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…
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!
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.