I’ve mentioned this in a handful of posts already, including my Currently Loving September, Camping Gear and Gift Guide posts, so you know this is going to be a positive review. But I wanted to share a review anyway, in case any of you are wondering whether the Thermarest Compressible Pillow is the sort of thing you should be adding to your camping gear.
I bought it earlier this year to replace my old inflatable pillow that was always supposed to be a cheap stop-gap bought the night before a camping trip that ended up being my go-to for more than a couple of years. It’s this OEX one from Go Outdoors (the old version of it). Nothing wrong with it, it is what it is and did the job, but it was always difficult to get the pillow filled to the right level so it was comfortable, it was noisy due to the material, and I had to put it inside a pillowcase because I would wake up stuck to it in the night. Nice. Eventually I decided the stop-gap had to go.
The decision was between the Thermarest Compressible Pillow I ended up buying (I got mine from Amazon), and the Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow. The latter is much smaller and lighter to pack, and does come highly recommended by a lot of hikers and backpackers out there. But I decided comfort was my top priority here, and the Thermarest comes in at a very similar size and weight to the pillow I was replacing, so I figured I’ve carried that everywhere for a couple of years the size and weight aren’t the problem.
The thing I liked most about the very popular Thermarest is that it is made from foam, rather than just being filled with air, which means it is soft and almost as nice to sleep on as my pillow at home. It also means it is quiet to sleep on. The pillow foam is sourced from upcycled foam from their pad manufacturing – so it’s kind of sustainable in that it is made from off cuts that wouldn’t be used otherwise.
I chose the small size, which is plenty big enough for a comfortable night. It just about fits inside the hood of my sleeping bag (the OEX Fathom), which means I don’t lose it half way through the night. Mine measures 42cm wide by 32cm high (ish), and weighs 191g on my kitchen scales. I certainly don’t need anything bigger, and reckon that unless you are only ever sleeping in a campervan when you can have the luxury of a full sized pillow, you’ll find the small perfectly big enough as well.
Being filled with foam rather than air does mean it sinks down overnight, as do my memory foam pillows at home, but I’ve never found it to sink to levels that are then uncomfortable. The cover has a nice brushed cotton feel, which is much nicer than my old one, and it goes in the washing machine which means I can leave the pillowcase at home knowing I’ll be comfortable and can clean the pillow easily when it needs it.
But the overriding thing about this pillow is the comfort it provides; it is like having a normal pillow.
The Thermarest Compressible Pillow is ideal for camping, backpacking, using in hostels, or even just on the arm of the sofa. I carried it in my gear for my two-day hike around Cheltenham, have taken it on numerous camping trips, on motorcycle road trip to Scotland, and am very much looking forward to sleeping on it again (yes, I’m overtired…).
I might consider purchasing a Sea to Summit Aeros if I do another long distance through hike in the future and become more bothered about the weight I’m carrying, but for now this is just perfect and I’m very happy with my purchase.
I got mine from Amazon for less than £20.