Skip to Content

These are the 8 Best Backpacking Pillows for Camping

Sharing is caring!

See the best points and miles credit cards. Our favorite is ranked #1!

If you spend much time pitching a tent in the backcountry, heck, if you’ve ever spent a single night sleeping in a tent, you know what a wondrous thing a good night’s sleep can be. But sleep can often be an elusive thing when you’re sleeping on the ground outdoors (or in a hammock, for that matter). You know what can make it more achievable? A comfortable pillow, that’s what. But that’s easier said than found. So we went ahead and tested a whole slew of packable pillows to help you find the right one for you. I know. You’re welcome. So here ya go: the 8 best backpacking pillows we could find so you can sleep soundly during your next night under the stars.

Oh, and if you want to see them all in action, watch the video above! I know, I know…we outdid ourselves on this one. We’re just thoughtful that way.

8 Best Backpacking Pillows

The Therm-A-Rest Compressible Pillow Backpacking pillow.
The Therm-A-Rest Compressible Pillow

Therm-A-Rest Compressible Pillow

Not the smallest or lightest of these backpacking pillows, but it might be one of the comfiest. Instead of inflating, it’s filled with fluff, which compresses and sort of rolls into its own connected storage pouch. While ultralighters might not lean toward this one, those who put a premium on comfort in the backcountry will! Bonus: the cover is made from 60% recycled polyester, the foam inside is upcycled from sleeping pad production, it comes in 4 sizes, and it’s washable! Plus it’s comfy for any sleep position, tent and hammock camping! Find the Compressible Pillow here.

  • Weight: 7 oz (small)
  • Size: 18 in x 14 in
The Therm-A-Rest Airhead Pillow camping pillow
The Therm-A-Rest Airhead Pillow

Therm-A-Rest Airhead Pillow

Want something that packs down a little smaller? Slip the Therm-A-Rest Airhead under your noggin. It’s the perfect shape to stay in place in the hood of your mummy bag and just the right size. The baffled interior is made of thick urethane so it’s rugged, and it comes with a soft, removable cover to make washing easy (plus it doesn’t slip around as much on your sleeping pad). There’s even a thin layer of synthetic insulation in the cover to keep the pillow super comfy. Find the Airhead here.

  • Weight: 5.6 oz (Regular), 7.7 oz (Large)
  • Size: 15.5 in x 11 in, 18. x 12.5
The Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow backpacking pillow.
The Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow

Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow

From one of the leaders in ultralight backpacking gear comes a backpacking pillow that’s just as impressive as you’d expect. Perhaps the lightest on this list, it’s a pillow even ultralight backpackers can get behind. The unique construction provides stability for your noodle, the four-way stretch nylon feels smooth on your skin, and the micro-adjust valve lets you control just how firm or soft your pillow is. And naturally, it fits in the pillow barn of the brand’s sleeping bags. Plus the whole thing packs up super small and light, but the stretch material still feels nice under your head and even comes with a patch so you can repair the pillow on the trail if it springs a leak! Find it on REI here.

  • Weight: 1.6 oz
  • Size: 16″ x 10″ x 4″ 
  • Packed size: 4.5″ x 2.5″ x 2″
The Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight camping pillow
The Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight

Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight

The Aeros is another inflatable backpacking pillow with a soft, stretchy polyester exterior and a quiet air bladder for perfect support and comfort. Inflation, adjustment, and deflation take seconds, thanks to the multi-function mini valve, and the curved design helps keep you centered all night long. Bonus: you can even get a pillow case for it and it’s compatible with the brand’s Pillow Lock system, which keeps your pillow in place on your Sea to Summit sleeping pad! Find the Aeros Ultralight here.

  • Weight: 2.1 oz, 2.5 oz
  • Size: 14.2 x 10.2 x 4.7 in (regular), 17.3 x 12.6 x 5.5 in (large)
  • Packed size: 2 x 2.8 in, 2 x 3.25 in
The Sea to Summit Foam Core Pillow camp pillow.
The Sea to Summit Foam Core Pillow

Sea to Summit Foam Core Pillow

Like the idea of a packable camping pillow that doesn’t deflate? The Sea to Summit Foam Core is filled with, you guessed it, foam. It’s packed to the brim with upcycled foam–offcuts from the brand’s sleeping pad production–which makes it an excellent choice for side sleepers as well as back sleepers as it’s a bit firmer. It still packs up fairly small for a non-inflatable, comes in three sizes (regular, large and deluxe), is washable, and even has a built-in pocket for stashing sleepy time items like eye masks, ear plugs, Tylenol PM…Plus, it also features Sea to Summit’s Pillow Lock Feature, which is super handy. Find it here.

  • Weight: 7.8 oz / 220 g (regular)
  • Size: 13.4 x 9.4 x 5.1 in (regular)
  • Packed size: 10.6 x 3.9 in (regular)
The Klymit Pillow X backpacking pillow
The Klymit Pillow X

Klymit Pillow X

Perfectly small and light, the Pillow X may not quite be the lightest on this list, but it’s definitely one of the smallest (and the least expensive)! What’s more, the inventive X design is an ingenious way to ensure your head stays right smack bang in the middle of that pillow all night long, but also offers a bit more neck support. Plus, Klymit gear has a limited lifetime guarantee, so they’ll fix malfunctioning gear if something goes wrong. Find it here. Want a bigger one? There’s also a Large version here.

  • Weight: 2.5 oz
  • Size: 15” x 11” x 3.5″ 
  • Packed size: 4.5″ x 3″
The Klymit Luxe Camping Pillow camp pillow
The Klymit Luxe Camping Pillow

Klymit Luxe Camping Pillow

Can’t decide if you’d rather have the comfort of a filled backpacking pillow or the packability of an inflatable? The Luxe is the best of both worlds: an spacious, inflatable body with lofty polyester fill to keep it extra cushy. It’s an ideal choice for those who aren’t counting grams but definitely want to sleep well in the outdoors. Bonus: the soft fabric cover is removable and washable and it’s nice and big, just like your pillow at home! Get a Luxe here.

  • Weight: 7 oz
  • Size: 22 x 12.5 x 5 in
  • Packed size: 7 x 3 in
The Kammok Puffin Hammock Pillow
The Kammok Puffin Hammock Pillow

Kammok Puffin Hammock Pillow

Made by our favorite hometown hammock makers, the Kammok Puffin might be the perfect pillow for hammock camping (but also tent camping). It’s inflatable, features soft 4-way stretch fabric, plus the shape contours nicely around your head and neck and keeps your head from rolling off in the unique structure of a hammock. But our favorite feature? It clips onto your Kammok hammock (or any hammock, for that matter) so the pillow doesn’t slide down under your back in the middle of the night! Plus, the micro-adjust valve actually DOES allow for micro adjustments, which is nice. Find the Puffin here.

  • Weight: 2.9 oz
  • Size: 17.5 in x 10 in x 3 in
  • Packed size: 4.5 in x 2.75 in x 1 in
Josh with a pile of backpacking pillows.

Bottom Line: The Best Backpacking Pillows for Camping

Naturally, it’s hard for us to recommend just one backpacking pillow, because everyone’s sleep style and packing preference is different. Josh, for example, doesn’t mind carrying a little extra weight or a larger pillow because he prefers to be comfortable. So his faves are the Klymit Luxe and Therm-A-Rest Airhead. I, on the other hand, prefer to keep it ultralight, so I like The Big Agnes Air AXL and the Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight. One thing we can agree on: The Therm-A-Rest Compressible Pillow and Kammok Puffin are by far the best hammock pillows. Don’t even try the other ones!

But at the end of the day, pick a backpacking pillow that’s the most comfortable under your noggin, helps you get a good night’s sleep, and fits in your pack alongside your sustainable sleeping pad and tent. Just stop trying to used a smushed up puffy jacket. That crap doesn’t work. Now get out there, sleep under the stars, and wander on.

This post contains affiliate links. That means when you clicky-click and make a purchase, not only will you sleep better on your next camping trip, you also help support Terradrift, which doesn’t even cost extra. How serendipitous!

Jam Mubeen

Monday 20th of September 2021

I have read your blog post about Top 7 Best Backpacking Pillow for Hicking it is fantastic.

Alisha McDarris

Monday 1st of November 2021

Thanks, Jam!