Gear Closet: Cocoon Ultralight Air-Core Hood Camp Pillow

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Remember the days when you would go camping and you would have to leave some amenities behind simply because they either didn’t exist in a portable format or they were just too bulky and cumbersome to bring along? Those days almost seem laughable now considering how lightweight and compact our gear has become. Now days when we hit the trail, there are very few things we have to leave behind, making our time in the great outdoors more comfortable then ever. I was reminded of this recently while testing the new Ultralight Air-Core Hood Camp Pillow from Cocoon. It is a surprisingly comfortable camp pillow that takes up almost no room in your pack and weighs next to nothing, making it a no brainer to carry with you on all of your adventures.

The pillow is made of a durable nylon fabric that is designed to stand-up to the rigors of travel. Whether you’re spending the weekend in a local campsite or thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, this pillow will be with you every step of the way. Best of all, you will barely know it is in your pack, at least until the end of the day when you’re ready to curl up for a good night’s sleep. The Ultralight Air-Core pillow weighs in at just 3.5 ounces (100 grams) and when stored inside its included stuff sack, it is smaller than a can of Coke.

Removing the pillow from the stuff-sack reveals that is bigger than I had initially expected. It covers an area of 12″ x 16″ (30 x 40 cm), which is large enough for all but the most restless of campers. In one corner there is a high quality air valve that allows you to quickly inflate it to its full size with just a few breaths. The valve also helps you to adjust the level of firmness as well, setting it to your personal level of comfort. I found it best to fill the pillow to capacity and then seal it with a quick twist of the valve.  From there, its a cinch to slowly release the air to get everything just right.

Cocoon has put quite a bit of thought into the design of this product that helps to make it easy to recommend to backpackers, campers and even adventure travelers. For instance, half of the pillow is covered in a soft microfiber while the other half remains nylon. The microfiber makes for a warmer sleeping experience, but if you get too warm, you can simply flip the pillow over for a cooler surface on which to rest.

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The unique shape of this pillow (it is rounded across the top) makes it perfect fit for the hood of a mummy bag. I happen to be a fan of that style of sleeping bag and having a pillow that fits neatly and easily into the hood is a very nice option. The air valve that is so useful in setting the firmness of the Air-Core also helps in adjusting its size of your mummy bag hood as well. This adds a nice level of versatility to this pillow as well, as I feel it is large enough to be used outside of a sleeping bag, but can fit snuggly into a mummy bag when traveling through colder environments.

If you’re in the market for a comfortable and durable camping pillow for your next backpacking trip, it’s hard not to recommend Cocoon’s excellent offering. It is everything you could ask for – small, lightweight and versatile. On top of that, it is also highly affordable. MSRP is just $25.95. At that price, how can you afford to not have one in your pack?

Kraig Becker