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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 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

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2 Comments on Comfortable Camping With a Bad Back

  1. Former Cubmaster Bill // October 11, 2019 at 11:55 am // Reply

    I use the Teton XXL camp cot, which is heavy to lug around, so only for easy to get to campsite camping. I also have the Teton XL pad, which it too is bulky and takes up lots of valuable space, but it is comfy.

  2. I have a Eureeka cot that I love, it is not light enough for backpacking but is not as cumbersome and heavy as standard cots. I also have a sleeping pad from LL Bean that is their camp futon and is 3 inches thick when fully inflated. Both of those plus having a pillow between my legs allow me to sleep without too much pain.

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