Last Updated on 24/09/2023
In this Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow Review, we share our experience using a down-filled inflatable camping pillow for the first time and how it compares to other pillows we have used in the past. You will learn why this is one of the items that, once you try it, you can’t go back.
The first thing I noticed when I got the Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow to review was how soft the fabric is on all sides and how much of a good idea the down insulation is. It is so smooth and comfortable that I looked forward to sleeping that night to test it in bed. Granted, it isn’t quite the same as a fully-stuffed down pillow, but it captures some of that comfort at the least.
I tried to cover as much as possible as well as edit out the parts where I repeated myself so that you can quickly read this Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow Review and make a decision based on my experience.
Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow Review
Features and Specifications
Here are the specifications and features of the Aeros Down Pillow from Sea to Summit:
- DIMENSIONS: Regular: 13.4 x 9.4 x 4.7 in, Large: 16.5 x 11 x 4.7 in, Deluxe: 23 x 14.9 x 4.7 in
- PACK SIZE: Regular: 3.2 x 2.6 in, Large: 3.5 x 2.75 in, Deluxe: 5.5 x 3.2 in
- WEIGHT: Regular: 2.5 oz, Large: 3.4 oz, Deluxe: 6.7 oz
- MATERIALS: 10-denier nylon top, 20-denier nylon base, thermoplastic urethane bladder
- FILL TYPE: RDS Certified Down Insulation
- AVAILABLE SIZES: Regular, Large, Deluxe
- Comfort-Enhanced Top: Down-filled baffles increase comfort and warmth and reduce noise.
- Featherweight Base: Crafted from sleek 20-denier material.
- Stay-Put Design: PillowLock™ ensures no sliding on Sea to Summit sleeping pads.
- Robust Support: A lightweight yet durable thermoplastic urethane bladder ensures optimal comfort.
- Efficient Mini-Valve: Enables swift inflation, quick deflation, and precision adjustments.
- Portable Ease: Tucks away in an included snug 20-denier pouch.
Comfort & Ergonomics
In the past, I would have suggested a noninflatable pillow vs. even the comfiest inflatable one if comfort was the priority because I have always found inflatable pillows noisy against my ear. That is until I tried the Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow. The down-filled topping, along with the soft fabric shell, act like sound deadening as well as add warmth and comfort I’ve never felt before on a backpacking pillow.
For the ideal firmness, I found that one of my biggest breaths was enough to fill it to around 65% capacity. This gave it enough firmness and softness so that it feels just like my favorite pillow at home. It has a rounded rectangle shape without the ergonomic curve (“scalloped edge”) you get on the Aeros Premium Pillow. But because it feels so soft and comfortable, you can tuck it right into that nook of your neck and fall fast asleep.
At 12 cm deep (fully inflated), you get the best neck support; however, if, like me, you like it a little softer, then you end up around 8-10 cm. The layer of down is pretty thin and gets compressed as you lay on it, but it adds a substantial amount of comfort that you don’t find on other pillows. I don’t usually give scores, but this would be a 9.5 out of 10 for comfort vs. any other camping pillows I’ve tried.
Packability & Portability
The Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow weighs just 70 grams or 2.5 ounces and packs down to 11 x 6 cm or 4.3 x 2.3 inches. To put that in perspective, it is about the same size as an apple and not quite as heavy as one. It’s so small you can fit inside any sleeping bag stuff sack so that you keep them together. Or you can attach the pillow’s stuff sack to the stuff sack from your sleeping bag so that you don’t lose either to the wind.
Compared to the same pillow without the down-fill layer, this luxury only adds about 11 grams, which is the equivalent of two teaspoons of sugar. When pack size and weight are important to you, but you value the comfort of down insulation, I think it’s worth the extra 0.4 ounces of weight.
You can also get a large version as well as a deluxe version, which is the biggest of all and gives the closest experience to the pillows you use at home on your bed. Here is a short guide by Sea to Summit to help you decide which one is right for you.
Ease of Use
Sea to Summit has nailed it with the inflation and deflation valve which is easy to operate, low profile, durable, and won’t accidentally come undone in the night if you move the pillow in the wrong direction. It takes one big breath (adult man) to inflate it to around 60-80%, which is the sweet spot for comfort because overinflating it can feel too firm. Then, it can be deflated in seconds and fully packed away in less than a minute.
It is pillow lock system compatible, which means that when you pair it with a Sea to Summit sleeping bag, you can use the adhesive stickers so that the pillow stays in the same place all night.
Durability & Construction
The construction of this pillow is exclusive to Sea to Summit, unlike many other brands which just whitelabel other products from around the world. The face material is an ultralight 10D nylon that feels more soft than durable on the top (as it should be), and a slightly tougher material on the bottom. Both sides are very soft and durable enough to endure being used every night.
The seams and construction are all very neat and tight, which is what I like to see. There are two openings nested inside each other, with the first one being an inflation valve that prevents air from escaping until you seal it and the second being a fully open hole for deflation. They aren’t hard to open with cold fingers, and they don’t seem like they would break easily.
Inside the dual fabric sheel is the TPU air bladder, which is what holds the air. Because it is protected by the outer shell, it is far less likely to be damaged by an earring or something sharp on the ground.
Temperature & Insulation
One of my favorite and most unexpected benefits of this pillow is how well it covers the sound of the pillow itself as well as any sound coming from your sleeping pad. I found it so much more peaceful to lay my head on and even move around. It still has a slight crinkle, but when your ear is pressed against it, it is much quieter.
Inflatable pillows without any insulation have an R-value of around zero, which is fine in summer but can be an issue in winter. What makes the down insulation layer of this pillow so attractive to campers (aside from the comfort) is that in freezing conditions, it adds a significant amount of warmth to your face and head.
In summer, it doesn’t feel too hot at all, and even though you need to avoid getting the down insulation wet, it wicks moisture very well, so you don’t wake up feeling like you’ve slept on a wet sponge.
Is the Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow Worth it?
To be honest, in this Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow review, you do pay a premium for the luxurious comfort, but not as much as you might think. It only costs around $10 more for the down insulation vs. either the ultralight version or the Premium version. Is it worth the extra money? 100% it is, and here’s why.
It is extremely well made and unlike anything else out there, so it is one of the best, and you won’t have to replace it for a very long time. The down fill adds an extra layer of warmth, comfort, and, most notably, sound deadening. If comfort, weight, size, and quality are priorities for you, then this is the pillow you need.
We hope you enjoyed reading this Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow Review. Let us know if you want to ask us any specific questions we didn’t cover.