Trtl Travel Pillow Review

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Before you embark on your next journey, you might want to read this trtl Travel Pillow review first. Built with a unique plastic support system and a soft fleece cover, this sleep accessory was designed to help you maintain healthy posture when you’re on the go… But does it really work?

Well, buckle up, sleepers because I’m about to take the trtl Travel Pillow for a test drive. I’ll show you what it’s made of, how it works, and what makes it totally different from every U-shaped pillow you’ve seen at the airport.

TRTL Travel Pillow
TRTL Travel Pillow
TRTL Travel Pillow

The TRTL travel pillow is a unique way to handle the common problem of needing neck support while trying to sleep on planes. Click the button to check current pricing on Amazon.

Brand Snapshot

It all started in 2010 when a couple of college friends went backpacking around Europe, and decided that there has to be a comfier way to sleep on the go. So, they invented one! Four years and 80 prototypes later, they launched the Original trtl Travel Pillow and it was an instant hit. It earned record-breaking sales on Amazon, and took home E-Commerce Exporter of the Year at the Scottish Export Awards.

In fact, it became so popular that it’s been mentioned at high-profile events like The Grammys, The Oscars, and the MTV European Music Awards. And while Sleepopolis HQ is slightly less glamorous than those celebrity venues, we’re ready to get up close and personal with the trtl Travel Pillow to see what all the fuss is about! But before I show you how to use it, let’s find out exactly what it’s made of.

What Is The trtl Travel Pillow Made Of?

My first thought when I unpacked the trtl Travel Pillow was, “Well this sure doesn’t look like a pillow!” It weighs less than a pound, and resembles both a scarf and a neck brace. And I’ll admit that I fumbled around with it for a few minutes before I figured out how to use it, but before we get into that, let’s talk about what it’s made of.

Trtl Travel Pillow Review
The original trtl Travel Pillow in red

The cover fabric is made of fleece, and it feels super soft and fuzzy. It’s also a bit stretchy which, as I said, kind of makes it feel like a scarf in that you can pull the fabric over your face if you like. A patch of velcro keeps the fabric securely wrapped around your neck, and there’s a thin piece of foam inside the cover to add a little cushiony comfort.

And because it’s so lightweight and small, it’s very easy to pack inside a carry-on bag or suitcase. But this pillow’s main attraction is the C-shaped plastic support system that’s tucked away inside the cover fabric. It’s hard-yet-flexible and, according to a scientific study on trtl’s website, is proven to keep your head and neck in a safe position while you travel.

Of course, I’m no scientist, but let’s take a closer look at how well the trtl travel pillow really works!

TRTL Travel Pillow
TRTL Travel Pillow
TRTL Travel Pillow

The TRTL travel pillow is a unique way to handle the common problem of needing neck support while trying to sleep on planes. Click the button to check current pricing on Amazon.

How Do You Use The trtl Travel Pillow?

Like I mentioned up top, the primary purpose of the trtl Travel Pillow is to promote healthy posture for sleepers on the go. Of course, we’re typically sitting in an upright position when we travel (which isn’t exactly ideal sleeping conditions), so how does this pillow keep us cozy? It all starts with how you put it on.

First, position the plastic part of the pillow against your neck, so that the top of the curve is supporting your jaw, and the bottom is resting on top of your shoulder. Then, wrap the fleece sleeve around your neck like a scarf, and secure it with the velcro patch. If you’re already feeling confused about how to wear this accessory, take comfort in the fact that it’s labeled with instructions.

Trtl Travel Pillow Labels
The Trtl Travel Pillow comes with labeled instructions!

Once you’ve got the trtl Travel Pillow snugly wrapped around you, lean against the plastic curve and allow it to cradle your head and neck until you fall asleep. The main idea behind this design is that, unlike foam or polyester, the plastic is less likely to compress under the weight of your head no matter how long you snooze.

To better illustrate the benefit of this pillow’s construction, allow me to paint a picture.
Imagine you’re sitting on a plane trying to catch some Zzz’s, and every time you doze off, your head falls forward and you’re immediately jerked awake. And this goes on and on until, eventually, you give up and stare angrily at the slumbering passengers who managed to snag a window seat.

Well, think of the trtl Travel Pillow as a portable window seat that offers way better support for your head and neck. The internal plastic support lets you rest your head to the side, but never lets it fall out of alignment with your neck. Meanwhile, the soft fleece fabric is wrapped around your neck so that it doesn’t slip off mid-snooze.

Trtl Travel Pillow Fabric
The plastic insert inside the trtl Travel Pillow keeps your head and neck in a safe position.

That said, this is definitely not your average travel pillow and even though it’s proven to help maintain healthy posture, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. So let’s dive a bit deeper into my personal experience using the trtl Travel Pillow.

More: See how the Trtl Travel Pillow compares to the Infinity Travel Pillow!

My Experience With The trtl Travel Pillow

I’ll confess that my initial impression of this pillow was not particularly positive. In fact, when I first put it on, I thought: This feels too much like a neck brace. The internal plastic support system really locks your head in place so that it never deviates out of alignment with your neck, and that definitely takes some getting used to.

However, once I sat down and allowed my head to rest against the fleece-covered curve, I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I felt. The cover fabric was warm and fuzzy against my skin, and the plastic structure supported me in a way I’ve never experienced with a travel pillow. And what’s really cool, in my opinion, is that I couldn’t force my head out of alignment with my neck even if I tried.

Trtl Travel Pillow Neck Pain
The trtl Travel Pillow did a great job of supporting my head and neck.

By the time I was done testing the trtl Travel Pillow, I had completely changed my tune. Don’t get me wrong — this is not a pillow that you can fluff, shape, or use for lower lumbar support. But when it comes to supporting healthy posture when you’re in the upright position, the trtl Travel Pillow is unmatched, in my experience.

The Verdict: While the trtl Travel Pillow is not traditionally shaped or fluffy, it did a fantastic job of keeping my head and neck supported. Not to mention, it’s lightweight, compact, and super easy to stow on the go.

Should I Buy The trtl Travel Pillow?

We’re almost at the end of this trtl Travel Pillow review, so let’s recap the highlights to help you determine if it’s the best fit for you:

TRTL Travel Pillow
TRTL Travel Pillow
TRTL Travel Pillow

The TRTL travel pillow is a unique way to handle the common problem of needing neck support while trying to sleep on planes. Click the button to check current pricing on Amazon.

  • Head & Neck Support – Of all the travel pillows I’ve tested, this one provides the most support for my head and neck. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a cushy foam travel pillow, but the plastic support system in the trtl really made sure my head never fell forward or put a strain on my neck.
  • Fleece Sleeve – What’s not to love about this fleece cover fabric? It’s soft, cozy, and easily machine washable. So, when your trtl travel pillow gets dirty, simply remove the plastic insert, throw the cover in the washing machine on a cool, gentle cycle, and allow it to air-dry.
  • Small & Compact – This pillow is very lightweight, compact, and easy to travel with. Of course, you can stow it away in your carry-on, but I like to wrap it around the handle of my suitcase so that it’s easily accessible as soon as I need it.
  • Great Value – At only $30, the trtl travel pillow is a great value (especially for how well it works). Not to mention, it comes with free shipping anywhere in the U.S. If you’re looking for a great travel pillow that won’t break the bank, this is a really good way to go.

More: Check out my guide to the Best Pillows for Neck Pain!

Trtl Travel Pillow Luggage
The trtl Travel Pillow is light, compact, and super easy to pack.

trtl Travel Pillow Complaints

Of course, no Sleepopolis review would be complete without a few complaints! So here are some things to consider about the trtl travel pillow before you make your purchase:

  • Not Adjustable – The Original trtl Travel Pillow is not adjustable and, since we’re all built differently, you may find that it’s not a comfortable fit. Luckily, this brand offers the trtl Plus Travel Pillow as well, which can be adjusted to accommodate sleepers of different heights.
  • Wash Care – While I appreciate that you can wash the cover fabric, keep in mind that you have to remove the plastic insert every time you want to wash it. And, in my experience, it’s not super easy to re-insert the plastic piece.
  • Not Plush – The trtl is quite different from your average U-shaped foam travel pillow, and it’s not going to offer a super plush or cushy feel. Remember — the name of the game here is head and neck support, which is achieved by a plastic insert.

Anything Else I Should Know?

  • One Size
  • Weight – .5 lbs
  • $29.99
  • Free Shipping – within the U.S.
  • 60-Day Return Policy
  • Wash Care – remove plastic insert, wash cover fabric in gentle cycle with mild detergent, air-dry
  • Other trtl Models – trtl Travel Pillow Plus (adjustable), trtl Travel Pillow Junior (for kids)
  • Trtl Travel Pillow Scientific Study
TRTL Travel Pillow
TRTL Travel Pillow
TRTL Travel Pillow

The TRTL travel pillow is a unique way to handle the common problem of needing neck support while trying to sleep on planes. Click the button to check current pricing on Amazon.


How does trtl pillow work?

The trtl Travel Pillow uses a C-shaped plastic support system to keep your head and neck in a safe and comfortable position when you’re sleeping on the go. Additionally, the cover fabric is made from soft fleece and a thin layer of foam for extra comfort.

How do you pack a trtl pillow?

The trtl Travel Pillow is very lightweight, compact, and easy to pack in any carry-on bag. Additionally, you can wrap it around the handle of a suitcase for quick accessibility.

Can you wash a trtl travel pillow?

To wash the trtl Travel Pillow, remove the plastic insert and throw the cover fabric in a cool, gentle wash cycle. Then, allow the cover fabric to air-dry before re-inserting the plastic insert.

Does the trtl Travel Pillow count as a carry on?

No, most commercial airlines do not consider travel pillows, coats, or purses to be carry-on items.

Sarah is the former senior writer and bedding expert at Sleepopolis. She received her degree in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and spends her free time doing stand-up, making pasta, and hanging with her cats.