Super-thin and packs into a pocket-sized pouch, this pillow is a sweet dream for travel
The travel pillow: pack it or scrap it? Those big, fluffy and downright huge neck pillows sold at airports are the opposite of what modern travellers should be buying, and yet they must sell well. A much better all-rounder is this super-lightweight inflatable pillow from ExPed, which is primed for much more than the long haul.
When stuffed into its tiny sack, the ExPed Air Pillow weights just 78g and measures a smartphone-sized 14×5.5cm. However, when unfurled it measures 38x27x11cm, which is more than big enough for a good night’s rest.
Easy to inflate
With one large, though low-profile valve for blowing into and a cap for emptying air, the ExPed Air Pillow is not difficult to use. It took us about four seconds to inflate it, and about 15 seconds to empty it and roll it back up. Squishing out all of the air isn’t hard. It also includes two grommets, one on each side, for attaching it to a sleeping mat.
Key to the ExPed Air Pillow’s success is its shape and the fabric it’s made from. Similar to the fabric found in products by that other legendary maker of travel gear, Sea To Summit, the ExPed Air Pillow uses the ultra-light tricot polyester. It’s potentially quite a loud fabric, being only slightly less frictional and loud than a plastic bag, but once inflated there’s no friction to be had. It’s comfy, with the anatomical shape helping keep our big head in place, though in our experiments it’s best to slightly under-inflate it.
Time for bed
Great for overnight train rides and ideal for multi-day camping trips when you’re carrying all of your gear, this totally waterproof, ultra-light pillow is both small and comfy enough to go straight onto the packing list. It also makes a pretty good seat while camping, though do keep it away from anything sharp – ultra-light gear like this demands some care.