When you retire to your tent at the end of a long, fun-filled day of camping, where do you lay your head?
The answer to that question may be more important to your health and enjoyment of your trip than you think. A camping pillow is an important part of any camping gear, but one that many people neglect.
Read on to learn more about this essential item and what to look for when buying one.
What is a camping pillow?
Camping pillows are a pretty self-explanatory accessory. They are pillows adapted to the needs and desires of campers, as opposed to those who sleep in a normal bed. In many cases this means changes in size, weight, material or other factors.
It is portable and weather resistant and allows for rougher use than its domestic counterpart.
What do backpackers use as a pillow?
Backpackers have even more specific requirements than regular campers. They often travel long distances on foot.
This means that every gram of weight and every inch of space in their bags is important. For this reason, many experienced backpackers opt for a camping pillow that inflates at bedtime.
Instead, they rest their head on a pile of clothes, a pack sack, or a similar soft object they already have with them.
Do you need a pillow for a sleeping bag?
You don’t really need a pillow to spend the night in a sleeping bag.
After all, people have slept outdoors for millions of years without anything like a pillow! If you don’t have a pillow, you can put your head on the ground or your hands to get some sleep.
However, most campers feel that bringing a pillow or similar item is worth the space and weight in their luggage. Without a good night’s sleep, it is difficult to perform at your physical best during long hikes or other activities.
Even on days when all you want to do is stay at the campsite, a poor night’s sleep can make you grumpy even in the most idyllic setting.
Camping pillow shopping guide
As with all outdoor accessories, there are some camping pillows that are better than others. Here are some important things to consider when buying a pillow to ensure a good rest.
There is no right answer to the question of the size of a camping pillow. It all depends on how you plan to use it. For example, if you are only transporting your pillow from home to car to tent, portability is not as important as comfort.
On the other hand, backpackers planning long trips should choose smaller pillows to maximize backpack space and minimize weight.
Many camping pillows are much dirtier than the pillows in your bed at home. This makes sense, because you’re more likely to get dirty and sweaty in the great outdoors, and there are fewer accessible showers and bathrooms.
Buyers should pay attention to what a camping pillow is made of before purchasing it. Is it machine washable for easy cleaning? Are there fillings or fabrics that are odor-resistant or cooling? This can be a crucial aspect to the comfort and longevity of your camping pillow.
Speaking of durability, the durability of your camping pillow is also an important issue. What good is the most comfortable, compact and lightweight pillow if it breaks after a few trips?