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Pillow alternative
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Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
Pillow alternative on 11/27/2012 08:59:09 MST Print View

If you are one of those that is new to ultralight and slowly building up your gear, you may want to consider this pillow option.

I was cleaning out my bathroom and found a bath tub pillow in the back of the sink closet. Anyway, I removed the inner plastic/air/fluffy stuff pillow from the terry cloth outside and was left with a pillow about the size of a piece of paper that weighs 4 oz. It's also pretty tough and comfortable.

Just an idea of something you might already have laying around that you can try out.


Ben Smith

Locale: Epping Forest
pillow alternative on 11/27/2012 10:20:13 MST Print View

Great work!

When I get in from work I shall certainly be foraging around my house to find something I can save weight with. *motivated hat on*

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Pillow alternative on 11/27/2012 12:05:25 MST Print View

Cool. Always good to put things we already have in the house to good use!

Not that you asked, but... here's another option if you are interested. Costs money but will whittle down some more weight - to just 2.4oz. Even better than weight saving, the 'cradle' form is fantastic for both back and side sleepers.

Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
it is a little "weighty" on 11/27/2012 13:18:58 MST Print View

I actually finally broke down and bought a $45 Exped pillow myself (love it), but I have this baby as a back-up now that I can loan to a friend.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Pillow alternative on 11/27/2012 18:42:34 MST Print View

I put a puffy layer in to my Exped Snozzle pump dry bag and then put a buff over it, it's surprisingly comfy.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
pillow talk on 11/28/2012 14:46:04 MST Print View

I have ordered a Klymit Static V and a Stehpenson's DAM on the way. I was thinking of getting an Exped Inflatible pillow but with the DAM coming and people saying its pump bag was not the best I was thinking of getting Exped's pump pillow. Nothing against Ben but I did try Montbell's pillow and did not find it that comfortable. So now it is between the Exped pump pillow and the regular inflatable one. I guess I should just wait for the DAM to get here.

Loki Cuthbert

Locale: Portland, OR
Space bag on 11/28/2012 17:07:48 MST Print View

Any of you try using a boxed wine bag for a pillow I don't know the weight on them, but it's extremely durable material.
nd you don't have to drink cheap wine now they have some pretty nice stuff in boxed wine


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Monbel on 11/28/2012 17:19:32 MST Print View

I am also a fan of the Montbell pillow and have hundreds of nights sleep on one.
I consider it a good compromise when it comes to weight and durablility.

I do have one model of an Exped pillow. but find it too shallow and small, but I have heard their newer one is bigger?

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Pillow alternative on 11/29/2012 11:55:52 MST Print View

It always surprises me that people still bring pillows. Grab your pair of shoes and slip them under your sleeping matt (adds cushion and keeps the surface uniform). For side sleeping, turn the shoes sideways to get more height. For back sleeping, sleep on the toes of the shoes. With all the curves, etc. It's relatively easy to move the shoes around until you get a perfect cradle. Way better than any backpacking pillow I've tried. Hike your own hike and all that, but most people I've run into have never tried shoes - try it!

Edited by lindahlb on 11/29/2012 11:56:47 MST.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Yet another pillow option on 11/29/2012 12:48:13 MST Print View

Here's my pillow setup. Left to right, the components are the following: a 1.35 oz. Quixote fleece pillow case, which has also been used as a pot grabber and a food cozy; a 1.5 oz. GG SitLite pad, which is also my Jam back padding (I ditched the heavier stock frame sheet), which is also what I use when sitting on a log or rock; my BPL Cocoon pants (7.3 oz., size L), which I always carry but seldom need to use (except on chilly Rocky Mountain mornings).

Pillow components

First, I slip the SitLite into the pillow case, with the bumps facing inward,

SitLite in pillow case

Then I stuff the Cocoon inside,

Stuff Cocoon in

Finally, I secure the 4 Velcro dots I'd sewn onto the pillow case to keep everything together. I end up with a nice, firm, comfy pillow, at a weight penalty of 1.35 oz. (if you don't count the multi-use of the pillow case).

Finished pillow

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 11/29/2012 12:49:47 MST.

Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
Love the DIY ideas! on 11/29/2012 16:33:21 MST Print View

But, if you are wearing to bed all of the clothes you are carrying, then you have nothing to stuff your pillow with.

I tried the shoes under your pad thing and it didn't work for me. Love the Exped pillow as a side sleeper.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Neat ideas on 11/29/2012 18:00:35 MST Print View

The Exped pillow looks nice but it is a bit pricey at $45. I can't do it by putting my sandals under the pad. I am going to try the idea of wrapping them in a piece of a GG Nightlight I have laying around and putting that in a stuff sack to see how it works. Maybe with the rain gear also.

Edited by bpeugh on 11/29/2012 20:17:48 MST.

Mike V
(deadbox) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
"Pillow alternative" on 11/29/2012 18:11:20 MST Print View

I have been pretty happy stuffing my rain gear (since extra clothes are worn to bed) and one of my platypus bottles filled with air stuffed in a small stuff sack. It weighs nothing, because I am already carrying these items. If it is warmer than expected my puffy layer ends up in the sack instead of a platy bottle.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Pillow alternative on 11/29/2012 18:48:16 MST Print View

I use my O2 rain jacket in it's stuff sack on top of my shoes for a pillow. It works pretty good.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
pillow alternative on 12/01/2012 09:09:08 MST Print View

I tried this idea out by using my rain jacket and pants along with the extra shirt, pair of socks and pair of underwear I usually always take in the stuff sack along with a very thing foam sheet on top of my stacked sandals. It was a bit hard so I am going to try out a thicker foam sheet to redistribute pressure better next. I went back to using a Granite Gear Vapor Trail rather than a frameless pack so a thicker foam pad is not something I would normally take. Thanks for the idea. Is there anything else that could be put in the stuff sack? I was thinking water bladders and the such and to maybe stack them on the top.

I side sleep and am not a small guy and this has helped build a pillow that is tall enough for me.

Edited by bpeugh on 12/01/2012 09:12:58 MST.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Additional pillow stuffing stuff on 12/01/2012 09:32:13 MST Print View

@ Raquel and Brett: The few times when I needed to wear all my clothes while sleeping, I just put small pine cones in a ZipLock freezer bag and stuffed that inside the SitLite pad. The pad buffers the bumps pretty well.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

0 oz! on 12/02/2012 00:29:25 MST Print View

I just learned how to sleep without a pillow.

0 oz!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Pillow alternative on 12/02/2012 01:23:17 MST Print View

After having tried all sorts of pillows I am now happy with a silk pillow case stuffed with the available puffy/soft clothing I have.
Years ago I tried that with stuff sacks as a "pillowcase" but that did not work for me.
One day a mate had a friend make two pillow cases from an old silk liner and that works for me.
The reason is that I like the feel of silk against my skin but never really liked the plastic feel of the stuff sacks and other nylon type pillows.
A bit over 1 oz but could be less than half of that since it is in fact big enough for a normal size pillow so the fabric is rolled over twice.
That lets me drool in it and not in the "stuffing" or sleeping bag.
note that I put it inside the sleeping bag if using one (sometimes I use a quilt)
Here it is with a merino/possum down pullover inside:
silk pillow

Edited by Franco on 12/02/2012 01:24:52 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: pillow talk on 12/02/2012 01:51:12 MST Print View

Hi Brett

I have an Exped Pillow Pump. It is very effective on the Synmat UL-7 mat. I made a cotton cover for it and it works very nicely as pillow as well.


John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Yet another pillow option on 12/02/2012 05:15:34 MST Print View


I really like the way you found dual uses for each of the components of your "pillow".

I use a Kookalight Pillow. It is supportive, extremely pack-able and light in weight at 1.3 ounces.

Kookalight pillow

I keep it in a MYOG pillow case while packed...

Deflated and rolled up

and in use.

Ready for a good night's sleep

The "face side" of my pillowcase is a piece of nylon or polyester, I don't remember which, that was re-purposed from an old hiking T shirt. The other side is two pieces of overlapping grey 1.3 oz silnylon.

Down side (no feathers) ;-)

After the picture above was taken I added a few stripes of Permatex Flowable windshield sealer to control the slipping and sliding of the silnylon on my tent floor. Everything together weighs 2 ounces.

On a recent trip I tried using my clothes bag with my "unused" clothing stuffed inside as a pillow. I found it very supportive but extremely firm.

I carry a frame-less pack with my ProLite Plus pad folded for a virtual frame. I do not have a SitLite pad or the like in my pack. My pillowcase could be dual use as a stuff sack but it is "form fitted" and would be quite fiddly to take off and put back on.

Raquel made a good point.

" But, if you are wearing to bed all of the clothes you are carrying, then you have nothing to stuff your pillow with."

You answered.

"The few times when I needed to wear all my clothes while sleeping, I just put small pine cones in a ZipLock freezer bag and stuffed that inside the SitLite pad."

That's a great idea. What do you do if you are above the tree line? L O L

I wonder if either of us included the weight of the rubber bands that both of use to pack and stow our "pillows". ;-)

Party On,


Edited by Newton on 12/02/2012 05:23:22 MST.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
my findings on 12/05/2012 16:40:38 MST Print View

I have Montbell stuff sack for the Alpine down jacket that I use for keeping extra clothes and other objects in. I took a piece of a Gossamer Gear Nightlite pad that I had cut down to and rolled this inside the stuff sack with the bumpy ends in. It didn't cover the entire circumference but was pretty close only leaving about a 1-2" gap. I then stuffed in my extra pair of underwear, socks and the extra T shirt along with my rain wear. I stacked my sandals on top of one another and then put the stuff sack on top of this with the missing pad section down so it fit over the sandals. I can also slip my sandals inside. I can also use some clothing wrapped filled water bladders, my R2 if I do not need it, etc for some more height. It is not the best but it is the best I have found so far. I can get about 4" that is firm but not too firm. Thanks for all the advice.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Pillow Sack on 12/05/2012 16:49:24 MST Print View

I use the Granite Gear pillow silnylon stuff sack. It has a fleece face on one side and weighs 2 oz. In goes my spare socks/clothes, down insulation, etc.

-Mark in St. Louis