Cocoon Air-Core Ultralight Pillow
The one thing people often forget when putting together a Bug Out Bag is perhaps one of the most important: that comfortable sleep and proper rest is absolutely critical to your well-being and mental state. So when we found the Cocoon Air-Core Ultralight Pillow we immediately purchased two, and put them through the test. We've had them for over a year now and traveled thousands of miles with them. So how have they held up?
Pillows are probably at the bottom of people's lists for Emergency Kit items. Frankly this is a mistake. After shelter, water, and food, I can't think of anything more important than good rest during stress. It repairs the body, helps you focus, and maintains your constitution - especially if food supplies are scarce.
Now I know what you're saying, "I'll just bundle up some clothes or sleep on that." Ok. You could just skip a pillow all together and deal. Try it. Can you move your neck the following day? What I'm saying here is that it's the little things that help during trying times. And being able to pass out comfortably and quickly is a worthy consideration in my book. Even if you can handle it, can your family and kids?
So is a $25 pillow the right answer? It depends. The nice thing about the Cocoon Air-Core Ultralight Pillow is that it packs down tight - about the size of a tin can. It only weighs 116 grams so it won't add significant weight to your pack. You can make your own small pillows if you are on a budget which is fine - you just don't get the benefit of the packed size.
Is it perfect? No. Its an inflatable pillow which means it can be prone to tears. Once that happens it may not be possible to fix properly. But we have used ours several dozen times now and havent had that happen. I think the trick is to not over inflate it, so the seams don't max out the pressure on them. It's more comfortable semi-deflated in my opinion anyway.
Some folks avoid inflatable items at all costs in their camping and emergency kits and I get that. They are prone to failure, so the choice is yours.
The majority of our the use with these pillows has been on airplanes. I keep one in my carry-on, along with my EDC kit, and catch power naps when traveling. It's large when opened - 12" by 16" so lots of room for my big ol' head.
There is enough space in the included pouch to stash a fitted pillow case, which we wash instead of the pillow itself after trips.
If having these pillows for no other reason have already made them a very worthy investment.One side of the Cocoon Air-Core has a soft microfiber, the other a smooth nylon. In fact the whole thing is made from poly fibers which is good for cleaning and quick drying. It has a poly filling inside the aircore as well to make it a little more comfortable than straight inflate pillows do.
There is a little plastic cap which twists to lock air in or to let it out. Much handier to use than a cap you have to push in and out. It's sewn and reinforced, unlike many other caps that we have seen which use adhesive. Adhesive tends to break down and separate, just when you are about to fall asleep...!
Originally we had started with a couple of Chinook Dreamer Pillows - which we still love, and they are cheaper, but they don't pack down nearly as small as the Cocoon Air-Core Ultralight Pillow. So the Chinooks have moved over to our camping gear bags where we mostly use while hammock camping. What we like about them is their toughness and the type of material they used: we can basically just hose them off if we need to.
No matter which direction you decide to go, do you and your family a favor - think about how important rest is, and how to make it part of your emergency plans.
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We've had these pillows for almost 4 years now and 've gotta say, they are frikin' awesome. They have been on trips all over the world and slept on for many many hours and are still going strong.
It doesn't appear that this exact model is available anymore, but there are several others just like it that Cocoon makes that look just as durable and comfortable.
They are really a good investment!