What is a Camp Pillow?

A camp pillow is simply a lightweight, compressible, inflatable pillow you use while sleeping in a tent.

Compared with standard pillows that you use at home, camp pillows are smaller in dimensions, much lighter, and portable. So while you should not expect it to be as comfortable as a standard pillow, given the size and weight, it gets the job done.

Is a Camp Pillow Recommended on Kilimanjaro?

A camp pillow is an optional item on our gear list because you can make one with your clothing and a gear bag. Take your fluffy extra clothing, such as hiking shirts, down jacket, or fleece apparel and put them into a gear bag, compression bag, or stuff sack.

You can choose any size bag that works for you. But it definitely does not have to be as large as a standard pillow. A 6L-9L bag should suffice for a simple head rest. And don’t pack too much into the sack because it will be an uncomfortable, hard cylinder. You want it to have enough give so it forms a nice cradle for your head.

With a little trial and error, you can achieve the desired firmness and height by stuffing more or less inside and by making the bag’s drawstring or compression straps tighter or looser. If you use this as a makeshift pillow, there is no need to carry a camp pillow.

However, if absolute head comfort is important to you, you may want to invest in a camp pillow.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

Therm-a-Rest is a popular manufacturer of inflatable sleeping pads. They also make a camp pillow called the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow, which comes in three different sizes.

NEMO Fillo Pillow

The NEMO Fillo Pillow, shown above, is a top pick for backpackers. It is compact, with a foam and air cell construction that feels like a real pillow.

You can find an assortment of camp pillows here.