SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: Cocoon Travel Pillow - Aircore Ultralight

Just because you're sleeping on the dirt doesn't mean you have to be uncomfortable.

by: Will Rochfort

Cocoon Air-Core Pillow Ultralight (Courtesy Photo)
Cocoon Air-Core Pillow Ultralight (Courtesy Photo)

One Size
3.7 oz
$25
designsalt.com
I like packing light, but I don’t like to skimp when it comes to my sleeping arrangements.  I have a good friend who can fall asleep on a granite slab without an ounce of cushion, but I need a few more creature comforts to get a good night’s sleep.  Chief among those is a pillow, and the Cocoon Aircore Ultralight Travel Pillow’s favorable comfort-to-weight ratio means it will always have a spot in my pack.

Construction is pretty simple:  Essentially, it’s a bag inside of a nylon liner with synthetic fill.  You can inflate the bag with just a couple breaths, and there’s plenty of flexibility in the bag to vary level of firmness.  Granted, it’s no oversized down-pillow with 1500 count Egyptian sheets, but a half-inflated air core does a good job of cradling your melon, and blowing it up to full strength will satisfy those who prefer to sleep on something more akin to a boulder. 

The synthetic fill adds a padded cushion between the pillowcase and air-filled core so it doesn’t feel like you’re lying on an inflated grocery bag.  One side of the pillow is covered with a soft microfiber, and the other side is nylon.  Unfortunately this means the pillow is prone to sliding around if you prefer the softer side.  I just stuffed it inside of my mummy sleeping bag hood, and it wasn’t a problem. 

I’m a side sleeper, and after breaking both of my clavicles and one shoulder (in three different accidents), I have pretty specific wants when it comes to camp pillows.  I have tried cramming jackets inside of ditty bags and using compressible pillows, but neither was able to provide enough support for a decent night’s sleep.  I tried the Aircore Ultralight on a recent winter trip to Mt. Whitney, and I was able to comfortably lie in bed for twelve hours, save the occasional answer to Mother Nature.  I could quickly deflate the pillow to a comfortable level while stargazing on my back, and then re-inflate it when it was time to actually roll over and pass out.  It even served suitably as a car trip pillow, which certainly made the five-hour car ride significantly more pleasurable.

Like all inflatable backcountry toys, you’ll want to treat this pillow carefully to avoid any unwanted punctures.  It’s not designed for field fixes either, although a knife and some ingenuity might allow you to get to the inflatable bag for impromptu repairs.

Bonus: The pillow also shrinks down to about the size of a tennis ball.  Just be sure to fold it as snugly as possible, as the stuff sack is an extremely precise fit.

Bottom Line: For you stalwarts who watch their weight, please continue to wrap your spare socks around your Nalgene as a cushion for your dome.  I’ll sacrifice the 3.7 ounces for comfort and chalk it up as a win.


Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Mary
Aug 24, 2013

I just used this in the Tetons for 6 days (and on the airplane for two), and I love it. It's most comfortable minimally inflated, but then it's a dream. I especially like the microfleece side -- that's the side I used up, and it was great. packs very small and I had no trouble getting into that little stuff sack every time -- the valve goes last.

bob
Mar 20, 2011

had one of these. there was a problem with the inflation tube - manufacture was aware of the problem - and they have a tendancy to puncture easily. it was not worth the money

John
Jan 21, 2011

Are you kidding me. Exped Air Pillow is much better.

John
Jan 21, 2011

Are you kidding me. Exped Air Pillow is much better.

John
Jan 21, 2011

Are you kidding me. Exped Air Pillow is much better.

Jon
Jan 21, 2011

Are you kidding me. Exped Air Pillow is much better.

debmonster
Nov 19, 2010

I use an inflatable travel pillow that is the same shape as this, but it packs flat, cost me only $8 at my local drugstore and actually weighs about 2 oz.

Dave Too
Nov 19, 2010

:)

Dave
Nov 18, 2010

:(

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
A Safety Net That I Dislike
Posted On: Jul 31, 2014
Submitted By: HighGravity
The Political Arena
Blood in the streets of DC
Posted On: Jul 31, 2014
Submitted By: HighGravity


Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions