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Ul pillows that don't feel like a ballon
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William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
Ul pillows that don't feel like a ballon on 04/17/2011 12:43:25 MDT Print View

Being a side sleeper combined with the fact that the only extra clothes I take are my sleeping clothes and my trail clothes are used under my pad to add some warmth so whats a good comfortable ul pillow that weighs under 3 ounces ?

Tommy Franzen
(Tomlike) - F

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
UL pillow on 04/17/2011 13:05:24 MDT Print View

Cocoon UL Air Core, I believe it's 2.7 oz., about $30. Has some synthetic insulation in it too, really comfortable!

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Exped Air Pillow on 04/17/2011 13:07:43 MDT Print View

The Exped Air Pillow is a nice choice, and on sale at right now for $20.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Ul pillows that don't feel like a ballon on 04/17/2011 13:18:47 MDT Print View

Goosefeet also makes a down pillow that is within the weight you are looking at.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
pillow solved / 1.8 oz on 04/17/2011 13:32:47 MDT Print View

Quick update.

I think I solved the pillow issue. I wrote about it in a recent book -


Here is an excerpt from the book:

Tip number 100 -The Pillow

I love a pillow under my head during sleepy time. The traditional camper will simply take a porky jacket, cram it into some big stuff sack and call it good.

If you are a true ultralight zealot, you’ll be sleeping in a very thin sleeping bag (or quilt) and comfort dictates that you'll wear all your clothes to bed. This means that there is nothing left over for your pillow.

You’ll spend roughly one third of any expedition asleep on your pad. This time is a vital component to your recovery and well being. If you need a pillow to sleep well, then don’t short yourself. There are plenty of tricked out camping pillows on the market. Very few are light enough to get called UL.

Here’s the simplest (and lightest) solution I’ve found. I’ll fill a very light stuff sack with partially inflated Ziploc baggies. I’ll blow air into them and zip them shut, and partially full is much better than beach ball tight. I use the thinner SANDWICH style rather than the dense FREEZER bags. I have an 8” x 14” stuff sack and I use 7 baggies.

Test it yourself before you go into the field, I tried different baggies over multiple nights, and the weight of my big head would end up deflating them all by morning. My R&D determined the baggies require a stout double zipper, so I use the kind of baggie with the DOUBLE ZIPPER, and it works great. Total pillow weight: 1.8 ounces. Replace the stuff sack with a wispy thin plastic grocery bag for even more weight savings.

Other UL pillow options are sight dependent. I’ve filled my backpack with pine cones and that was wonderful, but the only reason I could pull that off was because I found a huge pile of pine cones right near my sleep site. Sand in the backpack is very nice too, and tiny pebbles ain’t bad either.


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: pillow solved / 1.8 oz on 04/17/2011 14:23:30 MDT Print View

Montbell UL pillow 2.4oz. And a Buff makes the perfect pillowcase.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: pillow solved / 1.8 oz on 04/17/2011 16:29:02 MDT Print View

> Montbell UL pillow 2.4oz.

Yeah, neat beast.


Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
Montbell UL Pillow on 04/17/2011 17:10:26 MDT Print View

I, too, use and love the Montbell pillow.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
pillow on 04/17/2011 17:13:45 MDT Print View

I had the Montbell pillow...and thought it felt like a balloon.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: pillow solved / 1.8 oz on 04/17/2011 17:16:55 MDT Print View

"Montbell UL pillow 2.4oz"

+1 No muss, no fuss, no bother. And all for a .6 oz penalty. I can live with that, although Mike C's Zip Loc idea is downright creative and worth a closer look, IMO.

(rps76) - F
Re: pillow solved / 1.8 oz on 04/17/2011 22:07:26 MDT Print View

My only question: Doesn't your face sweat resting against the stuff sack?

Kevin Haskins
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
Exped on 04/17/2011 22:14:33 MDT Print View

Spent years going without but now I'm an old wimp so I use the Exped. It is the only one I've tried but no regrets. Worth the carry weight for me.

Samuel Kau
(Skau) - M

Locale: Southern California
Another vote for the Montbell on 04/17/2011 23:25:02 MDT Print View

I sleep on my side and as long as you don't fill it up and leave a little room than it is comfy.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Kookabay!: Ul pillows that don't feel like a ballon on 04/18/2011 03:10:34 MDT Print View

Hard to believe I'm the first in this thread to suggest Kookabay.

Ditto the comfort notes already offered by the Montbell fans ... don't inflate it all the way (just like you'd do with inflatable sleeping pads).

About half the weight of the Montbell pillow (but smaller and thinner ... 3.5" thick vs 3.9") or get the XL size, similar size and weight to Montbell but 5" thick.

Don Meredith
(donmeredith) - F

Locale: SouthEast
UL pillows that don't feel like a ballon on 04/18/2011 05:48:27 MDT Print View

I've been through a lot of them. So far, all of the pneumatics feel like a balloon to me (tried Montbell, Exped & Kookabay). The best out of those was the Exped because of the profile and the quick deflation valve. I'm currently using a Western Mountaineering down pillow with some success but honestly, nothing quite duplicates the comfort of my Thermarest foam pillow. The problem with the TR is the weight (~7oz) and the bulk. The WM gives me a close match in comfort for 1/2 the weight and 1/3 of the bulk. I've been told that the Cocoon combination of air and insulation is fab but I haven't had a chance to try it in the field.

Don Meredith

Mark Dijkstra
(Markacd) - F
Water bag on 04/18/2011 06:28:29 MDT Print View

I always carry a 4L waterbladder from Ortlieb. With 2-3 liters of water in it, it is also one of the most comfortable pillows I've ever used. You will want to put a fleece or something else around it for insulation (plus it feels more comfortable), but even if you bring a seperate sheath for your pillow/bladder, this will be one of the lightest options out there.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: UL pillows @ Don on 04/18/2011 06:32:49 MDT Print View

Don, doesn't your WM pillow flatten out before morning? I picked one up and have been disappointed by this.

Edited by kthompson on 04/18/2011 06:33:25 MDT.

Don Meredith
(donmeredith) - F

Locale: SouthEast
UL pillows that don't feel like a ballon on 04/18/2011 07:53:56 MDT Print View

Ken, the WM down pillow does flatten out with time but it hasn't been too big of an issue for me since I tend to move around a lot in my sleep. When I'm rolling from stomach to side, etc. I naturally move the pillow around and start working on compressing a new area. :)


Edit - I finally gave up on the WM pillow. It ultimately ended up compressing too much.

Edited by donmeredith on 08/19/2011 06:29:47 MDT.

aaron eshelman
(djaaronreed) - MLife

Locale: Central Rockies
Thermarest/Montbell on 04/18/2011 10:03:50 MDT Print View

The Montbell pillow is a great lightweight piece of gear, but I too feel it is a blow up balloon. Even when it is slightly deflated, it just isn't really comfortable. Don't get me wrong, I love it and still use it when low base weight is my goal, but it doesn't make me sleep well. Even with multiple nights in a row of use, I never adapt to it. It's the only piece of gear I don't get used to on the trail. What I like is that the pillow is pretty much bomb proof, I use it as a sit pad often and still haven't had a leak in 3-4 years of use!

For 90% of what I do the 7oz size small Thermarest pillow is my pillow of choice. It's relatively light, compact and big enough to cradle my head in comfort. I've tried others and always go back to the Thermarest.

By the way I am a side sleeper, so the pillow is a key piece of gear in my mind.

T kawa
(kitsune) - F
Re: UL pillows that don't feel like a ballon on 04/18/2011 10:07:03 MDT Print View

Don, have you considered buying a cheapy memory foam pillow and cutting it to the smallest possible size? not sure how much it would wiegh, but I've been considering it, since I feel the same way you do about inflatable pillows. Seems like they would compress down well... though I guess probably wouldn't wiegh any less than the WM.