Journey pillows have to strike a tough steadiness: not supportive sufficient and also you’ll find yourself with a crick in your neck, too large and stiff you’ll, er, find yourself with a crick in your neck. In addition they should be compact, light-weight and simple to wash — no small feat for a humble journey accent!
CNN Underscored spent weeks testing 10 of the most well-liked and highest-rated journey pillows in the marketplace. We evaluated pillows of all completely different designs and supplies on each consolation and construct to find out the most effective journey pillow for journeys by way of aircraft, bus or automobile. And whereas most of the pillows we examined had their deserves, there was one clear winner:
The Cabeau Evolution S3 is the Goldilocks of journey pillows: We discovered it agency sufficient to help our head and neck, tender sufficient to go to sleep on and completely moveable, due to its being made from springy reminiscence foam that lets you compress it to half its dimension.
The Evolution S3’s adjustable entrance clasp allow us to barely tighten or loosen the neck opening to our liking.
The Cabeau Evolution S3 updates the usual U-shaped journey pillow design with raised sides that lightly cradled our head and neck after we used it. The S3’s flat again additionally rested comparatively flush towards our seat, stopping our head from uncomfortably jutting ahead, whereas an adjustable entrance clasp allow us to barely tighten or loosen the neck opening to our liking, which makes it attainable to tailor the pillow to vacationers of various sizes.
We discovered that the S3 works greatest when leaning your head to the aspect or as a cushion towards a strong floor, nevertheless it nonetheless supplied first rate chin help. Its two built-in straps hooked up to just about any seatback we examined on, maintaining the pillow in place and serving to to reduce whiplash throughout sudden stops or turbulence.
The S3’s reminiscence foam manages to be tender, springy and supportive suddenly; it’s agency sufficient that it saved our head from slouching too far to the aspect however not so agency that it dug into our cheeks and ears (in contrast to one other well-liked reminiscence foam mannequin we examined). In fact, reminiscence foam, nevertheless soft, isn’t going to be the lightest or most breathable materials round. And whereas we didn’t overheat whereas utilizing the Cabeau, it additionally wasn’t the best pillow we examined.
The S3’s cowl (proper) is produced from a extra breathable, quick-dry material that felt cooler to the contact than Cabeau’s authentic Evolution pillow (left).
That stated, the S3’s cowl is a particular improve from Cabeau’s authentic Evolution pillow. Whereas that older mannequin’s cowl is made totally from velour, the S3’s is produced from a extra breathable, quick-dry material that did certainly really feel cooler to the contact. The S3’s cowl can also be totally detachable and machine-washable — a should in relation to one thing that touches extremely trafficked surfaces like airplane seats. Truly getting that cowl on and off the S3’s reminiscence foam insert proved trickier than we’d have appreciated, nevertheless it held up completely nicely in a normal wash cycle.
The comfiest journey pillow on the earth is ineffective if it’s too large to journey with, which is why top-of-the-line issues concerning the Evolution S3 is the truth that it compresses all the way down to half its dimension. All it’s important to do is roll the pillow up like a cinnamon bun after which stuff it contained in the included carrying case. Doing so took a little bit of elbow grease and was best on a strong floor, however we expect that’s a good worth to pay given how a lot house it finally ends up saving.
The S3’s carrying case, in flip, is one other main improve from the unique Evolution pillow and was far and away our favourite case of the bunch. It clips on to your baggage and is produced from ripstop material that’ll maintain your pillow clear and guarded till you’re prepared to make use of it.
A very powerful issues to search for when looking for journey pillows are consolation and portability: You want one thing that’s going to supply actual help with out taking over a bunch of house in your baggage (thus defeating the aim of being a journey pillow). With these concerns in thoughts, we settled on two main rubrics for our pillow testing standards: consolation and construct. We then had one quick tester and one tall tester consider how comfy and supportive the pillows felt when behind our heads, beneath our chins and within the crooks of our necks. We gauged how simple the pillows had been to move by rolling them up, smooshing them down and packing every into its carrying case (if included). We hooked up these carrying circumstances to our baggage and famous how doing so impacted our mobility. We additionally famous how the pillows’ covers felt towards our pores and skin after which slipped those self same covers off and put them by way of a machine wash cycle. Lastly, we factored in the associated fee and appears of every pillow to find out their total worth and to decide on the most effective pillow for many vacationers.
We used the next particular classes and subcategories for testing:
- Behind head consolation/help: We famous how comfy and supportive the pillow felt when positioned across the neck and/or behind the pinnacle.
- Aspect consolation/help: We famous how comfy and supportive the pillow felt when leaning our necks to the aspect in addition to when leaning towards a tough floor (as a traveler would have the ability to do when sitting in a window seat). We additionally famous how easy it was to readjust the pillows whereas resting on them (i.e., to modify sides).
- Entrance consolation/help: We famous how comfy and supportive the pillow felt when letting our heads droop ahead and resting our chins on it.
- Match: We famous if every pillow match individuals of various heights equally nicely and in the event that they had been adjustable in any respect.
- Portability: We famous every pillow’s dimension, whether or not it included a strap or bag for simple toting and if it might be compressed to take up much less house. Whereas some pillows had been certainly heavier than others (taking a look at you, reminiscence foam fashions), we discovered that just a few additional ounces weren’t noticeable when carting the pillows round. Total dimension, case high quality and the power to connect pillows to our baggage made a way more significant distinction in portability.
- Cloth: Practically all of the pillows featured a tender, velvety shell produced from a velour or fleece-like materials, however there was a variety when it comes to plushness. We famous how every pillow felt towards our pores and skin.
- Washability: On condition that journey pillows contact your face, they should be simple to wash. We additionally famous how troublesome it was to get the pillows’ circumstances on and off when crucial.
- Breathability: We famous whether or not the pillows felt breathable and funky to the contact in addition to in the event that they tended to entice warmth.
- Look: We made notice of every pillow’s total look and gauged how doubtless they had been to draw humorous appears to be like.
Jensens Innovations J-Pillow ($24.95; amazon.com)
The J-Pillow is a fantastically comfy possibility with a giant caveat: It really works greatest should you’ve acquired a window seat. As a result of the J-Pillow doesn’t connect on to your neck or your seat, it tended to slide round until it was wedged towards a tough floor. The J-Pillow was additionally too cumbersome for us to simply stuff right into a carry-on bag or private merchandise.
Whereas a much less versatile possibility than our prime choose, the J-Pillow’s lack of neck attachment may really be a plus for individuals who discover common U-shaped journey pillows restrictive. And after we might lean towards a tough floor, the J-Pillow supplied wonderful head, neck and front-facing/chin help. Just like the Cabeau S3, it comes with a sturdy (although much less compact) journey case that clips to your baggage. There additionally aren’t any covers or zippers to take care of; the whole pillow will be tossed within the wash.
Turtl Pillow ($39.99; amazon.com)
The Turtl is actually a padded neck brace and was probably the most moveable pillow we examined. It folds down comparatively flat, taking over nearly no house in your baggage, and one in all our taller testers cherished its sturdy help. That stated, the Turtl proved far too large for our shorter tester, and each testers might really feel the plastic brace within the center poking by way of its padding. The Turtl was additionally very heat (which is sensible, given that you just’re principally sporting a wool scarf), and we didn’t love that it’s important to totally unwrap and rewrap the pillow round your neck if you wish to change the aspect you’re sleeping on.
Cabeau Evolution Traditional Pillow ($29.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Cabeau’s authentic Evolution mannequin is a really first rate journey pillow and cheaper than our prime choose. That stated, it lacks the S3’s straps, extra breathable cowl and much superior case. In a alternative between the 2, the S3 is unquestionably definitely worth the minor bump in worth.
Therm-a-Relaxation Compressible Journey Pillow ($24.95; backcountry.com)
As a light-weight choice to toss in your bag for tenting or backpacking journeys, Therm-a-Relaxation’s compressible pillow is a wonderful alternative. It compresses down right into a compact roll and is each supportive and comfy when used like a standard pillow (i.e., when mendacity down). However as a result of it doesn’t wrap round your neck or have any straps to maintain it in place, it’s not a terrific possibility for making an attempt to relaxation whereas sitting upright.
Bcozzy Chin-Supporting Journey Pillow ($29.97; amazon.com)
Bcozzy’s well-liked pillow didn’t provide us practically sufficient neck help, and the fabric, whereas tender to the contact, felt much less luxurious than our prime choose. On the plus aspect, it’s comparatively small and light-weight, and will be folded in half for extra help should you’ve acquired a floor to lean towards (it’s liable to slipping round in any other case).
Travelrest Nest Final Reminiscence Foam Journey Pillow ($39.95; amazon.com)
Travelrest’s bestseller is a well-made and supremely tender pillow, however its reminiscence foam proved too stiff in our testing, and its sides had been so tall that they pushed uncomfortably towards our cheeks. This stiffness additionally made it troublesome to compress the pillow into its carrying case. We prefered the squishier reminiscence foam and shorter aspect profile of the Cabeau fashions.
Huzi Design Infinity Pillow ($39.90; amazon.com)
If you already know you’ll have a tough floor to lean on, the Huzi will be finagled into a really comfy place. It requires an illustrated information to take action, nevertheless, and by itself doesn’t provide very a lot neck help. And whereas we cherished (cherished!) its silky, breathable bamboo material, the Huzi doesn’t include a carrying case and took up a ton of house in our baggage.
Cloudz Microbead Journey Neck Pillow ($10.85; amazon.com)
The ever present microbead pillow is light-weight and cheap, however its low profile leaves a lot to be desired in relation to precise neck help. We didn’t love the texture and sound of the microbeads when pressed towards our ears, and this pillow additionally doesn’t include a carrying case. On condition that it additionally isn’t machine-washable, this in all probability isn’t a pillow you’d wish to rub your face towards long run. We additionally discovered that it tended to flatten out a bit with continued use over the weeks that we examined.
AirComfy Ease Journey Pillow ($19.99; amazon.com)
If you would like a really light-weight and moveable lumbar pillow, the AirComfy Ease isn’t a foul alternative. If you would like a flexible journey pillow, this is just too stiff, too small and too slippery to be of use. It conveniently attaches to the again of any seat for additional help, nevertheless it simply isn’t very comfy. And whereas inflatability is cool in idea, in observe it appears like making an attempt to sleep on a fuzzy balloon.
Learn extra from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing: