If you are in a hurry I recommend the Outsunny 2-Person Folding Camping Cot as the best camping cot for bad backs for its thick, air mattress padding and large size for comfort.
My father would hide his back pain from us.
He’d make sure the whole family had comfortable sleeping arrangements and push through with whatever was left over.
Over the years you’d hear him make comments about his lower back and see the sacrifices he made in his posture.
Now that we’re older, he can’t get as low as he used to so I looked for a camping cot that could support his lower back
Below is the results of my research and what I found will help any camper with a bad back.
How to Choose the Best Camping Cots for Bad Backs
When you’re looking for a cot that helps to support your back pain the main element is going to be padding. You want to make sure you have enough to be comfortable but there are some other considerations you need to keep in mind too.
The More Padding the Better
When you think of sleeping on a cot when you have a sore back you better be looking for padding.
Cots will employ a number of different padding options to help keep you more comfortable. None are targeted specifically for bad backs but they all help more than not having any padding.
One option you’ll see from cot manufacturers is an air mattress that sits right on top of the cot. These are usually reserved for double-wide cots.
The other option you’ll see is actual pads that run the entire length of the cot and they usually attach at the corners. These aren’t very thick but they’re better than nothing.
Look for Lightweight Materials
No one with a bad back wants to be lifting heavy materials or going through complicated setups.
You want to be able to haul it out of your vehicle, set it up, and tear it down without injuring your already vulnerable back.
The cots that come with all the great padding are typically bigger and will be heavier. Some will have to carry cases with wheels though so you don’t have to take on the brunt of the weight.
Portability Helps With Pressure
As mentioned above, some of the best camping cots for bad backs are going to have a carrying case with wheels that makes it super easy to haul around.
But not all cots are going to be made like that.
Some are going to fold down but they’ll still be a pretty big size and uncomfortable when you’re trying to move them.
Others will fold up just like a regular camping chair and fit into a tiny carrying case that is light to carry.
Extra Features That Add Comfort
Some cots are going to come with a padded pillow that straps around the head area.
You can remove that and just stick it underneath your back whether you’re a side sleeper or someone who sleeps on your back.
You’ll see multiple cots on this list that have the ability to raise up or lower down so you can get the right angle for your back.
Some even allow you to do this with your legs too so you can really work on which angles feel best for your comfort.
The design of the frame can even help you feel like you’re getting more support in the lower back area. Anything with an x-frame design should be better than straight support bars.
Having a bad back in the outdoors means you need a cot that has extra support to keep you comfortable.
The Outsunny 2-Person Folding Camping Cot comes with an included 7-inch thick air mattress you can attach to the cot itself.
Your back will have full support as you lay down for the night with the extra cushion of air underneath you.
It’s a double-wide cot so you could technically fit a couple of people but it could just give you more room to stretch out your back if you’re camping solo.
The added support is just the start to what the Outsunny has to offer. You’ll get a single size sleeping bed that can open fully to cover the double-wide cot and a couple of pillows.
There aren’t a lot of cots that have as much support and added features as the Outsunny, which is why it’s the best camping cot for bad backs.
The Coleman Camping Cot, much like the Outsunny, comes with a queen-size air mattress to help give you extra support when sleeping.
The air mattress actually comes with its own cover which should help protect it from your keys, pens, or anything sharp that may be lying around while you camp.
Although you don’t get the considerate sleeping bag or pillows as you would the Outsunny, the cot frame does have a couple of small bedside table pullouts.
The pullouts are basically just stretched-out fabric about the size of a square but they do have a convenient drink holder.
Because of the lack of back support you get from most other cots, the Coleman stands out as one of the better camping cots that can help people with bad backs.
The Getovin Camping Cot transforms the plain and uncomfortable single camping cot into a more relaxing and supportive sleeping experience with its houndstooth pad.
The pad itself isn’t incredibly thick but it doe add to the comfort level as you lay down. The head area actually has some extra padding so it’s like a built-in pillow.
What’s also really nice about the Getovin is the five adjustable positions you can put the cot in.
You can fold it into a 90-degree chair or slightly raise it for better posture as you sleep.
The Getovin is extra sturdy too so no matter what the ground level looks like, you’ll be sleeping level.
Lilypelle isn’t exactly the largest name in the outdoor camping industry so it wouldn’t be surprising if you’ve never heard of them.
But one of the areas they do specialize in is making these steel frame cots with an added extra cotton padding on top.
They even design the head area of the cot to be slightly elevated as if there were a built-in pillow.
This should help alleviate some of the pain of overstretching your neck as you might experience from other cots.
The pad has some nice corner attachments that slip easily onto the cot so you won’t have any movement while you sleep.
If you’re looking for something a bit more portable and easier to setup than the Outsunny or Coleman, the Lilypelle is a great, comfortable choice.
The Alpha Camp Oversized Camping cot is a great choice for people with pain in their back because of its big size and great design.
It can fit people who are up to 6′ 2″ so most people should have plenty of room to fidget and squirm till they find a comfortable position for their back.
The x-frame design also helps people with bad backs because they won’t be resting on anything as they lay down.
The fabric is suspended over the frame of the Alpha Camp so you won’t feel anything when you lay down for the night.
The Zone Tech Outdoor Cot is a great example of a well-made cot that can work perfectly for someone with a bad back.
It utilizes the slightly elevated headrest area so you can have some more relief in your posture as you head to bed.
What’s even better is the padded pillow that comes with it. It’s the kind you would see on a folding chair that straps around the base of the frame.
Instead of using it as a pillow though, you can stick it behind your lumbar area as you drift off to sleep to get some extra support making the Zone Tech an excellent choice.
The AbocoFur Folding Cot is almost the exact same cot as the Getovin. It has the same style of camping pad laid on top of the cot and it also allows the front half to be fully adjustable in position.
It’s got a very sturdy leg design so you can feel comfortable setting it up on any kind of ground and it folds fully into a portable design.
The KingCamp looks just like one of those zero-gravity chairs but when you take a closer look you can see there are a few design choices that make it a great cot for bad backs.
There’s an added pole that runs along the width of the leg area that can be fully extended to turn the entire thing into a cot.
Of course, that means the head area is adjustable too and it even comes with a padded pillow you could use in the lumbar area of your back.
When you need something solid and reliable to hold up on any kind of camping trip then the Marchway could be your sleeping solution.
It has a pretty different frame design that allows you to settle in the cot without ever having to worry about your back hitting anything.
It does sit pretty low to the ground though so if your back won’t allow you to be able to just get up and go in the middle of the night it might not be the best option.
The Lilypelle cot is a slight upgrade from some of their previous options because not only do you get a full-length cotton pad but you also get a padded pillow that attaches to the head area.
Of course, you can use that pillow for your back instead for some extra support but the fully adjustable head positions make that easier as well.
You can go from sitting 90 degrees to laying completely horizontally. You can even lay down the leg slightly to create more of a beach lounge chair rather than a cot.
How can you make a cot more comfortable for bad backs?
There are several things you can do to make cots more comfortable for people with bad backs including adding more pillows and blankets, adding an air mattress, or adding a sleeping pad.
Do cots support the lumbar area?
Not many cots will target the lumbar area specifically for sleeping but some do include pillows you can use for the lumbar area.
Using The Best Camping Cot for Bad Backs
I recommend the Outsunny 2-Person Folding Camping Cot as the best camping cot for bad backs. It’s got a queen-size air mattress that has attachments built-in to the cot and then it gives you a sleeping bag and pillow with your purchase. It’s one of the most comfortable cots possible for someone who experiences back pain while camping.