All three pillows in this article were generously given to us by the guys at Sleeping Bag Outlet for the purpose of this review.
There aren’t that many pillow reviews out there and it is definitely an under valued item in most kits. If you are an ultralighter or a die-hard adventurer you probably don’t care. But if weight or space are not your first concerns then bringing an actual pillow could get you those needed hours of sound sleep.
Our three contenders are all self-inflating pillows. We took them to various camping trips, car camping and backpacking outings. We had some good nights and not many bad ones really.
Highlander Micro Pillow
The Micro Pillow is the smallest of the three pillows we tested. It is also the only one with a Polycotton fabric. Its 25cm x 35cm dimensions are just about right for one’s head while keeping the size and weight, 155g with stuff sack, to a minimum. Between the hollowfiber filling and the fabric this is the closet to a regular pillow as well. While we all agreed the feeling of the fabric was great, some of us found it too flat, specially for side sleepers.
The Micro Pillow comes with its own stuff sac and packs very small, 22cm in length and about 9-10cm in diameter.
Gelert Trek Self Inflating Pillow
With the Gelert Trek pillow we’re getting more technical. Anti-slip base pattern for stability, water-repellent outer fabric. This is basically a small and cute version of a self-inflating sleeping pad but a lot thicker. It takes a few seconds to inflate, and you can also top it up if you need more volume. We all found the polyester outer fabric was not pleasant at all. An issue that disappeared by using a t-shirt as a case. The pillow’s filling is also somewhat bouncy and more akin to a normal inflatable pillow.
The Gelert Trek Self Inflating pillow’s dimensions are 30cm x 10cm in the stuff sack and 42cm x 22cm and 15cm in thickness when inflated. 302g with stuff sack.
Vango Self Inflating pillow
The name is not very original and the format and specs are almost identical to the Gelert Trek pillow. It does however have a different outer fabric, a 75D PVC, that’s a lot nicer on the skin than the polyester on the Gelert. The filling is also denser but thinner when inflated at around 10cm. Between the two we all preferred the Vango pillow.
The Vango Self Inflating pillow measures 29cm x 10cm in the stuff sac and 42cm x 24cm inflated. 313g with stuff sack.
The Micro Pillow is the most comfortable and, with the smallest size and weight, will not drag you down. However, side sleepers and car campers will find much to like about the Vango Self Inflating pillow. Bigger and heavier obviously but with more potential for fine tuning with optional top-up.