Recent Comments

Comfortable Camping With a Bad Back

Q. I have a bad back. I need something to keep me more comfortable while camping. I don’t care if it’s a mat or a cot, but I want it to last a long time. Any ideas?
— Tanner, Monroe, Louisiana

A. You’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 they’re lightweight and maintenance-free, and can be pretty cheap.

Cots are a different story. For the most part, they’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 aren’t having to haul it around, it will work great. Find it at select Scout shops or

Ask the Gear Guy

Not sure which gear to buy? Need tips for maintaining your equipment? Click here to send in your questions for the Gear Guy. Selected questions will be answered here and in the printed magazine.

9 Comments on Comfortable Camping With a Bad Back

  1. I have the slumber jack best investment I ever made. Camping once a month with my son’s boy scout troop takes its toll on my back. Not with the slumber jack

  2. Anonymous // May 25, 2018 at 4:35 pm // Reply

    Don’t forget to bring a camping chair which provides lower back support. I’ve found a bad chair will hurt more than an inadequate pad. Try the Magellan Lusaka tension arm chair

  3. Anonymous // May 25, 2018 at 3:57 pm // Reply

    I love my Teton xxl camp cot. Holds up to 750 lbs. Also has an available pad. I’m 250+lbs with severe degenerative disc disease in lower back. It’s high enough for me to get my feet under me & stand. Have lasted me for 5+ years & going strong. Can find on amazon for $120 or so.

  4. I’ve had that exact same Slumberjack cot for the last 15 yrs or so – very sturdy for my 275 lb frame. Still holding up well too – solid construction.

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

  6. 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.

  7. Hammocks

    • Carlos H Correia // September 2, 2018 at 4:19 pm // Reply

      I have two herniated discs in the lower back and once I started using a hammock I won’t trade for anything else where it’s possible. I bought a hammock tent and insulation and couldn’t be happier.

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

Leave a Reply

Please do not use your real name.