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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Accessories > Big Agnes Cleaview Pillow > Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella

Big Agnes Clearview Air Pillow

Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella

July 8, 2009

Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Estrella
Age:  34
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: 
Orange County, California, United States

Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear!

Product Information

Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Web Site:
Product: Clearview Air Pillow
Year Manufactured: 2008
MSRP: $20.00
Available/Reviewed Colors: Clear

Weight Listed: 3 oz (85 g)
Actual Weight : 2.82 oz (80 g) with stuff sack; stuff sack weighs 10 g (0.35 oz) alone

Inflated Size: 12 in x 16 in x 2 in (30 cm x 41 cm x 30 cm)
Packed Size: 1 in x 7 in (3 cm x 18 cm)

Nice Shoes

Photo obtained from the manufacturer's website

Warranty: Big Agnes will warranty all of its products against manufacturer defects. They will replace any defective item free of charge and any products damaged due to misuse or accidents will be repaired at a reasonable charge and sent back.

Product Description

Ready for sleep


The Clearview Air Pillow is noted by the manufacturer as a durable camp pillow that is made from clear polyurethane with a lightweight plastic valve.

This is a clear polyurethane (puncture resistant) pillow with the similar construction as the Big Agnes Clearview sleeping pads. The pillow has 5 air chambers, welded seams, and a plastic valve (for inflation and deflation). Each Clearview Air Pillow is individually inflated and factory tested. The pillow comes with a mesh storage sack. The pillow can be used in the pillow pocket of a sleeping bag or alone. Since I do not have a pillow pocket in my sleeping bag, I made a pillow case for my Clearview Air Pillow.

Sweet dreams

Clearview Air Pillow with a homemade pillow case.

On the manufacturer's website there is a minimal description of the pillow and the specifications are listed. The pillow image on the website is gray with a white logo. My pillow is clear with a black Big Agnes logo and the words "Clearview Air Pillow) in the upper left corner, on the second chamber from the valve. I am wondering if Big Agnes used a gray pillow image since the background of the website is white.

The valve opens to inflate the pillow by turning it left. "Righty tighty, lefty loosey" as my dad used to say. The valve opens easily and is ready for inflation with two turns. If I keep turning the valve it does not come completely off the stem base. The valve base has an almost triangular shaped, rigid, clear, plastic reinforcement where it enters the inside of the pillow. The valve stem is protected by this 3 cm (1.18 in) long piece of plastic and it does not bend at the point where the stem enters the pillow. The clear polyurethane of the pillow body can be squashed, folded, and rolled up just below the reinforcement plastic.


Inflation valve

The pillow is not self inflating. But, with about three to four large puffs of breath, I can fully inflate the pillow. Sometimes when I am inflating the pillow I can hear the air going through the chambers and it makes a subtle popping noise. There is also some condensation inside the pillow after inflating it. The condensation appears to dissipate after several minutes in warm temperatures. In cooler temperatures the condensation remained in the pillow for a longer period of time. During my snow camping trip I left the pillow unattended in the tent for a few hours and it looked like the condensation inside the pillow froze.

The valve is closed by turning the valve to the right. Remember "righty tighty, lefty loosey". The valve is easily tightened so that when I squeeze on the pillow I cannot hear any air seep out of the valve.

To remove the air from the pillow I opened the valve and some of the air escaped. To remove the remaining air I squeezed it out of the pillow by folding and rolling the pillow into a cylindrical shape. Since I use the pillow with a homemade pillow case, I just fold it in half and roll it up with the pillow case on and then I put it inside the mesh storage sack. The storage sack is black mesh with a cord and a cord lock to close the opening. It is cylindrical shaped. At the bottom of the sack is a black piece of fabric with the company logo and the words "Clearview Air Pillow" in white.


Inside storage sack

Product Use

San Bernardino National Forest, California: This was a two day backpacking trip. Camp was located at Limber Pine Bench at 9,300 ft (2,835 m). The temperatures ranged from 67 F (19 C) to 40 F (4 C) with enough wind to keep the mosquitoes away. The trip had an elevation gain of 3,680 ft (1,122 m) in 6 mi (7 km) for a total of 12 mi (19 km) for the trip.

Mount San Jacinto State Park, California: This was a 6 mi (10 km) two day snowshoe/backpacking trip. We camped at an elevation of 9,100 ft (2,775 m) on 5 ft (1.5 m) of snow pack. The temps ran from 40 to 22 F (4 to -6 C).

Cleveland National Forest, California (San Mateo Wilderness): This was a two day backpacking trip on the Tenaja Trail to Fisherman's Camp then to Tenaja Falls. From Tenaja Falls we went back to Fisherman's Camp to spend the night. We hiked 9 mi (14 km) on the first day and 3.5 mi (6 km) on the second day, all up-hill. It hit 75 F (24 C) for a high and got down to 28 F (-2 C) at night. The high elevation was 2,000 ft (610 m) with a total of 1,300 ft (396 m) of elevation gain and loss.

Mount San Jacinto State Park, California: This was an overnight backpacking trip. The elevation at camp was 9,100 ft (2,775 m). The low temperature was approximately 47 F (8 C).

Impressions and Performance

There are a couple reasons why I made a pillow case for the Clearview Air Pillow. For one I do not have a pillow pocket in my sleeping bag. Secondly I found that if I do not have something over the pillow my face sticks to it, and it is just down right uncomfortable. Also when I shift my weight or move around at night it dampens the noise. I found that the pillow case or a cover over the pillow keeps the air inside the pillow warmer. I believe that my pillow case will help protect the pillow from abrasion and punctures while I am using it or while it is stored in my pack. The pillow has not become punctured to this date.

The pillow is holding air all night and I do not have to re-inflate it. That is true except for when I failed to fully close the valve after inflating. I can inflate the pillow with my lips over the valve and turn the valve closed while it is still inside my mouth. This technique works well to hold the air inside the pillow while I am trying to close it. Especially when I desire to have the pillow fully inflated.

In temperatures below freezing I prefer to have an insulated pillow. Rather than using my pillow case I placed my down jacket over the pillow and that seemed to keep the air warmer inside the pillow. This worked well and my head was not cold. However, I was wearing a hat as well.

I love the fact that this is a versatile pillow for firmness. I do not like squishy or extra soft pillows. If I want the pillow as firm as I can get it, I just put the maximum amount of air inside it. If I want it softer I can just fill it to my liking. I like to have the Clearview pillow firm most of the time, but sometimes I let out a little bit of air and I fold it. This gives me more cushioning. The pillow has about 2 in (30 cm) of height when it is fully inflated. I find this to be more than adequate. In the past I was trying to save weight and space by using soft, down, packable pillows. These would not give me enough pillow volume. The Clearview Air Pillow is lighter than the down pillow I was using in the past and has much more volume.

The welded seams are holding up well and there is no indication that they are becoming separated. It appears to me that the pillow is made of a good quality polyurethane. The valve is still functioning like new; holding air and being easy to open and close.

Things That Rock

  • Lightweight
  • Puffy
  • Holds air
  • I can make the pillow softer or harder by the amount of air I put in
  • It can be folded to add more height
  • Takes up a small amount of space when rolled up in my pack

Things That Are So So

  • Without a cover over the pillow my face sticks to it
  • Can be noisy if I roll or change positions
  • I needed to use a down jacket over the pillow in temperatures below freezing


The Clearview Air Pillow is a nice addition to my backpacking gear. It also comes in handy for use when traveling by car or on an airplane. I like the fact that I can make the pillow as soft and as firm as I like. It takes up less space in my pack than other pillows I have used in the past. I plan on using it for many years to come.


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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Accessories > Big Agnes Cleaview Pillow > Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella

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