3 Best Backpacking Pillows for Side Sleepers

Though some people like sleeping on their backs or on their stomachs, others prefer sleeping on their sides. You might like the way the pillow cushions your head and neck while taking pressure off the rest of your body.

As a backpacker who spends time in the great outdoors, there are a few things you should look for when picking the best pillow for a side sleeper.

As a side sleeper, you want a pillow that offers some support for your head, neck and shoulders.

Pillows made from memory foam are great for home use, but you may not like those pillows as much while backpacking because they take up a lot of space. Some companies make pillows that compress down in an included bag to save you some space. Inflatable pillows offer a lot of support too and fold down to an even smaller package.

You also need to consider the construction of the pillow and any materials added to the exterior. Pillows made from plastic or a similar material may squeak and make a lot of noises as your skin runs across the surface. Those with a microfiber cover or surface are much quieter and more comfortable.

Take a look at the overall weight of the pillow too. A heavier pillow may feel more comfortable, but a lighter pillow will help you carry your pack with ease. Smaller pillows and those that you can compact down into an included case will give you more room in your bag for the essentials that you need.

Backpacking PillowWeight (Ounces)Price
COOP Premium Shredded Memory Foam36 ozCheck Price
Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium
Our Best Pick
4 ozCheck Price
TETON Sports ComfortLite Self Inflating Pillow12 ozCheck Price

1.Premium Shredded Memory Foam Camping and Travel Pillow

Premium Shredded Memory Foam Camping and Travel Pillow

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  • Made entirely in the United States
  • Comes with a sack for easily carrying the pillow
  • Can stuff it in that sack to take up less space in your pack
  • Made from bamboo to better regulate your body temperature
  • Comes with a polyester and rayon cover that is resistant to allergens like dust mites


  • May not be quite as firm as you would like
  • Takes some time to decompress after removing it from the bag
  • Cannot wash it with fabric softener or bleach
  • Requires regular washing every six months to retain its shape
  • Is a little on the small side, which some may not like

The Premium Shredded Memory Foam Camping and Travel Pillow is a solid backpacking pillow for those on a budget. Though it costs much less than comparable pillows, it’s got a good firmness that lasts for years.

You can use the included bag to compress the pillow down into a smaller size for tossing in your bag, and it bounces back to its full shape after a few short minutes.

The pillow also does a good job of regulating your body temperature as you sleep.

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2.Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium

Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium

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  • Features a soft polyester cover that won’t rub uncomfortably against your neck and head
  • Synthetic filling under the top layer absorbs sweat and pulls moisture away from your body
  • Its curved bottom wraps comfortably around your neck when sleeping on your side
  • Comes in both standard size and a larger size
  • Is available in various colors to match your hiking gear


  • Is an inflatable pillow that can take some time to blow out
  • Takes a little too much time to completely deflate the pillow
  • Occasionally squeaks and makes noises that can disrupt your sleep
  • Can deflate if you do not properly close the valve
  • May rip or snag on climbing or hiking gear

The Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium is a great choice for backpackers and hikers who want to stay comfortable at night without sacrificing a lot of space in their packs.

This is an inflatable pillow that comes with a small valve on one side for inflating. As long as you properly close that valve, you shouldn’t have any problems with the pillow deflating.

Available in several colors and two different sizes, the pillow also comes with a soft top that mimics the feel of your pillows at home. You’ll also like its curved bottom, which does a good job of supporting your neck to help you sleep all night on your side.

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3.TETON Sports ComfortLite Self Inflating Pillow

TETON Sports ComfortLite Self Inflating Pillow

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  • Can adjust the firmness based on how much air you add by mouth or with an air compressor
  • Remains thicker in the center and thinner on the edges for side sleepers
  • Cleans easily with just water or soap and water
  • Has a non-slip bottom that keeps the pillow from moving at night
  • Comes with a microfiber top that feels soft on your skin and helps you fall asleep


  • At 13-inches, the pillow is longer than other backpacking pillows
  • Is water-resistant but not waterproof
  • Comes with a carrying bag with rigged foam inside that adds to the space it takes up
  • Can develop holes when used around sharper objects
  • Makes quite a bit of noise as you move

TETON Sports make this ComfortLite Self Inflating Pillow to go along with the other products it makes to increase your comfort while sleeping on a camping and hiking trip. As a self inflating pillow, it comes with a tube that you can use to inflate it, though that tube takes up some extra space in your backpack.

The best feature of this pillow is that you can easily add more or less air based on how you want to sleep and what feels most comfortable to you. Though it is a little larger than other pillows when deflated and placed in its storage bag, it rolls up to the same size and shape as a soda can.

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Chief editor here at Sky-Liners, Breana is a former expat and outdoor enthusiast who grew up on camping, hunting, and hiking. If she could live anywhere, it would be a tree fort in the woods. For now, she's surviving on weekly hiking trips and monthly mountain breaks. You can read more about Breana's adventures on her blog at 3rdCultureWife.

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