Four perfect camping pillows

Easy-to-pack backcountry head cushions.

camping tent and hammock
A place to rest your head.Laura Pluth via Unsplash

Life is too nasty, brutish, and short to sleep without a pillow. Snoozing sans headrest is also a good way to jack up your neck, which you’ll especially come to regret if you have to crane your head to peer down a rifle scope. So do yourself a solid and pack a pillow. We’ve rounded up four top-rated models that are lightweight and comfortable, and which you’ll have no problem finding space for in your pack.

Klymit Drift
The Klymit Drift, which includes a reversible outer shell and built-in cotton pillowcase.Amazon

The Klymit Drift has a few strong things going for it: it weighs a modest 19 ounces, packs down to 11 inches by 5 inches by 5 inches, and is filled with comfy shredded memory foam. But it’s neatest feature is the reversible outer shell, which keeps the built-in cotton pillowcase clean when not in use. It’s a game-changer. We used the Klymit Drift on a recent Yellowstone backcountry camping trip and slept superbly.

Nemo Fillo Inflatable Travel Pillow
The Nemo Fillo Inflatable Travel Pillow, a 9-inch backpacking cushion.Amazon

Admittedly, as much as we like the Klymit Drift, it’s better suited to car camping than long-haul backpacking treks. For such an adventure, you’ll want something like the Nemo Fillo Inflatable Travel Pillow. The machine-washable cushion weighs 9 ounces and packs down to about the size of a softball, making it easy to stash in a backpack. The outside is made of 1-inch “luxury foam”—whatever that’s supposed to mean—and, after a few huffs and puffs, the pillow inflates to 17 inches by 11 inches by 4 inches.

Sea to Summit Aeros
The Sea to Summit Aeros, a 2.7-ounce inflatable backpacking pillow.Amazon

The inflatable Sea to Summit Aeros is in a similar vein as the Nemo Fillo, yet it somehow weighs even less, at 2.7 ounces, and packs down to the size of a beer can. Nemo Fillo is generally considered more a bit more comfortable than the StS Aeroes, owing to the 1-inch-thick outer foam, which helps it more closely resemble a traditional pillow. But the Aeroes costs a bit less, if your budget is tight.

Klymit Pillow X
The Klymit Pillow X, which weighs a mere .95 ounces.Amazon

OK, if you’re really, really on a budget and even the Sea to Summit Aeros is a bit steep, there’s the Klymit Pillow X. It definitely isn’t the plushest camping pillow on the market, but it is lightweight, at .95 ounces. It inflates to 15 inches by 11 inches by 4 inches and packs down to the size of a lighter, so it has that going for it, too. At the very least, it’ll keep your head out of the dirt.