So you love camping, at least you tell yourself that, until its 3 am and you cant sleep and every little noise out in the woods most certainly is a pack of rabid and ferocious Bears about to eat your lunch or even worse YOU!! Depending on your location Bears are the least of your worries and I wont get into the stark contrast between a Grizzly bear and the mostly obnoxious Black Bear that reside along the Appalachian Trail, so let’s assume for now that Bears are not your problem and that is all just in your demon producing wild imagination. By the way that sound you heard was a ferocious little chipmunk running through the leaves ( probably running from that humongous 50 foot killer attack snake…but that’s another story ).
What’s really keeping you awake at night is your choice of camping pillow or lack of considering the right pillow for the job. Sleeping bags are usually a great start along with a good sleeping pad to a good sleep but your neck will have something to say about your pillow. With all the different varieties of pillows let’s try to break this down a bit.
These pillows are ultralight and can be packed up very small making it a great solution for hikers and campers. Modern inflatable pillows have come a very long way in terms of overall comfort and ease of use. The days of the squeaky and slippery inflatable pillows are long gone. The best pillows in this category are super soft and come with stable brushed polyester material that is covered by a layer of TPU that deflects sweat and keeps these pillows dry. Some of these pillows even have new advanced two way valve technology that allows for a couple breaths to inflate the pillow and deflates in seconds.
Amazon recently tagged this 2 pack set of inflatable pillows by The Big Blue Mtn as the #1 New Camping Pillow on the market. As you can imagine we at The Big Blue Mtn are thrilled by that news and hope you choose us for your camping pillow needs. These are available both from our website and from Amazon.
The primary and most well known brand in this category is the Sea To Summit Aeros pillow found at REI. These are great pillows and have been around for a while from a great company. As a long time user of this brand it does the job well and comes recommended if you can stand the price point. However if your budget calls for more bang for your buck go with The Big Blue Mtn’s pillow. In fact, we conducted a blindfolded test with about ten teenagers to see which pillow was the best. We purchased about 10 top competitors to compare with Sea to Summit and The Big Blue Mtn. The results were conclusive. There were no significant difference between any of the pillows, so it really comes down to price and service. We will take great care of you!!
This is usually going to be the heavier of the options, but also can be very comfortable for a period of time. A compression pillow is usually filled with some type of foam which can often be self inflatable and can be compressed down, however the foam will not retain its well formed shaped over the long haul and can even degrade over time. These pillows are usually the bulkiest of the options as well and will take up more space in your backpack. With that said, people still do absolutely love their Therm-A-rest pillows.
The No Pillow Stuff Sack Option
This is the option that is popular with first time campers, think college students, who didn’t think about bringing a pillow and just threw themselves into the woods without fully grasping their own immortality, the other are backpackers who have a legit reason and this option is really a decision each hiker will need to make for themselves. Hikers can opt to refuse any extra weight and want to “tough it out” down the trail. If you can handle it, then you are a rock star in my book and I’m honestly envious of your savagery. For me I’m not that tough and enjoy some level of comfort even on multi night hikes. This option includes stuffing a T-shirt with all of your extra clothes ( even the dirty stinky clothes if your a through hiker ). I used to just sleep on my backpack propped up a little bit against the tent. This can work well for a short period of time and will surely be the lightest option of the three. However your neck will effectively “Ring Your Neck” over time and you will certainly graduate onto one of the next two options.
Find What Works Best For You
There are many options for you to consider even far beyond what was covered here. At the end of the day you still might be walking into your neighborhood REI and agonizing over the many options, styles and price points or flipping through the hundreds of listings on Amazon to find the right pillow for your needs. What’s important is you take care of your neck and get the sleep you absolutely desire to make your camping trip more enjoyable. Try a few out and see what works best for you! In all reality, they are all pretty darn good pillows! Oh and while your standing in the checkout line, go ahead and pick up some bear spray, just squeezing that real tight ( but not too tight or we have a very different post to write ) while you sleep might actually be just the trick to making the transition over to REM. Good luck and see you in the woods!!
Let us know what helps you sleep in the woods in the comments below or on Facebook.