I mentioned in an earlier post that the biggest hole I poked in my backcountry hunting set-up during our Cohutta, Georgia wilderness marathon hiking trip was my sleep system. The hospital pillow that I thought was such a great idea ended up leaving me tossing, turning, and thinking all sorts of bad words all night! I knew I had to fix my pillow situation before our monumental archery elk hunt coming up in September.

After a rather exhaustive search of websites where people know their stuff (namely backpackinglight), I arrived at the MontBell UL Pillow.

It is pretty large for a backpacking pillow and has a great stem valve that makes inflation a breeze. I have slightly above-average lung capacity and it takes me 3.5 – 4 full puffs to completely inflate. The key to MontBell’s design is the gussets that form a two-tier design for your head to nest in. On my side and laying on my back, the pillow was sturdy under my head, cushioned enough not to give me a headache, and extremely lightweight – 2.5 ounces including the stuff sack.

On nights where I won’t be wearing my Stoic Hadron puffy for added insulation, I’ll probably wrap the pillow for added cushion and comfort.

Here’s a picture of the MontBell UL Pillow compressed down into its stuff sack. No, I didn’t pick up this gem from Sam’s Club – just showing a credit card for size reference.

If you’re interested, the MontBell UL Pillow also has tabs that make it easy to connect to MontBell sleep pads. You can also modify most other pads (Big Agnes, etc.) to accept the tabs which keeps the pillow in place throughout the night. I probably won’t use them, but they are there for those who are interested.