Review: Klymit Cush – Three Ounces, Huge Comfort

Sometimes, backpacking can feel a bit like a game of “pick your poison.”  Back pain from carrying tons of weight, whole body pain from uncomfortable sleeping, or wallet pain from spending a lot on the good stuff (camping equipment, that is).  If you are looking for a product that is compact, lightweight, and inexpensive, to put between your head and the cold/hard/sharp earth below, then read on (actually, read on regardless).

Klymit Cush folded once
Klymit Cush folded once

If you remember, I covered an awesome sleeping pad from the guys at Klymit, the Inertia XL. They have continued their tradition of putting extra thought into gear that makes your adventures easier and more comfortable by creating the Cush, which is designed to work as either a pillow or cushion, has slots to give your ears some room (to avoid that flattened and abused ear feeling in the morning), and can be folded into all kinds of thicknesses for different uses.  The Cush starts out flat and rolls up into a small tube (think taquito-sized) or folded up into roughly the size of a fist for easy packing. With a twist of a valve and one or two breaths, it blows up into a 29″ x 9″ pillow.  Sporting much more length than most similar products, the Cush has a huge amount of versatility.  Leave it alone to have a place to rust your butt, one fold for back sleepers, two folds for side sleepers, four folds for reading, or get creative to solve your comfort conundrums.  All of those uses combined, and it still only weighs in at 3 ounces, despite the fact it is made of 75D Polyester (often used in footprints for tents) which allows Klymit to offer a lifetime warranty against leaking.

Klymit Cush, rolled up
Klymit Cush, rolled up

Since I generally sleep in a side/stomach hybrid position, it’s pretty hard for me to find camp (or even regular) pillows that really work well for me.  That is one of the things that drew me to the Cush, because folding into different positions – or even inflating it to varying levels – allows for nearly infinite adjustability.  With just a little bit of experimentation, I was able to figure out exactly how I was most comfortable.  While getting to sleep, I certainly noticed the difference that the ear pockets make, keeping my ears from getting squished and reducing the toss and turn start to the night that is often required with comparable air pillows.  Other than that, I don’t remember thinking much about the Cush, and this was certainly a case of no news being good news.  For sleepers that move a lot during the night, having a rubber band around it may help keep it from coming unfolded during the night, although this wasn’t a problem for me (my recommendation would be to use a rubber band to keep it small during storage, but also long enough to keep your pillow in your favorite position).  The high quality materials that they use also seem like they’d be pretty tough to poke a hole in, unless you meant to.  Overall, I have yet to find a better balance of weight, size, and performance in any camp pillow, and I can’t really imagine a much better option for backpacking, bicycle touring, traveling (on the plane, in the car, replacement for crappy hotel pillows), or pretty much any other activity that keeps you away from your own bed.

Klymit Cush, unfolded
Klymit Cush, unfolded

The Cush from Klymit is an absolute must for any outdoor enthusiast, especially when you consider that you can get one for around $20.  That is a very small price to increase your overall enjoyment during your next overnight adventure.  Check out the Klymit webpage  for their other products (we’re still hoping to try one of their vests in the future), or to scope out the camo version of the Cush.

– David


Just thought I’d add that Mrs. Outsider used a Cush when we attended Ms. Outsider’s basketball games. The combination of a tailbone injury and an unheated gym when it was all of zero degrees outside was minimized by the Cush. Pretty sure she’s never giving it back to me.

– Brian

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