Reviewed in the United States on December 2, 2016
I originally purchased this to travel to Singapore and Tokyo, Japan during November. My entire flight, including round trip, totaled about 40 hours (and 6 flights). I was wary of the Trtl at first, but now I am so glad I bought this. I have absolutely no regret! It is possibly the best purchase I have ever made for traveling. I can't even imagine ever traveling without it again. THAT was how great this Trtl turned out to be!
SUMMARY PROs AND CONs (if you don’t want to read the whole review):
- Nice colors (never embarrassed to wear it)
- Nice cloth texture
- Velcro only sticks to limited materials
- Keeps your posture upright
- Prevents neck pains, crinks, strains, stress, aches
- Keeps you from nodding off onto your neighbors
- Puts you to sleep a lot quicker
- KEEPS YOU ASLEEP, making long flights seem a lot shorter, and hastens recovery from jet lag
- Cozy and comfortable
- One size fits all (well, we are 5’1 and 5’5)
- Cloth is machine-washable
- Pet fur DOESN’T stick to it, and if it does, very easy to clean off with a few pats
- Helps to mask the smell of smelly airplanes or smelly neighbor on the plane
- Can use Trtl to cover up your mouth
- Doesn’t fold flat
- Gets too hot (definitely not suitable for hot summers, unless AC is blasting)
- Can’t quite fit ear phones and ear buds comfortably
- Velcro sticks to some materials
NEITHER PRO OR CON:
- Price (on the costly side, but so worth the purchase for me)
- Doesn’t have a carry case – I actually prefer not to have a carry case. I don't like to take my time carefully placing things back into its packaging (nor taking it out of the package), but I always feel obligated to if one is included. I have a system of my own that works for me, and that’s to make life as simple as possible, including just stuffing the Trtl into the front slot of my backpack and move along.
- Plastic neck-support is quite springy – while it was just the right amount of springy for me, a head that’s heavier may end up tilting a little too much for comfort (I’m not going to weigh my head for you guys…). Then again, you just need to wrap the cloth tighter to keep your head-tilt higher.
- If you have short hair (to neck length), you may look weird with the Trtl or you may look awesome.
The cost was okay, to be honest. I felt that this was on the costlier side, but then I remember one year when I didn't bring any neck pillow and was forced to buy one at the airport that costed $30... Yeah. It wasn't even that great of a pillow, sadly. With that in mind, I was willing to dish out the money for something that did work. So, I gave the Trtl a try, seeing how it had my number 1 concern addressed, which was whether it would give my neck any crinks, pain, or aches. The other feature I liked was that it was like a scarf. It didn't look ridiculous like a plushy toilet seat, if you know what I mean (imagine what extraterrestrials would think of us when they see a fat toilet seat wrapped around our neck!). Looks aside, I only cared about the comfort, that is, whether it would keep my neck from pain.
When I received this, I noticed how touchably soft the fleece-like cloth was. Next thing was how flimsy the plastic inside felt. It's hard to imagine it could support the weight of anyone's head. Finally, I was a little concerned about the velcro. Having a dog, I know velcros tend to wear out really fast as it latches on to just about everything and wear the velcro down. The Trtl velcro, however, only latches on to certain types of fabric - which is really good! I tried latching it on to my jacket, my hair, my pet, and some of my clothes. I'm happy to say that it only latched on to one of my extremely cottony shirt that I don't even wear. Everything else (including the Trtl fabric) was NOT affected at all. Super plus there!
It is also machine-washable. Right out of the bag, this thing really stunk of factory-plastic. I washed it immediately (after taking out the plastic, of course). On a side note about washing the Trtl, it’s best to test the Velcro on the clothes you will wash it with. If the Velcro doesn’t stick to the clothes, you can wash the Trtl with those clothes. Otherwise, wash it separately just to be safe. The last thing you want is to wear the Trtl’s Velcro down to unusable condition. Of course, remember to take the plastic out before washing the Trtl, because the plastic is not machine-washable and you will damage it.
At first, putting on the Trtl was awkward. It was springy, like my head was going to snap the plastic head-support. The shoulder-support was uncomfortable. However, after a few tries, I finally got it at the right tightness around my neck, at the right position to support my head, and at the right placement on my shoulder. I’m not saying that it’s really difficult to get it JUST RIGHT, but you will still have to sort of move it around and adjust it to get it comfortable enough for you. It’s a totally workable situation since everybody’s head-tilt comfort is a little different.
Also, my hair is short-ish. It goes down to the middle of my neck. There was no way to fix my hair to make it look right. I either looked like a pinhead with my hair tucked underneath the Trtl wrap, or I look like a wild mushroom with my hair on top of the Trtl. Eventually, after moving around, my hair naturally fell around the Trtl like it would with a scarf. Relieved. Lol.
PUTTING IT TO THE TEST ON THE FLIGHTS:
I took a sleeping pill the first thing I got on. I slept for 10 hours straight on the first flight with the Trtl on the entire time. I woke up in the middle of the flight to switch the neck-holder from one side to the other. I noticed no pain at all! I was too tired at that point to be amazed, but I remember thinking groggily how thankful I was that I got the Trtl. The Trtl put me right back to sleep. Sleeping the entire flight was a surprise for me. Even on sleeping pills, I get maybe 6 hours max out of it. Then I’d be up watching movies the rest of the time. Eating meals in between, of course. With the Trtl, I was so comfortable, it was like I was sleeping in my own bed. So, imagine waking up and you are at your destination like you were instantly transported there. Ah, no feeling like it…
While my plane wasn't smelly (this time), I had some smelly people (strong B/O) riding with me on the plane. So it was really good that I can choose to cover my mouth and even my nose with the Trtl. You don't have to, but you could if you wanted to. It's great as a drool-guard too. Just saying lol!
The Trtl truly does the work that it says it does. It holds up my head just right, relieving stress, strain, and pain to my spine and muscles in my body. I also don’t have to worry about nodding off side to side, which I absolutely hate. I didn’t even notice the shoulder support resting on my shoulder eventually. The shoulder support just snuggly sits and supports my head.
One thing I didn’t like was that it was very uncomfortable to place ear buds in (forget about earphones). I can only fit one ear bud into the opposite ear that didn’t have the Trtl neck-holder in place.
The Trtl does make you so dang hot and toasty though. It wasn’t completely the Trtl fault, because our airplane was really hot. I saw people fanning themselves and taking their socks off! Usually, it’s the other way around on long-distance flights; people usually have to put an extra pair of clothes and socks on because the plane gets so cold. At one point on one of my return flight, it got so hot, I just couldn’t bare the Trtl on any longer and took it off. For the next 2 hours, I stared in agony because I could not sleep. That was when I realized just how fast the Trtl has been putting me to sleep AND keeping me asleep. The sleeping pill may have done 50% of the job, but the other 50% was the Trtl! So as soon as my body cooled down, I put the Trtl back on and instantly fell back asleep.
Whenever it was time to get off the plane, I took the Trtl off, stuffed it very roughly into my stuffed backpack and hauled my ass out of the plane in a real hurry to beat the rush. It wasn’t until I was walking in the connectors that I realized that I didn’t have any shoulder or neck cramps at all. Not even a hint of it. Even my butt didn’t hurt from sitting the entire 10-14 hours, which is surprising. I remember when I flew to China, my whole family would be complaining of aches and pain everywhere, including our butts. Well, I still can’t explain the lack of butt pain this time, but after 6 flights, I truly believe the Trtl helped with that. Maybe the difference is really just posture, and Trtl does help keep your body’s posture in quite a good position to keep you from experiencing strain to your body.
The Trtl is small and light-weight, but it doesn’t fold flat. I was really rough with the Trtl when I stuff it in my backpack, but it’s been fine this whole time. So, while it doesn’t fold flat, I feel like it’s really durable even though it isn’t very convenient to carry around.
One surprising side effect of staying asleep on long flights was that it shortened my recovery time from jet lag by a whole lot! Literally, I was sleeping and waking up the very next day in Singapore like I had already been there for 3 days. Well, I wish I could say there was absolutely no jet lag. There was, but it was really shortened.
During this trip, I flew 40 total hours and sat on 6 planes. Each time, I’ve become more and more reliant on the Trtl. During one of the flights, there were open seats, so people were taking them to sit or lie down more comfortably. Me – I was absolutely comfortable where I was, squished between 2 other people. I didn’t want to move at all. Why? Because with the Trtl, I felt like I was in the perfect seat already. Comfort means everything to me. So, while other times, I would have jumped at the chance of bigger seats or seat upgrades, I didn’t want any of that this time. I actually felt so proud of my Trtl purchase at one point because it made me feel like a million bucks. I am serious. When you have to fly this much, comfort is EVERYTHING, and the Trtl gave exactly that to me.
PUTTING IT TO THE TEST ON THE BUS RIDES:
Tokyo, Japan in November is really cold. I thought I was going to freeze, so it was perfect to carry the Trtl with me for the long tour bus ride to Mt. Fuji. It kept me real nice and warm, especially since it can cover my mouth and nose if I wanted it to. Coupled with sunglasses, you couldn't even see who I was. lol. I loved it.
If you’ve ever been to a country like Singapore, you know they only have one season: hot and humid. I won’t even call it summer, because that’s just an insult. Singapore is not the place to wear a Trtl. It is way too hot for that.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS:
The Trtl could be my best purchase I’ve made for travel. Was it necessary? The answer before I ever met a Trtl was a big NO. Now, it’s a humongous YES, especially on long flights. If there is one thing I learned in my life from years of experience, it’s to be good to yourself and your body. This Trtl had kept my body from the aches and strains that used to always accompany long flights.
I really want to get another one as a gift for someone else, just to share how amazing this product is. However, at the price, I can’t say that I will get this for anyone else unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Due to how this Trtl keeps me asleep, I am really excited to plan my next long flight. I used to dread traveling because of how long the flight can be as well as how awful the jet lag can be, but now I feel like I had Star Trek moments where instant travel is possible.
Also, because the Trtl can get quite hot, I may be choosing an airline with better AC. Singapore Airlines is GREAT at everything, but I was really disappointed with the temperature on board. I had flown Singapore Airlines for 4 flights on this trip alone. They kept the plane so hot on all but 1 flight! Even my flying companions said they’ve never been so hot on the plane, and this was coming from one person who had flown Singapore Airlines for the last 15 years. I’m really quite wary of flying with them again if I ever want to use my Trtl again. That is how much I am willing to work around my Trtl. Lol.
While the Trtl is not perfect, it’s damn close. Awesome product! My only hope is that this company will come out with a summer version or something, because it just blows my mind how steamy the Trtl can get.