There’s only so much stuff one can cram into a dry bag, and a pillow, for me, hasn’t been among the items. I usually end up stuffing a sweat shirt with a couple of shirts, which isn’t the most comfortable arrangement on which to retire after an arduous day of floating and drinking beer.
So I bought an inflatable sports pillow from California-based Stansport and brought it back to the office for a test.
Before putting my mouth on the nozzle to blow it up, I noticed the disclaimer that the “adventure equipment” was made in China and that the pillow contains “detectable quantities of chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm; however, the chemicals may not be in sufficient quantities to cause such cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.
That’s comforting (fun fact: On a recent trip to California, I noticed this carcinogenic warning also posted outside Disneyland).
With lung power, the pillow’s heavy vinyl inflated in a few minutes. Sprawled out on the office couch — hey, the product must be tested — I found it better than a lumpy, shirt-filled sweatshirt.
One drawback was the feel of vinyl on the cheek. Again, an extra shirt on the river or camping would make for a decent pillowcase.
Deflating took a bit more effort than I thought, involving tightly pinching the nozzle and squeezing hard. I finally ended up sitting on it (the pillow can also be used as a seat cushion) to get all the air out.
While a minor annoyance, it shows the pillow’s durability. Once deflated, it folded up nicely into roughly the shape of a 3-by-5 index card, so it wouldn’t be an overly burdensome addition to a dry pack or backpack.
Overall, a decent, easy-to-carry pillow could result in a better night’s sleep. If not, check to see if there’s any beer left.