How to Choose The Best Backpacking Pillow

Last Updated on July 14, 2022 by Cristina

Backpacking is an exciting adventure but you must have the right gear that can help you enjoy it. To enjoy super resting time especially at night, you need a proper backpacking pillow. As the name suggests, you must choose a pillow that you can easily carry from place to place during your trip. 

There are many factors that can help you to choose the best backpacking pillow.  As such, this guide gives you some hints and tips that you can use to get the right product that can satisfy your needs.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Backpacking Pillow

You should look at the following factors since they can help you to choose a product with the right specifications and features that will fulfill your needs. You should make sure that the product you get can give you a comfortable sleep.


Type of Pillow

There are different types of backpacking pillows which fall under the following four categories. These should give you an idea of the right product that you are looking for. 

  • Inflatables: These pillows consist of inflatable air sacks and they are lightweight and easy to pack which make them the best choice for backpacking. However, the pillows lack balance and in some cases can be prone to punctures. You should check the durability of the material to avoid buying a product that will give you problems. 
  • Compressible Pillows: the pillows use compressible fiber for support and they are similar to the ones we use in homes. They are designed to offer you comfort but the downside is that they are heavy and may not be ideal for backpacking. When you choose this pillow, you must make sure that you do not have other items that can increase the weight at your back.  
  • Hybrid (Inflatable/Compressible): these pillows are built on the basis of maximizing the advantages of both compressible and inflatable pillows while at the same time minimizing the downsides of the same pillows. The design of the pillow attempts to correct the issue of imbalance of the inflatable pillow while designing a thin layer of compressible material to improve comfort. Essentially, the main idea behind this type of pillow is to improve the balance for the intended user.
  • Convertible Stuff Sacks: you can use these sacks for carrying your clothing and you can also use them as pillows when resting time comes. The products come with soft fabric in the form of polyester fleece and the advantage is that they are lightweight. They are also easy to pack and there are no risks of punctures like other types of inflatable pillows. This option can be a better alternative when you are backpacking. 

How to Choose The Best Backpacking Pillow

 Weight and Size of the Pillow

The major thing that you should consider when you are backpacking is to ensure that you maintain the weight of your gear at the minimum level.  To minimize the weight of the load at your back, you must consider lightweight products. As such, you can consider different types of pillows to be able to get a product that can satisfy your needs. 

Backpacking pillows with reasonable sizes are also ideal for backpacking since they are easy to pack. Pillows with medium sizes can be ideal for this purpose since they are capable of giving you the comfort you want while at the same time are easy to pack. 

Quality of Material

When we talk about quality of material, you should consider elements like durability and washability of the pillowcase. When the type of pillow is inflatable, you should be wary of material since it can be susceptible to punctures. 

A pillowcase is bound to get dirty since you rest on it the whole night. Therefore, you must make sure that the pillowcase is easy to wash. Some pillowcases are removable and washable while others require spot cleaning using water and soap. These factors are important since they help you to get the right product.

How to Choose The Best Backpacking Pillow

Price of the Backpacking Pillow 

There are different types of backpacking pillows and they significantly differ in a number of aspects such as quality and other features. These elements affect the prices of different pillows so you should decide the type of pillow that fits your budget. However, it is always important to ensure that you can choose a product with better quality that can satisfy your needs during your trip. 

Customer Reviews

Other customers can help you make a better choice through their reviews of the product you may be interested in. these people have first-hand information about the product so treat their reviews seriously. Marketers usually do not want to focus on weaknesses of the product but customers are honest in their reviews. 

Leisure Co Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow 

The inflatable pillow is made of soft jersey cotton with a comfortable cushion that helps to give you perfect sleep. This air pillow is easy to inflate or deflate and the whole process takes a few seconds only. The pillow is also made of durable material which is also easy to clean. You can spot clean the dirty areas with soap and water or use a washing machine. 

The pillow is large enough to cradle your head so that you do not wake up with a sore neck. This particular product is ideal for hiking, camping, and backpacking since it is lightweight and easy to pack.


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Comfortable 
  • Cradles your neck
  • Easy to inflate/deflate
  • Easy to clean


  • The pillow can be punctured

How to Choose The Best Backpacking Pillow

MARCHWAY Ultralight Pillow

This compact backpacking pillow is ultra-light and also very easy to pack since you can put it in a pocket. The other notable benefit of this pillow is that it is comfortable and durable at the same time. Its fabric is water-resistant and comfortable since it consists of soft elastic polyester with TPU coat. The material is also easy to clean since you just wash the pillow with water and soap.

The pillow also has an ergonomic design which is curve to cradle your head no matter what side you are sleeping on. The pillow is also quick to inflate since it requires just about three breaths. It is also easy to deflate. You can use the pillow for various other purposes including sports, air travel and you can also use it in your car.


  • Durable and lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Easy to pack
  • Comfortable

How to Choose The Best Backpacking Pillow

Trekology Inflatable Lumbar Pillow

This inflatable pillow is another handsome option that you can consider for backpacking. It is small in size but it offers quality comfort.  The pillow is quick to inflate as well as deflating. One good thing is that you can adjust the level of pressure to fit your desired firmness. 

The pillow has a breathable and removable cotton cover that you can wash and it also allows free circulation of air to prevent moisture and sweat fill up. The pillow is designed to give you maximum comfort and you can use it in different environments. Its ergonomic design helps to keep your head in aligned position to prevent neck pain when you wake up. 


  • Easy to inflate
  • Comfortable and durable
  • Versatile
  • Water-resistant fabric

How to Choose The Best Backpacking Pillow

Nemo Fillo Inflatable Travel Pillow

The pillow comprises of adjustable comfort which gives you the opportunity to adjust it to your desired firmness and height.  The pillow is also very light and compact which makes it very easy to pack. The pillowcase is ultra-soft and you can wash it using a washing machine if it is dirty. The pillow is also ideal for multiple purposes and you can use it during flight, car trips, sport, and many other outdoor activities. 


  • Comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Washable 


  • Expensive (costs $40 which is above average of $20 for other pillows)

How to Choose The Best Backpacking Pillow

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow

This particular pillow is ideal for backpacking, camping, road and air travel. The pillow has a compact design and it is also large such that you get maximum comfort as the foam filling expands. The product is made of quality polyester material which is soft for comfort. The pillow easily fits in a backpack.  


  • Ultralight
  • Soft and comfortable material
  • Machine washable
  • Compact design


  • The inner lining takes time to dry

How to Choose The Best Backpacking Pillow


From the above products, MARCHWAY Ultralight Pillow is probably the best choice since it has many advantages compared to other products. It has a durable and comfortable material that can help you to relax in style. The pillow also has ergonomic shape that can cradle your neck to prevent discomfort during your sleep.  

The product is ideal for backpacking since it is ultra weight and easy to pack and it also has multiple uses. Apart from these benefits, you should know that there are also different products that also have unique features that can appeal to your interests. Therefore, your choice depends on your preference.