Review: Exped Air Pillow vs. Cocoon Travel Pillow
For some, a pillow seems like a bit of excessive luxury to bring along. However, after 8 months of being on the road, a nice comfortable place to rest your head cannot be overrated. I’ve tried out two travel pillows in a head to head comparison (pun intended), the Exped Air Pillow and the Cocoon Travel Pillow. Which one is better? Read on!
Both the Exped and Cocoon pillow deflate and roll into tiny packages. Of the two, the Exped is smaller and lighter. I’m not much of a weight weenie so this is sort of a moot point for me. For those for whom pack weight and volume are of utmost importance, the Exped is a marginal winner here.
The Cocoon boasts a “Premium Synthetic Fill”, which initially seems like a very good idea. Why do blow up pillows tend to suck? Because they feel weird, hard and balloon like. The Exped Air Pillow has no fancy fill, just air.
Both the Exped and Cocoon need to be inflated by the user. The Cocoon uses a single valve that you blow into much like you would with a sleeping pad. It takes a few handful of breaths until it is inflated. To deflate, you squish the air out and roll it up.
In contrast, the Exped actually has two valves. One is a dedicated inflate valve and the other is a dedicated deflate valve. The inflate valve is an “innie” so you have to open wide and blow to inflate it. Amazingly, it only takes about 2 to 3 full breaths and the pillow is compltely inflated. To deflate, pop open the deflate valve and ball up the whole thing in your hand and it magically collapses airless and limp in no time.
I’ve had my Cocoon Travel Pillow for about eight months and after the first month of use I sent it away in the mail. It really was an utter disappointment. The “Premium Synthetic Fill” that I hoped would alleviate the balloon like feeling of travel pillows did nothing. The problem really lies in the shape of the pillow. The Cocoon is shaped like a regular feather pillow, which is fine if it only acted like a feather pillow. That is to say when you lay on a pillow it deforms with your head weight and actually forms more of a ramp type shape. The Cocoon doesn’t deform naturally with your head (even if you let some air out) and never forms that pleasant ramp. Rather, it keeps its brick like shape (granted a soft brick) that more often than not has given me a stiff neck in the morning.
Furthermore, the Cocoon has two surfaces, a sort of felted side and a silky side. I would sleep on the felted side with the silky side down. In the middle of the night, the pillow would slip out from under me since the silky side was so slick!
In contrast, the Exped Air Pillow seems to be designed by people who actually slept on it. The Exped pillow eschews the traditional Platonic pillow shape and has designed something that actually feels great to sleep on. A profile view reveals that the shape is a gentle ramp, something that more closely resembles what a depressed pillow looks like. There are also depressions in the middle of the pillow that hold your head in place and gives you a channel for your ear to rest comfortably in.
The asymmetrical shape of the pillow and its various depressions means that you can use the pillow in different ways to sleep your sleeping style. I’m more of a side sleeper and have found that subtle ramp is perfect for this – no more stiff necks in the morning.
Isn’t a travel pillow just a travel pillow? No. Although these two pillows pack down similarly and are around the same price, the Exped is clearly the superior pillow by leaps and bounds. This is really a no brainer. Having tried both, I can highly recommend the Exped Air Pillow!
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