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How to Use a Buff as a Backpacking Pillow

Buff - the Perfect Backpacking Pillow

I love my Buff. It’s the multi-purpose headwear that can be a neck gaitor, a face mask, a headband and a about a dozen other configurations. I’ve worn my Buff on the Trans-Catalina Trail and the John Muir Trail. But not until a recent backpacking trip did I learn that a Buff could also become the perfect backpacking pillow.

I had been using a Thermarest fleece pillow case. It’s fairly small and light, and you can stuff your jacket inside. But when you’re backpacking, you want every piece of gear you bring to do as much as possible, so you have less weight to carry. Curt Cragg — the organizer of the JMT JAM 2014 shared his awesome tip for using a Buff as a pillow case.

Here’s how it’s done:

What You Need


You’ll need a Buff and a jacket. I’m using my Marmot fleece.

Steps 1-2

Fold your jacket up into a rectangular bundle and insert it into the Buff. The stretchy material of the Buff helps hold everything in place.


Sleep Well!

That’s really all there is to it! It’s a quick and easy tip that’s more comfortable than a nylon stuff sack, and more efficient than a separate pillow case.

Finished Buff pillow

The Buff might just be the perfect backpacking pillow.

The Perfect Backcountry Pillow

Got any other great Buff tips? Share them in the comments below.

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