Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Review 2019

  • Ultralight Backpacker

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium

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Last updated: 2019-10-15 23:02:55

Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Overview

Few pieces of backpacking gear cause as much fuss as pillows. A lavish luxury to some, a do-or-die item for others, backpacking pillows come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Sea to Summit has confidently joined the fray with the Aeros series of outdoor and travel pillows, and the Aeros Premium Pillow redefines “essential” with a tiny packed size, low weight, and surprising comfort for any sleeper.

The Aeros fits in any pocket or empty space in your pack, it provides four inches of kidney-bean-shaped support when fully inflated, and inflates in a few breaths. There’s a lot of backpacking pillows out there, but the form factor, features, and general ease of use have made the Aeros pillow a standout.

All of these features and the relatively high cost make the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow our Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Star Rating
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Adjustability
  • Packability
4.6

Summary

The Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow takes the traditional travel pillow to the next level with plush fabric and an easy-adjust valve for customizable comfort on the trail or anywhere you’ll find a weary traveler.

See the full Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow review below and see where it falls on our guide to the Best Backpacking Pillows.

Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Specifications (Large Size)

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 4 oz. (114 g) A very low weight for such a large pillow. The Regular-sized Aeros is 2.7 ounces, which is also quite light. You can technically find lighter pillows, but not with premium, comfortable fabrics on them.
Type Air The Aeros is fueled entirely by air, also know as your breath. This makes it very light when packed, but a bit wobbly when sleeping. Air pillows are the most common for backpacking due to their weight and compressibility.
Shape Kidney The Aeros pillow has a small indent on one side for the crook of your neck. It also has subtle baffles that help with traction and sleep.
Valve Flat A two-way flat valves allows easy inflation, deflation, and adjustment. Flat valves are the bees knees.
Full Size 16.5 x 11.8 in. A fairly huge pillow for the weight. This is for the size Large, which we tested. The Regular (which most people use) is 13.4 x 9.4 when blown up. Still a decent size.
Packed Size 3.1 x 3.3 in. For the blown up size, the packed size of the Aeros Pillow is tiny. See the size in this review.
Max Height 5.1 in. The Large has a five inch max height, which is quite high. You can adjust to the height you like. The Regular size has a 4.3-inch height, which is still up there!
Materials 50D Pillow Lock polyester Sturdy fabric on the Aeros Premium Pillow. Helps to reduce popping, which is a real concern with any air pillow.
Stuff Sack Yes Comes with a stuff sack, and is easy to stuff inside!
Warranty Limited Lifetime Sea to Summit has a limited lifetime warranty for all its products, and it makes good on it.
Retail Price $47.94 (Large) A high price for an ultralight, comfortable, large pillow. You’re paying for quality construction, packability, and brand name.

Gear Review of the Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

If you’ve read my other reviews, you’ll know that backcountry comfort in my sleep system is not an option for me: it’s a matter of grave seriousness. I don’t need a lot to get a good night’s sleep, but if any element is off — the sleeping pad, the bag, the pillow — you will hear about at breakfast the next day.

Sea-to-Summit-Aeros-Pillow-Premium-review-nap-time
What can I say, I require a good night’s sleep. The Sea to Summit Aeros supplies this in spades.

Typically our reviews focus on one moment when the gear sweeps us off our feet, but for me and the Aeros Premium Pillow, it’s been a quiet, steady love affair.

In attempts to shed weight I’ve used my down jacket as a pillow: call the chiropractor. Overcompensating, I’ve used bulky camping pillows: lumpy and heavy. Trying to meet in the middle, I tried a couple lightweight inflatable pillows: about as durable and comfortable as a zip-top sandwich bag.

Sea-to-Summit-Aeros-Pillow-Premium-review-packed-up
A fully packed Aeros Pillow is something to get excited about.

I’ve actually been using the Aeros Premium Pillow for about six months, and the true testament to our bond is the fact that I keep on packing it, trip after trip. The Aeros Premium Pillow has been with me in the North Cascades of Washington, the High Sierra of central California, and even on the floor of my bedroom. I’ve turned my room and van upside down looking for it before heading out on hikes. You don’t do that for just any pillow.

Sea-to-Summit-Aeros-Pillow-Premium-review-fog-in-forest
One of the places my pillow has been…

Comfort – 5

The Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow is seriously comfortable! I tend to flip flop a TON when sleeping in the backcountry, and the Aeros is comfortable in every position. I liked it firm for extra support when sleeping on my side, and a bit softer to cushion my shoulders and neck when sleeping on my back.

The plush material is super soft and doesn’t make me sweat like some microfiber fabrics, and does a decent job of keeping my head in place. (Slipping off pillow or pad in the night is irritating!)

Sea-to-Summit-Aeros-Pillow-Premium-review-back-pad
The Aeros Pillow is comfortable and versatile — here it serves as a side rest for reading.

I tested the large size of the Aeros Premium Pillow, which suited me well as a medium build male who loves comfort. The large doesn’t fit into all sleeping bag hoods, so size is something to consider when purchasing. I found myself placing the pillow under my sleeping bag on cold nights when I needed to cinch up my bag for extra warmth. The large also weighs four ounces, instead of the regular 2.7 ounces, so if weight is truly important, you may go a bit smaller.

Sea-to-Summit-Aeros-Pillow-Premium-review-in-mummy-hood
The large Aeros Pillow is, well, large. Make sure it fits in the hood of your sleeping bag! If not, get the Regular size. The Large does fit like this in the pictured Marmot Trestles 15, but fully zipped up it struggles to stay inside.

Durability – 4.5

I’ve been using the Aeros Premium Pillow on every backcountry trip for the last six months, and it’s in great shape. No signs of leaks and the fabric still looks fresh except for some light pilling around the neck area (and the drool marks from some deep, comfort-delivered sleep).

Sea-to-Summit-Aeros-Pillow-Premium-review-inflated-size-comparison
A size comparison, and a good view of durability. Yes, it shows wear (and a stain), but the Aeros Pillow is holding up extremely well.

Adjustability – 5

The Aeros Premium Pillow has an impressively functional two-part flat valve that allowed me to dial my exact firmness, even while laying on the pillow! The valve sits on the bottom of the pillow, and the low-profile flat design keeps it out of the way even if you roll over onto it during the night.

1-Sea-to-Summit-Aeros-Pillow-Premium-review-inflation-deflation-flat-valve-2
The two-way flat valve from Sea to Summit is clutch. It allows easy inflation, customized adjustments, and extremely simple deflation.

I found the Aeros most comfortable for sleeping on my back, but it was still supportive enough for side sleeping, mostly due to the quick adjustability.

Packability – 4

Packing to the size of an apple and weighing only four ounces (for the large size), there is no doubt I’ll be bringing the Aeros Premium Pillow on even my most minimalist outings. The fabric outer and touch of fiber fill underneath make for a bit of extra bulk, but for the weight of a meal bar it’s more than worth it for a great night’s sleep.

Sea-to-Summit-Aeros-Pillow-Premium-review-size-comparison
The size of a packed Large Aeros Pillow vs the size of a 32 ounce Nalgene. Why wouldn’t you bring it?

Mostly, I’m giving it a four because there are backpacking pillows that pack down smaller. They don’t have a comfortable outer fabric, but you can technically get smaller than the Aeros.

Grievances

My only grievance with the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow is the same gripe I have with all inflatable pillows: they don’t do everything well in every scenario.

When I found the right firmness for side sleeping, it was too firm for back sleeping. When I found the right firmness for back sleeping, it was too soft or too short for side sleeping, resulting in a sore neck.

I don’t find myself sleeping on my side a great deal when in the backcountry, but I did struggle at times to find the right balance of firmness to meet all of the demands of sleeping on the ground.

That said, the easy adjustability of the Aeros made this easier, but has certainly not solved the issue altogether.

Final Word

If you’re going to spend a third of your life asleep, you may as well do it in comfort, even when outdoors. The Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow delivers adjustable comfort and a pack-friendly size to get you rested and on to your next trail objective. Don’t sleep on this one! Or do!

Where to Buy Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow

We tested the Large Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow, which is the full name of this model. However, there is not a non-Premium version of the pillow, so we just refer to it as the Aeros Pillow. Sea to Summit makes this pillow in Regular or Large.

Sea to Summit also offers the Aeros Ultralight Pillow. The Premium is a bit heavier, but has a very nice fabric on the top, which increases comfort and decreases slippage. The Ultralight is for those absolutely concerned with weight, coming in at 2.5 ounces for the Large and 2.1 ounces for the Regular. We recommend both, and have placed them in the links below.

Finally, Sea to Summit offers the Aeros Down Pillow, a similar design but filled with down feathers, and and the Aeros Premium Deluxe Pillow, a larger, heavier pillow meant for camping. These are great, but the Ultralight and Premium are more applicable for most people.

Compare Sea to Summit Aeros Premium and Ultralight pillow prices below.

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Sebastian Cancino

Sebastian devotes his energy to camping, cycling, hiking, and backpacking in the mountains of the west coast. His favorite trek was a thru-hike of the Big SEKI Loop in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, and he hopes to complete more long hikes in the future. Peek on his Instagram to see where his latest adventures are taking him and to check out his van conversion project in progress.

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