A staple of extreme ultralight backpackers is not carrying a pillow at all. Using your extra clothes instead may work well for some. Others of us are willing to add a few ounces for the comforts of a pillow. If you have been looking at the Aeros Ultralight then you have found the right place to look because I’ll be giving you my experience with it over the course of approximately 100 nights in a tent with it.
When you look at camping pillows you’ll find everything from inflatable pillows to down pillows. Testing both is probably the best way to see what you prefer, for some the inflatable pillow doesn’t provide a good nights rest. If you’re here then I will go into details about the Aeros Ultralight. I’ll leave the comparison against other pillows for an upcoming post.
Is the Aeros Ultralight comfortable?
Personally I found the Aeros Ultralight to be moderately comfortable. What I mean is that it doesn’t compare against a real pillow at all but for backpacking it is definitely comfortable. I tend to sleep a majority on my side but sleep in all positions. As a side sleeper, I found this pillow to have the perfect amount of support with either my jacket or arm under the pillow.
On the topic of comfort, size and material play a role as well. The size of the Aeros is 14″ by 10″ by 5″. I found the size to be sufficient for me, this is one aspect where I wouldn’t change a thing. The material of the Aeros Ultralight is soft, yet nothing like a traditional pillow, I would have preferred a slightly softer material but this may be addressed in the Premium edition. My other gripe with the material is that it tends to get dirty rather quickly, not that this affects the functionality.
100 nights, 2 holes.
Durability is always a big question when it comes to ultralight gear. Especially when you’re talking about something inflatable. The Aeros Ultralight is moderately durable. I experienced a very small pinhole after about two months into using it. I fixed it using a repair kit from a sleeping pad but it wasn’t the best since the material of the pillow isn’t nearly the same as the pad. The odd thing is this first hole appeared on the side where my head goes. The second hole was even smaller, causing the pillow to deflate down about half way over night. I dealt with this one but blowing up the pillow half way through the night most nights. This hole was later fixed the same way.
I will be using my Aeros Ultralight for my upcoming trips as it served me well. My initial concern with the pillow was the valve. It seemed to be attached rather poorly and was concerned that eventually it would either spring a leak or disconnect completely. This worry faded because opening and closing the valve hundreds of times in field use hasn’t caused any issues. The Aeros Ultralight held up well all things considered, I wouldn’t avoid this product for the sake of durability.
We’re all weight weenies here so I saved the most important for last. The weight of the pillow in regular is 2.0 ounces. This is about the industry standard when it comes to ultralight inflatable pillow, for .4 ounces less you have the Exped Airpillow UL and they all go up from there. I’m looking forward to making a post where I can compare the current offerings in the most ultralight pillows. The large version of the Aeros Ultralight weighs in at 2.5 ounces and for that you can a slightly large size at 16.5″ by 11.5″ by 5.5″.
For now, the Aeros Ultralight is going to stay in my backpack. For one, the cost of ultralight pillows is nothing to scoff at since most of them run $40 and upwards. The Aeros Ultralight is no different with the price usually around $40. The Exped Airpillow UL looks a bit less comfortable due to the nature of the material compared to the Aeros Ultralight so I wouldn’t make the switch for .4 ounces. During the shoulder seasons I may begin to test a no pillow sleep setup to see how that works out. All and all, the Aeros is a solid pillow that I would recommend if you’re sure you want an inflatable pillow and don’t mind shelling out the cash for it.