The thing between a down pillow and an inflatable is that a down pillow that packs small will also just sort of disappear under your head. An inflatable gives you more loft/lift for less weight and bulk. It’s not as comfy as the pillow I use at home, but it’s better than any “real” pillow I could actually carry.
I did the math... The best (firmer, for side sleepers) down bed pillows have nearly 25oz of down fill for a standard size. The WM Cloudrest is 1/4 of the size of a standard pillow (10x15 vs 20x30) and has 3.5 oz of fill, which is equivalent to 14oz for a standard pillow. Won't cut it for most people, much less a side-sleeper. So, to get a dedicated down pillow comparable to a home pillow, you need about 8oz of fill for a 10x15 pillow, so maybe 9oz total with the fabric.
Compressed size would be only slightly smaller than a summer down quilt. (Shows you how well uncompressed down lofts and retains heat.)
Most down puffies have 3-5 oz of fill. The fabric adds some body, maybe equivalent to 1-2 oz of fill. My pillowcase has about 0.5 oz of APEX filling as a lining. I add my puffy, plus a few random pieces of clothing. I always take dedicated baselayers to sleep in, so usually have at least a pair of pants and a top.
When I don't have any extra clothes, you might be surprised how well a quart sized ziplock bag wrapped inside a puffy works.
Post by JRinGeorgia on Jun 8, 2020 14:24:15 GMT -8
A pillow is one of the most personalized and subjective pieces of backpacking equipment. What pillow (or lack of one) works for you depends on your sleep style and a number of other factors, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. This is a case where performance and comfort are the same thing.
Down compresses, which when packing down clothing is a good thing but, as several have pointed out, that same compression occurs in a pillow and renders it flat and unsupportive under your head. My solution is the same as Rebecca's:
I use the inflatable to give the clothes enough bulk for this side-sleeper.
Specifically, I start with a Monkey Pillow, a cottage piece of gear that is no longer made, which is a backpacking pillowcase, low-pile soft fleece on one side and ultralight material on the other side. It's big, about 19" wide, so it feels more like a real pillow. I put a large FlexAir pillow inside, which is an air pillow used in hospitals as disposable but I get multiple uses out of each one. I inflate it only about halfway, to fill up some of the volume of the pillowcase and give it some height. It also stays flat that way, not a rounded bubble on top. Then I stuff my down jacket in there. Since part of the volume of the pillowcase is already taken up the down jacket fills the space snugly, giving a super-comfortable down cushion on the top layer that my head can sink into a bit but it doesn't compress too much and is still supportive, like a down pillow at home.
I put a couple of snaps on the pillowcase opening to prevent the down jacket from wiggling out. I've rigged up some mitten hooks and other attachments on the pillowcase and on my sleeping pad to hold it in place, for a really great pillow at about 3 ounces (not counting the down jacket as I'm carrying that anyway). Extremely comfortable for a side-to-side rotisserie sleeper, good height to fill the gap under my neck to support my head. The fleece top is nice and soft against my face. In the event temps drop so low that I have to wear my down jacket to sleep then at least I still have something under my head with just the FlexAir pillow in the pillowcase.
Only minor quibble is that my facial stubble can stick a little to the fleece top, so before a short trip I shave or before a long trip I let it grow out for a week before the trip.
For years I did the stuff sack thing, but it was slippery and tended to deform, so I kept having to fuss with it throughout the night. Now I combine a Sea to Summit inflatable with a Z-Lite seat which I find more comfortable and consistent.
I'm a total rotisserie sleeper, so I love me a good pillow. For decades I've used the "clothes in a spare shirt" method, but have switched to a Sea-To-Summit Aeros. I throw my Buff over it at night to keep it from sliding around on my sleeping pad, deflate it a bit for comfort, and I'm good to go. As I rotate from side, to stomach, to other side, to back, it stays put and gives me enough support for a great night's sleep...
I never would have thought that a pillow topic would generate so many responses but it's very timely for me. I've always used a stuff sack with clothes without any issues. However, I'll be trying a air pillow in about a week and a half on my next hike. However, I didn't want to spend $50 on something I wasn't sure about so I ordered the one below. We'll see how things go.