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Comfy as a cloud.
Both down-filled and inflatable, the Marmot Cirrus Down Pillow is a backcountry marvel that will keep your head and neck comfortable, not like that lumpy shirt you've been trying to pretend is a pillow.
- 650+ fill Strata down
- Item #MAR00IM
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I LOVE this pillow!! This was my upgrade from trying to stuff and actual pillow in my pack, or stuffing as many articles of clothing under my head to be comfortable at night as I could. Which either takes up a ton of space you need, or isn't super comfortable to sleep on.
This is so small and barely takes up any space at all, and actually really really comfortable which I was worried about for an inflatable pillow.
I have this pillow as well as the Cumulus pillow and I think they are actually really comparable, I can't choose which one I like best! You just can't go wrong with these!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I really wanted to like this pillow but at the end of the day, I still haven't been able to find an inflatable pillow that I truly love. But that being said, it's not bad. It packs away very nicely for those that are looking to cut weight and space. I was able to sleep on my stomach, side and back as well which was nice since I toss and turn at night. So if you can't do the regular pillow thing, this was a nice alternate. I just wouldn't be able to hang for more than 2 or 3 nights on it. Also, not really sure where the down is in this pillow. There's not much of it, that's for sure.
I dislike inflatable pillows.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I'll preface my review by saying that I dislike inflatable pillows and I know this is a wall of text about pillows, but this one changed my mind. Scroll to the end if you want the gist. :)
At 7 oz in size Small, I considered my go-to Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow (http://www.backcountry.com/therm-a-rest-compressible-pillow?s=a) a real luxury item. My pack's base-weight resides in the single digits of pounds, but I truly value a good night's rest to really be able to put in the miles. A pillow is just one of those things I can't do without. Good sleep, good food, good shoes.
I've tried other pillow setups like a straight up down pillow, foam pillows, inflatable pillows, hybrid half-inflatable/half-down or foam, extra clothes stuffed in a shirt - but none of those things did the trick for me. Each had their own drawback.
My foam Therm-a-Rest pillow provides all the support I need (side sleeper), but is quite heavy. While a bit lighter, down pillows mostly flatten out providing inadequate support. With the extra clothes in a shirt setup, I was carrying extra things I don't need (outside of things like a rainshell, I aim for my sleep system to include all of my clothing so that I'm carrying nothing extra). With an inflatable pillow my head would roll around and never felt "centered", like it had a true place to rest. I found the same of hybrid systems.
For myself, Marmot has solved this floppy, roll-around, head problem with their "3D Ergonomics and Flex-Baffle Technology". The pillow blows up into a curved shape, similar to the curve of a banana. This creates a nice nook for your head to rest. Because it's inflatable, you can dial-up or dial-down the support. While I mostly sleep on my side, I found this pillow great while on my back staring at the stars or on my stomach drooling away.
That brings me to another great point about this pillow. Those 2 flat areas you see in the picture create channels of air that allow stomach or side-sleepers adequate breathing room. Your face won't feel like it's smashed into a pillow. I imagine that this pillow's sister, the Strato, would do an even better job as those 2 places are completely cut out. The material also feels great against the skin compared to other inflatable setups I've tried.
I just used this pillow on a 10-day trip with nights in the 20-30s with a quilt sleeping system (i.e., no mummy bag hood, just the hood on my down jacket). The extra down Marmot has managed to cram in the pillow really works, you can feel the warmth. This was something I was skeptical of before really putting this pillow to the test.
My one complaint about this pillow is that it can move around on you if you roll around a lot in the night. If you were using a sleeping bag with hood to tuck it in, you'd be all set. Marmot has put 4 attachment points on the pillow so I could probably solve this issue with some elastic to attach it to the top of my pad. However, the issue is so minor (for me) that it is something I can live with and probably won't even bother "fixing."
All in all, I've shaved ~5.5 ounces off my pack's base weight and found a pillow I can truly be happy with. My scale puts this pillow (no stuff sack) at 2.705oz or 76.69g. I will probably buy a second before they quit making it, to have around just in case, but this thing is built pretty beefy and I don't foresee it having durability issues. I will also likely look into buying the Strato for warmer temps. I added a photo below so that you could see it fully inflated from the side - it is very flexible.