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My never ending search for the right pillow
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David Wooten
(SC_Dave) - F
My never ending search for the right pillow on 11/14/2011 15:24:33 MST Print View

I sometimes think I am looking for something that does not exist.

I am a side sleeper, I want a pillow that is soft but firm with plenty of loft.

I want a pillow that packs small and light but doesn't disapear to nothing when I lay my head on it.

I have tried making my on, using clothing in a case, Thermarest, Grand Trunk, air pillows all no good for me. I use buckwheat at home but that definatly does not pack light or small. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Ben Smith
(goosefeet) - MLife

Locale: Georgia
Re: My never ending search for the right pillow on 11/14/2011 15:45:41 MST Print View

What I use is a Kookabay air pillow with a down pillow on top. That gives the softness of down with the support of air underneath.

doug thomas
(sparky52804) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Iowa
Re: My never ending search for the right pillow on 11/14/2011 15:56:23 MST Print View

I think your probably right in that it doesn't exist. I have tried several options, a very lightweight air pillow, but my head kept rolling around on it, plus it was kind of noisy. I tried a no name camp pillow, but while fairly light, it didn't pack very small. I tried making a pillow out of fiberfill and a large seal-a-meal bag with a couple of valves in it. While it was lightweight (3oz) and packed small (about the size of a 8oz popcan), it really wasn't very comfortable, it was still an air pillow. The best option so far has been a thermarest down pillow with some clothes packed in the back and the drawsting cinched down. They are available in two sizes, the heaviest at about 7 ounces. The down hlps with the softness and the clothes help with the firmness. They can be adjusted to your desired firmness, but they ain't exactly cheap. A good pillow can really make or break a nights sleep. Until I can find something better this is they way I am going.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: My never ending search for the right pillow on 11/14/2011 16:18:38 MST Print View

I do fine as a side sleeper with a three piece ensemble:
1) 0.4oz 4x4x1 inch piece of open cell foam (10x10x2.5 cm) on top of
2) 1.3oz kookabay pillow on top of
3) a 4 inch (10cm) thick fanny pack that I wear in front while hiking (carries all my small things)

I'm sure the fanny pack could be replaced by shoes in a suitably sized sack. The rolling off the air pillow thing is improved a LOT by not inflating it quite all the way.

It's a bit of a pain keeping it all together whenever I change positions ... some day I'll make some thing to hold it all together.

Michael Huffman
(air2mud82) - F

Locale: Germany/Montana
Exped? on 11/14/2011 16:24:00 MST Print View

Have you tried the Exped pillows? They have two that I know of for side sleepers. I use the air pillow (I know, thats what I thought too) and have been tremendously happy with it. They also have one that is partial foam that I have heard nothing but good things about.

I'm trying to find a better home pillow myself. I sometimes find hotels with pillows that I love, but can never find them for my house. Partial to Marriott's.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: My never ending search for the right pillow on 11/14/2011 17:03:57 MST Print View

I use one of the Cocoon Ultralight pillows that is a hybrid inflatable/polyester fill. It has a fleece/microfiber on one side and nylon on the other.

Dave Heiss

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Exped air pillow on 11/14/2011 17:39:50 MST Print View

+1 on the Exped air pillow. Nice height, nice softness, no noise, light. And I've tried many different pillows...

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Re: Exped? on 11/14/2011 17:40:10 MST Print View

I'm mostly a side sleeper and I found that the Exped pillow works for me, though most trips I tend to leave it at home and use my shoes under my pad or in a stuff sack.

Jeffrey McConnell
Re: My never ending search for the right pillow on 11/14/2011 18:48:37 MST Print View

Check out the Arrowhead Equipment snoring bear or cub pillow. They are soft, thick, and reasonably light. They work for me as a side sleeper. Not the lightest option, but definitely the most comfortable that I've found for me.

Edited by Catalyst on 11/14/2011 18:50:00 MST.

James McDaniel
My never ending search for the right pillow on 11/14/2011 19:27:59 MST Print View

I'm a side sleeping and have wide shoulders so I have the worse case scenario.

What I learned works best for me over the years:

BA AC Pillow with an Exped on Top.

Then I decided to say, screw the ground and when to a Hammock...and love it!

David Wooten
(SC_Dave) - F
Thanks on 11/14/2011 19:53:09 MST Print View

Thanks so much folks for all you help and suggestions!

Derek Cox
(derekcox) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: My never ending search for the right pillow on 11/14/2011 21:54:09 MST Print View

I find the best choice to be an inflatable pillow for height, such as the kookabay ones, then a piece of 1" or so thick foam like that from a bed pad in a 6"x6" square that makes the pillow soft. A buff or pillowcase made from the material of your choosing could be added to hold it together/keep it clean for longer, but is not necessary (the foam will pretty much stay on the pillow by itself). This can be done for about 3 oz and is definitely worth it. About as comfortable as the pillow I sleep on at home.

Edit: Didn't realize this same idea was mentioned earlier by Jim Colten, but I second his suggestion

Edited by derekcox on 11/14/2011 21:56:48 MST.

Mark Dijkstra
(Markacd) - F
multifunctional pillow on 11/15/2011 09:04:35 MST Print View

Like so many others, I'm a side sleeper. I use my Ortlieb 4L waterbladder (filled with water and/or air) combined with a fleece or the hood of my sleeping bag as a pillow. I find this combination very comfortable and I like the fact that it doesn't add weight since I already carry the water bladder anyway.

Dan Smith
Nemo Fillo on 11/15/2011 10:00:41 MST Print View

Nemo Fillo. You can make this pillow 6" tall if you so choose. And it's comfortable!

Mark Primack
(Bufa) - MLife

Locale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
Me too! on 11/15/2011 10:39:21 MST Print View

I'm a side sleeper, big shoulders, and constant tossing and turning. I've got Exped and Montbell air pillows, old Thermarest pillow, WM down pillow, and Integral Designs primaloft pillow. My current best solution only works in the colder seasons when I use a hooded mummy: partially inflated MB on the bottom and ID pillow inside the hood.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
MB pillow is best on 11/15/2011 11:01:00 MST Print View

MB is best because it is long and rectangular with a semi parition on each side like this:

[ |HEAD| ]

What this means is that as you lay in the middle and roll, it does a better job keeping yon on it. I sleep in a hammcok with it, but also prefer it on the ground. I sent back the exped and cocoon pillows. Cocoon was nice, because of the material on the outside but i kept rolling off it. I can get the same feel by putting somethign over the mont bell.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
ccf pad rolled up on 11/15/2011 11:07:59 MST Print View

Just like to state this is something I fight with. At home my wife and I have a long body pillow that runs the width of our bed at the head board, and beyond that we have four king size down pillows to arrange around into whatever is comfiest.

But- on our last family outing, I used the small part of the cheap walmart ccf pad from when I cut down my kids' pads, rolled up into a tube type shape. The stiffness of the material gave it some "suspension", if you will. If it had something padded on top it might make it ok comfy. I only had two to use, and my two older boys took them for themselves and I haven't tried it for myself yet. Multiple use too, if you also use it as a sit pad laid flat or whatever... part of your backpack frame... I dunno...


William Hill
(Rufty) - MLife
One for thickness, one for padding. on 11/18/2011 10:36:38 MST Print View

Currently using a Thermarest lumbar pillow and a Vango half moon. The lumbar pillow stays in place under my sleeping bag, on a neoair, with no problems. The half moon is inside the bag with me. Really need something lighter but this setup works very well for me.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: My never ending search for the right pillow on 11/18/2011 13:48:31 MST Print View

I had the same issue until I started using the Exped pillow pump.

It is very supportive.

Ginger Allman
(gindavall) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Exped on 11/18/2011 19:50:52 MST Print View

The Exped pillow is nice but not anywhere near high enough for me. So I gave it to my husband and bought the large. It's just bigger but not much thicker. If I have spare clothes I'll put it under the pillow and that helps. Contemplating trying Mike C's idea of a bunch of ziploc bags in a mesh produce bag. If I put that under my Exped pillow, maybe that would work. Still experimenting....