I always have to giggle a little bit at the great backpacking pillow debate – on one hand, hikers love a good pillow at the end of a hard day of hiking, on the other hand, some hikers say a pillow is totally excessive and you can just use clothes, a jacket or stuff sack or whatever else you have hand.
After flip-flopping myself on this issue, I’ve gone on many trips with a backpacking pillow and many without, attempting to use clothes or whatever I have on hand as a pillow.
This post may contain affiliate affiliate links for your convenience, see my full disclosure for more info.
My personal verdict is – an ultralight, compact backpacking pillow is totally worth it! It’s just more comfortable for me and I’m always wearing all my extra jackets and layers at night, so I’m not sure who all these hikers are who think a 2 oz pillow is too much extra weight but do carry a bunch of extra clothes and jackets to use as a pillow.
Just one girl’s opinion.
Scroll on down to my favorite backpacking pillow along with other top rated camping pillows to take with you on your next backpacking or car camping trip.
Ultralight Backpacking Pillows
These are great for hikers and backpackers, even those ounce counting weenies can justify carrying one of these ultralight backpacking pillows.
I personally use and have come to love the Outmore Pillow!
Pro tip: Use a buff or neck gaiter as a ‘pillow case’ to cover up any plastic/vinyl like material and keep your pillow clean(er) even if it is made of a soft, skin friendly material.
Best Packable Backpacking Pillows
These pillows pack small and are great for everything from backpacking trips to plane rides and travel.
Best Camping Pillows
These pillows are made for comfort and not necessarily the best for backpacking, but great for car camping or van travel.
I hope you find a backpacking pillow or sleep system you love because seriously, a good night’s sleep on the trail should be one of your top priorities! I’ve had sleepless backpacking trips before and they’re miserable, so try out different pillows, different sleeping pads and figure out what’s best for you.
Also let me know in the comments if you’re team pillow or team balled-up-clothes and why in the comments below!