“Monkey Pillow” by Hike, Bike, Dale!

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In 2011 Wallace Hunter (AKA: SupaChef) and his wife hiked around 1,500 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which needless to say, allowed them to really put their gear to the test. Some of their gear was commercially bought gear, however, they also incorporated a few pieces of DIY gear into their kits. As many hikers are aware, there are a number of times in which a commercially available piece of gear may not exactly work for everyone, so the next option is to personally build that item so that it does indeed suit one’s own personal needs. One of the items that Wallace created for his upcoming long distance hike was a pillowcase…

Wallace desired a comfortable place to lay his head after a long day of hiking, like many of us do. And, like many of us, he was obviously not happy with the options that were commercially available. As most of us backpackers can probably attest to, backpacking pillows are generally either to hard (air pillows) or to soft (filled pillows), does not provide adequate neck support and will even make some of our ears go to sleep from constant pressure. And let’s not forget the way that they tend to squirt out from under our heads, just as we get good and comfy, or begin to drift off to sleep…

So, before setting out on his hike, Wallace decided to design his own pillow. He went out and picked up the needed materials, then came home and set out to build his own “perfect” place to rest his head. There were 3 basic needs that Wallace set out to fulfill when creating a place to rest his weary head each night; comfort, support and the ability to keep the pillow where it should be, that is, under his head.

Back in January of 2011, Wallace published a YouTube video in which he first showed the world his “Monkey Pillow.” At that time, Wallace simply sewed a pillowcase from fleece and attached two elastic cords which ran the length of the pillow case. Next, he included a cut-to-size piece of 1 inch foam inside the pillow case. The idea was simple, yet effective. Wallace simply inserted his air pillow inside the pillow case, but under the piece of foam, then blew the pillow up. Next, he looped the elastic cords over his air pad, which actually accomplished 2 things at one time. First, due to the way he sewed the elastic cords to the pillowcase, they closed the opening of the pillowcase so that the pillow would not squirt out of the pillowcase. Second, it held the entire set-up in place. No more chasing a pillow around a tent in the middle of the night for Wallace and his lady…

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Wallace then carried this pillowcase over 1,500 miles of Appalachian Trail, the perfect testing field. Once he returned from his hike, he began going through a process of improving upon his original design, and now today, he feels comfortable enough to actually produce these and offer them to the masses! However, as any good innovator, Wallace understands that there is always room for improvements… always something that may be able to be tweaked, or changed, to make it better. At the moment, I believe that he is still tinkering around with actual sizes of the pillowcase as well as materials used to build them.

As far as the pillowcase that he sent me, here are the specs on it:

  • 11 inches wide
  • 16.5 inches long
  • 1.7 oz

Wallace has informed me that the “Monkey Pillow” that he sent me was actually a prototype version, and that (as mentioned above) he is still debating on sizes for the pillowcase. As a bit of feedback, I suggested that he use some of the Nobul 1 material on the back side of the pillow case, which would likely drop a fraction of an oz more, as well as provide a more comfortable feel. As far as the fleece that he is using on the top side, I have got to say, it is very comfortable next-to-skin. It actually reminds me of the soft fleece baby blankets…

So, if you are interested in picking up your own, authentic, hand-made right here in the USA Monkey Pillows, be sure to head over to Wallace’s blog, Hike, Bike, Dale! for more info. Or, simply click HERE to head straight to his Etsy store to place an order. As well, if you have any suggestions, or requests, I would suggest to get in contact with Wallace to discuss any questions you may have. Until then though, check out the short video that I made showing the pillow off a little more:

Thanks for stopping by!

~Stick~

Disclaimer: Wallace provided this prototype “Monkey Pillow” to me for the purpose of this review, as well as personal feedback. However, the statements within both, this post as well as the video, are of my own opinions.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
This entry was posted in Gear, Pillows and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to “Monkey Pillow” by Hike, Bike, Dale!

  1. John C says:

    I am a side sleeper and I have wide shoulders, so a backpacking pillow is a necessity for me. If I don’t use one, I get a crick in my neck that won’t quit. And I don’t have enough extra clothes to put in a stuff sack because I am usually wearing all my clothes in my sleeping bag. I have a MontBell inflatable pillow which has the height I need, but it keeps sliding off my X-Therm and the plastic material is uncomfortable against my face. This pillow looks really good to me. Wallace will probably be seeing an order from me in the near future.

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    • Stick says:

      John,

      It sounds like you are the perfect person to use one of Wallace’s pillow cases! If you get one be sure to come back by and let us know what you think about it!

      ~Stick~

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    • John C says:

      Thanks Stick, I will probably order one in a couple of weeks, and then I will report back. I just ordered an Enlightened Equipment 20 degree RevelationX quilt and a Smokeeater Mini Heat, so I’d get in trouble with my “accountant” if I ordered some more backpacking gear so quickly, but I will order it soon.

      You know how it is–this hiking gear thing is an addiction and sometimes our “accountants” aren’t down with that.

      BTW, I heard about Enlightened Equipment on your blog, so thanks steering me in that direction. You are providing a valuable service for us lightweight backpackers my friend.

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    • Stick says:

      John,

      I hear ya about the “accountants”… but hey, someone has to keep me inline so I don’t get to carried away with it! 🙂

      Also, a huge congrats on the new quilt and the stove! I hope that they work out for you well! Let us know… And thanks for the kind words about my blog. I really appreciate them.

      ~Stick~

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  2. Awesome! Who wouldn’t want to sleep with a fleece monkey pillow case. It’s such a simple idea once you see it, but haven’t seen anything like this before. How would the straps work on a tapered sleeping pad?

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    • Stick says:

      Andy,

      This particular one will fit over my large NeoAir XLite, which is tapered. It does put a little stress at the points where the elastic straps connect to the pillow case, but since the pad is squishy, it really doesn’t give me reason for concern.

      And yea, it is a great idea! I was quite intrigued when I saw him present his first one a few years ago. So I am glad to see that he is still working with it and now trying to make them available to the public. For those that “need” a pillow, I think this is a great idea.

      Anyway, great to hear from you, and hope that you and your family are doing well! And of course, thanks for stopping by…

      ~Stick~

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    • Thanks, Stick. Things are going well and I ordered my monkey pillow yesterday. More comfortable nights are in my future.

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    • Stick says:

      Awesome Andy! Be sure to drop back by late and let us know what you think of it! 🙂

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  3. omg… I have to have this pillow!

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  4. jdrower says:

    Hope he sells lots of them and the design is incentive for lots of kids that wouldn’t otherwise want to go camping.

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    • Wallace here… I wonder what you think about the pillows? Did you think that they were aimed at children? What makes you say that? I am open to any and all criticism. Did you think it needs a more adult design? Please let me know your thoughts.

      Wallace
      SupaChef

      Like

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