NapScarf Review: Sleep for the weary business trav...

NapScarf Review: Sleep for the weary business traveller

NapScarf review image

On my connection to Philadelphia. Small plane so I had both the aisle and the window seat!

Just before I left for my last business trip, this time to Philadelphia, I received the NapScarf in the mail. With my rather long trip (1 lay-over, total of 14 hours travel time), I had a chance to give the NapScarf a try for this review.

I travel a lot, and come back to North America quite a bit as well. This means a minimum of 8 hours on the plane, at best. At worst we’re talking over 16 hours of flying. I am not the type to curl up easily in the small airplane seats (unlike a colleague of mine who folds like origami and sleeps like a bear in hibernation). I generally do my best to stretch out, and in a lucky scenario I get a bit of a snooze. Until my head falls forward and jerks me awake. It would be better if I get a window seat probably, but then I feel really constricted so I always go for the aisle to insure a speedy escape out of my seat when I feel like stroll up and down the aisles.

Having any kind of effective sleeping aid would help me travel more rested. I’ve tried other neck pillows, and the blow up ones are OK (more or less), but with seats reclining less and less these days it just feels like they thrust my head forward even more, not protecting me from the dreaded head-falling-forward-jerking-me-awake-situation. Getting a chance to try out the NapScarf was a great opportunity for me to look forward to some potential snooze time on the plane.

First impressions

The NapScarf has scored quite some positive reviews already, and I was excited to receive the package in the mail. It looked quite different from other neck pillows from the pictures on the website, and I was looking forward to styling it up while sleeping on the plane. I love scarves, and red is my favourite color (NapScarf is available in a variety of hues). When I unwrapped the package I was looking at a wrapped up half folded square pillow-y sort of thing. Unwrapping the scarf gave me a wrap the approximate size of a regular winter scarf, and the fabric felt comfortable and warm. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve felt hot on a plane vs. too cold, so this was a plus for me.

NapScarf in action

My first flight was from London Heathrow to Washington Dulles airport. A nice long 9 hour stretch of sitting on the plane. Even better, the flight left at 7am local time, meaning I left my bed at 2:30am to make it on time. Needless to say I was pretty sleepy still once I got on the flight. The NapScarf was sitting in my carry-on bag, and I couldn’t wait to break it out. Given I get the aisle seat, I had to wait for everyone to be seated in my row and as soon as the seatbelt sign went on I wrapped the SnapScarf around my neck.

NapScarf on the plane image

Me trying to sleep. After putting away the camera I did catch a bit of a snooze even though it was a daytime flight.

Basically, it is a scarf with a rigid (light-weight) structure inside of one end, which is meant to be positioned on one side of your neck. Wherever you find it to be most comfortable to tilt your head towards. So that could be one side, or more towards the front. The idea is that it holds your head up as you lean it to a side so you do not bend it uncomfortably, and it does not fall sideways or forward as you fall asleep.

Tightness of the scarf can be adjusted by just wrapping it tighter and closing it with the velcro on the ends. The design makes it one-size-fits-all.

I have a hard time sleeping on planes, so any kind sleep I do get is definitely a huge plus and not a common occurrence. This makes me give even more of a thumbs up to the NapScarf, because despite this and despite it being a daytime flight I got a few naps in while in transit. Even on my connecting flight I caught a snooze.

The big test will be on my return flight on July 4th, when I have a red-eye back to London. I am already excited about getting some sleep then, so I can jump into my day when I arrive.

NapScarf Review Summary

  • Small and lightweight. Much smaller than the bulky foam neck pillows
  • Not very expensive (£24.95, free shipping in the UK but ships worldwide)
  • Doesn’t look like a neck pillow
  • Comfortable and soft
  • Keeps your head from flopping forward, unlike some blow-up neck pillows
  • Looks stylish, and looks like a scarf so you could even wear it around the terminal if you are feeling cold
  • Wouldn’t mind if the scarf was slightly wider so it would cover more of your chest as well. This is more from a style perspective rather than a functional one
  • You may miss the in-flight entertainment because you are sleeping too soundly 🙂

**Update: Red-eye flight from Washington DC to London**

I just flew back to London from the USA on your typical overnight flight. With the winds in our back it was a quick 6.5 hour across the pond, and I had quite a busy day ahead of my after landing. Catching some sleep was evermore important to me compared to other trips. Despite my usual plane-insomnia, the NapScarf did help me get some sleep. Helped by the fact it was night time, it was easier for me to nap than on the way to Philadelphia a few weeks ago.


Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".


  1. Jason

    27 June

    I am going to give this a try. Got so tired of the heavy memory foam U-shaped travel pillows!

    • Christine Buske

      28 June

      It’s definitely different! So far I really liked it.

  2. Mike

    7 July

    haha, it looks cool. I have to get this for my next round of conference travel!

  3. K.L.

    7 July

    am sick of my bulky pillow, I am getting one of these.

  4. Jennifer

    20 July

    haha, that is hilarious. But if it works… it is also genius!

  5. rosalyn

    23 February

    What’s up, I read your blog regularly. Your writing style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

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