This is by far the best travel pillow I've ever used

I've tried a few travel pillows before, but they never quite worked for me. I'm still not a huge fan of them, but

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Anyone who has taken a cross-continental or international flight has their own ritual to achieve the impossible: comfort on an airplane.

Comfortable shoes, comfortable socks, comfortable pants, comfortable anything. It makes sense. You're in a confined space, thousands of feet in the air, possibly next to strangers.

Neck pillows have long been the go-to comfortable air travel accessory. Sleeping on planes can be tough, and a neck pillow keeps your head in one place. 

I've tried using them a few times, but despite my mom swearing by them, it's never clicked. I'm still not a huge fan, but I used Cabeau's new Cool Evolution pillow and had a good experience. 

What sets this neck pillow apart from, and quite frankly above, any other I've used is that it's made out of memory foam. It's way more comfortable than the pillow full of little beads my mom uses, and significantly better than the pillow you have to inflate yourself. The beaded one was too soft, the inflatable one was too hard, and this one was just right, or at least way closer to just right.

I also appreciate this pillow's design. It's meant to be scrunched up and folded into a carrying case that reduces how much space it takes up in your bag. And instead of just sitting around your neck as a one-size-fits-all accessory, you can adjust its tightness around your neck using a couple of draw strings. I kept mine as tight as possible, but you have the freedom to leave it a little lax if you choose. 

This pillow is well designed and comfortable overall, but its standout feature is something I didn't even remember it had: open air vents. Not realizing this was actually a good thing. I popped the pillow on and instead of thinking "Oh, these vents are keeping my neck cool and sweat free," I just felt comfortable.

I didn't get any sleep on my flight from New York to California, but I spent six hours wearing the pillow while looking down at my 3DS. At the end, my neck wasn't sore, which I think is partially because my head was kept at a particular angle and surrounded by a comfortable material. On my way home, I did catch some sleep. (I did have the entire row to myself.)

I can confirm this is a good pillow, whether you have the luxury of laying down, or have your head leaned against the seat in back of you.

If you've given up on travel pillows in the past because you found them uncomfortable, this pillow might address your big complaints. It nails the right balance of softness and firmness, even letting you adjust it to some degree. The side vents to keep your neck from being sweaty is also a major win.

I said it earlier; I'm not a huge travel-pillow fan, but Cabeau's is by far the best one I've ever used.

Note: The pillow also comes with a pair of ear plugs. I didn't use them, because I was simultaneously testing a pair of headphones.

Cabeau Evolution Cool Head and Neck Memory Foam Cooling Travel Pillow, $59.99

This article was originally published on 10/11/2016.

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