Read my Trtl Travel Pillow review if you are searching for a pillow you can use to comfortably sleep on a plane.
Are you searching for a travel pillow that’s going to help you sleep soundly on an airplane? Meet the Trtl (pronounced ‘turtle’) Travel Pillow.
This isn’t a traditional travel pillow, though, like the ones you often see in the U-shape. Rather, the Trtl looks like a cross between a neck brace and a scarf. Like other travel pillows, it’s made to keep your head and neck supported when sleeping upright, though the design is noticeably unique.
So, does it actually work? I had the opportunity to test out the Ttrl for myself on a flight, and in this review, I will share my thoughts on how it went.
Who Is the Trtl Travel Pillow Best for?
Who Might Like the Trtl Travel Pillow:
- Those after a small pillow – The Trtl’s compact design means it should be easy to stash in your bag or around the handle of your carry-on without taking up so much extra space. I thought this was very convenient compared to traditional U-shape travel pillows.
- People with neck pain – The Trtl is designed to support your head and neck when you sleep upright. Therefore, if you’re trying to prevent neck pain from worsening, investing in a travel pillow like this might be a wise choice.
- Side sleepers – If you’re used to side sleeping, you’ll likely lean your head to the side when sleeping on a plane, which, of course, isn’t ideal if you’re in the middle or aisle seat. However, I didn’t find this to be an issue with the Trtl because it provided fantastic head and neck support to keep my head from leaning.
Who Might Not Like the Trtl Travel Pillow:
- Those who want a versatile pillow – The Trtl isn’t a pillow you can hug or use as lumbar support; I found that it’s more like a comfy neck brace.
- Petite or tall people – You can tweak how tight the wrap is, but the Trtl’s plastic insert (the part that supports your head and neck) is a fixed size, and I think it may not suit smaller or taller people. However, the Trtl Travel Pillow Plus is height adjustable, though more expensive.
Sleep Advisor’s Testing Methodology
Here at Sleep Advisor, we test products in person to provide you with honest and unbiased reviews. I tested this travel pillow for key factors like support and comfort while actually on a flight to give you a more authentic take.To learn more about our testing methodology, visit our product review process page.
What Is the Trtl Travel Pillow Made of?
The Trtl’s cover is a soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic fleece fabric that wraps around your neck, and it is secured with a velcro fastener. This unique product is designed to look like a scarf, and I think it does, especially as it has a bit of stretch to it. This also allows you to pull the fabric around your mouth and nose if necessary.
The Trtl is currently available in four colors.
In my opinion, this is where the Trtl shines. The core’s internal support system is made from a plastic C-shaped ‘flipper’ that is reminiscent of a neck brace. You can position this flipper piece on either side of your head or below your chin to hold your head in place.
The top part supports your jaw, while the bottom part rests on your shoulder or chest. A piece of thin foam covers the flipper to deliver cushioning. Also, the flipper has a bit of give to it, which I found helps eliminate any pressure buildup and keeps the head from bobbing.
Trtl Travel Pillow Firmness & Feel
The Trtl doesn’t have the plush feel of a foam pillow, but it’s not rigid and firm despite the thin fabric and plastic insert. The plastic insert is covered with thin foam, and this gave me a good balance of firm support and cozy comfort.
I think the scarf wrap is soft and does a great job of creating a cozy feel around your neck. While it’s not plush like a regular travel pillow, I found the foam that covers the plastic insert provided a surprising amount of comfort
As this is more of a neck brace/scarf hybrid than a standard pillow, the Trtl has no loft to it.
Weight (Density of the Pillow)
The Trtl weighs 4.5 ounces, much less than a normal foam travel pillow.
Sleeping on the Trtl Travel Pillow
I was surprised at how impressed I was with the Trtl, and it supported my head and neck well. However, it’s not a traditional plush pillow, so there is no cushioning for those who like to place their head on the tray table to sleep.
Side sleepers can have a harder time on a plane if they don’t have a window seat since they’re used to resting their heads to the side when sleeping. From my experience, I think the Trtl solves this issue well with its flipper piece. You position the flipper to the preferred side of your face, and then you can rest your head to the side without it rolling out of alignment with your neck.
The downside is if you want to lean the other way, you’ll have to unwrap the Trtl and place it on the other side. This takes only a few seconds but can be a little frustrating to do when sleepy.
Back sleepers can struggle when sleeping upright on planes because their heads are more apt to fall forward, especially if they cannot recline their seat. I think the Trtl is equally great for back sleepers as the plastic flipper insert can be positioned between the chin and chest, which helps prevent the head from falling too far forward.
Stomach sleepers are used to leaning forward with their head down when they sleep, another challenge while upright on an airplane. The Trtl can help with this in the same way it does for back sleepers by preventing the head from rolling forward.
However, if you like to rest your head on the tray table to sleep, I don’t think the Trtl would do a good job of cushioning your head. As I said, it’s more of a neck brace than a traditional pillow. In this case, a small foam pillow might be the better choice.
Trtl Travel Pillow Sizing Options & Pricing
|Price w/o Discount
Sleep Advisor’s Performance Ratings for the Trtl Travel Pillow
The Trtl pillow is made with a fleece fabric. Of course, the fleece can really come in handy when it gets cold on the plane. If you’re a hot sleeper, I think you may be better off getting the Trtl Pillow Cool. Even though the Cool model costs more, it does come with cool-to-the-touch Tencel fabric (instead of fleece) and a mesh venting panel.
Support is one of the most critical aspects of a good travel pillow so that you don’t develop neck pain following your mid-air nap. In my opinion, the Trtl excelled when it came to supporting my neck and head. The plastic flipper didn’t buckle under the weight of my head and the wrap helped keep everything in place.
While the velcro fastener and plastic insert of the Trtl feel strong and durable, the pillow requires a bit more care than a regular travel pillow – if you squash it at the bottom of an overstuffed carry-on or accidentally stand on it, you may find yourself with a broken and useless ‘neck brace’.
Also, the Trtl doesn’t come with a carry pouch, which is unfortunate because this could help it stay protected during your trip.
Did I say I was surprised at how comfy this pillow was? The fleece is super soft.
However, this design will likely take some getting used to, and I can see how some people might miss having a plush pillow to hug when watching a film. Plus, this pillow won’t be of any use to you if you’re able to take a nap lying down at the airport during a layover.
The Trtl only features a small amount of foam, which isn’t compressed, so there should be no off-gassing smell with this product.
Although the Trtl uses hypoallergenic fleece, I deducted a point here because it lacked hypoallergenic certifications.
Cleaning & Care
You can wash the Trtl’s fleece wrap in the washing machine; you just have to remove the plastic support piece, and then put the wrap into the machine on a cool setting using a mild detergent.
Another perk to this pillow is that it can dry quickly, which is convenient for travel. That said, you also have the option to put it in the dryer on low heat.
The only downside is that you might find some difficulty putting the plastic piece back in.
Sleep Trial & Warranty
The Trtl comes with a 100-day money-back guarantee, which I’d say is more than enough time to try it out. Even if you don’t have an upcoming flight, you can easily test it out on a bus or train trip.
Unfortunately, though, this pillow doesn’t have a warranty.
Trtl Travel Pillow Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Trtl pillow?
The Trtl pillow is a type of travel pillow. The design includes a fleece scarf/neck wrap with a plastic insert that props your head up to keep your head and neck in line with your spine.
Where is Trtl based?
Trtl’s headquarters is in Glasgow, Scotland. Their products are designed in the U.K. and manufactured in Asia.
Who is the founder of Trtl?
Scottish friends Michael Korrigan and David Kellock founded the Trtl brand in 2013. The idea came about after they were continually disappointed by traditional travel pillows. Kellock left the company in 2018, and Korrigan is CEO.
How Does the Trtl Travel Pillow Compare to Other Pillows?
Trtl Travel Pillow vs Trtl Travel Pillow Plus
trtl Pillow Plus
Sleep Advisor Score
4.80 / 5
Who Should Get the Trtl Travel Pillow?
- People who tend to get cold on planes
- Shoppers on a smaller budget
- Average-sized people
Who Should Get the Trtl Travel Pillow Plus?
- Petite or taller individuals
- Those who tend to overheat on planes
- Shoppers who want a carry pouch for their pillow
If you think the Trtl Travel Pillow Plus is right for you, check out our Trtl Travel Pillow Plus review.
My Final Thoughts on the Trtl Travel Pillow
I was impressed at how comfortable the Trtl was. I usually don’t sleep well on airplanes, but I was able to rest nicely using the Trtl because it gave me fantastic support when sleeping upright.
It might take some time to figure out how to wear it, so I recommend practicing at home before your trip.
I wouldn’t recommend the Trtl for those who want something more plush and foam-like. People who are very tall or short may be better off with the adjustable Trtl Travel Pillow Plus, whereas hot sleepers might enjoy the Trtl Pillow Cool. more. The Trtrl earned an overall score of 3.9 out of 5.
Lead Product Tester
Julia is the Lead Reviewer at Sleep Advisor, specializing in testing out mattresses and sleep accessories – she’s in the right line of work, because she loves to sleep.