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Comfortable Camping With a Bad Back

Q. I have a bad back. I need something to keep me more comfortable while camping. I donโ€™t care if itโ€™s a mat or a cot, but I want it to last a long time. Any ideas?
— Tanner, Monroe, Louisiana

A. Youโ€™re in luck! Click here for our sleeping pad buying guide, including a list of pads that should work for you in almost any situation. Sleeping pads are great because theyโ€™re lightweight and maintenance-free, and can be pretty cheap.

Cots are a different story. For the most part, theyโ€™re bulky and a lot more expensive. For example, the new top-of-the-line Therm-a-Rest Ultralite Cot costs $220. It weighs less than 3 pounds, can be assembled in less than 3 minutes and is about the same size as the average sleeping pad when stored. Too much? Try the Slumberjack Tough Cot ($90). If you arenโ€™t having to haul it around, it will work great. Find it at select Scout shops or

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4 Comments on Comfortable Camping With a Bad Back

  1. Hammocks and Water Beds are deadly to my back. Larger sized to allow changing position and thicker pad on cot helps me.

  2. WilhelmWhisper // February 2, 2018 at 12:33 am // Reply

    Hammock all the way. Insulation above and below on colder nights is a must, but your back will love you for it. It can take some doing to figure out the sleeping position that works for you. I tend to do a little research before I go to check for trees, and go back to tent and pad if I must.

  3. Hammocks

  4. The Thermarest cot may be comfortable, but is a total pain to set up and take apart.

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