use memory foam at home, skip a memory foam camping pillow, because its consistency can take some getting used to and you don’t want to use your camping trip as a time to experiment with comfort.

Lastly, bring a pillowcase in a fabric you love (flannel works great for nights when it gets chilly). The feel of a comfortable fabric can help diminish any discomfort you may feel when getting used to a new pillow. 

What to look for in a quality camping pillow


In addition to a pillow’s ability to be compressed, note its overall weight, particularly when backpacking and carrying it in and out of a campsite. When every ounce counts, be sure to pack a compressible pillow that’s as light as can be. 

Recycled materials

If you’re enjoying the woods, chances are that you care about the health of our planet. Finding a camping pillow made of recycled materials is a great way to live your convictions and help keep the planet clean. 

Moisture-wicking features

If you’re camping in hot weather, it’s no fun to lay your head on a plasticky, hot surface that will pool sweat. Be sure to find a heat-friendly camping pillow with moisture-wicking fabric for maximum comfort. 

How much you can expect to spend on a camping pillow

Camping pillows range from $10-$70. 

Camping pillow FAQ

Is a camping pillow worth the weight when backpacking?

A. Only you can know for sure. It’s tempting to just roll up a garment and make that your pillow, and for some, that’s absolutely fine. If you tend to get a crick in your neck or wake up achy in the morning, a camping pillow could make the difference between a glorious, energized hike and a day full of aches and pains. If weight is an issue, you can get an inflatable camping pillow that will only add a few ounces to your pack.

Can I just use a travel pillow or a pillow from home?

A. If you’re driving to your campsite, bringing a pillow from home is an option. Be sure to put it in a bug-proof case and wash the case before putting the pillow back on your bed. A travel pillow could also be an option, but they may not do the trick because most are designed to be used when you’re sitting up. If you’re a frequent camper, spring for a pillow designed for camping.

What are the best camping pillows to buy?

Top camping pillow

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Deluxe Pillow

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Deluxe Pillow

What you need to know: This premium inflatable pillow packs up light at 6.9 ounces and inflates for maximum comfort.

What you’ll love: The knitted polyester cover is soft and washes up easily. 

What you should consider: An air-filled pillow may not easily replicate the feel of a softer pillow.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon

Top camping pillow for the money

Quest Camp Pillow

Quest Camp Pillow

What you need to know: This pillow makes a good budget option, particularly for a camping trip within driving distance. 

What you’ll love: The Quest Camp pillow is comfortable and generously sized and can make your camping nights more comfortable. 

What you should consider: The nylon material can make this pillow slippery, particularly when placed on top of similar material, like a sleeping bag. Consider a pillowcase if slippage is an issue. 

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Worth checking out

Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Pillow

Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Pillow

What you need to know: This compressible memory foam pillow provides you comfort while taking up a minimum of space. 

What you’ll love: The micro-suede cover is deliciously soft. The whole pillow can be thrown in the wash (careful in the dryer) for an easy clean. 

What you should consider: Although it compresses, it weighs 11 ounces, which can make a difference when every ounce counts for backpacking. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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