Long gone are the days of rolling up a jacket or a stuffing some of your clothes in a bag and calling it a pillow, the result of both of those is I used to wake up with a stiff neck.
Why? Because they are NOT a pillow!
Camping technology has come a long way, materials have come along way and lets not forget the all-important pack size and weight.
So what do you look for, enough space for your head and how much you move about, being able to adjust the firmness of the pillow and pack size/ weight
I have two pillows I choose from depending on where, when and how I'm camping.
Both from Big Agnes, because I like their products a lot, but I like their customer service even more, if I ever have an issue, a call or an email and they correct the problem, or just to chat cause these guys are into camping more than anyone!
The time I generally look at my gear choices and revising or updating to new gear is in the winter months, it gives me plenty of time to accept the prices, good gear is expensive.
If I'm out on the trail and was buying a pillow I would look at $39 for a pillow and go back to my rolled up jacket but a few days later hate myself for being a tightwad!
My two pillows are BA Round Mountain, now renamed to AXL and the BA Q-Core Deluxe
Firstly the RM, or AXL, this is great for mummy bags as its a little smaller, it takes (for me) 2 1/4 breaths to blow it up to a solid pillow and then I can adjust softness from there. It fits perfectly in the head area inside the mummy bag.
I have been happy with this pillow for years, right up to this last ride I took, I forgot my pillow and had to get a new one (stiff neck!) and the only choice was a BA Q-Core Deluxe.
OMFG, now this is a pillow!
Just slightly bigger in pack size than the AXL but blown up (5 breaths) almost a normal size pillow, perfect for most sleeping bags and if I have the mummy bag I just lay it outside of the head area and lay the bag on top
...but for all that extra comfort its 43grams heavier, like carrying an extra energy bar, or you could just cut off the handle of your toothbrush!
I just throw the pillow in my sleeping bag stuff sack, can't tell it's even there, by size or weight...toothbrush redemption