Your guide to this review today is by product expert Nick Bulanda
Published July 24, 2019
Roughing it out in the wild is one of America's greatest time honored traditions. From its origins in England to its explosion of popularity in the United States after World War II, camping is one of the world's most beloved recreational activities. However, there's no denying that it's often suited a little more for the younger crowd. That's not to say older folks can not or should not go camping! It's just that the "roughin' it" aspect can get a little too rough once you're older and your body has been through the ringer.
Thankfully, options to make camping more appealing for people with back problems, stiff joints or other maladies are easier to find and more affordable than ever before. One of the most important items to keep in your backpack or bag is a camping pad. When sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag, your back has no real support from the stiff and bumpy ground. With a simple and affordable camping pad, you’ll be able to avoid waking up in the morning feeling like someone’s been stomping all over your back.
With so many choices at your disposal, how does one go about finding the best camping pad for bad back issues? We’re here to help, as we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites, as well as some handy camping tips you may want to take with you on your next trip.
Top 10 Best Camping Pad for Bad Back
Our pick for the best camping pad for bad back issues is this durable and lightweight pad from Sleepingo. With their great reputation, promise of excellent customer service and a product as good as this one, we don't think we can recommend a better choice. This camping pad is made with strong waterproof nylon, packs down to the size of a water bottle and inflates up to two inches to keep you supported and off the hard ground.
With a hassle-free guaranteed lifetime warranty and the high quality of the material, it's unlikely you will ever need to buy another camping pad. Unless you're looking for a gift for a friend or loved one!
Lifetime Replacement Warranty
Lightweight and Compact
Easy to Inflate
Weight: 14.4 ounces
For our premium pick, we've decided to go all in on this luxury memory foam floor mattress that doubles as a camping pad. With its non-slip, waterproof and abrasion-resistant bottom, this soft cotton mattress is an ideal choice for those interested in "glamping," or glamorous camping. With this level of comfort, you might as well be sleeping in your bed back home, or it might even be a step up!
If you're concerned about portability, there's no need to worry. The mattress rolls up and fits into the included carrying case. If you are someone who is always concerned about how much you're taking along, it might be more than you want to carry. For most folks, though, it'll do just fine.
Waterproof Sheet Included
3" Memory Foam
Brand: Better Habitat
Weight: 17 lbs.
If you're a bargain hunter, or just can't help but capitalize on a good deal, then this is the camping pad for you. This item from Outdoorsman Lab is a perfectly capable camping pad, and though it may not share all of the same luxury features as some of the other entries here, there's no doubt it can get the job done in a pinch.
If you've already got a nice padded sleeping bag and just need a little extra back support, or if you're the type who's only interested in the core features and would prefer to bring as little with you as possible, this is likely going to be your best option.
Ultralight and Easy to Carry
Isolated Air Cells for Heat Retainment and Back Support
Quick and Easy Inflation
Brand: Outdoorsman Lab
Weight: 14.7 ounces
One problem many camping pads suffer from is the fact that they're simply just a few inches too small along their width. For campers who tend to move around at night, or just need a little extra space, this can pose a pretty significant problem. If this sounds like you, this excellent inflatable camping pad from manufacturer Klymit should work perfectly for you. With its width measuring out to 30 inches, this comfortable camping pad gives you the extra room you need for a good night's sleep, even in the wild.
Ultra Wide 30"
Side Rails to Keep You Centered
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Side Rails to Stop You From Rolling Off
Model: Static V Luxe
Weight: 1.8 lbs.
This self-inflating and easy-to-transport foam pad is, if not the best camping pad for bad back problems, absolutely a contender for one of the better options out there. Unlike most camping pads around this price point, which are most often types of air mattresses, the XL Super Plush from Lightspeed Outdoors is made of foam, a major benefit in the eyes of some consumers.
This camping pad, though not as small as some other options on our list, is advertised as being easy to roll up and transport, excellent at retaining warmth and features a small integrated pillow pad just in case you forgot to bring one!
Made Using Non-Slip Stretch Material
Odorless and Silent, Non-Plastic Material
Quick and Easy to Inflate and Deflate
Integrated Pillow on One End
Brand: Lightspeed Outdoors
Model: XL Super Plush
Weight: 6 lbs.
Another memory foam choice on our list, this fleece-lined camping pad is a great choice for families or larger camping groups especially. Each pad features a connector that allows it to join with another camping pad of this same model, meaning you can create a sleeping space as big as you'd like! The pad also features straps that allow for easy compact folding, ready to fit in the back of your car at a moment's notice. For those hoping for a more luxurious camping trip, this might be one you want to take a peek at.
Connector Allows Multiple Camping Pads to Connect Together
Portable Memory Foam Mattress
6' x 2' Dimensions
Polar Fleece Cover
Brand: LaidBack, Inc.
Weight: 8.5 lbs.
Are there any recreational camping brands with more name recognition than Coleman? Now, that isn't to say that a brand name is always a guarantee of a quality product. In this case, however, as long as you're looking for a simple, bare-bones sleeping pad, we think you'll be happy with your purchase.
If you aren't necessarily suffering from regular back pain, but you simply want something to ensure you're not rolling on rocks overnight, you might want to consider this basic self-inflating camping pad. While the pad itself inflates on its own, the attached pillow requires just a little bit of air to fill up.
Pillow Pad on One End
Compression Strap for Faster Delfation
Made with Durable Polyster
Weight: 5.4 lbs.
This self-inflating camping pad includes an inflatable pillow and armrests on each side, a welcome addition that's missing from most other camping pads. With several options of colors, a modest price point and a manufacturer's 100% replacement guarantee, this is a very solid choice for a versatile and portable camping pad.
As is the case with many self-inflating air mattress camping pads, there is a small valve you can blow or pump air into to inflate it faster, but it will inflate on its own over a small period of time. You just need a little patience!
Inflatable Armrest and Pillow
Compact and Light
Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
Includes Carrying Bag
Weight: 2.6 lbs.
None of the prior options appealing to you? If you're looking for something more lightweight, this ergonomic foam sleeping pad could be the right choice. As a basic 1.5 inch foam pad, this item would likely function quite well as a complement to a thick sleeping back. Sometimes, all you need is that little extra bit of support, and why waste the money on a thicker pad when you don't need it? Just be aware that this item is likely going to be less durable than most other camping pads.
1.5" Ergonomic Foam Pad
Self-Inflating Foam Design
Roll and Fold to Fit in Included Bag
Durable Polyester Material
Brand: GreenTEC USA
Weight: 2.2 lbs.
For an air mattress camping pad that's both lightweight and durable, take a look at this stylish option from manufacturer 3SV. The foam-insulated air camping pad comes in several color schemes, and includes an 11-in-1 camping tool! Made with a thick and comfortable polyester, this camping pad was made to be resistant to water, pierces and punctures.
For survivalist campers looking for something light to carry that will get the job done and save you from an aching back on your hikes, we recommend checking out this quality camping pad. It might make your next trip a little easier on your back!
1.5" Self-Inflating Soft Foam
Resistant to Water and Tearing
Includes Survival Pocket Tool
100% Manufacturer Satisfaction Guarantee
Weight: 2.4 lbs.
Best Camping Pad for Bad Back Buying Guide & FAQ
Back Pain Shouldn't Put an End to Your Camping Days
Anyone who's suffered from pain in their lower or upper back knows just how badly it can hinder your day to day life. For many, no matter how much they once loved camping, the idea of spending several nights rolling around on the ground is usually enough to deter them from taking a trip at all. Fortunately, the best camping pad for bad back problems is out there, and hopefully we've helped you make a selection from the vast number of options available.
By sleeping on a camping pad, you'll be ensuring that you have the proper support your back needs throughout the night. It's one of the amenities we'd recommend for anyone interested in recreational camping, but for people dealing with back issues it's almost a necessity.
Factors of Focus: What Makes the Best Camping Pad for Bad Back Problems?
1.) Comfort is Key
The most important factor to take into consideration when shopping for a brand new camping pad is the level of comfort. Of course everyone wants the most comfortable sleeping pad possible, but that usually comes at an increased cost. Thankfully, you can find incredibly comfortable camping pads at all price levels. Try to pick a camping pad that sounds suited to your personal sleep preferences, and make sure you choose one with tear-resistant and waterproof material. Otherwise you could wind up on the ground and soaking wet!
2.) Easy to Transport
As with every piece of equipment you take camping with you, the lighter it is, the better. That being said, if you need a bigger camping mat to accommodate a physical ailment, it will most certainly be worth the trouble. Keep portability in mind, but focus on comfort first.
3.) Foam vs. Air
When searching for the best camping pad for bad back issues, you'll inevitably be forced to choose between a foam pad or air pad. Everyone has their own personal preference, so try to compare any prior experiences on either a foam or air mattress and it'll give you an idea of what to expect, though you should keep in mind many camping pads are more comfortable than traditional air mattresses.
4.) Price Matters
Finally, and this one is obviously flexible depending on everyone's particular financial situation, price should be a factor in your purchasing decision. We have a few recommendations on the lower price range, and some on the higher side as well. Just as with anything else, you often get what you pay for when it comes to camping pads, but there are excellent options available in the lower range as well.
Every time spring rolls around, millions of Americans begin thinking about their upcoming summer camping trip plans. With the weather finally starting to turn, now is the perfect time to begin shopping for those camping accessories you've been meaning to pick up. Whether you've been worried about back pain on your summer trip, or you think it'd be the perfect gift for a significant other or family member, a camping pad is a worthy investment for any camper. After all, who wouldn't want to wake up in their tent feeling just like they slept in a bed?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do inflatable camping pads require a pump?
No! Most camping pads are designed to be inflated very easily with just a few breaths of air, or in many cases can even self-inflate! Before purchasing, make sure to check out the product specifications to see what features your camping pad has, and it should give you a better idea of what to expect when you want to inflate it.
Q: If I use a camping pad, do I still need a sleeping bag?
Most likely yes, unless you're the kind of person who really likes to rough it and pack light. The camping pad is simply there to provide some softer support for your back and sides, but you will still need to keep warm. A sleeping bag is an efficient way to do just that, and we recommend everyone take one along!
Q: How do I clean my camping pad?
Some camping pads are actually machine-washable, but not all are. Check your product specifications, as manufacturers will usually list information about the cleaning process for each individual model. In most cases, even the camping pads that are machine-washable must still be hung out to dry, so avoid the dryer!