Do You Need A Pillow For Camping?

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Jay Elliott

Chief Camping Officer

Bringing along essential materials like a blanket, socks, weather shoes, cooking utensils, thick clothing, and any other item you might need is important if you want to enjoy your camping trip. However, one item that many consider to be essential while others think otherwise is a pillow. A pillow may or may not be important depending on who you ask, but there are certain benefits to be had when you bring a pillow along for your camping trip.

Benefits of bringing a pillow along for camping

Some of the benefits of bringing a pillow along for your camping trip are as follows:

  • A pillow provides your head with extra protection
  • It makes you a lot more comfortable if you have a stuffy nose
  • Pillows provide extra warmth, especially when the weather is cold

Many people don’t feel comfortable sleeping without a pillow in their homes, so imagine how one or more nights camping could feel without one?

Failing to bring a pillow along may result in the following:

  • You may not sleep well at night if you are used to sleeping with a pillow at home
  • You may suffer from nasal discomfort if you lie flat without one for long periods
  • Head soreness is a possibility 
  • Laying your head on a hard surface may cause headaches 

Why some people do not bring pillows along to camp?

Some campers avoid bringing pillows to camp because they complain that adding one or two pillows to their luggage will increase the weight and size. While the rationale behind this argument is fair, imagine the several nights of discomfort you will have to go through just to keep your luggage light. The good news is that there are pillow alternatives you can still use to make yourself comfortable. We discuss them below.

Pillow alternatives for camping

Here are some tried and tested materials you can use in place of a pillow.


Blankets are meant for protection against weather elements, but you can improvise using this material. They may not be as thick as pillows, but you can wrap them up and use them for head or neck support. Blankets are comfy and soothing.


You could roll up a piece of clothing (jumper, tracksuit pants) and use this to rest your head on. You can even buy pillow bags that are designed to have clothing stuffed in to them that you can then use as a pillow at night, and then the next day empty the light bag and place it in your luggage.

Inflatable Camping Pillow

Our article on the best camping pillow goes through a range of possible pillow solutions, all of them lightweight and small in size. Especially inflatable camping pillow that are a simple air bladder, in the shape of a pillow that you blow up each night and then deflate the next day when you are moving camp. Read the article for further details on the camping pillow options.