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Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??

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Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
June 21, 2017 01:48PM
With help from many here I've been able to dial in a great sleep system meeting my specific requirements. A Jacks R Better down quilt replacing my Marmot mummy bag was the start of this and it's worked out very well.

The only thing unimproved (and not satisfactory) is a good pillow. I've tried the basic plastic-y blow-up ones; the air-filled with some kind of soft outer fabric; and the stuff sacks you fill with clothes to make into a pillow.

The air-filled seem to be either too soft (I just roll off the side, or there's not enough cushion/height) or too hard (not comfortable, head won't stay in position, wants to roll left/right). The clothes-filled stuff sacks find a way to - despite meticulous examination while stuffing - redistribute the sharpest items (zippers) on top, eventually. And when cold I only have a rain jacket and spare socks available for stuffing.

I'm thinking there could be some kind of down-filled, or combination air/down, or air with baffles - something - that could match the level of comfort I now enjoy with my JRB quilt.

Admittedly this may be an over-constrained problem: the solution has to be soft yet supportive, light and pack small. Down by itself is soft, light, and packs down well... but it compresses under weight (unless overstuffed - in which case it isn't as compressible or light for packing). Air filled is light and packable... but it is either hard or soft. Need the Goldilocks solution.

Searching this site didn't turn up much. I do see that WM offers a "Cloudrest Pillow" and FF has a "Geoduck Travel Pillow". Anyone use either of these? Other suggestions?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/21/2017 02:04PM by ags.
Re: Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
June 21, 2017 04:10PM
I carry a sit pad anyways (such as Therm-a-Rest Lite Seat). At night I put some well folded spare clothes in a pillow case (such as the Therm-a-Rest trekker case) and place the sit pad inside over the clothes. Allows for height adjustment both via air pressure and the amount of clothing inside. Comfy and don't get numb ear.
Re: Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
June 21, 2017 04:41PM
Fleece is your friend. I do the same: a sit pad, a folded fleece, and maybe a dry towel.

Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
Re: Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
June 22, 2017 10:05AM
Check out Goosefeet Gear. www.goosefeetgear.com
He custom makes your pillow with the amount of down stuffing you desire and you can choose a version with a pocket for stuffing in a puffy or fleece, or a blow up pillow if you choose. The outer down layer smooths over whatever you stuff it with and adds the perfect amount of cushion. It weighs just a few ounces depending on the size and amount of stuffing you choose. I received mine within a week of ordering it and absolutely love it. I sleep 10000x better now than I did with a wad of clothes under my head. I think I paid about $40.
avatar Re: Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
June 22, 2017 11:19AM
A lot depends on your sleep style. As a side sleeper, I need a taller pillow that keeps my neck and spine aligned.

The best solution I have found is a combo air+down. Each has advantages and also each has disadvantages, but when used together you can have each cancel out the disadvantages of the other.

Down is soft and cushy and comfortable, but it compresses. When packing the bag/quilt in your backpack that's a big plus, but when resting your head on down it will end up sinking in and bottoming out. An air pillow can provide support but can be too hard and bouncy. I use a backpacking pillowcase called the Monkey Pillow, apparently not made anymore, but the same idea should be usable for any pillow stuffsack.

I put an FlexAir pillow on the bottom, inflated about halfway, then I stuff my down puffy in on top of that. The air pillow takes up some of the volume of the pillowcase so when I shove the down puffy in it ends up already partly compressed. It is still soft and cushy but doesn't let my head sink in. And since my head is on the down not on the air pillow I don't feel any hardness or bounce effect. Net result is very comfortable and very lightweight.
Re: Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
June 22, 2017 04:23PM
I think I'll give the air/down combo a try. Once I knew what to look for I had better luck searching. Seems that air/down was covered on BPL a while ago. The GooseFeet/Exped UL solution may work. It looks like Exped decided to cut out GooseFeet by offering their own all-in-one down/air combo called the Exped DownPillow (compared to the Exped AirPillow line).

I could even try a multi-use/lightweight approach by swapping clothes or other stuff I already carry for the Exped air pillow. But I don't have a sit pad or fleece. I have silks, sometimes mid-weight top/bottom and a puffy jacket, which may be used in the cold. But it's an option to explore.
avatar Re: Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
June 22, 2017 11:59PM
A head support is essential for me otherwise I wake up with a wrecked up neck.
I go KISS and just bring my sleeping bag storage bag and stuff whatever clothing I have ( shirts, jackets, pants, etc ) in it and roll it into a bundle I can shove under my head at night.
Re: Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
June 23, 2017 08:33AM
That's what I do. I find my down puffy jacket fits perfectly inside the GooseFeet case and smooths out any lumps or zippers. I am definitely the "princess and the pea", and I sleep well with this method.
Re: Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
June 24, 2017 07:18PM
Placed an order for the GFG down cover and an Exped UL pillow. Will try out various combinations and report back if there's interest (each has to find his/her own preferred solution). Thanks for the responses, I would have never found GFG otherwise.
Re: Recommendations for pillow - thinking down filled??
July 10, 2017 02:32PM
Just back from 7 days in the backcountry with my new GFG down pillow and Exped UL air pillow.

For me, this was an outstanding success. About 4 oz total weight and it was the first time pillow/head/neck comfort was not an issue all night (any night). Thanks for the recommendation.*

*I have no affiliation with GFG, just sharing my own experience. Clearly not the right choice for everyone as it's a personal decision. YMMV.
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