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A pillowtop mattress protector is thicker than a standard mattress protector, but not as plush as memory foam. 
You could liken this thickness to about 2 medium weight quilts together. (ie 1000gsm). Or, as the name suggests, a thin pillow on top.
Pillowtop Mattress Protectors are good for people who are;
1. adding warmth to their bed, or
2. looking for a little bit of softness for a hard bed, but not a sinking feeling, or
3. a way to cover a small number of lumps and bumps in a mattress, or
4. a way to improve air circulation for their current mattress, or
5. a compromise for a couple who need soft and firm beds.
I wouldn't recommend them for camping beds.
If you are a hot sleeper, and you currently have a hard or lumpy bed, you can consider a pillowtop protector, as the hollows in the padded material should help with air circulation. (I would still probably recommend the woollen underlay instead though, but that is my personal preference.)
You can get waterproof pillowtop mattress protectors. These have a PU (or similar plastic-type) layer, with the pillowtop ontop.
These would be less breathable than without the PU layer, but the air circulation between the fibres in the pillowtop would certainly increase circulation.
A good pillowtop mattress protector has;
1. Thickness (usually rated by Grams per Square Metre (gsm), and I think less than 1000gsm may not get you the effect you are looking for). 
2. Fully Elasticised skirts, or Elasticised corners. Go the skirts if you can; they keep the topper in place better. It usually comes down to price in this matter.
3. Fabric of the Pillowtop. Different do fabrics have different characteristics. However, I think it is over-promoted as a 'difference'. 
This category is where duck down feather pillowtop topper or goose down feather mattress toppers feature. They are very popular, but a little pricier than their man-made counterparts. They originate from a natural resource, and the spine of the feathers keep the height of the pillowtop working. Just make sure you shake it occasionally.
When used, the bamboo fabric gives the topper hypoallergenic properties, and charcoal should absorb smells. Cooling effects will (temporarily) work by the gel in the fabric staying cooler than the surrounding area for longer.
So which topper do I recommend? I have slept on a Microfibre Pillowtop Mattress Topper and I can't say I hated it, but I don't have much experience in this product. So I leave this to my customers, and the best selling, with the most reviews pillowtop protector by far is the Hypoallergenic Bamboo Mattress Topper 1000gsm
The second best selling product is the Charcoal Bamboo Mattress Topper 1000gsm. This has the added advantage of Charcoal and Bamboo and is a darker colour that doesn't get as dirty or show stains as much.
If you don't need the softness o the pillowtop protector, we suggest you check out our base model Mattress Protectors here. If you want even more softness, then check out our Memory Foam Mattress Toppers here. If you want more firmness. then check out our Latex Mattress Toppers here.
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