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Pillow woes
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Craig Price
(skeets) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
too choosy? on 04/25/2012 05:43:33 MDT Print View

the BPL pillow is a luxury to me when I think of the years of using my jumper when I was young. each to their own, I guess. I'm just happy to be out, and warm and dry at night is as much I want most of the time.
all the best

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
goosefeet on 04/25/2012 07:13:37 MDT Print View

an all down pillow will not work for you as described. like others, it just compresses too much and doesn't work. what WOULD work for your situation is something I think goosefeet did awhile ago. a half down/half pouch pillow that you could fill with anything you want. i think an inflatable pillow inflated about halfway would be perfect. then the down on top would provide the bit of luxury you're after...

oh here it is:

you want the 'stuffsack model'

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
down does work on 04/25/2012 10:59:37 MDT Print View

Compression is the key. I have a FF down vest; packed into a buff, then turn the buff sideways into another buff, perfect for side sleeping. Soft yet firm. Amazing pillow. Terrible height for back sleeping.
Key is having the right size stuff sack for your down item, be it a buff or whatever. Get some fine fleece from Joanns and experiment with different size stuff sacks (or whatever) to compress the down item to the right firmness/size. My FF down jacket would need a larger "container" to get the right height/firmness. Guess you could experiment with plastic bags, tying off as you go, instead of sewing until you get the right firmness.

Air pillows: In a single chamber air pillows the air just moves from side to side as your head adjusts. Instead, use two air pillows in your favorite covering (stuff sack, fleece stuff sack, etc). Your head will be cradled.

But air isn't soft. At least not at the pressure our head is going exert on it (or our body when in a pad). Air just moves around, equalizing pressure on the inside. So add some clothing (like a rain jacket) on top.

Air pads are great to support our bodies from the ground, but are not really soft. Foam pads are soft, as they compress when pressure is applied. Down is soft, as it compresses when pressure is applied. Air is hard. If contained in volume, it doesn't compress very much when pressure is applied.


Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
GooseFeet on 04/25/2012 11:19:51 MDT Print View

I didn't read all the posts so maybe somebody already mentioned this but I got a GooseFeet pillow with about 1oz of overfill and it's worked great for me. They also have the option of a sleeve sewn in so you can fill it with extra clothes if you need it bigger.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: GooseFeet on 04/25/2012 11:22:53 MDT Print View

^^two posts up^^

Donna Chester
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: pillow woes on 04/25/2012 13:20:09 MDT Print View

I just took an old bed pillow that I liked but didn't use and cut it to the size I wanted and sewed it back up. It works just fine and packs nicely.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Shoes on 04/25/2012 13:32:52 MDT Print View

Every pillow I've ever tried to take backpacking has failed me miserably- air, filled, foam, doesn't matter.

My boots laid sideways (as if in a shoebox) and placed under my air pad fails slightly less, so that's what I've settled on. If my boots are muddy or wet, I use a stuff-sack, or my pack liner and cram everything I have into it, then it goes under my pad.

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
Perfection found on 05/22/2012 11:42:22 MDT Print View


Flexair pillow, 2
Thermarest pillow case (either travel version or ultralight version, they are the same size)
Down garmet or soft clothes
Vacuum sealer, like used for food storage bags


Seal and cut in half the Flexair pillows to 7x10" in size. Be sure to cut off the side without the valve :)
Place these on the bottom of the pillow case, and your clothes on top. The squarish nature of the Flexair pillows keeps them from coming out through the fold entry of the pillow case, and their size is perfect for the pillow. Having two cradles your head. A down sweater/jacket adds cushion. Flexair pillows can be inflated/deflated to adjust height.


Each Flexair pillow cut in half is 0.3oz, and the pillow case is either 2.2oz or 1oz.
So total weight is either 1.6oz or 2.8oz, depending on which pillow case you go for. Or make your own out of lighter material.

2 Flexair pillows $3.50 plus shipping,
Pillow case: about $15 plus shipping

Space in pack: Very flat...


Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
System on 05/22/2012 16:16:59 MDT Print View

I have the Nemo Fillo which is super comfy but super heavy. I am going to try a system similar to Steve's - combining a Montbell air pillow with my Montbell Thermawrap vest and a custom 1 oz pillow case.

Heath Pitts
(heathpitts) - F

Locale: Nashville
RE: Pillow woes on 05/22/2012 16:33:44 MDT Print View

I am using something similar to what you describe Stephen and I agree that it works well! My substitute is a Big Agnes inflatable pillow with the thermarest pillow cover and my down vest or jacket. Weighs more but I use the BA as a seat cushion as well

Matthew Bowler
( - M
Nemo Fillow on 05/22/2012 19:50:47 MDT Print View

Not sure if this one has been mentioned. I got one and love it. Very heavy but worth it. I have tried LOTS of pillows and always woke up with a stiff neck. This is the best of all the ones I have used and I have tried soem that come very highly recommended.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
Flexair on 06/15/2012 05:17:59 MDT Print View

Thanks to Stephen Bateman! I have the Nemo Fillo and the Montbell UL pillow. The Montbell plus my thermawrap vest plus thermarest pillow case was comfy and light but not as nice as the Fillo. But two flex air pillows half inflated and arranged vertically and side-to-side in the thermarest pillow case (with the thermawrap vest on top of the pillows) is extremely comfortable! It equals the Fillo and only weighs 2oz! I didn't cut mine down, they fit great as they are.

Edited by drewjh on 06/15/2012 05:20:20 MDT.

Keith Bassett

Locale: Pacific NW
Ikea - throw pillow inner - cheap and comfortable. on 06/15/2012 10:55:21 MDT Print View

Irma cushion.

Blue throw pillow inners that are about 14x14. $1.99, and 6 oz.

Filled with normal fiberfill. Not that light, not that compressible, but cheap and they work really well. :)

AND it feels exactly like a normal bed pillow.

Edit: After looking at so many posts recommending 4-5 oz pillows for $30 and above, I stand by the price to weight value on this bad boy. :)

Edited by keith_bassett on 06/15/2012 10:58:15 MDT.

Paul Hood
(sirisaac) - MLife
combo so far.. on 06/18/2012 18:18:24 MDT Print View

Here is the option that has worked well for me so far.

I wrap my sleeping pad (inflatable) in one of those thermarest loungers (the pad stays in it when packed also and it is the full length.) Like this one:

It happens to have a fleece/flannel panel where your head would rest, I place my kooka bay pillow under that sleeve and inflate just enough to give me the right feel. The pillow doesn't move since it is trapped in the thermarest cover, and feels nice on my face if not in the mummy hood from my bag.

I was already taking a weight penalty with the thermarest lounger (but worth it since I am cooking for me and 4 kids).

I suspect other pillow options would also work under this pad.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
ditto on 06/20/2012 09:41:48 MDT Print View

I am a side sleeper and have never been able to find a pillow that works for also.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Cocoon UL pillow on 06/20/2012 11:53:54 MDT Print View

i have settled on the Cocoon UL air pillow in a Thermarest pillow case with my pants stuffed in. the pants bulk up the height and the air pillow allows me to adjust the firmness for side sleeping.

now i just need to sort out my sore hips.

Aaron Lehoux

Locale: Southern Maine
Montbell UL Pillow on 06/20/2012 15:22:17 MDT Print View

It took me a while too to find the right pillow set-up. For me, the best thing I have found and LOVE is the Montbell UL Pillow. I don't bring a special pillow case for it, but instead I stick it in whatever spare merino shirt layer I have with me as I always carry at least a spare tee. The merino is soft and comfy while the dip in the middle of the pillow works well for sleeping on my back or side without my head rolling off or the pillow slipping away. Still after the perfect sleeping pad for me though :(

Nate Lee
(nathan52) - MLife
Those horseshoe ones from the airport on 06/20/2012 20:20:32 MDT Print View

Yo G.

I got the solution to your woes.

Airport U-shaped pillows, the one I have (Cloudz) weighs 175 grams. Sure, that's kinda heavy, but you can use it to snooze all trip long (car ride, plane, hike). It's pretty stuffable because there are soft spots in it and you can fold it in half if you want.

All in all, the measure of it's greatness is the looks of envy when I break it out.

Good luck to you in your pillow hunt - It's a personal adventure!