The Best Camping Pillows – Thermarest & Seat to Summit

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You have your tent, your pad and your sleeping bag. What’s left? A pillow. Just head on into your bedroom and grab one off the bed, right? Not so much. You haven’t shaved off ounces and inches from all your backpacking gear just to bulk up on a granny pillow.

And even if you’re not saving every millimeter of space and are going car camping, you still need something that’s made for the outdoors and we would like to show you the best camping pillows we know.

Most camping pillows are of two types: compressible and inflatable. Both save space and weight by packing small but can get big enough to be comfortable. Today I’m recommending one of each. I’m sure one will perfectly suit your tired head at the end of the day and you won’t have to sleep on a rock.

The Best Camping Pillows


Best Compressible Camping Pillow – Therm-a-rest Compressible


This is probably the closest you’ll get to the comfort of your home pillow. It’s filled with soft pieces of urethane foam that squish down small but fluff back up when you need it. I recommend planning ahead and giving it a little time before you need to rest your head. Pull it out of the sack a few hours before bedtime, give it a good fluffing and leave it to expand.  


The stuff sack is part of the pillow and it’s completely machine washable. In fact, many people say the pillow gets even fluffier after a washing or two.


Don’t you hate it when the dude in the next campsite has the same color gear as you? No? Me neither. But for people who care about that sort of thing, the Thermarest Compressible Pillow comes in 4 sizes (S, M, L, XL) and up to 8 colors (depending on size, medium has the most options).

What people say about it

Value and comfort come up again and again when this pillow is talked about. The Therm-a-rest Compressible is one of the most popular camp pillows for just that reason. You’re constantly hearing how someone bought this for a camping trip and now use it for watching tv on the couch or travelling on an airplane.

While it is a compressible pillow, it doesn’t compress down to nil. It’s going to take up a bit of space in your pack. Which is why I think this one is better for car camping. Or if when you travel you get weirded out by how many heads have lain atop that motel pillow. This is definitely my pick for anyone who car camps or travels. The price, the comfort and the ease of care make for one perfect pillow.

Features and Specifications

  • Weight: S – 7 oz, M – 9 oz, L – 12 oz, XL – 15 oz
  • Size: S – 12” x 16”,  M – 14” x 18”, L – 16” x 23”, XL – 16.5” x 27”
  • Thickness: all sizes – 4”
  • Made in USA from U.S. and Global Materials
  • Brushed Polyester Shell
  • Urethane Foam Fill

Who I Think Should Buy the Thermarest Compressible

Car campers, air travellers, roadtrippers Anyone who has a little flexibility in the amount of gear they can haul would be hard pressed to find a better pillow at a better price.

Who Shouldn’t Buy It?

Serious, ounce and inch scrimping backpackers. The compressibility just isn’t high enough here. Which is why I’m also recommending:

Best Inflatable Camping Pillow – Sea to Summit Aeros Premium

Light and Small

This is the pillow you take when you’re going backpacking for a week. Even the large size gets small, like just over 3 inches square. That’s bar-of-soap small. And it only weighs 4 ounces.


The reality is, some inflatable pillows feel like you’re balancing your head on a beach ball. Not ideal. Thanks to the way the internal baffles are curved, the contour of the pillow cradles your head. There’s also a fill layer between the inflatable bladder and the outer case which makes for extra comfort.

Features and Specifications

  • Size (Large): 16.5” x 11.8” x 5.1”
  • Weight (Large): 4 oz
  • Stuffed Size: 3.1” x 3.3”
  • Brushed 50D polyester knit shell
  • Easy-inflate multi-function valve

What people say about it

Some people out there are using it as their pillow—at home! That’s high praise for a camping pillow, something usually thought of as a big comfort compromise. Everyone is loving the packability and how it takes up so little space, but delivers support at the campsite.

As with many things that hit all the right marks and have very few drawbacks, this pillow is at the higher end of the pricing range for camp pillows. I think it’s worth it if it means you’ll get a good night’s sleep and be ready to face tomorrow’s hike. When saving on weight and cutting down on size are important, but comfort isn’t optional, I recommend picking up the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium.

Who I Think Should Buy the Sea to Summit Aeros

The backpacker who is serious about shaving weight off their gear but still insists on getting a good night’s sleep. This pillows compact weightlessness is only out performed by its comfort.

Who Shouldn’t Buy It?

There’s no need to spend this kind of money if you’re not carrying everything you need for the weekend on your hard working back. If the campsite is just a hop and a skip from your car, get the Therm-a-rest, but if camp and the car have a good 12 miles between them, this is the pillow for you.


I think it’s phenomenal that there are just so many choices out there for everything outdoors-related. But sometimes all that choice can sort of make your head feel dizzy.

Hopefully narrowing down one choice, your choice of camp pillow, to just 2 great options will calm that dizziness and let you pick in confidence. The Therm-a-rest for value and comfort or the Sea to Summit for the serious backpacker. Sleep well, my friends and i hope you like our view about the best camping pillows.

Looking for a cooler to add to your list? Check this one out here

Need an air mattress to sleep on? Look at this one here

Looking for a camping cot and not an air mattress? Check out this one

Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood.