You love camping trips and hiking excursions. The great outdoors is like your playground. At the same time, it also offers a peaceful escape from the craziness of work and life in general.  You nod knowingly when other campers and hikers talk about the trails calling out to them like a sea siren calls out to a sailor. But finding a comfortable camping cot that helps you have a good night’s sleep on your camping trip is one of life’s greater challenges. Especially when you have a bad back.

Three Best Potential Camping Cots At A Glance

ALPS Mountaineering
Ready Lite Cot

Best Overall

  • 7000 series aluminum frame.
  • Holds up to 300 pounds.
  • Weighs 5 pounds.
  • Durable 420D polyester honeycomb ripstop fabric.
  • Sleeve on top allows for up to 2″ thick pad.
  • Folds up to fit into a shoulder carrying bag.
Getovin Folding Camping Cots Portable Sleeping Cots

Best Price

  • Very easy setup, no tools required.
  • Just over 6 feet in length.
  • Holds up to 450 pounds.
  • Frame made with steel tubes.
  • Side pocket to store personal items while sleeping.
Kamp-Rite Oversize Tent Cot Folding Outdoor Sleeping Bed

Best value Brand

  • Holds up to 350 pounds.
  • Converts to lounge chair.
  • Enclosed zippered doors, windows, mesh-like window screen.
  • Inside storage pouch, optional gear bag available for additional storage.

What To Consider When Choosing A Camping Cot That Helps Control Back Pain

Many people with a bad back search for a firm, but comfortable camping cot to help control their back pain. But not too firm. Sleeping on hard ground might work for a worn-out kid, but adults need more cushion. Interestingly, keeping back pain under control is more about adequate spinal alignment than a firm surface. 

Health care professionals typically agree that the type of mattress, or in this case, camping cot, that’s most effective for controlling back pain isn’t necessarily one that’s more firm. Part of the secret to a good night’s sleep is keeping your spine aligned. And that requires something that will be comfortable and helps facilitate relaxation in your muscles and ligaments, especially in connection to your back.

Another element that plays into all of this is finding a comfortable camping cot that helps relieve pressure points. Pressure points typically involve the areas that stick out the most, such as shoulders and hips.

Why You Should Consider A Sleeping Pad For Your Camping Cot

Certainly, a sturdy camping cot is important. But if you have a bad back, consider combining a sleeping pad with your cot. The general recommendation is something with memory foam, which contours to the body and gives better support while also relieving the stress on the body’s pressure points.

While air mattresses are popular, and for many good reasons, they aren’t the best option for helping to facilitate the alignment of your spine. They lose air over time, which causes a diminishing ability to relieve those stress points for the proper relaxation of your body after a hard day on the hiking trails. The same thing can happen if the air mattress lacks the proper amount of air when initially inflated. In addition, they tend to hold heat or cold. So they’re not as comfortable as memory foam during the hot or snowy seasons.

When looking for a comfortable camping cot and sleeping pad, the best-case scenario is to go into a store and actually lay on the available sleeping options if the store will allow it. That being said, you’ll still want to find out what their return policy is because laying on a camp cot and camping pad for a minute or two in the store is not the same as sleeping on them for the night. So testing your level of comfort at home before you go on your camping trip is also a good idea. That way, you can get an idea of how your body will likely react, and determine if you’ve purchased the correct gear for helping to control your back pain.  

Certainly, an online search can narrow down which stores stock the options that will work the best for you. There’s quite a bit out there, so it may also feel less overwhelming to search online first, and then check out the products of interest to you in the store if possible. Otherwise, you’ll just need to be aware of what the online return policy says.

Camping Cots For Bad Backs That Are Worth Checking Out

Below are five camping cots worth checking out if you are looking for a cot to help control your back pain:

Coleman Camping Cot with Sleeping Pad

Coleman comes with a foam pad, but the store website does not state if it’s specifically memory foam. This portable camping cot could be a nice option for a female since the bed is only suitable for someone who is 5’7″ tall, and holds up to 275 pounds. And most reviewers agree that it’s definitely most effective as a single camping cot since it’s only designed to support one person who is 5’7″ or under. It’s also reasonably priced online for this type of portable camping cot.  While not the most lightweight camping cot option at about 20 pounds, if you’re just planning to camp and aren’t doing something like the Appalachian Trail, this cot could be a possible solution. While it is a foldable camping cot, it’s not an especially compact camping cot since it only folds in half.  But most purchasers only seem to be using it as a guest bed or at a stationary campsite. Since it doesn’t come with a cover, so you may want to consider using an old blanket or oversized trash bag to keep it from getting dings and scratches when being stored or transported to your campsite. It also seems that many reviewers who weighed over 200 pounds felt that it could use additional padding.

Pros

  • Comes with foam pad.
  • Would work well for female camper.
  • Reasonably priced.

Cons

  • Weight of 20 pounds.
  • Only folds in half.
  • Does not come with storage cover or carry bag.
  • May not be able to add padding to foam pad.

TETON Sports Outfitter XXL Limited Edition with Patented Pivot Arm Camping Cots for Adults

TETON is a rather sturdy option with its, “reinforced steel S-leg assembly.” This would definitely be suitable for a larger person with measurements of 85″ x 40″ x 19″, which is about the size of a twin bed.  It boasts of easy set up because of a “patented pivot arm” that makes the final ending bar easier to put in place. The pivot arm is a new feature that’s not available on the original XXL Camping Cot, which was more difficult to set up. While there aren’t any special tools needed to set up this newer XXL Camping Cot, one purchaser noted that the material does need to be stretched a bit, so you may want to have a pry bar handy just in case a bit of stretching is needed. It also boasts of being able to hold up to 600 pounds. If you’re interested in a compatible pad, the manufacturer’s website recommends the Outfitter XXL Camp Pad. This compact camping cot folds down to fit in a side carrying bag, which comes with the cot. Another nice feature is the lifetime warranty, though there are certain limitations.  On the downside, it’s not an especially lightweight camping cot at 26 pounds, and you may want to check your tent measurements to be sure the cot will fit inside if you want to sleep in a tent.

Pros

  • Sturdy reinforced steel S-leg assembly.
  • About the size of a twin bed.
  • Holds up to 600 pounds.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Can purchase a compatible sleeping pad.
  • Improved easy setup over original XXL with pivot arm addition.

Cons

  • Weight of 26 pounds.
  • Cot material may be difficult to stretch to cot dimensions.
  • Check measurements for compatibility to fit in tent.

Kamp-Rite Oversize Tent Cot Folding Outdoor Camping Hiking Sleeping Bed

Kamp-Rite is sort of like an elevated pup tent for one person. Plenty of length on this one at about 7.5 feet. The dome feature is nice, allowing you to actually sit up inside comfortably, and the total weight capacity is 350 pounds. It’s also touted as being rain resistant, but on those warmer, sticker nights, there are zippered doors and windows with a mesh screen-like feature. This product comes with an inside storage pouch, but with a total of only 2.5 feet, that’s not a lot of storage. However, the manufacturer’s website offers a gear storage bag that clips under the tent for any extra items that won’t fit inside. The total weight for this heavy-duty camping cot and tent combo is about 32 pounds, so it’s really ideal if you intend to camp somewhere and you don’t need to move your campsite in a thru-hiking type of adventure. It’s also a versatile camping cot that can convert to a nice lounge chair for daytime use. There is no mention of cot thickness, so if you have a bad back, you may want to consider purchasing a sleeping pad to go with it. Seems like a great tent for a minimalist, but the lack of storage on this one is something to keep in mind.

Pros

  • Ideal for minimalist camper.
  • Rain resistant.
  • 5 feet in length.
  • Holds up to 350 pounds.
  • Can convert to lounge chair.
  • Enclosed with zippered doors, windows, mesh-like window screen.
  • Inside storage pouch, optional gear bag available for additional storage.

Cons

  • Total product weight of 32 pounds.
  • Minimal storage space inside.
  • May need to purchase a sleeping pad.

ALPS Mountaineering Ready Lite Cot

ALPS may look like just your basic camping cot, but this one has several nice features. The aluminum frame is touted as 7000 series aluminum on the manufacturer’s website, which means the frame for this cot is rather durable. This lightweight camping cot’s total weight is very nice at only 5 pounds, yet it will hold up to 300 pounds. The cot’s measurements are 78″ long x 28″ wide x 6″ high. It’s covered with 420D polyester honeycomb ripstop fabric, which is the same fabric used for many back backs. So it’s not especially breathable, but there is a sleeve on top that allows for a pad of up to two inches. The manufacturer’s website specifies an air pad, but it stands to reason that a memory foam sleeping pad could also be slipped in as an alternative. This foldable camping cot also comes with a carrying bag, so the lightweight and convenience of the cot bag means this is a very versatile camping cot for both a stationary campsite or using it for a thru-hiking adventure. Some purchasers are saying initial setup may be a bit difficult, but it improves with time and practice.

Pros

  • 7000 series aluminum frame.
  • Holds up to 300 pounds.
  • Only weighs 5 pounds.
  • Durable 420D polyester honeycomb ripstop fabric.
  • Sleeve on top allows for up to 2″ thick pad.
  • Folds up to fit into a shoulder carrying bag.

Cons

  • Extra padding may be limited to air mattress rather than memory foam.
  • Initial setup may be a bit difficult but improves with time and practice.

Getovin Folding Camping Cots Portable Travel Sleeping Cots

Getovin is great if you’re mechanically challenged. This particular cot doesn’t require any assembly or tools. It’s also a nice length at a little over six feet. One especially nice option is that it can be purchased with or without a mattress. However, it’s not specified whether or not the mattress is memory foam or not. That being said, the slight incline at the head of the cot is touted as being a feature that will help to control neck, back, and shoulder pain. Steel tubes make up the frame, and those are touted as being able to support up to 450 pounds. The cot itself weighs 14 pounds and folds up to 10″ x 6″ x 42″ in length, width and height, so it stores well, but not really convenient to carry a long distance. A side pocket feature allows for storing those little items that you might like to keep by your side when you’re sleeping.

This particular cot is definitely the least expensive of the above-mentioned, even if you choose to purchase it with the pad.

Pros

  • Very easy setup, no tools required.
  • Just over 6 feet in length.
  • Holds up to 450 pounds.
  • Frame made with steel tubes.
  • Side pocket to store personal items while sleeping.
  • Can purchase a mattress to go with the cot.
  • Great price, even if purchased with the mat.

Cons

  • Mattress may not be a memory foam mattress
  • Total product weight is about 14 pounds

Preferred Camping Cot For A Bad Back

Based on the above choices, I feel that the ALPS Mountaineering Ready Lite Cot offers the best option for something that’s both versatile and suitable for a bad back. Not only can you use it if you want to set up camp and stay put, but you can also use it as an option for thru-hiker camping because it’s so lightweight. This cot is also made of some very durable materials, so it should last for a while with normal use. The price is fairly reasonable for this type of product, even though the Getovin cot is definitely less expensive. And of course, in this instance, there is that important element of a camping cot suitable for a bad back. There is the flexibility to add a sleeping pad if needed. That being said, finding the correct camping cot and sleeping pad certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, especially when you have a bad back. The above information is just a few thoughts and ideas intended to help you along in your journey.  You may also want to check out recommendations for heavy-duty camping chairs.

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