Embarking on a backpacking adventure involves careful consideration of every piece of gear you carry, and while sleeping arrangements are often a top priority, many backpackers underestimate the importance of a good pillow. It plays a crucial role in ensuring a good night’s sleep. This is especially true for side sleepers, and finding the best backpacking pillow tailored to this sleeping style is essential.
If you’re on the lookout for the ideal backpacking pillow for side sleepers, the options available might seem overwhelming. Fret not! In this comprehensive guide, we aim to simplify your search by presenting the top 10 backpacking pillows specifically designed to cater to the needs of side sleepers.
Best Backpacking Pillow for Side Sleepers
Let’s compare the best backpacking pillows for side sleepers in the following chart.
|Hikenture Backpacking Pillow
|JÖKEL Inflatable Pillow
|HOMIEE Memory Foam Pillow
|Luchai Neck Foam Pillow
|TETON Sports ComfortLite
|Sea to Summit Aeros
|TREKOLOGY Ultralight Pillow
|Klymit Drift Small Pillow
|Teton Sports Backpacking Pillow
Best Overall – Hikenture Backpacking Pillow
Best Ultralight Backpacking Pillow – Therm-a-Rest Compressible
Best Premium Backpacking Pillow – Sea to Summit Aeros
Best Value for the Money – Teton Sports Backpacking Pillow
1. Hikenture Camping Pillow with Removable Cover
- Fill Material: Cotton
- Size: 17.3 x 12.2 x 4.7 in.
- Waterproof: Yes
- Weight: 5.6 oz
The HIKENTURE brand has designed its inflatable camping cushion to function as a versatile and portable pillow. Its utility extends beyond camping, as it can be employed as both a standard pillow and a neck cushion during car journeys. It’s comfortable for side sleepers, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer firm pillows.
With a dimension of 17.3 x 12.2 x 4.7 inches and a weight of only 5.6 ounces, it can be carried in a backpack or in the trunk of your car. HIKENTURE backpacking pillow cushions are more comfortable than conventional cushions. The innovation in this pillowcase lies in its hypoallergenic cotton design.
If you are an allergy sufferer, don’t worry! This inflatable pillow is personally designed for you. It is made to resist. It is made of high-quality TPU material. Its elasticity and 100% cotton cushion cover allow you to relax peacefully during your rest. Air leakage during use is almost impossible.
The cover comes with good air circulation. This technology has ensured that neither moisture nor sweat can attack it. If you plan to take it to an office, no worries. If in case you drop it, the cover is washable. If you’ve gone for a hike, this camping pillow has a removable elastic band. It allows you to attach it to any support.
- Excellent durability
- Ultimate comfort for side sleeping
- Removable and washable cover
- One-click valve
- Convenient to carry
- The inner plastic bladder is a little noisy
- Not supper soft
2. JÖKEL Inflatable Pillow with Neck & Back Support
- Fill Material: Memory Foam
- Size: 34 x 22 x 10 cm
- Waterproof: Water Resistance
- Weight: 120 Grams
Jökel inflatable travel pillow has a special feature compared to other backpacking pillows for side sleepers. Its D-shaped surface is more than just a pillow. It helps with head, neck, and back support. Almost all upper limbs benefit from this pillow. It is ideal for a hike, a festival, a trip, a vacation, or even in the car.
It is designed for you to have a very nice and soft night’s sleep. This airbag is of high performance to support your head for a whole night. It is made of memory foam to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed. The extra padding on the front is a great touch.
This pillow features super-fast inflation and deflation. Within seconds you can use it. Its size is 34 x 22 x 10 cm with a weight of 120 grams. It can slip easily into your backpack or the trunk of your car.
We also appreciate its multifunctional and adjustable valve. Regardless of whether you prefer sleeping on your back, stomach, or side, it is designed to accommodate all sleeping positions. You can change the density and height of your pillow as you wish. As a result, your comfort will be guaranteed. This option is very important for side sleepers with neck problems.
- Ultralight and compact
- Balancing softness and support
- Easy to inflate and deflate
- Customize design for side or stomach sleeper
- Slight wrinkling noise when turning the head
3. HOMIEE Travel Memory Foam Neck Pillow
- Fill Material: Memory Foam
- Size: 5.91 x 5.91 x 5.91 in.
- Waterproof: No
- Weight: 6.4 oz
This travel pillow is a complete kit for side sleepers. Indeed, it consists of sleep masks, earplugs, and a carrying bag. It is therefore ideal for traveling by car, plane or train. If you plan to leave for a campsite, it is also the ideal equipment to put in your luggage.
HOMIEE sleeping mask is used to cover your eyes so that you are not disturbed by the light. Included earplugs are necessary to avoid hearing noises while resting or sleeping. The carrying bag allows you to take it wherever you go in your backpack. You will have the freedom to choose the color you like from the 3 offered on the site. In black, gray or blue, the choice is yours.
This pillow is made of very soft and high-quality velvet. It is also very comfortable to support your head and neck. It is made of memory foam that is removable and machine washable. As a result, the bacteria present can be eliminated.
Its ingenious system allows you to support your neck during use. Your head won’t fall off if you use it in a car. Indeed, both sides of your pillow support your head. A gap between the head and the shoulder is present on the pillow. A high arch allows your head to tilt without weighing down your neck. This new system is possible thanks to the U shape of the pillow.
- Perfect curve design
- Lightweight and portable
- Sweat-proof and washable
- Adjustable buckle and strap
- Easy to store
- No size option
- Very thick
4. Luchai Neck Foam Pillow for Backpacking
- Fill Material: Memory Foam
- Size: 30 x 27 x 15 cm
- Waterproof: No
- Weight: 320 Grams
The usefulness of the pillow is not only for resting and sleeping but also for traveling. With the evolution of technology, it comes with neck support to lighten the head while traveling, camping, or in the office.
The Luchai backpacking pillow set comes with 1 travel pillow, 1 earplug, 1 pouch, and a sleep mask. Its design is very innovative. The neck ear for travel is ergonomically made. It is in the form of a curve to serve as a neck and shoulder contour. This is useful to release the pressure on the neck. Therefore, the muscles will be more relaxed and fatigue will be relieved.
It is guaranteed against moisture and perspiration thanks to the material it is made of. It is made of memory foam; a pillowcase is also made with care. A smooth zipper is present on its surface. This makes it easy to disassemble for machine or hand washing. This will help it fight off bacteria and keep it clean.
The dimension is 30 cm x 27 cm x 15 cm for a weight of 320 grams. With its high quality for breathing freely, it can bend into thirds of its size. This allows it to be packed simply in a pouch. In 5 seconds, it can return to its original shape.
- Very firm memory foam
- Ergonomic design
- Easy to clean
- Easily foldable
- Variety of color options
- The included bag is useless for transporting
- Big size
5. TETON Sports ComfortLite Self-Inflating Pillow
- Fill Material: Open-Cell Foam
- Size: 13 x 3.5 x 3.5 in.
- Waterproof: Yes
- Weight: 12 oz
Just like your pillow at home, the Teton Sports inflatable camping cushion strikes a balance—it’s not overly bulky, yet it certainly doesn’t fall into the category of ultra-lightweight backpacking pillows. If your priority is comfort, and you’re willing to compromise a bit on weight, then this pillow is the ideal choice for you.
It is made of PVC. Impermeability is therefore guaranteed. You will no longer have to be afraid of rain or water that can damage the pillow. PVC is very tear resistant. Even if you use this pillow directly on the floor, there is nothing to worry about. It can adapt to its environment without concern.
Teton Sports’ self-inflatable pillow is perfectly elastic. Your head and neck will not be weighed down. On the other hand, you will benefit from an alarm clock like no other. You will be in great shape. It can be your companion during your camping or your trip. With a dimension of 13 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches, it blends well inside your backpack.
It also comes with good air conditioning. The leakage of air is almost impossible. We owe this to the valve which allows the air to be retained during use. It can be folded for transport. It can be taken anywhere you go.
- Made of a shiny or slippery material
- Durable but very soft
- No pump required
- Storage bag included
- Excellent value
- It crinkles a little when you toss
6. Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow for Backpacking
- Fill Material: Polyester, Foam
- Size: 16 x 23 x 4 in.
- Waterproof: No
- Weight: 12 oz
Therm-a-Rest is a large and comfortable camping pillow for a side sleeper., It is convenient to carry and easy to care for. Thanks to its self-inflating design, it will ensure you get a good night’s sleep no matter what outside of the large camping tent. This model is very easy to roll up, and it can be used immediately after opening it.
It’s filled with recycled urethane that self-inflates when you remove it from the built-in stuff sack. And it has one of the most comfortable brushed cotton covers you’ll find on a camping pillow. While tall and forgiving, it doesn’t flatten out like a pancake under your head like many other pillows.
Therm-a-Rest camping pillow is also affordable, and fairly light with a weight of less than a pound. When compressed, it will provide good neck support for long flights.
With versatile, easy to clean (machine washable), and pleasing to the eye, this side sleeper pillow will play an important role during sleep. However, it will take a little bit of time to get back to being fully inflated after being compressed for a while.
- Well made
- Compact design
- Soft and ultralight
- Very comfortable support
- Good value
- Firmness varies from unit to unit
7. Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Inflatable Pillow
- Fill Material: Polyester
- Size: 16.5 x 11 x 5.1 in.
- Waterproof: No
- Weight: 4 oz
The Sea to Summit Aeros is an inflatable backpacking pillow that will delight many recreational campers. It’s a big camping head pillow that fills up fast and deflates even faster. It is very light and you can inflate and deflate it in seconds. The pillow has a subtle C-shaped design, and I discovered that it stayed securely in place, even when positioned beneath my sleeping bag.
It features a comfortable 50D brushed polyester shell, a high-frequency welded internal bladder, and just enough padding between the bladder and the shell to prevent it from being too hard or too soft. Your comfort and rest will be guaranteed. You won’t be afraid of air leaks while using it.
If there’s a downside, it’s that the bulkiness of the design, which is a definite plus in the campground, won’t work well with cold weather mummy bags and their pinched head areas.
If you don’t like your pillow getting dirty, you can wash it with a simple hand wash. Don’t worry, the moisture won’t get inside the pillow. For everyone else, though, it’s a solid choice.
- Multi-function mini valve
- Compatible with sleeping mats
- Wide range of size and color options
- Easy to blow up
- A little noisy but not too bad
8. TREKOLOGY Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow
- Fill Material: Air
- Size: 16 x 12 x 4 in.
- Waterproof: Water Resistance
- Weight: 3.9 oz
Trekology Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow has a similar profile to the Sea to Summit Aeros Airplane, but is a bit smaller, giving it superior versatility. While the chunky bean shape isn’t ideal for cold-weather camping packs, it’s small and light enough (2.8 ounces) to warrant a try.
The outer shell construction ensures optimal softness. The insulation as well as the filling of the pillow are supported by a robust bladder made of thermoplastic urethane. The inflation valve ensures maximum protection against any leakage and allows for easy adjustment to preferred firmness and stores very compactly.
The pillow fills completely with just 3 or 4 good deep breaths, you can adjust the level of firmness as it is inflatable and it easily fits in the palm of your hand when stored in the included stuff sack.
With a simple click of a button, inflate the pillow. When you’re done, deflate it conveniently using the Quick Deflate feature, which releases air rapidly in only seconds. Recreational campers at sea level will love it too for all the reasons mentioned above, plus the exceptional comfort and affordability.
- Compact and ergonomic
- Newly stylish design
- Easy to use with a simple click
- Fits easily in your pocket
- Not suitable in windy situations
9. Klymit Drift Small Camping & Backpacking Pillow
- Fill Material: Polyester, Cotton
- Size: 12.6 x 11.81 x 6.1 in.
- Waterproof: Water Resistance
- Weight: 250 Grams
Klymit was an early leader in the evolution towards more comfortable camping and backpacking gear based in Germany. Over the past decades, they have continued to bring new products to market that improve the camping experience. Their backpacking pillow is one such product. With a versatile, durable, and lightweight design, it is easy to use and relatively affordable. This pillow is very practical when you sleep on the cot.
Klymit Drift Small Backpacking Pillow is filled with die-cut foam and fills in 1-2 minutes. It’s ideal for camping, although some may find it’s not compressed enough for serious hiking. The nifty design also makes it perfect for car camping. It features a durable reversible shell that effortlessly transforms from a travel-friendly cover to a soft, clean sleep surface.
This backpacking pillow comes with 2 years warranty. This guarantee is therefore proof that the material is very strong and resistant. If there is a problem with your pillow, you can send it to your supplier.
- Versatile outdoor pillows
- Customized comfort
- Durable cover
- Easy to wash
- Not lightweight
10. Teton Sports Backpacking Pillow & Pillowcase
- Fill Material: SuperLoft Elite 4-Channel Hollow Fiber
- Size: 12 x 18 in.
- Waterproof: No
- Weight: 10 oz
If you have a smaller head, the pillow feels comfortable but is slightly smaller than a large head—similar to the feeling of home when you’re camping. Teton Sports Camp Pillow is plush and comfortable, and it’s gentle on your skin. It’s soft yet durable, and you might be tempted to use it in bed, or at least when napping on the couch.
This is an attractive pillow with a removable 100% flannel cover, double brushed for optimal softness. It comes with a durable storage bag that allows you to compress the pillow by 60 or 70%.
Despite that, it’s not a pillow that serious hikers are going to take on the mountain. Unless they want to leave food behind to make room. But it’s a standout choice for family camping trips or to have in the RV.
Even at home, you can use it without worries. Thanks to its practical design, your neck and head can be supported without difficulty. Its ease of transport is its strong point. Indeed, it is available with a carrying bag to save more space in your backpack. Its size is only 12 x 18 inches for a weight of 10 ounces.
- Soft and supportive
- Pillowcase color options
- Drawstring storage bag
- Lifetime Warranty
- Cheap price
- Small size
How to Choose the Best Backpacking Pillows for Side Sleepers?
The choice of the best backpacking pillow for side sleepers depends on several criteria. In this section, we’ll explore the factors to consider and highlight key features to look for.
The pillow criteria
The best is to have a removable pillow for its cleanliness. Indeed, backpacking and camping pillows can be the victim of several bacteria following too frequent use. Because of this, you can wash it directly by hand or with the help of the washing machine. Opt for an ultralight pillow to have the maximum space in your luggage. The size of this equipment is taken into account. It is better to choose a compact and portable pillow to facilitate its transport. Therefore, you can quickly sneak into a backpack or the trunk of your car.
Different Models of Backpacking Pillows for Side Sleepers
In stores or online sites, many models of camping pillows for side sleepers are available. But we can see several types including:
- Rectangular backpacking pillow: this is a classic model. It has the same role as your usual house pillow. This pillow provides support for the neck and head. You can perform several types of positions on the back, belly, or both sides. In most cases, its surface is covered with flocking. This allows you to feel the extreme softness in your head.
- Ergonomic backpacking pillow: this is a pillow specially designed for travel by plane, train or car. It provides extra comfort to the rectangular pillow.
- U/D-shaped or lumbar support neck pillow: it is a wise choice. Indeed, its design is made with comfortable materials. Its role is to support the neck so that it does not get tired. This type of pillow stabilizes the head between the two sides. It is designed for travel by plane, train or car. It can also be used as a pillow at home when watching TV.
Factors to be Considered Before Buying a Backpacking Pillow for Side Sleepers
- Size: this criterion counts a lot when traveling or camping. If you choose a small pillow, you can easily put it in a backpack or strap it to your carry-on. It is not obvious that your pillow takes up half the space in your suitcase.
- Material: Opt for pillows made from comfortable and durable materials. Memory foam, inflatable pillows, or those with synthetic fillings are popular choices. Consider the trade-off between comfort and weight to find the right balance for your needs.
- Adjustability: Choose a pillow that allows you to adjust its firmness or loft. This feature is especially beneficial for side sleepers who may need varying levels of support for different sleeping conditions or personal preferences.
- Versatility: Look for pillows that can be used in multiple sleeping positions. While designed for side sleeping, a versatile pillow can accommodate different sleeping styles, providing flexibility for changing conditions on the trail.
- Ergonomic support: opt for a pillow with an adjustable option. This helps you find your optimal position during sleep. This option is easily found in the air inlet valve.
- Exterior texture: this criterion is very important. You still don’t want to sleep on a rough pillow. Choose a flocked or velour pillow for added comfort.
- Resistance: the PVC or TPU pillow is the most ideal. They can guarantee impermeability. The tears won’t hurt you. They can adapt to all types of surfaces. It is also important to take its compactness seriously.
Advantages of Choosing a Backpacking Pillow
You may have noticed that there are people who don’t have a pillow in their house. They only have inflatable backpacking pillows. The fact that they have adopted this way of life could signal the grotesque benefits of its use. We were able to take the tour and here are some advantages:
- Portable wherever you go: its lightness guarantees its sedentary lifestyle. The size and weight of the pillow matter a lot.
- Relief for the head and neck: the cervical will benefit from this cushion. The goal is therefore to reduce pain in the lower back.
- Comfortable: the position during the trip does not matter. The inflatable cushion ensures optimal comfort.
- The softness of the pillow: this flexibility guarantees optimal comfort for its user.
- A design and aesthetic to break away from the usual classic pillow: you can take your pillow wherever you go. You won’t be ashamed to use it even in your office.
- A reasonable price: With a price of $40, you can get an inflatable camping pillow. You may find a pillow at a slightly lower price than usual.
How does a backpacking & camping pillow work?
The mode of operation of an inflatable camping pillow is similar to that of the inflatable camping mattress. Camping pillow allows you to rest your head and neck for optimal comfort.
But many wonder: how does it work…
– Its inflation –
You can have a pillow under two categories: an inflatable pillow and a self-inflating pillow. The first requires the presence of a valve that serves to bring in the air. You can do this either with an electric inflation pump or by mouth. But out of habit, we choose the method by mouth because of its small size. In 5 seconds, you will have a pillow.
The second type of self-inflating pillow inflates automatically after unpacking in its pack. This mechanism has been very fashionable in recent generations. This is the case with U-shaped or D-shaped travel pillows.
– His deflation –
The deflation of a camping pillow is done by opening the valve to let the air escape. The case of a self-inflating pillow does not require deflation. Just put it away and it can shrink to a third of its size.
Difference between camping and hiking pillows?
While there are some points of overlap, camping and hiking are two different activities that use two different sets of gear. Camping is defined as a leisure activity that takes place in public or private campgrounds with a car near the campground. Often, the campsite is located in the immediate vicinity of the campground. Size and weight considerations aren’t as important when it comes to camping gear.
In contrast, hiking requires that you take with you into the wild everything you will need to survive. There are no cars to be found. There is no road for miles in any direction. As you need to carry everything you need, you need to be aware of how much each item weighs and how much space it takes up in your backpack. If you’re taking a hiking pillow with you on a backpacking trip, it should compress down to next to nothing and weigh only a few grams.
Who are backpacking camping pillows for?
Backpacking camping pillows are for all types of people who like to go camping or who like to travel by plane, car, or train. The categories of people are diverse: children, adults and seniors. They can all use inflatable camping pillows since it’s very easy to use. Inflating or deflating does not require too much professionalism. Even a simple child can do it.
How important is pillow loft for side sleepers when backpacking?
Pillow loft (height) is crucial for side sleepers because it helps maintain proper spinal alignment. When sleeping on your side, your head should be aligned with your spine, and a pillow with sufficient loft supports this alignment, preventing neck strain and discomfort.
Can inflatable pillows provide enough support for side sleepers during backpacking trips?
Yes, inflatable pillows like the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow can provide good support for side sleepers. The key is to choose a pillow with adjustable inflation levels, which allows you to customize the firmness and height to your preference.
Can stomach sleepers or back sleepers use pillows designed for side sleepers?
Pillows designed for side sleepers aren’t the best fit for stomach or back sleepers. Stomach sleepers usually require flatter pillows to avoid straining the neck, while back sleepers benefit from pillows that support the natural curvature of the spine.
Today there are so many different camping and backpacking pillows for side sleepers on the market that will appeal to just about everyone, from 8,000-meter maniacs to weekend warriors.
There is no magic pattern of pillow that would be pleasant for everyone. This is why, when choosing, you must think about yourself, your desires, and your way of sleeping. By taking the time to think about it, you will more easily eliminate from your searches references that you may find uncomfortable.
Hope this guide helped you find the best backpacking pillows for side sleepers.
Let us know which model impressed you more in the comment section below.