Photo by Ali Kazal on Unsplash

Do I Need a Pillow With a Sleeping Bag

Tips on Using The Camping Pillow

You are packing for the outdoors, but what do you need? A pillow will probably not be on your list. The alternatives include using staffed clothes, folded blankets, a staffed bag, etc.

It’s common to ask yourself, do I need a pillow with a sleeping bag? Yes. Pillows are a great source of comfort. They provide multiple uses, are waterproof, and are lightweight. They enable you to rest and prepare for the following activity.

You don’t need to worry about packing a pillow when sleeping outdoors. This guide will help you learn about the different types of pillows, how much they will cost you, the alternative to using them, and their pros and cons. We’ll also highlight some of the frequently asked questions.

Do I Need a Pillow With a Sleeping Bag?

Understandably, pillows are often overlooked when it comes to packing for your outdoor sleep. If you’ve been planning a camp or a hiking activity, you might need to consider carrying your pillow.

However, it’s critical to consider the importance of a good night’s sleep.

With a pillow, you will sleep soundly and wake up ready to face the next day. Let’s find out the benefits of a pillow with a sleeping bag.

Benefits of a Pillow

  • Ideal for neck and spine- Sleeping on a pillow helps you avoid stiff neck and pains when you wake up. It enables you to align your body, reduces back pain, and improves your posture. This eventually reduces stress on your back and spine.
  • Improves sleep quality — Sleeping in a bag is uncomfortable. If you get a chance to improve on that, why not take it. A pillow helps you sleep in a raised position ensuring you remain comfortable.
  • Helps you enjoy your trip — You could be sleeping out in a camp or enjoying a night out with your friends. A sleeping bag improves your sleep and boosts your energy for the day.
  • Improves brain cognitive- A good night’s sleep helps your brain relax and gives you sharpness. Being outdoors requires your alertness to be in full mode.

Different Types of Pillows

There are four types of pillows that you can take on your camping trip. They are;

1. Inflatable

This one has an air chamber that allows you to blow air inside. The pillow is more compact, light, and can easily be folded.


  • It’s easy to maintain.
  • It doesn’t require space.


  • It takes time to make it ready.

Size: 13cm*8cm

Weight: 70–200 g

Price: $15

2. Filled

This pillow often contains foam filling. It’s designed to allow easy compression and comfort.


  • It gives you comfort.
  • It allows for multiple usages, e.g., traveling or just at home.


  • It’s bulkier.

Size: 9*6 inches

Weight: 200–400 g

Price: $15 to $25

3. Stuff Sack Pillows

This pillow is made of a soft outer layer that provides an excellent surface for your head. These pillows are usually filled with polyester or cotton.


  • It allows for multiple uses.
  • You might not need to buy one.


  • It might not be too comfortable.

Size: 24*13*14 cm

Weight: 50–65 g

Price: $25 to $35

4. Hybrid Pillow

These pillows are slightly more expensive and mix between inflatable and filled pillows. It consists of polyester and cotton and allows users to inflate it by blowing air through it.


  • It is more comfortable.
  • You get to choose the material design.


  • They are heavier.

Size: 45*70

Weight: 0.3–2 kg

Price: $25 to $60

Photo by Letizia Bordoni on Unsplash

What to Consider When Choosing a Pillow

  • Lightweight. In some pillows, you will find a plastic outer layer with a hollow chamber so you can inflate it. Think of an air mattress. They come in small sizes and can fit easily in your backpack.
  • Compactness. The pillows come in a rectangle or square shape. They allow compression to squeeze in your luggage and decompress when your head needs.
  • Waterproof. Although not 100%, the pillows are made of materials that don’t absorb water. They are also small, which enables them to dry fast when wet.
  • Easy to maintain. Ordinary pillows are often bulky and hard to clean. On the other hand, these camping pillows are small, don’t accumulate dirt frequently, and can be cleaned quickly.

What Is the Alternative to a Pillow?

What happens when you realize you don’t have a pillow or if you’d prefer to check for alternatives. Well, we’ve prepared a list of options for you.

  • A folded towel. You don’t need to fill the towel with clothes. Fold it to your preferred level, and you are good to go. To reduce getting sick, ensure it is not wet.
  • Use a backpack. Stuff in clothes and other soft materials to create a comfortable sleeping pillow. However, be prepared to get marks on your face in the morning.
  • Folded clothes. A stuffed sweater, jacket, or hoody can be turned into a comfortable sleeping pillow. Make sure your head is sleeping on the softer side.
  • Sew your own. Do you have sewing skills? Make your headrest on your pillow. You have the option to customize it to your color and make. Stuff it with cotton, foam, or synthetic materials.


  • It saves space since you can find multiple uses for some items.
  • It saves you from carrying weight.


  • Buying camping pillows can be expensive.
  • It may take time to set up.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you sleep comfortably in a sleeping bag?

Don’t zip it up to the end if it’s not too cold. Leave some room to move your head. You can also use additional light bedding to cover yourself when it’s cold.

What is the warmest way to sleep in a sleeping bag?

Ensure your feet are well shielded by covering the end of the bag with a light blanket or clothes. Make sure you are wearing warm clothes and that you’ve also eaten well.

Can you use a regular pillow for camping?

No. These pillows are bulky and offer extra luggage for your package. They may also be uncomfortable in some sleeping bags, like the mummy bag.

Is sleeping clothes on or off in a sleeping bag warmer?

Sleeping naked doesn’t make it warmer. Wearing warm and comfortable clothes ensures you get a sound sleep.

And Now, Over to You,

Some campers may argue that the camping experience should imitate primitive life with minimum comfort. However, a camping pillow is necessary, and you have various options.

We’ve managed to look at what’s available to use as a pillow when sleeping in a bag. So why not choose the options available and avoid the discomfort of sleeping without a pillow?

Fortunately, there are enough options that you should be able to find a camping pillow that fits your needs and budget, so you can feel confident that your body will wake up feeling ready for a day outdoors!



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