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Hyperlite Mountain Gear Multi-Purpose Stuff Sack and Backpacking Pillow

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Pillow in use as a stuff sack
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Pillow in use as a stuff sack

Given that multi-purpose gear is one of the foundations of ultralight backpacking, it’s not surprising that Hyperlite Mountain Gear sells a pillow which can double as a stuff sack. Turned inside out, one side is covered in Polartec 100 fleece, making it very cozy and warm to rest your head on.

Available in two sizes, the HMG cuben fiber pillow is also very lightweight, weighing just 1.4 ounces in a size large (12″ x 17″) and 1.0 ounces in a size small (10″ x 14″). I use mine to store all of my sleeping and “oh heck” clothes on backpacking and day trips including long underwear, extra socks, gloves, and hats.

When I use the pillow as a stuff sack, I keep the Polartec fleece “sleeping” surface facing inwards, so it doesn’t get wet or dirty when it comes in contact with the contents of my pack. While it closes with a side zipper, I know if it ever fails, I’ll still be able to use it to stuff clothing into it for a pillow.

When turned inside out, one side of the HMG pillow is covered with 100 weight Polartec Fleece making a very warm and comfy surface to lay your head on
When turned inside out, one side of the HMG pillow is covered with 100 weight Polartec Fleece, making a very warm and comfy surface to lay your head on

No Air Leaks

The other advantage of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sack Pillow over the inflatable backpacking pillows offered by many manufacturers, is durability. Sooner or later inflatable pillows leak at the seams and around the valve or they develop pinhole punctures. That can never happen with a pillow that is a stuff sack.

Disclosure: Hyperlite Mountain Gear provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a cuben fiber stuff sack pillow, but he was under no obligation to write a product review about it. 

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  1. Nice gear tip Philip! I usually just use a normal stuff sack and wrap an extra clothing item around the outside for a better feel against my face, but this seems like an upgrade. I’ll have to check this out for sure.

  2. Saw this the other day. Excellent idea Philip. Do you think the waterproof zip will hold? Good place to store some delicate stuff if it does.

  3. I’m hoping Santa has one for me . I have bin very good this year ;0)

  4. Nice review, Phillip. I did want to mention that ZPacks sells a very similar item (Cuben Pillow Dry Bag) at a lower price. I’ve been using it for a couple of years and it’s been a great addition to my kit.

    • Thanks for the Intel. I didn’t know. Missed it when I fact checked the article (I really did look).

    • Captain Mouse here. I’m really down on Zpacks right now. Their customer service is impossible to reach – not responding to emails. I ordered something for Philip for the holidays and their shipping delays mean that it won’t get sent in time, even though this is a product they resell and don’t even manufacture.

    • I generally like zpacks stuff but the cuben fiber side of the pillow was slick and when used as a pillow it would “squirt” from under my head as I moved at night. I ended up cutting off the micro-fleece fabric to just use it as a stuff sack. The white cuben fiber used by hyperlight must have more friction to it.

  5. I have a cylindrical version of this design from THERMAREST. A great dual use item, it holds my spare clothes & is my pillow at night.

    • Hard to tell which model you have, but I think it’s fair to say that they are about half the price, but weight 4-5 times as much as pillows made out of cubes fiber.

      I use a NEMO Fillo pillow for car camping. Super nice, but way heavy!

      • I, too, have a Thermarest model stuff sack, ugly orange nylon exterior, reversible with fleece interior. It is sleeping bag sized into which I put – you guessed it! – my sleeping bag. According to my scales the weight penalty (difference between this nylon+fleece bag and a similarly sized silnylon bag) is 1.1 oz. I got it about 7-10 years ago and, to my knowledge, they have not offered this for years.

        (As I write this, I see a new post saying basically the same thing, below!)

      • I’m impressed (speechless).

      • Yeah, that Thermarest is the one I have too and use normally. It beats the regular sleeping bag stuff sack as a pillow hands down :) (which is what I used before). No way I can fit my sleeping bag in it while hiking though so I put other stuff in. Good to know about all these other options too.

  6. Rather than use a separate stuff sack/pillow, I still have – and covet – a ThermaRest® Slumberwrap. When my pad is rolled up, the the nylon
    Slumberwrap protects it, and when in use, it has a fleece “pillow” section that I can put clothes in to use as a pillow. And it only weighs 2oz!

  7. I’ve used the REI version all this past summer. Yes, not lightweight but relatively cheap and it’s help up so far.


  8. Just to toss another one of these things up there, EE has the “Minion” which is very similar as well. Pretty nice concept though if I ever think I need one it will certainly be DIY. http://www.enlightenedequipment.com/minion/

  9. Pretty slick item and review. Thanks for sharing. Now please share the item! j/k ;)

  10. I’m hoping to go on my first overnight backpacking trip next year, I’m in the middle of getting my gear together and I need a stuff sack for extra clothes and a pillow.. , Philip do you use the large or small pillow not sure if you mentioned which one, and do you think a small would be good enough for a overnight trip or go with the bigger one?, thanks

    • I’ve got the large (just measured). Plenty big for me but I just bring one set of sleeping clothes as extras and stuff in some extra hats and gloves (some space to spare).

    • Awesome to hear bigbri71. I have used and still use a few plastic shopping bags for clothes sacks. Not grocery bags, but slightly more durable and rectangular. After putting some clothes in, I just squeeze and roll it up and stick it in my pack. It works fine, is basically waterproof, and basically weightless, not to mention free. I hope you have a great trip… that’s the spirit getting excited and planning early!

  11. I’ve been using a Big Sky inflatable pillow for a while and have considered one of these for a while but what do you do if/when you end up wearing all of your clothes to sleep? That’s my dilemma. I’ve got to use a pillow. ?

    • I like that pillow too and sometimes carry both when I sleep in a hammock (the big sky for under my knees) But i suspect you always have something you can stuff into a stuff sack pillow, even leaves….

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