I received my new REI Exped Air Pillow in the mail today. That is the new inflatable pillow on the right, below, and my old traditional pillow, bought from Campmor six or seven years ago, on the left. The old pillow was old and did not seem to give much support. Or maybe it is the same, and it is just me that is older and maybe being older I need more support. In either case I thought I could use something new for sleep gear.
Whenever it comes to equipment I check with my friend Kiwibird (whom I have never met in person but we have exchanged emails for the last couple of years about equipment and sailing grounds). She is a self-professed gear head and has given me advice on everything from SPOTs to sandmats to thermal gear. I emailed her asking about pillows, she replied with the suggestion of the Exped. That is Kristen, below, somewhere around the Pamlico River. I have taken lots of advice from her over the years but I have not quite gone the full "bandit" look with the scarf. With all the exposure to the sun out on the water it is not a bad way to go. Give me a couple of years and I'll probably be there.
Kristen said the one problem with the Exped is that when deflated it is so small it might be easily lost. There is the old pillow in the stuff sac on the left and the new Exped on the right. She is right. Deflated, the inflatable pillow is tiny.
It takes about two breaths to inflate the pillow. Opening a valve quickly deflates it. My guess is that I will simply store the deflated pillow inside inside my rolled up bivy. We'll see. In any case it is much smaller and, I suspect, will be much more comfortable to use that the old pillow. Cost, with shipping, was a little over $40. A good night's sleep is well worth a few bucks to me.
Always on the lookout for gear, and particularly safety gear, Kiwibird also told me about the new Escape Bivvy. This is a new (not available until early next year) breathable, body heat reflective shelter. Perfect I imagine for the hypothermia kit. List price is $50. Should you need it, it would be worth every dime. I'll add one to the kit in the Spring.
A nice pillow for comfort, a bivvy for safety. Thanks for the advice, Kristen.