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The Perfect Pillow

Old 04-07-10, 12:15 PM
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pathlesspedaled
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The Perfect Pillow

My gf and I have been on the road for 8 months and after a few nights of stiff necks we think we've found the ideal travel pillow! We've tried out two brands, the Cocoon Travel Pillow and the Exped Air Pillow. Check out the results here:

http://epicureancyclist.com/?p=1060



Best,
Russ
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Old 04-07-10, 12:34 PM
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I've been trying to decide between the Exped pillow you reviewed, the Nemo Fillo:
http://www.nemoequipment.com/nemo2010-filo-pillow

and the Big Agnes pillows:
http://bigagnes.com/Products/Detail/.../AirCorePillow
http://bigagnes.com/Products/Detail/...moryFoamPillow

anyone have any comments?
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Old 04-07-10, 01:58 PM
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i just pile together some clothes
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Old 04-07-10, 02:08 PM
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For me, the perfect pillow for a cycling tour is a stuff sack filled with clothes. I'd probably change my mind if I were on the road for 8 months.
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Old 04-07-10, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
For me, the perfect pillow for a cycling tour is a stuff sack filled with clothes. I'd probably change my mind if I were on the road for 8 months.
Yes, a stuff sack full of clothes is fine for a week, but I'll be on tour for 6 months and each of these stinking pillows are around $30. Would love to hear opinions from users.
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Old 04-07-10, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by EriktheFish View Post
Yes, a stuff sack full of clothes is fine for a week, but I'll be on tour for 6 months and each of these stinking pillows are around $30. Would love to hear opinions from users.
Erik, I haven't used those pillows, but my feeling is that they would suffer from the same problem as the Cocoon - which is to say the shape is uniform all around so it would put your neck in an awkward position.

The genius of the Exped pillow is that it is ramped and mimics the shape a feather pillow will take when you lay on it.

R
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Old 04-07-10, 03:01 PM
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Hey, thanks, Pathless... I've been looking for a side-sleeping pillow.

I've been considering mashing up one of the u-shaped inflatable "neck" or travel pillows and enclosing it in a down-filled envelope. This, I hope can provide a little 'squish' while still holding its structure at the core to keep my neck straighter.

Nice to hear the Exped can jump in if the experiment fails.
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Old 04-07-10, 03:13 PM
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We've now been on the road for nearly three years and found the ThermaRest pillows to be wonderful. We're still using the original ones we bought way back when and they've held up great. They do take a while to dry when we wash them, but we choose a place with good strong sun and a clothes line with easy access so we can fluff them up every couple of hours. They've been wonderful!
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Old 04-07-10, 09:15 PM
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I like the Cloudrest pillow from Western Mountaineering. The 800 goose down is a lot more comfortable than an inflatable and provides some extra insulation to my sleeping bag. Only weighs 5 ounces but you have to be willing to pay the high price for it. The loft of it is very good, but I still use something else underneath it to prop it up a little higher.

http://www.westernmountaineering.com...s&ContentId=45
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Old 04-07-10, 09:24 PM
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Oddly enough for me, using a pillow is the difference maker between tossing and turning all night (without one) and sleeping like a baby (with one). Clothes stuffed in a sack just doesn't cut it for me. A pillow is my one and only 'luxury' item. When you consider that it adds some more insulation to your sleeping bag, it's a little easier to justify bringing it.
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Old 04-08-10, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by EriktheFish View Post
Yes, a stuff sack full of clothes is fine for a week, but I'll be on tour for 6 months and each of these stinking pillows are around $30. Would love to hear opinions from users.
My experience is that any of the "camping pillows" I tried were inferior for one reason or another. I was never comfortable on any of the inflatables and the non-inflatable camping pillows were not firm enough. All were also kind of expensive.

For me the answer was a small $7-$8 "real" pillow from the fabric store. It measures something like 11"X17", is firm enough, and stuffs in the same compression sack with my sleeping bag. It weighs about the same as some of the camp pillows, but a bit more than the inflatables.

I like the notion of clothing in a stuff sack as a pillow, but I don't sleep as well when doing that.

I am a bit of a minimalist with most of my gear choices, but a pillow makes a big difference in sleeping comfort to me. It is one of the few items that many consider a luxury item that I carry any way.
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Old 04-08-10, 09:27 AM
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I have searched for the perfect pillow for years. I have tried every inflatable I could find as well as using clothes in a stuff sack. None have worked for me until I found the small "memory foam" version at our local Canadian Tire store. It is wrapped in a washable plush cover and has a low and high ridge giving you several options for comfort. It is somewhat hard to compress when cold but has proven to be the only pillow I would ever carry.
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Old 04-08-10, 10:24 AM
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I have found the perfect pillow setup, for me anyway. First of all, I stuffed clothes in a sack and used that for years, with mixed results. Wadded up clothes don't have the same sponginess as a pillow, and there were often lumps and bumps. I would spend a lot of time shifting things, trying to get comfortable.

My perfect pillow is the Thermarest.

It's not quite thick enough. I always bring a towel, hoping for a nightly shower. If I fold the towel to make a little platform, then put the Thermarest on that, it's perfect! (If I was able to take a shower, I hang the towel up until it's time for bed. It may be a little damp, but with the Thermarest on top it's not a problem.)

The Thermarest rolls up into a little bundle the size of a long, thick burrito. I usually put it in my pannier, but can also bungee it with my tent and sleeping bag.

It's nice to be comfortable when you sleep!
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Old 04-08-10, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
For me, the perfect pillow for a cycling tour is a stuff sack filled with clothes. I'd probably change my mind if I were on the road for 8 months.
there's a stuff sack with the inside covered in fuzzy cloth, turn it inside out and restuff with clothes. I've been fine with no pillow, it's more important that the shoulders are cusioned and I can put my head on my arm.
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Old 04-08-10, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by toolboy View Post
I have searched for the perfect pillow for years. I have tried every inflatable I could find as well as using clothes in a stuff sack. None have worked for me until I found the small "memory foam" version at our local Canadian Tire store. It is wrapped in a washable plush cover and has a low and high ridge giving you several options for comfort. It is somewhat hard to compress when cold but has proven to be the only pillow I would ever carry.
I had one of those in Taiwan! It was sold there as a children's pillow because it was so small, but I loved it! Unfortunately, when we moved I left it behind. I could kick myself for doing that now!
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Old 04-08-10, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by toolboy View Post
I have searched for the perfect pillow for years. I have tried every inflatable I could find as well as using clothes in a stuff sack. None have worked for me until I found the small "memory foam" version at our local Canadian Tire store.
That's one reason I'm considering the Nemo Fillo, it has a 1" layer of memory foam.
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Old 04-08-10, 05:25 PM
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On my car camping trips I used a regular small pillow. I think I'll bring the same one on my bike tour. I know I can sleep on it and it'll add little volume and weight.
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Old 04-08-10, 10:50 PM
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I haven't toured since I was 16 and am going again this summer, now 21, so my needed comfort level may have changed. On the first tour and subsequent camping trips I found the ideal pillow to be my tent bag stuffed with the rainfly. Obviously it doesn't work well when it's raining, but 90% of the time it isn't precipitating.
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Old 04-09-10, 07:29 AM
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I have a hard time with pillows at home on my own bed so pillows on an air mattress is even worse. So I made a trip to a department store and tested the pillows and the decoartive couch pillows right there on the floor (much to my DH's chagrin!). I liked the firmest couch pillow they had. I bought it and slept on the tile floor (on my sleeping mat) for a couple nights to make sure it would be suitable. It doesn't compress very well but I can fold it and stuff it in a compression sack and compress it a little bit. But since I have to sleep to bike, I am more than willing to carry extra for a good night's sleep.

Tiff
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Old 04-09-10, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
My experience is that any of the "camping pillows" I tried were inferior for one reason or another. I was never comfortable on any of the inflatables and the non-inflatable camping pillows were not firm enough. All were also kind of expensive.

For me the answer was a small $7-$8 "real" pillow from the fabric store. It measures something like 11"X17", is firm enough, and stuffs in the same compression sack with my sleeping bag. It weighs about the same as some of the camp pillows, but a bit more than the inflatables.

I like the notion of clothing in a stuff sack as a pillow, but I don't sleep as well when doing that.

I am a bit of a minimalist with most of my gear choices, but a pillow makes a big difference in sleeping comfort to me. It is one of the few items that many consider a luxury item that I carry any way.
This

After hearing staehpj1's suggestion last year I went to the local discount store and picked up a cheap couch pillow that is about 8" x 8" square and have been using it with great results. I also paid about 6-8 euros, don't remember. I am kicking myself for ever even trying those expensive inflatable POS pillows.
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Old 04-10-10, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
For me, the perfect pillow for a cycling tour is a stuff sack filled with clothes. I'd probably change my mind if I were on the road for 8 months.
I don't know... my husband and I have been on the road a year and I have gotten so used to my clothing bag that I even sleep on it when we stay in hotels! I try to use the pillows but I always get up during the night to grab my bright orange bolster of a clothing sack. So much more comfortable!
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Old 04-10-10, 12:57 PM
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from Staehpj1 above

"For me the answer was a small $7-$8 "real" pillow from the fabric store."

+1, works like a charm, lightweight, compresses pretty well but not too well, and won't go flat like one that inflates
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Old 04-10-10, 07:23 PM
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when camping for months on end i find that i sleep much better without a pillow. as soon as i started using one again my neck would hurt for a few days.
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Old 04-11-10, 04:21 PM
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I went on tour for 3 months and that just looks like an added thing to bring.

I did indulge in a pad though
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Old 04-12-10, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by wheel View Post
I went on tour for 3 months and that just looks like an added thing to bring.

I did indulge in a pad though
I tend to agree that extra stuff is often detrimental to the level of comfort and I don't get when folks say they carry 60 or more pounds of stuff "to be comfortable". To me there are two kinds of comfort that are important when touring and they are comfort on the bike and comfort while sleeping. Comfort on the bike is best achieved by leaving stuff home and carrying a lighter load. Comfort while sleeping for me requires a pillow and a sleeping pad. Fortunately the two types of comfort are not too badly at odds with each other and I can get my gear load down to 25-30 pounds and still have good sleeping comfort. For me that seems to be the sweet spot for gear weight.

That said if you sleep well without a pillow by all means leave it home.
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