Found my pillow!
After trying the Exped Air Pillow and coming away disappointed by the unique shape and contour, I tried this one for its traditional lens shape.
This pillow cradles my head on a shallow groove, while the lower edge gently supports my neck when back sleeping. It is also the best I've found for side-sleeping with my average-width shoulders. A tiny bit low by itself, it is fine if I place my hand under my cheek as I usually do when side sleeping.
This Cocoon Hyperlite pillow is slightly lower than the Cocoon Ultralite Air Core (5" vs. 5.5" fully inflated), making it "just right" for me. This pillow is more stable than the Ultralite; I can bleed-off air and not get the "headroll" effect if I'm off-center.
The traditional twist-valve makes it is easy to quickly bleed-off air with your head _on_ the pillow; a real plus when you want to go to sleep quickly after a hard day.
This is an air pillow, so I would not expect it to be as warm in cold weather as a stuffed or self-inflating foam pillow, but Cocoon has taken the extra step of backing the soft and silky nylon cover with a thin layer of synthetic fill. This isolates the plastic core from the outside air to a degree, and makes it pleasant to lie on. Just how effective it will be in cold weather remains to be seen; I'll try it on some snowy 10,000' passes when adventure touring in mid-June.
Unfortunately, the cover is sewn-on over the plastic inner bladder, making it impossible to patch any holes without unstitching the cover. There is no patch kit included for this reason, but with reasonable care, it should last; quality of materials and workmanship are high. It is an ultralight pillow so one shouldn't sit on it. Also, because of the construction, Cocoon recommends hand washing and air drying.
Nice as the cover feels to one's face, it is slick against a sleeping pad, and tends to migrate easily. To combat this, I employ my usual trick of slipping the pillow inside a t-shirt or jersey slipped over my pad. Presto! Pillow stays put all night long.
This pillow is unbelievably small and lightweight when packed, and my sample (less stuff sack)weighed in at the stated 2.4 oz. Because it is so small, I don't use the included stuff sack and simply place it at the bottom of my sleeping bag stuff sack, where it is ready and waiting for me when I make my bed. My sample measures 13" x 17" flat and 11" x 15" when full, leaving plenty of length on my sleeping pad.
Pillow choice is an individual preference, so I would suggest trying out several in the store, making sure you place them on a pad similar to the one you'll be using. If you find this one fits, you can't beat it for packed size, weight, and comfort and it takes away any argument for leaving a pillow at home.
Great for Hammock Camping
I have a hybrid mindset when it comes to weight. I don't want to carry anything that I don't need; I multi-purpose as many things as possible in order to cut weight and I will pay more for a higher quality item if it cuts a few ounces. At the same time, there are some things that I chose not to be without. That is not to say that I wouldn't survive without them, just that I want them.
This pillow fits that bill. Absent some sort of neck support, I will wake up with a day long pain in my neck the next morning. Yes, I could stuff my clothes in my stuff sack and use that for a pillow, but I have found that it doesn't work well for me. The clothes shift, or perhaps they are a little ripe from how long I have been on the trail... either way it just doesn't work for me.
This pillow is the best thing that I have been able to find for the trail. It's light, the valve is very simple, and holds air all night long. I haven't had any leaks or tears. I haven't tried to wassh it on the trail yet, but we will see how goes on the next trip.
Overall I like it.
even 4 a minimalist-well worth bringing
It is the perfect pillow for someone who thinks they don't need a camping pillow and/or can't afford the weight or space.
I started out on my cross country motorcycle camping trip assuming I'd save space and use my stuffsack and a fleece or t-shirt for a pillow. After day 7 of a 2-month trip, I gave up & after lots of trying several pillows, ended up with this one. It was the right decision.
It is quick to inflate (barely 2-3 puffs of air for the right inflation for me), doesn't feel like a piece of plastic stuck to my face after hours of sleeping and due to the 2-layer fabric design, isn't simply an oval plastic bag shape and cradles my head nicely.
It does slip around a bit, so unless you have a mummy-style or sleeping bag hood you can't keep it in place with, put it inside a t-shirt.
This would NOT keep me from recommending this pillow, but I did have a problem with the valve sticking. However, it was after my 2nd 2-month tour-so it lasted without fail for more than 100 nights of camping. I was able to fenagle the valve to open/close on. I haven't contacted Cocoon yet to see if they'll replace it, because it isn't a 'problem'.
Now that I'm over 40, the days of sleeping well on a rolled up jacket stuffed in a sack seem to be slipping away. After testing a number of pillows in store, I settled on this one. I have used it on weekend backpacking trips, at Scout camps and on two week car camping trips.
I love this little pillow. It so compact when deflated and folded. I like that the pressure and height can be adjusted. The size works well in a mummy bag. I usually sleep on my side or back, and it is comfortable either way.
Originally I purchased it for backpacking with the attitude that something was better than nothing, but I liked it so much I took it on a two week car camping trip where I could have just brought my regular pillow from home. In fact I prefer it for camping since it fits snugly in my mummy bag.
I also purchased one for my 13 year old son. He thoroughly enjoys his. On our last car camping trip, he took his regular pillow from home and several times he commented, "I wish I'd brought my inflatable pillow instead."
This is a comfortable, compact camping pillow. If you camp, especially backpack, get one of these!
give in to taking a pillow
Perfect. I tried soooo hard to NOT take a pillow on my 90-day motorcycle tent camping trip, using a clothes-filled stuff-sack instead. But after five days of restless nights, I gave in. Bottom line: I never once thought of ditching it while minimalizing & shipping things home during my 90-day trip.[$] seemed like a lot until I got several good night's sleep.It did slip around and feel kind of clammy against my skin, but putting it inside a t-shirt worked perfectly, in warm or sub-freezing weather.I was a concerned at first that it almost felt like an inflated squre baloon but because of the double-layer and ultra thin material between, it didn't. The key was to not fill it very full-than 3 puffs of air was just right as a side-sleeper.Ditching it's stuff sack, I stored it inside the coin/key pocket of my sleeping bag.The only improvement I would make is to add another air chamber although I realize another valve would add to weight and volume, I'd easily trade that rather than have to pack a larger pillow with stuffingI'd buy it again in a minute.
Super Small Great Function
I just returned from 10 days in central Uganda. I used this pillow every night. It held air perfectly the entire time without a hint of leakage. I did not have to pack it each night though (stationary site). It was very comfortable and served it's purpose exactly as it needed to.
My only complaints are more observations and really are to be expected and should not prevent you from purchasing this pillow. In a hot humid climate, the fabric will absorb all the skin oil and it gets a little gross. Simply covering it with a clean bandana did the trick and solved the problem. Getting the pressure right is important too. If you sleep on your back like me, it's just fine, though it does roll a bit when you move, though not bad. But if you are a belly sleeper it may not be as good.
Overall, fantastic pillow that served me well.
What's not to like?
Just returned from an 11-day backpacking trip in northern New Mexico, and this little pillow is my new favorite piece of gear. I found it to be much more comfortable than my old standby - a fleece jacket crammed into a stuff sack. It packs up so small that I jettisoned the tiny stuff sack and just put it in with my sleeping bag. I sleep on both my side and back, and found that the pillow added immeasurably to my comfort. The covering is a satin-y fabric that is comfortable and cool against the skin. The next layer is a cushiony material that provides some pillow-like feel, and the core of the pillow is an air bladder that can be inflated to one's personal preference for firmness. 3 puffs of air and you're ready to go. Durability and construction is good for such a light piece of gear (but don't mistake this for a seat cushion).
Keep Your Head Up
This pillow is awesome. I've spent nearly an entire summer sleeping with this. It is small enough to fit into the hood of your sleeping bag so that it does not slip out from under you and the adjustability is as simple as either adding or releasing air. I have had no problem with it losing air though there could certainly be some issues if there were a leak. My only complaint is the material creates a seal when my ear is on it while sleeping on my side but that is easily fixed with a pillow case or, better yet, a t-shirt. This is tiny, easy to use, comfortable and helps to keep ya head up when it's the middle of the night and you're 110 miles away from whatever you're missing.
Great light-weight option
I used this pillow for the first time this weekend on a backpacking overnight trip. As expected, this was a lightweight and easy to pack piece of gear. Overnight this pillow is the best option I've found short of the wonderful down pillow you may have at home. After inflation I put the pillow inside a cotton shirt so there would be no sliding around on the pad. The pillow performed flawlessly. The air valve allows you to let tiny amounts of air out to adjust to your comfort.
Best money I ever spent
After many trips of sleeping on my fleece tucked in my sleeping bag, I finally decided to try a pillow. I thought the $ was a lot to spend on something I had been doing without all these years but it was definitely worth it. I have never been more comfortable while camping. The combination of inflatable & poly-fil makes it super soft and didn't feel like sleeping on a balloon. Anyone who sleeps on their side or stomach will love this addition to their backpack essentials.