Do You Need A Pillow In A Hammock? (Explained)

Cartoon of Steve in shirt and shorts

If you are like me, you want everything to be perfect when you go camping.

You don’t want to be too hot or cold, you don’t want to be too hungry or thirsty and most of all you want to be comfortable.

And it is that last point that might be the most important.

Because if you aren’t comfortable you won’t enjoy your time in your hammock.

You will likely need a quilt or some kind of cover, but what about a pillow? Do you need a pillow in hammock?

Let’s find out.

The issue of pillows and hammocks is very personal and purely subjective. You don’t NEED a pillow in a hammock, but if you find it helps you sleep better then there is no harm in having one, and there are some excellent hammock pillows on the market.

Pillows and Hammocks: It’s Personal…

In short I guess the answer to the title question is… it depends.

We all have varying degrees of need when it comes to sleep. 

Some people need it pitch black and super quiet; some can sleep with light streaming through the curtains and cars driving up and down the street outside.

Some people will need something covering them no matter how warm it is, and others will lay on top of the covers without a second thought in the summer.

And some people will get by with the flimsiest pillow, or no pillow at all, whilst others will need a literal pillow fort to rest their head on.

You don’t need a pillow in a hammock, but if you can’t sleep without one you will want one.

The Ideal Sleeping Position

Hammock with pillow in it

When we looked at whether a hammock is better than a bed, we found out that sleeping in a hammock helps you achieve the ‘ideal’ sleeping position.

That is because your head is elevated somewhere between 10% and 30% above your torso by the hammock, and the hammock provides some support as well

Pillows can provide additional neck support and some warmth, but it is a personal choice as to whether you want one or not.

If you are new to camping/sleeping in a hammock and are not sure if you need one or not, try sleeping without one and see how you get on.

That will tell you whether you need a pillow in your hammock.

For some the answer will be yes, for others it will be no.

The Best Hammock Pillows

If you find that you do need a pillow, then the good news is that there are plenty of excellent options on the market.

Some you might want to consider include:

The Nemo Fillo Elite

The Nemo FIllow is a blow-up pillow that actually feels like a pillow, not an inflated bag of air.

It inflates in literally a couple of breaths and it cradles the head perfectly.

It is small, lightweight and packs up incredibly well.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

This is one of the best hammock pillows out there.

It isn’t particularly light, and as it is foam-filled it isn’t that big, but it is extremely comfortable, thanks to its insulating fleecy exterior, which helps it hold its position in your hammock effortlessly.

It doesn’t lose its shape and is highly recommended.

Hammock Gear Premium Pillow

This is the ideal size for hammock camping, is super packable and has a handy retention cord to stop the pillow from flopping out of your hammock.

It feels firm without being overly rigid and provides a good amount of support for your neck.

Dutchware Argon Pillow

Dutchware’s Argon Pillow is fairly similar to the Hammock Gear Premium Pillow mentioned above, albeit the price point is slightly cheaper.

It feels quality to the touch and is super soft and supportive.

Sea to Summit Aero Travel Pillow

Hammock with blankets inside

This Sea to Summit pillow provides a great ratio of comfort to pack size. It also feels extremely well-made.

Due to its shape, which slightly resembles the letter C, it stays in place really well too.

Zpacks Medium Pillow

This innovative pillow doubles up as a dry bag with a soft microfleece sewn to one side of the interior.

When you want to use it, flip the bag inside out, put your clothes in it, zip it up, put your head on the fleece surface and go to sleep!

Simply Light Apex Climashield Backpacking Pillow

Simply Light’s Apex Climashield backpacking pillow isn’t the lightest option around, but it does pack down very small.

This synthetic pillow provides the perfect amount of comfort, and is close to a normal pillow as you can get!

Granite Gear Stuff Pillow Sack

Very much like the Zpacks pillow mentioned this Granite Gear piece of kit is simply a nylon sack that can be stuffed with clothes to double up as a pillow.

It is lined with fleece on one side and is made of Sil-nylon fabric that lets you see the contents of the sack.

Exped Air Pillow

The Exped Air Pillow is strong and durable, with a soft fabric feel that doesn’t attract dirt or dust.

It is really easy to inflate and deflate and provides plenty of support.

No Cost Options

Of course you don’t even have to buy a hammock pillow.

You can experiment by using a small blanket/laundry bag/t-shirt as a pillow to see how that feels.

They will provide a level of support and help you decide whether to invest in a dedicated hammock pillow or not.

Final Thoughts

INFOGRAPHIC Answering the Question Do You Need A Pillow in a Hammock

In short, you don’t NEED a pillow in a hammock.

The question of whether you should use a pillow in a hammock is totally subjective, some will prefer to, and others won’t.

It is down to what feels best for you. 

If you do find you need a pillow when you are in your hammock, there are a number of great options out there.

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