How We Tested Camping Pillows

By:
Ross Robinson
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday

To test the camping pillows in this review, we slept on them every night for a period of eight weeks. We packed them along with us and used them on car camping trips in Montana and to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. We took them trekking in Alaska and canoeing and camping for five days in the remote Boundary Water Canoeing Area wilderness. They also got altitude exposure backpacking in the High Sierras of California and Nevada. When not in tents, these pillows were still under our heads, in hammocks on lazy afternoons and in our beds at night. Over the course of our testing period, the nightly temperatures ranged from 35°F to 75°F.

The Sierra Designs DriDown (far left) and the Sea to Summit Aeros (far right) bookend two sleeping bags on a canoeing camping trip in Minnesota.
The Sierra Designs DriDown (far left) and the Sea to Summit Aeros (far right) bookend two sleeping bags on a canoeing camping trip in Minnesota.

Most of our metric scores were taken from the experiences we gathered through extensive use of these products by several reviewers. This gear category is more subjective than most, so we wanted to gauge their performance with a wide perspective. We gave them to back, side, and stomach sleepers to gain an understanding of each product's comfort level in different sleeping positions. For support, we considered how much each one flattened out under the weight of an average human head and its ability to keep the head aligned with the spine. We used our own tools to measure the weight and packed size of each pillow, as well as their dimensions when unpacked and set up. We also washed and dried each pillow according to the manufacturers' recommendations as part of our ease of use tests. Overall, these products are top of their class, and each has a unique best application.
 

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    Unbiased.