The best travel neck pillow: We tried 4, and there was one winner


According to the Cushion Lab website, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop called this pillow “The Tesla of travel pillows.” While I don’t consider myself a Goop person, the claim caught my attention. The company promised an asymmetrical design by an in-house ergonomist that fits under your chin and around your face so you can lean and sleep comfortably with “360° zero pressure neck protection.” It was also the priciest of the bunch at $55, which is more than what I would like to pay for a travel pillow (or a regular pillow, for that matter).

When I unfurled it from its carrying pouch, my first thought was “Ooh this is gooey” — in a good way. The pillow’s fabric felt silky and smooth, encasing something that felt like a hard gel. Apparently that’s the “Hyperfoam,” an “extra dense, dynamically rebounding, proprietary memory foam.”

I loved the texture of the Cushion Lab contender — and that it squished up smaller than the rest so it took up less space — but I was left wanting more support. Throughout my tests, unless I was leaning back in a specific rigid way (not how I usually fall asleep), I didn’t feel the strong embrace I was looking for in an airplane-friendly neck pillow. Lastly, it fought with my KN95 mask, pushing it up and requiring regular adjusting, but it didn’t really upset a cloth mask.

On the bright side, it looked normal, as far as neck pillows go — unlike my next choice.

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