I like my creature comforts. Do I savor the thought of riding all day long, arriving at camp, stuffing jackets and jumpers into my sleeping bag sack every night, to fall asleep on a lumpy, flat, pile of clothes? No thanks.
With current advances in travel pillow design, the case for not taking one is pretty weak.
There’s a tonne of options out there, ranging in price from a couple of quid right up to £50. Understandably, the usual camping/outdoor brands seem to be leading the way, although there are a couple of smaller, unknown producers that have some great ideas.
I started researching quite a while ago and quickly came to the realization that pillows are very much a personal choice. There are ranges of styles, sizes, finishes, and fillings that make it tough pinpointing which one will be best suited. I narrowed my list down to the following:
– Sea to Summit Aeros
– Exped Comfort Foam
– Nemo Fillo
These are the ones that, through researching, seemed to be the most reviewed and recommended on the web. Again, the problem is that you really need hands-on (or should I say heads-on) experience to determine which one is right.
Now my blogging and vlogging aren’t exactly at professional levels right now, and I don’t get stuff sent to me for free to test and review, and the frustrating fact that there is not a single brick and mortar shop in London that stocks a good range, so the only option for me to properly test these was to buy them myself. All three of them. Here you can check out the video review.
We aim to spend a few nights away testing gear before we leave proper, so take these comments as thoughts, initial reactions on quality, and spending 3 minutes resting my head on them.
Sea To Summit – Aeros Premium (medium):
This one is without a doubt the smallest and lightest when deflated and compressed. A marvel, actually, coming in a mere 79 grams and compressing to smaller than a tennis ball. Impressive. The smooth, brushed outer cover is very comfortable although it does slide around on the inner cushion causing an unpleasant rubbing sound of plastic on plastic. Its construction seems good, although I’ve heard of the stitching coming undone. The inflation valve is very well conceived with easy inflate and quick deflate both from the same nozzle. Two big breaths and it’s inflated. It comes with a tiny stuff sack too. Sea to Summit produces a range of pillows including a larger version of this model, a ‘lightweight’ version which comes in at 60g, and a premium deluxe model which replicates the size of your pillow at home.
Exped – Comfort Pillow
This is the big brother of Exped’s AirPillow, as it comes with a layer of memory foam cubes that sit inside the balloon. It adds weight and is not as compressible as the others, but it seems to be the most comfortable. Support appears in all the right places, and it’s a good size. The inflate/deflate valves are very well made and the overall quality seems to be top-notch.
Nemo – Fillo Pillow
The outsider. Nemo isn’t very well distributed in the UK, yet it seems to have a strong base in the US with its range of sleeping mats. The reviews online for this one shine – there doesn’t seem to be a negative thing about them. They have a layer of memory foam, stuff into their own sack, and have the capacity to extend its height by throwing extra padding (jackets, etc) into its sleeve. The materials are great, the cover is plush and comfortable. One downside that I have found is that the air valve protrudes quite a bit and it may be prone to damage. This one for me was the most comfortable to lie down on initially.
After getting some proper testing done, I have decided to go for the Sea 2 Summit Aereos Premium in size Medium. In fact, it is the only outdoor pillow available in the market that resembles the characteristics of a normal pillow you would use at home, and still being able to pack it down to a very small size. Comfortable, light, and extra packable. The smart flat valves can’t be felt while sleeping on it, and they will let you adjust its pressure according to your preference!