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Best pillow?
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Eric Falk
(zerolimit) - F
Best pillow? on 03/30/2007 09:54:34 MDT Print View

I assume most of you are using a shirt and maybe a stuffsack like I was planning on doing but how are the fabricated pillows? I see western mountaineering has a down pillow, any experiences with it? Air chambered ones? I love a cold flat pillow at night so I figured I buy and try one. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance, Eric

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Best pillow? on 03/30/2007 10:04:52 MDT Print View

I have tried the inflatable pillow sold on this site. I have tried silnylon sacks with clothing. I recently got the WM pillow. I will gladly carry this 4 oz. item all the time now as it is incredibly comfortable compared to the previous things I mentioned. Could be considered a luxury or an necessity depending on your sleep needs...but I am finding as I get older I need something to rest my head on at night.

Eric Falk
(zerolimit) - F
Thanks on 03/30/2007 10:10:59 MDT Print View

Hey Scott, thanks for your help. I figure it's cheap enough to buy it and try it so I may just order one. I can always decide to bring it along on plane trips. Thanks.

Theodore Vidnovic
(vidnovic) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Pillows on 03/30/2007 11:25:43 MDT Print View

I prefer the single chamber inflatable BPL pillow. The method I use is to slightly under inflate the pillow and put it inside my sleeping bag hood with me.

Jason Turner
(headchange4u) - F
RE: on 03/30/2007 13:03:26 MDT Print View

I made a silnylon stuff sack that is lined with fleece. To use as a pillow I simply turn the bag inside out so that the fleece is on the outside and stuff it with some clothing.

John Hopkins
(DrGonzo) - F

Locale: Southeast
Pillows on 03/30/2007 13:13:47 MDT Print View

I have the Thermarest medium sized pillow. Its bulky, heavy, and I seldom carry it.

Andy Goodell
(geekguyandy) - F

Locale: New York State
Re: Pillows on 03/30/2007 14:03:20 MDT Print View

I bought a BPL single chamber and wasn't thrilled. I thought I might try to heat-press the center, and see it that holds, likely burning a hole through it and saying "whoops!".

I normally just stuff a few items of clothing and stuff sacks in my fleece, but adding a platypus inside that might be better too.

Brian Markey
(bmlaw) - MLife

Locale: Northeast
Re: Best pillow? on 03/30/2007 14:14:10 MDT Print View

I use an inflatable pillow from Eagle Creek. It fits perfectly inside the hood of my sleeping bag. You can see what it is here:

Ernie Elkins

Locale: North Carolina
Re: Re: Best pillow? on 03/30/2007 14:37:05 MDT Print View

How much does the Eagle Creek pillow weigh, Brian?

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Best pillow? on 03/30/2007 15:19:35 MDT Print View

I use a pair of "water wings" that I split down the middle on a seam. It works really well. Here is a photo of my sleep setup and you can see the pillow. This was the only night I used the tarp... a really light rain. I was glad to get a picture of it in full bloom otherwise it would have spent the week inside my pack.

The term "best" is obviously relative. This is "best" for me because it provides the right support and lets me sleep on my side more easily. It is very light and when deflated takes up very little pack space.

This is not an invention of mine. A good friend passed the tip onto me. Perhaps it will work for you.

My sleeping setup at Bright Angel Campground as we exit our week in the Canyon.

As a follow-up my trekking poles were super-ultralight... zero ounces! I left mine at home and borrowed a pair from one of my hiking buddies to pitch my tarp. In a group of hikers there never seems to be a shortage of unused trekking poles. :)

Edited by jjpitts on 03/30/2007 15:34:25 MDT.

Brian Markey
(bmlaw) - MLife

Locale: Northeast
Re: Re: Re: Best pillow? on 03/30/2007 15:19:45 MDT Print View

Ernie: 4 & 5/8 ounces.

Edited by bmlaw on 03/30/2007 15:20:25 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:Best pillow? on 03/31/2007 06:21:24 MDT Print View

Actually the Montbell UL inflatable pillow was one of my best finds of 2006. It attaches with toggles to the inflatable matress so it does not move around. The first time I used this setup was the first time I slept through the night in a tent. 80 grams.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: re:Best pillow? on 03/31/2007 06:37:18 MDT Print View

>>Actually the Montbell UL inflatable pillow was one of my best finds of 2006.

Same here Brett. The Montbell pillow is now a permanent part of my kit.

Edited by Dondo on 03/31/2007 06:40:01 MDT.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Re: re:Best pillow? on 03/31/2007 09:48:53 MDT Print View

Two years ago I started using an inflatable Samsonite travel (ie: airplane) U-shaped pillow. It weighs little, has a soft cover, and the support level is easily adjusted for hammock or ground sleeping.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: re:Best pillow? on 03/31/2007 10:17:37 MDT Print View

I use a stuff sack that I stuff my clothes in. I turn it inside out and it has a fleece lining in it. Nice and comfortable without taking up extra space nor any added weight.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Put the pillow under the sleeping bag hood on 03/31/2007 12:03:42 MDT Print View

In the YMMV category, I've never related to the need for a specialized stuff sack that has a fuzzy side to make it a better pillow (Granite Gear sells one of these too).

I put whatever pillow I end up creating for the night under my sleeping bag top/hood area, so my head is on the bag. Then it doesn't matter if it's rain clothes or a silnylon stuff sack or whatever kind of surface to the "pillow", since I'm not laying directly on it.

All that said, I'm still not happy with my pillow setup; for warmer nights, no problem, but colder nights when I'm wearing all my clothes, it gets a little thin trying to build a pillow. I don't find an inflated 2L hydration bag enough. But I've changed some gear choices recently; maybe scratching around I'll come up with something at least adequate for colder nights!

John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Put the pillow under the sleeping bag hood on 03/31/2007 13:12:51 MDT Print View

After 4-5 different pillow setups (including child flotation pillows and the inflatables sold at BPL), I've finally settled on one that works for me. It's the most comfortable UL setup I've found, and it adds 0.0oz to my setup.

I take my 500ci stuffsack (homemade version of the ones sold at BPL), and insert my folded pair of rain pants (folding them in half and then in thirds creates a nice, smooth rectangle six layers thick). Then I add my 4L Big Zip platypus. On top of this I add my rain jacket. I then take one deep breath and inflate the platypus. I am able to put the cap on fast enough that it traps most of the air inside. In fact, most of the time it automatically deflates to the perfect thickness. Finally, I loop the draw cord around the platypus cap, keeping the stuff sack secured onto everything (it doesn't all fit into the sack completely; some hangs out the opening, but it all stays together with the drawstring over the cap).

Since I never go to sleep in my rain gear, I will always have these as a pillow option. And serving this dual function helps me justify the added weight of a rain suit (something I am inclined to bring anyway in the PNW). The stuff sack keeps everything together and keeps my head oils away from the waterproof-breathable membrane. The stuffsack will also keep wet rain gear isolated from my sleeping environment.

The trick I found was to stow the rain gear in flat layers rather than rolling the rain gear around the platypus. I've found that this creates a much more level surface, and I don't notice any "bubble" effect (that is, it doesn't feel like my head will roll off the pillow or that it will slide out from underneath my head). This is in part due to the larger 4L platypus and leaving it partially uninflated. But I also think that by folding the clothing rather than rolling it, the edges are thicker (due to the fabric folds), adding stability to the platypus. Also, it is much easier to fill the stuff sack with empty layers than to roll everything up and try to squeeze it in.

I carry a 4L platy anyway so that I can take warm showers and camp away from water. But most of the time my 2L wide mouth bottle (my on-the-trail water bottle), holds enough for camp, thus freeing the Big Zip for my pillow. So the Big Zip platy serves 3 functions: extra/backup water storage, pillow, and shower. That alot of functionalith for 2.3oz, and worth the extra tenths of an ounce over the 2L version. Therefore my net weight for the pillow is 0.0oz, and every component is multi-use.

Edited by jcarter1 on 03/31/2007 13:21:43 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Pillow -- If Dollars More Important Than Ounces on 03/31/2007 13:27:19 MDT Print View

For those of you looking at inflatable pillows, I own both the aforementioned MontBell UL pillow, as well as the Entex I-Beam inflatable sold at REI. Both are very comfortable:

Entex -

19" x 12.5" - 6oz - $3

Cheap as heck but very comfortable because the I-Beam construction provides uniform thickness even when only partially inflated.

MontBell -

18.5" x 10.6" - 2.3oz - $29.
UL and comfy -- a tad expensive, and often unavailable -- unless you ask either Brett or Miguel, the resident MB pimps -- to buy and ship to you from Japan.

Edited by ben2world on 03/31/2007 13:28:25 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Pillow -- If Dollars More Important Than Ounces on 03/31/2007 17:07:45 MDT Print View

One of the members here asked me to try to pick up one of the pilows recently and I went to the Mont Bell head store in Tokyo to have a look. They checked with all the stores in Japan and unfortunately the pillow has been sold out everywhere until mid-April. Very popular item. I own one and like Brett have finally found a pillow that I am happy with for camping. Only took me about 35 years to find it! I like Ken Helwig's feature of a fleece surface. One thing I don't like about inflatable pillows (even the MB one) is when my ear lies against the the non-porous surface the inability for air to escape fro my ear canal often creates painful air pressure. A fleece surface eliminates this.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Best pillow? on 03/31/2007 21:08:36 MDT Print View

The two best things about the montbell pillow are the toggles to attach it to a mattress, and the built in indentations in the center of the pillow which cradle your head and keep it centered in the middle, whether you sleep on your back or side, toss or turn.
Miguel; great suggestion, Im going to make a fleece cover from an old jacket.