Updated May 2017
Camping season is every season, and we updated this review for the Spring with the addition of two new popular pillows, the Exped REM and REI Co-op Backpacker. Both performed well, and the Backpacker took home a Best Buy Award for Budget Backpacking. The Nemo Fillo remains seated as the overall champion in 2017. This review is also reformatted to better guide you to your right product.
Best Overall Camping Pillow
Adjustable and solid support
Easy to use
The NEMO Fillo
maintained its status as Editors' Choice Award winner in 2017 because of its solid performance across our scoring categories. This pillow's all-around satisfaction potential is high, with a microsuede cover and foam filler providing comfort. It features an inflatable air chamber that provides customized support, too. Packing into its internal stuff sack, the design is intuitive, and the packed size is small. Its main drawback is its above-average weight, which keeps it from being our first choice on extended backpacking trips. But the majority of camping happens on sites close to parking, and so for the most common circumstances, this model is the best.
Read full review: NEMO Fillo
Best Bang for the Buck
Easy to use
The Therm-a-Rest Compressible
pillow combines supreme comfort for a decent price, which earned it our Best Buy Award. Updated in 2017 to include new colors, eight options give you the ability to personalize your pillow. It is also supportive and easy to use, helped by its simple design and built-in stuff sleeve. We liked that the internal filler material comes from upcycled mattress foam, too, checking our eco-friendly box. For weekend and car camping trips, this pillow rocks. At $20 MSRP, it's an excellent product at a low price.
Read full review: Therm-a-Rest Compressible
Best Buy for Budget Backpackers
REI Co-op Backpacker
Easy to use
Adequate comfort and support
Average weight and packed size
The engineers at REI
fulfilled a niche in the pillow market with the Backpacker
by providing a pillow ready for multi-night trips that costs $25. This versatile pillow is comfortable for car camping and small and light enough to take along on excursions lasting several days. Our testers love that there is no extra stuff sack with this model. Instead, if stuffs into its own zipper pocket, which also doubles as a safe pocket for storing fragile items (read: phones, cameras). Yes, there are more lightweight pillows that pack down smaller for week-long treks and thru-hikes. This model, however, gets the job done for short backpacking trips. We also know from experience that some folks can't stand sleeping on inflated pillows. It's a great choice for beginner backpackers or anyone who desires comfortable nights deep in the backcountry without spending a ton of dough.
Read full review: REI Co-op Backpacker
Top Pick for Backpacking
Sea to Summit Aeros
Small packed size
Great adjustable support
The Sea to Summit Aeros
was awarded our Top Pick for Backpacking, scoring well in our weight, packed size, and support metrics. What sets this one apart is that it is still reasonably comfortable and easy to use, despite its minimal design. The soft polyester cover and contoured lines in the pillow go a long way toward providing a good night's sleep, even when deep in the backcountry. This is the pillow we prefer to bring on backpacking trips lasting several days or more. The Sea to Summit Aeros also comes in Ultra Light and Premium Deluxe versions, so depending on which end of the ultralight spectrum you fall on, you can customize your experience.
Read full review: Sea to Summit Aeros