Top 5 Ultralight Backpacking Pillows of 2023

Hiker on the beach during sunset, using a backpacking pillow for head support

In this post, we'll take a look at:

When picking an ultralight backpacking pillow, remember to consider comfort, weight, size, and usability.

Choosing the wrong one might lead to uncomfortable nights and less enjoyable outdoor experiences.

Our TOP 5 guide is here to help you choose wisely, ensuring better sleep and more satisfying adventures.

Top Ultralight Backpacking Pillow Picks

  1. Most Ultralight: Big Agnes Rapide SL Pillow (1.58oz/45g)
  2. Best Overall: Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow (2.11oz/60g)
  3. Best Value: Sierra Designs Animas Pillow (2.11oz/60g)
  4. Most Comfortable: Nemo Fillo Elite Pillow (2.82oz/80g)
  5. Budget Option: Exped Ultra Pillow (1.79oz/51g)

1. Most Ultralight
Big Agnes Rapide SL Pillow

Ultralight Backpacking Pillows: Big Agnes Rapide SL Pillow

Key Specs

Weight: 1.58 ounces (45 grams)
Material: Four-way stretch nylon
Price: $$


✅ Ultralight

✅ Small pack size


❌ Smaller size

Tired of waking up with a stiff neck during backpacking trips? Big Agnes’ Rapide SL Pillow is here to change that.

Weighing just 1.58oz and taking up minimal space, it’s the perfect solution for a comfy sleep on the go. The offset I-beam design ensures stability, and the micro-adjust valve lets you customize the firmness.

We recommend using a pillowcase in humid conditions as the pillow can get a bit damp. Overall, this pillow promises a restful night’s sleep that gets you ready to hit the trail.

2. Best Overall
Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow

Ultralight Backpacking Pillows: Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow

Key Specs

Weight: 2.11 ounces (60 grams)
Material: 20D soft stretch-knit polyester
Price: $$


✅ Ultralight

✅ Small pack size


❌ Material could be a bit better

Sea to Summit’s Aeros Ultralight Pillow features a 20D stretch polyester exterior and a contoured TPU air bladder, ensuring comfort and support.

The multi-functional valve makes inflation and adjustment easy, and it can be securely attached to your sleeping mat through the unique Pillow Lock system.

We consider it a decent pillow for the price, highlighting its compact size and durability. While we suggest a softer texture on the side that rests against your head, this lightweight and durable pillow remains a valuable option for your ultralight excursions.

3. Best Value
Sierra Designs Animas Pillow

Ultralight Backpacking Pillows: Sierra Designs Animas Pillow

Key Specs

Weight: 2.11 ounces (60 grams)
Material: 20D polyester
Price: $$


✅ Fits with sleeping bag hoods

✅ Good for side sleepers


❌ Can feel sticky

Looking for a comfortable and lightweight pillow? Sierra Designs’ Animas Pillow delivers just that. With its minimal carry weight, it’s a small investment for a great night’s sleep at camp.

The ergonomic shape and siliconized print on the bottom enhance comfort and keep the pillow in place.

We can praise its compactness and lightweight design. However, it could feel sticky against the skin, so using a shirt as a cover easily solves this issue.

4. Most Comfortable
Nemo Fillo Elite Pillow

Ultralight Backpacking Pillows: Nemo Fillo Elite Pillow

Key Specs

Weight: 2.82 ounces (80 grams)
Material: polyester microsuede
Price: $$$


✅ High quality

✅ Great warranty


❌ The valve can accidentally pop out

When it comes to comfort and portability, Nemo’s Fillo Elite backpacking pillow has you covered.

This ultralight version of the award-winning Fillo pillow packs a punch with its lightweight design and impressive cushioning. Crafted with attention to detail, including recycled Primaloft insulation, a 3″ I-beam baffled air cell, and a soft jersey cover, this pillow cradles your head.

Despite a minor valve issue (which can occasionally pop out), the Fillo Elite is a reliable companion for a comfortable night’s sleep on the go.

5. Budget Option
Exped Ultra Pillow

Ultralight Backpacking Pillows: Exped Ultra Pillow

Key Specs

Weight: 1.79 ounces (51 grams)
Material: 20D stretch fabric
Price: $


✅ Relatively affordable

✅ Comfortable


❌ None

Experience premium comfort during your backpacking journeys with the EXPED Ultra Pillow.

Crafted from ultra-light recycled fabric, this ergonomic pillow features an anatomic shape that supports your head while you sleep. The FlatValve ensures hassle-free inflation and deflation without disrupting your rest.

This inflatable pillow fits snugly in your sleeping bag hood or can be tied to your sleeping mat, solving the common issue of pillows sliding around at night.

How to Buy the Right Backpacking Pillow

Backpacking pillows come in various types, including compressible, inflatable, hybrid, and stuffable options, each with its unique advantages.

Compressible pillows offer a soft and home-like feel, while inflatable pillows are lightweight and easy to pack. Hybrid pillows strike a balance between comfort and packability, and stuffable pillows offer customizable comfort.

Consider your sleeping pad compatibility, sleeping position, desired support and comfort, and the durability of the materials when making your selection.

  • Back sleepers should go for medium support pillows to align their head and neck with the spine, prioritizing comfort.
  • Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, need minimal support with thin, flat pillows to prevent neck strain.
  • For side sleepers, it’s crucial to choose thicker and firmer pillows to keep their head level with their spine and maintain proper alignment.

So, before you set out on your next trip, remember that a good night’s sleep starts with the right backpacking pillow that suits your unique needs and preferences.

If you’re interested in learning more about selecting the perfect backpacking pillow, be sure to check out our in-depth post on the topic.

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