Sea To Summit Aeros Premium Pillow
By Shawn Chambers
October 30, 2014
sound_foundation AT yahoo DOT com
Lexington, Kentucky, USA
5' 10" (1.78 m)
177 lb (80.30 kg)
Backpacking Background: I love Appalachian hikes and being in the woods. My preference is for a hike that leads to a stellar view. Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina are my usual stomping grounds. I am a mid-weight kind of guy, but increasingly find myself enjoying longer, multi-day hikes and I am conscious about shedding some pack weight, but in a fiscally responsible way. I also climb and prefer clothing that can pull double duty.
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: www.seatosummit.com
Size Tested: Large
Listed Weight: 3.7 oz (105 g)
Measured Weight: 3.9 oz (111 g) + 0.1 oz (2.8 g) stuff sack
Listed Size: 16.5" x 11.5" x 5.5" (41.9 cm x 29.2 cm x 14 cm)
Measured Size: 17" x 11" x 4.75" (43.2 cm x 27.9 cm x 12.1 cm)
Other Sizes Available :
Regular 14" x 10" x 5" (35.6 cm x 25.4 cm x 12.7 cm) with listed weight of 2.8 oz (79 g)
|Aeros Premium Pillow|
My equation to guarantee a great overnight hike is simple: good shoes plus a good night's sleep equals a happy hiker. I struggled for years to sleep outside comfortably and I have sampled many of the tried-and-true approaches, but ultimately found a wad of my clothing or my shoes tucked under my sleeping pad to be an inadequate (and often downright uncomfortable) solution.
I spied the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow (hereafter pillow or Aeros) at a local sporting goods store and after examining the display model I decided to purchase it. I hoped the ensuing months would prove this to be a lasting relationship beyond just love at first sight.
The pillow has many great features. The thing that instantly jumped out at me was the soft fabric cover. One priniciple reason I could never commit to an inflatable pillow was the sensation of plastic against my face. The thought of sweating all night on plastic is something I couldn't get out of my head. The medium gray and lime green exterior is a brushed 50D polyester per the manufacturer's website. It had a nice "hand feel" in the store and felt great against my cheek.
Another key feature that sold me on the pillow is the contoured shape. I suffer from neck pain due to my job, which is almost exclusively sitting in front of a computer all day. The Aeros cradles my neck nicely and it has a mild concave profile that helps keep my head centered.
Comfort is key, but so is durability. The soft cover felt thick enough to me to trust it for several seasons usage. The dual valve system is robust looking and easy to use. My initial impression is that I felt like I could trust it to not leak.
In the Field
I have now been able to use the Aeros for about a dozen nights. So far it is everything that I had hoped for in a pillow. The large valve only requires about three decent puffs from me to get it to the level of fullness I desire. When breaking camp the next day the same large valve opens wide and deflates in a single whoosh of air.
|Deflate valve open|
This pillow has been used on nights when temperatures were as warm as 65 - 70 F (~36 - 39 C), but I had no issues with perspiration. The manufacturer reports there is synthetic wicking material between the cover and the bladder. I have noticed just a bit of dampness from perspiration here and there, but not enough to disturb my sleep.
There has been no issue with leakage that I can tell. One cooler night I had to add a quick extra puff, but I believe it was due to the normal pressure changes associated with warm air cooling down. The temperature that night dipped to around 42 F (5.5 C) and so far that is the only instance where it required a bit of a top off during the night.
The internal baffles do a nice job of keeping the pillow from being too "bouncy". This was another reason I had generally avoided other inflatable pads and pillows.
I also have no complaints with regards to overall durability. I am pretty gentle with my gear and I am a dedicated tent camper. I carry the pillow in its included stuff sack deep in my pack well away from anything that could possible poke it or rub against it roughly.
I love many things about this pillow, but the things I can quickly single out include comfort and packed size and weight. For around 4 oz (113 g) I can easily include this in every trip I take. Even on longer hikes where every gram counts I can find something else to leave behind if necessary. The pillow when deflated and stuffed forms a package about the size of my fist. Even with a small volume pack this will work. The stuff sack also has a tiny nylon handle that could be used to clip it to the outside of a pack if needed.
The fabric covering is a great feature, but the user should be cautious. I see no way to repair this pillow if a hole develops. The included instructions do not mention repair and I see nothing on Sea to Summit's website either. Unlike traditional inflatable pads and pillows that are easily repaired or taped on the trail this one may be worthless if punctured.
My only other real complaint is the inability to adjust the firmness once inflated. It is easy to make it tight as a drum, but this is uncomfortable for me. I like it softer. Letting a bit of air out is virtually impossible thanks to the large valve. I have learned to monitor my puffs to hit the softness level I want and then stop.
The Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow has been exactly the pillow I was looking for to guarantee a better backcountry experience. I like the fabric cover, the small pack size and weight and the comfort it gives my neck. Now if I could just find the perfect trail shoes...
Thanks for reading and happy hiking!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
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