We are going to take a look at an item that is probably one of my favorite backpacking, camping, traveling accessories…a pillow. Not just any pillow, the Nemo Fillo. In my opinion, a quality pillow can make or break a trip, regardless of the type.
During the past, I’ve tried the same things most others have tried in regards to rigging up a makeshift pillow. I’ve rolled up fleece jackets, filled stuff sacks with clothing, tried using a pack, crafted a homemade pillow and more.
The problem is that while the solutions above may “work” in a pinch, none actually come close to doing a good job. So, my long search of finding a suitable solution carried on until I came across the Nemo Fillo.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of why I like it, let’s look at some of the specs.
- Weight: 0.90 ounces. / 260 grams
- Packed Weight: 0.90 ounces. / 260 grams
- Packed Size: 6″ x 4″ diameter / 15×10 cm diameter
- Filly Type: Air with Luxury Foam
- Thickness: 4″
- Dimensions: 17″ x 11″ x 4″ / 43 x 27 x 10 cm
- MSRP: $39.95
- Street Price: $39.95
- Car Camping
- Much more…
In the Field
In the summer of 2017, my wife and I spent 9 days and 137 miles rafting the Colorado River in the heart of the Grand Canyon. Day 1 started with a 7.5-mile hike down Bright Angel Trail. The hike typically takes around 4-6 hours and you lose about 4,600 feet of elevation.
After leaving before sunrise, we finally reached the bottom of the canyon with just enough time to grab lunch. After a quick bite to eat, and with the formalities out of the way, we were on our way down the river.
The hike is not “hard”, but when combined with the heat, sun exposure, loaded pack, etc., it does take a little bit out of the energy reserves. Hopping in the paddle boat and right into some gnarly whitewater had us working as well. Needless to say, after a long, physical day we were ready for camp and a night of rest.
This was the first of many nights using the Fillo on this trip. I had used the Nemo Fillo on previous excursions, but never for this many nights in a row. The surfaces we were sleeping on varied greatly to include sand, mixed soil, solid rock platforms, etc.
Our sleep system typically consisted of a tarp, Paco pad, sleeping bag (which we slept on top of), and the Fillo. I can tell you, based on years of bad experience with pillow solutions, the Nemo Fillo worked phenomenally regardless of the sleep surface.
There wasn’t one night where I lost sleep due to discomfort regarding my pillow. However, there may have been one night where some sleep was lost due to the fact I thought we were going to be swept away due to a flash flood from torrential rainfall…but, we will save that for another day.
There are a number of things I like about this pillow and I will try to hit them all in no particular order.
I found the inflated size of the Nemo Fillo to be more than adequate. I don’t move around much at night and I never found my head falling or sliding off the pillow. I typically sleep on my side (kind of) and sometimes on my back. The Fillo was thick enough to allow me to sleep on my side comfortably. I rarely, if ever, sleep on my belly so I can’t speak to that. However, for my sleeping positions, the size worked great.
Comfort is where it’s at for me. I love how comfortable this pillow can be. I find the combination of the inflatable internal chamber and foam to be an ideal pairing. I was able to adjust the firmness to my liking, which fluctuates from time to time. It’s super quick to inflate and I never had any issues with deflation or leaks.
The removable cover is a washable microfiber that is very soft to the touch. The ability to remove and wash the cover is vital when being used in any condition. It definitely needed it after this trip. There is also an integrated stuff sack, which doesn’t add any additional weight. This offers a layer of external protection against the elements during transport, etc.
If I had to list a negative, the weight would be it. If you are into ultralight backpacking this may not be the solution for you because the Nemo Fillo is going to add some ounces. However, for the rest of us, the upsides are many. A weight of 9 ounces may be a deal-breaker for some folks, but I’m telling you…it’s well worth it. I’m a big fan of keeping things as light as possible, but this is one area where I don’t mind carrying the extra weight.
Originally, I scoffed at the price tag of $39.95, but the apprehension quickly faded away. The quality and improved sleep were well worth the money. Knowing what I know now, I would definitely pay more. However, that is sometimes hard to see on the front end of a purchase.
I’ve taken the Nemo Fillo on countless trips, from alpine environments to rafting trips, to car camping, and everything in between. It has worked wonderfully in every situation I’ve exposed it to. I would definitely recommend it if you are in the market for a new camp pillow, backpacking pillow, travel pillow, or whatever situation calls for something smaller than a full-size. You will be amazed at how much better you sleep.