Top critical review
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I'm of two minds about this
on May 18, 2014
I have both the large and small versions of this item due to a shipping mixup, both in blue because in my mind blue is more restful than sleeping on red, or at least that's what I'm telling myself who knows if that's true.
The 'small' one that i originally got was tagged large - that is, both the sewn-on tag that it had said large and the marketing tag attached to it said large and it was in a bag that said 'large.' when you recieve yours, check the size against the published sizes to make sure you haven't gotten the wrong one due to a 'factory mix up" as surely mine was probably not the only defective one.
I have used the small one on a 4 day hike. I have not yet had a chance to use the large one.
Here's the thing: this is down. As such, it's more comfortable than any inflatable pillow. However, think about what sleeping on your down jacket woud be like - basically, your head compresses the thing in the same way that packing and rolling it compresses it. I can't blame it too much, i guess - heads are heavy things. But, that's the reality of the situation here.
Therefore, you'll probably find yourself using this pilow on top of something else - like your backpack or a bag full of your clothes. Which is ultimately an ok solution and certainly more comfortable than just sleeping with your head on your backpack. However, and maybe there's some great answer for this that i just haven't figured out yet, but it seems obvious that the answer should be a pillow which is a hybrid inflatable and down to get the best of both worlds.
Finally, there's somthing to be said about the design of this thing. It's basic shape makes it not terrible compressable. As such, it uses a bit more pack space than it might have otherwise and it does NOT come with a stuff sack. Since it is relatively lightweight, an ideal situation would be a small, preferably integrated gore-tex stuff-sack that could be clipped onto a backpack's exterior.
I consider this to be at best an ok product, somewhat lazily designed. This is not the well designed product I expected from thermarest, but rather an intermediate step towards a truly well designed and implemented camping pillow.
i am as i write this about to pack for an 8-day hike and am debating whether to take this.
- people who are not terribly pack weight/size sensitive, such as those going for a 1 or 2 night hike a few hours from a car/start point.
not so good for:
- ultralightweight hikers (too bulky and a bit heavy compared to inflatable or ziploc bag hack equivalents)
- people camping next to their cars (just bring a full-size pillow from home).