As an avid hiker, mountain biker, backpacker, hunter, or rock climber, you can probably remember a camping trip or two that was ruined by a poor night of rest. A stiff neck and a headache aren’t exactly conducive to high-adventure activities. Many campers leave their pillows at home in favor of a lightweight pack, but if you invest in a high-quality camping pillow, you’ll never have to sacrifice a good night’s sleep for a light backpack again.
It’s time to stop wadding up your jacket as a pillow and bring the comfort of home with you on the trail. To make it easy on you, we’ve listed eight of the top-rated, stringently tested, and expert-approved pillows that have revolutionized the outdoor sleeping experience. As you scroll down, keep in mind what your goals are in terms of weight, size, price, and material. These will help you select the right pillow for your camping needs.
8. Eureka Wicked Stick Pillow
Camping gear tends to be shiny and slick, which isn’t an ideal quality in a pillow. Lucky for you, the Eureka Wicked Stick pillow has a soft, suede-like bottom to prevent you from sliding around in your tent at night. The unique concave shape of this camping pillow conforms to your head and neck, so you can sleep comfortably with maximum support all night long. When it’s time to pack up, you can count on fast deflation from the wide valve, and be ready to hit the trail in a flash.
“Soft as silk! Great pillow that will stay put and warm on your matching material Eureka pad.”
“I use this with the REI Co-op Relax Air Bed (Queen size), and it works great. I imagine it will work with any air mattress ... Very compact and lightweight.”
7. NEMO Fillo Pillow
Meet your new camping companion! The NEMO Fillo was made to feel just like the cushy pillow on your bed without taking up more space than a potato in your backpack. Featuring a blend of air cells and thick foam for extra give, the Nemo Fillo is unlike other inflatable camping pillows and won’t make you feel like you’re sleeping on a balloon. For hygiene purposes, the pillow is covered by a soft microsuede/jersey cover that can be washed over and over. Gear up with the NEMO Fillo!
“I bought this pillow to use as a backpacking pillow and have really enjoyed it. It fits well in the pillow pocket inside the hood of my Disco 15 bag. I have found that I use it a ton for traveling. It packs down small and easily fits into my carry-on backpack, which is great for long flights or road trips. It was great to have at the beach for lounging around in pool chairs. I really like how you can easily wash the outer fabric material if it gets dirty. I tried out some of the lighter weight Nemo pillows at REI and didn't think they were as comfortable. Having the foam pad as well as the air chamber makes a surprising difference that I felt was worth the extra weight.”
“VERY pleased with the pillow! I’ve tried a multitude of pillows for camping/backpacking and this one is the best. I love the combination of foam and baffled air. Other pillows I’ve tried always seem too hard or too soft. This one may be a few ounces heavier, but it’s worth it for a great night’s sleep!”
6. Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow
The tenacious Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow is one of the most comfortable options for fast and light expeditions and weighs in at less than two ounces (that’s small enough to slip into your pocket!). Made using four-way stretch nylon, this pillow is perfect for sleeping under the stars. It’s highly resistant to punctures and tears, so you don’t have to worry about it popping on rough surfaces. The offset I-beam ensures greater stability as you sleep while keeping weight to a minimum, and the two-way valve lets you decide how firm or soft you want the pillow to be. Sound like what you’re looking for on your next outdoor adventure?
“Haven't used a good pillow on the trail in a long time. I have done everything from old school, store-bought, and homemade pillows, to stuffing clothes in a stuff sack. This thing was awesome. Best sleep I've had in the woods in a long time. Never leave home without it anymore.”
“The AXL Pillow is my third attempt at a backpacking pillow, and BA nailed it with this one. Not only do I take it for every overnight backpacking trip (no more neck pains), but it has completed my travel ensemble (McKinnis + AXL pad + AXL pillow) for overnight flights and winter delays in terminals.”
5. NEMO Fillo Elite Backpacking Pillow
If you thought the NEMO Fillo couldn’t get better, think again — your favorite camping accessory just got an upgrade. Meet the NEMO Fillo Elite Backpacking Pillow: the backpacking essential that packs down to the size of a lime for your backcountry adventures. It’s a third of the size of the original NEMO Fillo, so it’s great for overstuffed backpacks. With its 3” I-beam construction and PrimaLoft insulation, you’ll be able to recover sufficiently from the day’s adventures — and without the valve poking your head. If you sweat in your sleep, don’t worry. The cover easily slips off and can be thrown in the washer for your next expedition. Best of all, it’s comfy enough for travel and more. Take it everywhere you go!
“I have been using my sleeping bag stuff sack filled with extra clothes as a pillow for years but this pillow helped me sleep well for the first time. It was easy to inflate and stayed inflated. The inflate/deflate valve makes it easy to keep the air in between breaths. Great product for camping or long flights.”
“A must-have item for long backpacking or adventure (cycling) trips. The inflatable feature is great because you can adjust how firm the pillow is. Packs very small and light. My wife and I both had these for riding a 1,100-mile section of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route through CO and NM, and we camped out 5 or 6 days per week for a month. They make sleeping on the ground so much more comfortable than stuffing your fleece jacket under your head (which I did for decades on backpacking and climbing trips). It can also serve as your airplane pillow.”
4. NEMO Fillo King Pillow
Sometimes, a small camping pillow just doesn’t cut it for the big, burly hikers or those with broad shoulders — and especially not for people who find it challenging to sleep soundly outdoors. The NEMO Fillo King camping pillow was designed for campers who want to sleep like kings no matter where they end up. While the standard Fillo camping pillow only offers a 3” I-beam, the Fillo King doubles down with a 6” I-beam air cell using upcycled foam that ensures the ultimate comfort while camping. Just pull it out of its carrying bag and inflate it in mere seconds through the low-profile valve. It packs up as easily as it unpacks so you can spend more time doing what you love and less time cleaning up.
3. NEMO Fillo Luxury Pillow
The NEMO Fillo Luxury pillow puts the comfort into camping, with its foam insulation and a cool, microsuede cover that will keep you at an optimum temperature all night. Many camping pillows expand into a shape that pushes your head forward during the night, making your head roll around. The Fillo Luxury, on the other hand, inflates to reveal a shape that’s conducive to restful sleep. Want to add some extra cushion? Simply turn over your pillow and slip a small blanket or jacket under the built-in shock cords to maximize your comfort. Next time you sleep outside, do it in luxury.
“Great backpacking pillow that is lightweight and super packable! After playing with the amount of inflation for less than a minute I was very impressed with the comfort the Fillo provided. I am a stomach sleeper and ran my arm through the shock cord on the backside of the pillow. Great feature — my head never left the pillow! I definitely recommend picking one up.”
“The size and versatility of this pillow is unmatched. I purchased this for myself but had to order two more for my kids because I made the mistake of letting them use it on a Cub Scout camping trip. They do not rave about much but they couldn't stop telling me how awesome the pillow was. The size is perfect for traveling, backpacking, and the ability to adjust firmness. I recommend this pillow to everyone who is serious about camping/backpacking.”
2. Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe Pillow
The Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe offers all the durability and strength of the Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow, but with a little extra cushion for added comfort and a wider, rectangular surface area. This pillow also features antimicrobial treatment, puncture resistance, and heat reflective technology to keep you warm at night with your own body heat. Stay hygienic and warm with this extra-durable, extra-cozy camping pillow wherever you go!
“This pillow is amazing. I can’t believe I didn’t buy something like this sooner! So light and small. You really won’t even need to make room for it or notice it on your back. Very comfortable, nice material, soft, and the perfect size. Love the valve! Look forward to many nights of comfortable sleep…”
“Great pillow. It packs up small, takes three breaths to blow it up, and deflates fast. It's very comfortable with a cloth-like cover so you don't need a pillow cover.”
1. NEMO Fillo Elite Luxury Pillow
The NEMO Fillo Elite Luxury Pillow might just become your favorite pillow in the NEMO Fillo collection! This camping pillow combines the best features of all the other Fillos into one, such as the ultralight and compact size ideal for extreme backpacking as well as the foam cushioning for maximum comfort. This pillow offers the lightweight comfort that’s non-invasive and versatile enough for anywhere life may take you.
“Out of all the camping pillows I researched, I found this pillow to be the most comfortable, best size, quiet when laying my head on it, and I like the pillowcase it comes in. Campman’s price was better than ALL other competitors online, including Amazon! Their customer service was what set them apart and really sold me! So helpful.”
“Love this pillow. It has a good amount of support and isn’t like most inflatable pillows I have used. It actually has a layer of Tempurpedic material on top of the inflatable sections. It’s also washable which is really nice when you let a friend borrow it.”
Take on the Trails With the Right Pillow for You
Through extensive research to determine the top eight favorite camping pillows, we’ve found these to be the best in class for each category. This information will guide you to the pillow that will make your next camping trip more comfortable and enjoyable. For more professional advice or more information on these brands, contact the camping connoisseurs at Campman.