If you have a bad back, sleeping on the ground doesn’t sound very appealing. Even if you use a camping mattress, the ground can be so harsh and uneven that your back will undoubtedly be worse by the time you head home.
Fortunately, an easy way to correct this problem is use a camping bed or cot with a sleeping pad. By elevating yourself off the ground, you can maintain back support and wake up feeling rested.
So, with that in mind, we’re looking at the best camping cost for bad backs. We’ve compiled a list of the top nine models, and here’s what we discovered.
The best camping cots for bad backs are:
- Alpha Camp Oversized Camping Cot – Best Overall
- Coleman Camping Cot Combo – Best Combo Cot
- Teton Sports Outfitter XXL
- Marchway Ultralight Folding Camping Cot
- Helinox Cot One
- Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Bunk Large
- ALPS Mountaineering Ready-Lite Cot
- Coleman Pack-Away Camping Cot
- Coleman Trailhead II Cot
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Best Combo Cot
|Ease of Setup||4.6||4.6||4.7||4.5||4.7||4.2||4.6||4.5||4.4|
|Value for Money||4.7||4.7||4.4||4.7||3.8||3.8||4.0||4.0||3.8|
|Back Support Rating||4.8||4.8||4.7||4.3||4.6||4.5||4.4||4.4||4.2|
Since this cot is designed to support up to 600 pounds, it will prevent you from sinking too much while sleeping. We also like the elevated headrest for better support.
Since this cot can hold up to 600 pounds and comes with its own queen-sized air mattress, we like how well it can support those with a bad back.
Having a bad back means you don't want to sleep too close to the ground. This model from Teton Sports is durable and won't let you sag too much.
As an ultralight camping bed, this model is easy to take on your next trip. However, staying so close to the ground can be a problem for those with a bad back.
This is another lightweight cot that sits close to the ground. While it's good for backpacking, it might sag a little too much for those with a bad back.
This bunk-bed-style cot is meant for two people, but you can split it for single-person use as well. Although the cot doesn't have center supports, the material is pretty durable.
An expensive yet lightweight cot that works well for roughing it. However, if you have a bad back, you may struggle to get out, making your condition worse.
This cot elevates you off the ground and comes with a built-in cup holder. But, the material can sag and rip more easily, so it's toward the bottom of the list.
If you're looking for a cheap camping cot, the Coleman Trailhead II is a decent choice. But, it's not very durable and may sag too much, creating back problems.
Best Camping Cots for Bad Backs Compared
All of the cots on this list are high-quality, but some models are better for those with bad backs. For example, taller models work better, so you don’t have to twist and contort yourself to get out of bed in the morning. Here are breakdowns of each cot and why we liked (or didn’t like) them for this demographic.
- Durable ripstop material
- Elevated headrest
- Extra supports to keep your back comfortable
- Holds up to 600 pounds
- Won’t let you sag as much as other cots
- Sets up in minutes
- Relatively lightweight design
- Not ideal for taller users
- Cannot lower the headrest if necessary
One of the biggest challenges with finding the best camping cot for bad back is that many cots will tend to sag over time. So, as you sleep at night, you’ll wind up in a cocoon, making it harder on your back when you move around or need to get up.
An easy way to alleviate this issue is to find a cot with a substantial weight rating and extra support beams. Ideally, these beams won’t cross at the top of the cot, so you don’t have metal bars pressing against your back. The Alpha Camp Oversized Camping Cot fits this situation perfectly since it can easily hold up to 600 pounds.
Another feature we like about this cot for bad backs is that the headrest is slightly elevated. So, if you like sleeping on your back, you may not even need a pillow. That said, the headrest cannot go down, so it might be a problem if you like to sleep on your side.
Finally, this cot has a storage compartment on the side so you can keep your essential items close at hand. Overall, this is an excellent cot for anyone, but especially those with bad backs.
- Air mattress provided
- Queen-size bed allows you to move around more
- Ideal for individuals and couples
- Supports up to 600 pounds
- Extra supports to prevent sagging
- Side table with cup holder built-in
- Not as durable as other camping cots
- May need to replace the air mattress sooner rather than later
If you’re familiar with Coleman, you know that this brand is synonymous with camping gear. Unfortunately, Coleman products are not as rugged and reliable as they used to be, but this cot combo works well for campers with bad backs.
The first reason we liked this cot is that it comes with its own air mattress. So, all you have to provide are pillows and a sleeping bag. That said, the mattress is flimsy, so you’ll likely have to replace it sooner rather than later.
We also ranked this cot highly because it’s meant for two people and holds up to 600 pounds. So, as with the Alpha Camp model, you can get lots of back support while also sleeping above ground. Finally, we like that this cot is as wide as a queen-sized bed so you can move around at night and not feel trapped.
- Durable powder-coated steel material
- S-shaped supports reduce sagging
- Rugged ripstop fabric to support your back
- Elevated stance so you can get in and out easier
- Super easy to set up and tear down
- Holds up to 600 pounds
- Supports may buckle under extra weight
- In rare cases, the pivot arm may pop off while you sleep
Typically speaking, cots with more support beams are better for your back. However, the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL ranked highly for a few reasons:
- First, it’s elevated, so getting in and out is easy. Quite a few cots sit close to the ground, making them harder on your back.
- Second, it’s super easy to put together, thanks to the pivot arm that allows you to lock the ends in place quickly.
- Finally, the S-shaped supports help keep your back comfortable all night long, even though there are only three of them.
If you’re a heavyset person, you may notice some sagging after repeated uses, but ultimately, this cot is durable enough to last a long time. Plus, with the pivot arm, it’s easy to replace the canvas material if or when the time comes.
- Lightweight design is extra portable
- Multiple supports to prevent sagging
- Extra-rugged canvas material
- Anti-skid feet so the cot won’t move while sleeping
- Fast and efficient setup
- Cot only brings you 6.5 inches off the ground
- Doesn’t work well on uneven surfaces
As a rule, shorter cots are worse for back pain because it’s hard to get up in the morning. Also, if you like to sleep on your side, you may depress the center enough to touch the ground. Cots like this model from Marchway are built for backpacking, not necessarily lumbar support. However, out of all the lightweight cots on this list, we like Marchway the best for bad backs.
First, this cot has extra support beams that don’t cross on top. They’re pretty rugged and do an excellent job of keeping the material rigid all night long. Also, this is a pretty affordable backpacking cot, making it more accessible than others we’ve seen. So, with the exception of the short height (which you can alleviate by car camping), this cot works pretty well overall.
- Ultra lightweight aluminum frame
- Extra supports to prevent sagging
- Holds up to 320 pounds
- Lever-Lock technology for added reinforcement
- Five-year manufacturer warranty provided
- Sleeps really close to the ground
- More expensive than other cots in this style
Here we have another backpacking cot that focuses on being lightweight and portable more than anything else. However, we didn’t put it lower on the list because it also has some impressive support beams to prevent sagging all night. These beams use locking mechanisms to stay in place, and the whole thing is effortless to set up by yourself. Also, the material holds more weight than the Marchway. But, we didn’t rank it higher because of the hefty price tag.
- Versatile cot works as a bench or bunk bed
- Rugged steel frame
- Durable cot material doesn’t sag
- Each cot can hold up to 500 pounds
- Side compartments for storage
- Longer and wider than other cots
- Heavy and cumbersome when transporting
- Center will sag over time because there are no middle supports
If you’re camping with a friend or partner, getting a bunk bed cot makes a lot of sense. However, what if you’re an individual with a bad back? This Cam-O-Bunk works well for both situations, thanks to some decent features like:
- Customizable Bunk Bed – You can separate each cot, so you don’t have to build the whole thing if you don’t want to. Also, you can convert the bed into a bench if you’re trying to relax during the day.
- Rugged Materials – Although this cot doesn’t have center supports, the material doesn’t sag very much. If you’re a heavier person, it won’t last a very long time, but it’ll keep its shape longer than you might imagine.
- Tall Frame – Unlike the backpacking cots, this model sits higher off the ground, helping to relieve back pain when getting in and out.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Holds up to 300 pounds
- Fast and easy setup
- Reinforced feet won’t rip the fabric
- Polyester will sag over time
- Sits close to the ground, making it hard to get in and out of bed
Here is our last backpacking cot, and this is probably the weakest of the three. Since this cot is so lightweight, the materials can buckle more easily, particularly if you’re a heavyset person. The top fabric is 100 percent polyester, which will sag over time. However, this cot isn’t dead last because it offers better lumbar support than our final two options. Overall, if you need a backpacking cot and don’t like the other two, this model can work okay.
- Built-in side table with cup holder
- Sits elevated off the ground
- Relatively lightweight materials
- Steel frame supports 300 pounds
- Fits campers up to six feet and six inches tall
- Support feet can bend under pressure
- Cot material will wear down and can rip more quickly than other models
As we mentioned earlier, Coleman products are not quite as durable and reliable as they used to be. So, when buying something like the Pack-Away Camping Cot, you might have to replace the cot material sooner than you should. We ranked this a little higher than our last pick because we like the side table with a cup holder. This way, you can relax on the cot during the day and use it for recreational activities.
- Sits high above the ground
- Fast and easy setup
- Affordable pricing
- Holds up to 300 pounds
- Center crossbar helps prevent sagging
- One-year limited warranty provided
- Not as durable as other cots we’ve seen
- Must use a camping mattress or sleeping pad because of the center bar
Our final cot is one of the most affordable options; as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. While we like that this cot sits above the ground, it’s not as durable as other models we’ve seen. Also, there is a center crossbar, meaning you need a sleeping pad or mattress to make this cot comfortable. Overall, the Trailhead II should be the cot of last resort (i.e., if you’re trying to save money).
How Did We Choose the top Camping Cot? Our Review Criteria
When looking through our ratings and reviews, you might be confused as to why some high-quality camping cots got such a relatively low rating. Here are some of the factors we considered when ranking these cots.
Which Cot is the Highest Off the Ground?
If you have a bad back, you know that contorting it to get out of bed can worsen your condition. So, sleeping too close to the ground can force you to twist and turn more than if you were elevated. So, we like cots that help you sleep higher so you can get out of bed more easily. Unfortunately, many backpacking cots are just a few inches off the ground, meaning you might even sag to the point where you’ll touch the bottom of your tent.
Which Cot Has the Most Support Beams?
As a general rule, more supports means less sagging. So, cots with more beams work better for those with a bad back because there’s less chance of sinking into the middle. The cots that ranked the highest either have excellent supports or ones that keep the sleeping surface as taut as possible overnight.
Which Cot Has the Strongest Fabric Material?
While support beams can prevent sagging, what matters most is the strength of the material you’re using. Cots with stronger fabric or canvas ranked higher because you get better back support. Also, we prefer cots that won’t rip or tear after repeated use.