How To Keep The Pillow On Your Sleeping Pad? Tips and Tricks

A good night’s sleep is essential for a successful day of hiking, and having a comfortable pillow is a key factor in achieving that. While some hikers resort to using makeshift pillows like extra clothes or stuff sacks, these options often fall short in providing the support and comfort necessary for a restful sleep. Instead, investing in a dedicated pillow designed for outdoor use is the way to go.

The Advantages of Dedicated Pillows

Dedicated pillows are lightweight, portable, and designed to offer the optimal balance of support and comfort. Among the popular choices are inflatable pillows and inflatable pillows with fill, which can easily be packed into a compact size. However, a common issue arises with these types of pillows as they tend to slide off sleeping pads during the night, leading to discomfort and frustration.

The Shock Cord Technique

But fear not, there is a simple and effective solution to keep your pillow securely in place on your sleeping pad: the shock cord technique. This ultralight method requires just a few ounces of shock cord and a cord lock, making it an efficient addition to your gear.

Implementing the Shock Cord Technique

To implement the shock cord technique, start with a 70″ length of shock cord, which can be adjusted depending on the width of your pad. Carefully cut the cord to the appropriate length and seal the ends with a lighter to prevent fraying. For the best results, choose a medium duty shock cord, approximately 1/8″ in diameter, as it provides a good balance between holding power and weight.

how to keep the pillow on your sleeping pad 2 - How To Keep The Pillow On Your Sleeping Pad? Tips and Tricks

Adjusting Tension and Enhancing Comfort

Next, run the shock cord through the loops of your pillow instead of tying a fixed length to each side. This allows you to adjust the tension with the cord lock to fit any sleeping pad perfectly. The snug fit ensures that your pillow stays in place throughout the night, preventing it from sliding off during your sleep.

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Freedom of Movement

One of the significant advantages of this technique is that your pillow remains free to move side to side on the shock cord runner as you toss and turn during the night. This enables you to keep your head centered on the pillow, regardless of your sleeping position.

Ensuring a Restful Night’s Sleep

Moreover, the shock cord technique allows you to take your pillow with you as you move. Unlike traditional fixed-length attachments, you can freely move around while maintaining the same level of comfort. The shock cord also prevents the pillow from sliding off your pad lengthwise, ensuring that it remains securely in place throughout the night.

Adding Attachment Points

If your pillow doesn’t have loops, don’t worry! Many dedicated pillows now come with built-in attachment points, making it even easier to secure them to your sleeping pad. Alternatively, you can get creative with a needle and thread to create attachment points for the shock cord.

Conclusion: Enhancing Your Hiking Experience

In conclusion, a dedicated pillow is a worthy investment for any backpacker seeking a comfortable night’s sleep during their outdoor adventures. To ensure that your pillow stays securely on your sleeping pad, the shock cord technique is a reliable and efficient solution. By using this method, you can easily adjust the tension, maintain free movement of the pillow, and prevent it from sliding off the pad during the night. So, take your hiking experience to the next level by ensuring a good night’s sleep with a dedicated pillow and the shock cord technique. Happy hiking!


What is a Pillow Lock?

Pillow lock, also known as the shock cord technique, is a method to secure your pillow on a sleeping pad during outdoor activities. By running a length of shock cord through the pillow’s loops and adjusting the tension with a cord lock, the pillow stays in place throughout the night, preventing it from slipping off the pad. This lightweight and adjustable solution ensures a comfortable sleep while hiking or camping, making it a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts.

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