Gray and blue ostrich pillow

We all have been and will continue to be in positions where we must get some sleep during a trip. Yet, we dread trying to find a comfortable position while traveling, because, whether it's an airplane or train, passenger seats offer little in the way of comfort. The Ostrich Pillow can change all that.
 
Marrying convenience, comfort and portability, the travel pillow industry promises to make even the longest ride more bearable. We looked at some of the most common styles of travel pillows and compared them to one of the strangest. 
 
Read on for our in-depth look at the Ostrich Pillow, and a quick rundown of how other travel pillows size up.

What Is The Ostrich Pillow?


Man in black shirts and pants sleeping while on his ostrich pillow

Have you ever wanted to wrap your head in a cocoon; to shut the world out inside a quilted nest of bliss? That is what the Ostrich Pillow offers. It's part pillow, part hat and part blanket — all of which combine to promise you sleep anywhere. At its core, this product is a padded hood and, yes, as you would suspect, it looks ridiculous in use. Those who have used it say it delivers, so maybe that lessens any impact of strange looks you receive. The Ostrich Pillow is categorized as a "travel pillow," but we feel it is in a category all its own.

Product Specs  


The original product looks something like a quilted helmet and the person using it looks somewhat like the proverbial ostrich with his head in the sand, hence the name. The material covers your ears and eyes, but there's a hole for breathing, and two holes at the top for your arms to go in while you rest on a desk or travel tray.

The Ostrich Pillow is quilted to keep its polyfiber fill from bunching. This combination offers a nice amount of cushion that stays where you need it. The pillow's machine-washable cover is reversible. One side of the cover is fleecy, while the reverse side is smooth and cooler. Its well-thought-out design is easily adjustable for people of all sizes. If you feel like the original might be too much, then there's a whole line of paired down pillows to check out!

Comparison Table

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How It Compares


woman wearing a neck pillow

We picked a few other travel pillows available on the market to see how they compare. Though the Ostrich Pillow clearly is a one-of-a-kind item, we discovered that travel pillows come in many shapes — each with their own benefit.    

What We Compared


  • Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow
  • ONWEGO Inflatable Travel Pillow
  • Skyrest Travel Pillow

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Comfort

Comfort is subjective, but we tried to think about what most people would want from a pillow when we evaluated these items. For us, the Ostrich Pillow provided the most versatile comfort available. This product loses a star for being too warm and for compressing hair.

The full-surround padding accommodates any position. We could lean forward and sleep on our desks. We could lean sideways against a wall. We could rest our head on our shoulder or a seat back. We could lay flat on our backs for a full recline pose. They all worked. The only downsides we came up with were temperature and hair. The Ostrich Pillow does get cozy and warm (too much so for some users, we fear.) And can you say "helmet hair?" The padded hood compressed our hair, so for longer hairstyles, this could be problematic. Also, large beards will get pressed down/pulled.

Travel Convenience

The Ostrich Pillow is bulky. It has its own carrying case. It takes up as much room as a sweatshirt, and arguably a sweatshirt could be used for the same purpose. For those who like to travel light, the Ostrich Pillow is a hard pass. People who travel frequently or who take long trips might not mind the tradeoff of bulk for comfort. While the Ostrich pillow is large, it is easy to carry. It's lightweight, durable and comes with its own travel bag!

Design Quality

Craft and engineering are evident in this product. The stitching is strong, the fabric is durable, and the padding is quilted so it stays put. The designers clearly considered how the Ostrich Pillow would have to be easily adjustable for a true one-size-fits-all experience. And it delivers on that! We found that it was suitable for people of all sizes.

The only design flaw is that this thing looks goofy! If you can get over the silliness of the thing, though, it is a well-made, comfortable pillow that does what it promises.

Versatility

We've touched on versatility a little throughout the review, but we felt it important enough to explain. As we mentioned before, the Ostrich Pillow adjusts easily for all wearers, and the design allows for versatile sleeping positions. That's not all! It also is good to use as a regular pillow. If we opted not to put our heads into the thing, and just laid upon the pillow, it was really nice. It also worked well as a lumbar support if we rolled it behind our backs. It is large enough that some could even use it as a seat cushion in a pinch.

Pros

  • Comfortable for many positions
  • Well-made
  • Easy to clean
  • One-size really fits all

Cons

  • Silly looking
  • A tad warm for some users
  • Adverse impact on hairstyles and facial hair

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This travel pillow is a versatile neck pillow that offers unparalleled support for sleeping-while-sitting. It wraps around the neck for total head support. It is made of firm memory foam and covered with a minky fabric. It is also usable in two directions. Place the pillow on your neck, opening forward, for a backward or side-leaning position. Flip the pillow around to rest your head forward.

Comfort

This pillow reminds us of something prescribed for a neck injury. It seriously supports the head and restricts neck movement. This is a good thing, while we are sleeping. We didn't find it very comfortable for relaxing or dozing, though. It loses a star for only offering upright positions.The memory foam sits high on and cradles the neck. The fabric is soft.

Overall, we thought this was a great pillow for sleeping on the train or any time we were stuck in a high-backed seat. It does not, however, drown out the surroundings like the all-encompassing Ostrich, but we can't really blame it. The Cabeau doesn't cover the face or ears. It's just a pillow, after all. Not too shabby.

Travel Convenience

Travel convenience is where the Cabeau shines! Since it's made of memory foam, it compresses. Roll the pillow up from end-to-end, and it fits into a travel bag 1/4 its normal size. That is great! It is easy to pack and unpack, and it will fit into a small carry-on.

Design Quality

The designers thought about how to offer the best neck support. The fact that it shrinks down is also a major bonus. The cover is removable and washable. We feel, that even though the neck pillow design is uninspired, Cabeau has done a good job designing a neck pillow with some added bonus. It's a well-made and engineered design.

One thing to mention is that, as with any memory foam product, there is an off-gas period. The smell isn't harmful and doesn't last for long, but it is there at unpacking.

Versatility

The Cabeau is a neck pillow only. It doesn't support other body parts. We were not able to use it for any other part of the body. That it offers two neck positions is good though, so if you really want to sleep leaning forward, the Cabeau has you covered. Compared to the Ostrich... this pillow is very limited in terms of position and use.

Pros

  • Well-made
  • Machine-washable
  • Compresses to 1/4 size for portability
  • Comes in many colors

Cons

  • Only offers a sitting-up sleep position
  • Tall memory foam restricts head movement
  • Memory foam has an off-gas period

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The SOFTaCARE inflatable travel pillow is one of the most packable, least versatile options here. With great portability comes less than great sleeping position options. The SOFTaCARE blows up in about two big breaths and has a no-leak valve. The fabric is a smooth, somewhat matte synthetic that is neither pleasant nor irritating. The pillow features a strap for securing the pillow to the back of whatever seat you are in, and it can be moved down for lumbar support.

Comfort

Overall, the SOFTaCARE was decently comfortable. We were able to blow the pillow up to whatever firmness we wanted, and we were able to successfully support our heads while leaning back against a chair. Beyond that, it's no stunner. We weren't able to lean our heads from side to side, or turn our faces to one direction or another. In terms of a lumbar pillow, the SOFTaCARE was fine.

Travel Convenience

SOFTaCARE... indeed! This blow-up sleeper is great for traveling! It shrinks down to about the size of a rolled-up tortilla. It easily fits into any travel bag, a purse or even a laptop bag. And when it's time to rest? Two or three quick puffs of air and the SOFTaCAREis ready. It's highly convenient.

Design Quality

The SOFTaCARE's design is nothing to crow about. We have alluded to the fact that the pillow feels a little like a pool toy, and that's true. It very much reminded us of a fabric-coated beach ball. It probably wouldn't be very difficult to puncture it. The valve seems stout, but even the best of these types of valves eventually fail. 

Versatility

Versatility is mostly non-existent with the SOFTaCARE. It will allow for exactly one sleeping position. It is just OK for lumbar support. We suppose it could double for beach volleyball, in a pinch!

Pros

  • Super portable
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Limited in sleeping positions
  • Lack of longevity

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The Skyrest Travel Pillow is an inflatable column that allows travelers to sleep leaning against the seat tray in front. It is a little like a mini air mattress for your face. It's even flocked in the same way air mattresses tend to be... for comfort. It features hand holds in the base.

Comfort

Let's begin with that air-mattress flocking. Does anyone actually like the feel of synthetic velvet? We don't. We recommend covering it in a pillowcase. Second, the sleeping position that the Skyrest offers is not comfortable. We were able to lean against a desk in front of us, but if we put all of our weight on the pillow, we found that our necks were strained.

The pillow forces one's head to turn very far to the side and, overall, the experience was uncomfortable. Last, the hand pockets were too small for even average-sized hands to fit in comfortably. We either had to hug the pillow, let our arms rest in our laps or dangle at our sides. The Skyrest gets an A for concept, but a D for execution.

Travel Convenience

This pillow is about as convenient as the ONWEGO. It features the same inflatable design, but requires way more air to inflate. The valve is also removable, so the pillow can be deflated quickly. Once flattened, the Skyrest folded up to about the size of a pair of thick socks.

Design Quality

Synthetic flocking. Need we say more? The materials chosen for this pillow are an absolute travesty. Additionally, the overall design is poor. It blows up to a pillow that is tall enough to lean on when placed in front of you on a tray, yet it's not comfortable. More thought should have been put into the interface between pillow and face. Maybe there should have been an indent or forehead rest to relieve the strain. Also, the hand pockets really need to be larger. Overall, this pillow is not well designed.

Versatility

The Skyrest is even less versatile than the ONWEGO. At least the ONWEGO offered lumbar support! Sleepers are limited to one position wrought with neck strain.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Easy to inflate and deflate

Cons

  • Absolutely terrible fabric
  • Strains the neck
  • Hand pockets are too small for even average size
  • One sleeping position possible

Conclusion


Woman sleeping comfortably inside an airplane while on her ostrich pillow

In terms of the most versatile, best made, most comfortable travel pillow, the Ostrich Pillow is a definite standout. Despite its funny look, it works well.

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