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I Swear by This Cinnamon Bun of a Travel Pillow

I used to be one of those people.

The kind that could sleep on any plane, in any type of economy class seat. Window, aisle, middle—it didn’t matter. I’d happily cram myself against a fort of cushions and pillows and the window of a plane. Worst case scenario, I’d pull down the tray table, give it a quick wipe, and pile it up with cushions.

But 10 years later, not only is it much harder to come across a pile of free cushions in economy class, but my back isn’t quite up to leaning over a tray table for 14 hours. I’m also not a fan of the drowsy, groggy feeling that I get from taking sleeping pills—particularly when I’m traveling solo.


I’ve spent the last few years desperately seeking the ultimate travel pillow. I’ve read through countless online reviews and watched more influencers than I care to admit peddling various nap contraptions to an unsuspecting public. There’s this product called “OSTRICHPILLOW” designed by Studio Banana which kind of revolutionized the power-napping game, but it makes you look like an ostrich in the sand. And another OSTRICHPILLOW iteration called “OSTRICHPILLOW Light” that basically looks like a chunky headband. Then there’s this funky contraption that looks like it’s cradling your head? Creepy.

I’d given up.

Then, while on my way back from Singapore in July, I saw a rather remarkable thing. Someone that actually looked like they were sleeping soundly with a travel pillow. At first, of course, I chalked it down to be that the traveler had a few whiskeys or another vice to comfortably sleep on the airplane. But as the flight continued, he looked pretty comfortable. He woke up and moved around, then sat down and nodded off again. I was jealous. I had to find out which product he was using.

So, I kept going to the bathroom in an effort to get a better look at the pillow. I couldn’t figure it out. It looked just the same as every other pillow I had seen.

And then, I noticed it.

This chap had managed to remain upright while sound asleep.

Even my best effort to remain stationary will result in my head flopping forward or to the side, uncomfortably straining my neck—and resulting in me waking up. The world’s mildest form of whiplash, but seemingly, the most annoying.

A further few trips to the toilet helped me identify that the make of the pillow was Cabeau. Furious googling at Wellington Airport seemed to indicate that I was looking for something called the Evolution S3. I ordered one online and waited in anticipation.

As it turned out, the Evolution S3 boasts some pretty remarkable reviews. Reviews that I, in my cynical nature, had totally dismissed. It just looked like another memory foam pillow. It looked bulky, and annoying to carry around. Surely, it couldn’t be as good as everyone was saying. Well, after completing around 45 hours of long-haul flights in the last month, I can assure you—it’s worth your money. And I’ll tell you why.

It attaches to your airline seat.

This is the key trick to this pillow’s magic. When you have an airline seat that has an adjustable headrest, you can loop around the ‘wings’ of the pillow and it will stay in place during the flight. Best of all, when you use the neck clip (to be explained), this means you’ll stay in place, too. This is by far the best feature of the pillow, preventing your neck from flopping all over the show when flying.

It actually supports your neck.

The memory foam pillow sits high. If you’re a bit short like me, you might feel a bit uncomfortable at first—you’ll feel a bit like you have something right up to your ears. Trust me, you’ll get used to it very quickly. Eventually, you’ll feel like you are melting into a squishy haven. Bliss.

The little clip that could.

Okay, so again, this might take getting used to. You clip yourself in. You pull the pillow as tightly as possible around your neck, and you clip the front ends of the pillow together. It feels weird at first, and then you fall asleep, and your head never falls forward.

It stays in place—and stays clean.

One of the worst things ever is having to put your travel pillow on the seat or floor when you go to the bathroom. Not with this bad boy. You leave it in place, and simply unclip yourself out of the pillow system. Easy.

It’s machine washable.

You can take the cover off and wash it easily. Even if it doesn’t touch the floor, the unfortunate reality is that planes can get a little sweaty. While the cover is moisture-wicking, if you do need to give it a quick scrub, it is easy to take on and off.

It folds up like a cinnamon bun.

Complete with its own carry bag, you can cram this nifty little pillow into a very small space. It attaches to the outside of your bag by a clip, or its small enough to throw into a backpack or large handbag.

This isn’t a paid post. I paid about $40USD for my pillow in New Zealand, and then the equivalent of $40USD in Ho Chi Minh City to get another for my jealous boyfriend, sick of him complaining about his sore neck. I derive no benefit from Cabeau for sharing this magical product with you—but I certainly hope it improves your travel experience. You can thank me later.

My verdict? Like everything in life, it has its shortcomings. If you aren’t very tall, it can sit pretty high in your seat (in which case, you might want to use an airline blanket or pillow under your rear). It can get quite hot, clipped into your steamy little halo of comfort. It doesn’t dispense hot liquids, sing you to sleep or give you a massage. But you know what? It is still the most magnificent travel pillow I’ve ever come across.

Those influencers finally got something right.


[Featured Image: Cabeau]


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Comments are Closed.
mhrb November 20, 2019

"One of the worst things ever is having to put your travel pillow on the seat when you go to the bathroom." If you're wiling to say such egregious lies as this why should any of us believe you when you say this isn't a paid post?

fotographer November 20, 2019

I happy it works for you... for me it does not..

MaxVO November 19, 2019

Thanks for sharing!