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Best Camping Mattress & Beds for Bad Back

Whether you’ve had surgery, pulled a muscle, or are just getting older, it is estimated that 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point during their life.  

But should you let this stop you from enjoying a weekend away in the wilderness? 

No way! Outdoor recreation companies all over the world are now producing products specifically suited for relieving pain and supporting all those bad backs while camping. With a multitude of options available, which type of camping bed do you choose? Have no fear, Outdoorsr is here to help! 

Inflatable VS Folding Camp Beds

The two most common types of camping beds are either inflatable or folding. Inflatable mattresses are generally lighter weight, made of some sort of PVC or other plastic material, and require a pump for inflation. The pump can be hand-powered, rechargeable, battery-operated, or require some sort of electrical plug-in. 

Folding camp beds will have an aluminum or steel frame and most will resemble some sort of cot-like structure.  These will generally be sturdier, while also weighing a few extra pounds.  Most foldable camp beds are also best used with a mattress pad, which may or may not be included. These are generally either foam or inflatable as well.

Best Camping Mattress for Bad Back

The quest for the best camp bed for bad backs can be overwhelming with hundreds of products out there.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t panic and keep reading!

We’ve narrowed down the list of available sleep systems and have included our Top 10 Picks for Best Camping Beds for Bad Backs below.  Each made the list for a different reason, so browse our reviews and choose the bed that best matches your needs.  

We’ve even included the product link(s) you need when you decide which mattress or bed to purchase. That’s right- we’ve done the hard part for you!

Coleman Air Mattress Camping Cot

best camping mattress for bad back

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Air Mattress & Cot
  • Mattress Size: Queen (Also Available: Twin)
  • Dimensions: 78”L x 59”W x 22”H
  • Pump: battery-operated
  • Price: $$

Best For: Nighttime Reading and Storage

The Coleman Air Mattress Camping Cot is your bed away from beds: it brings everything your home bed has to offer in a convenient, travel-sized version. The Coleman Air Mattress Cot consists of a 600-lb rated queen air mattress, tucked into an anti-slip, sewn-on mattress cover that is attached to the steel cot frame. Standing at 22 inches off the ground, this camping bed is easy to get into and out of, especially for those travelers with bad backs and knees.

Attached to the frame are two pop-out side tables, perfect for holding bedtime novels, cell phones, flashlights, or anything else you might need during the night.  Not to mention an elevated table eliminates the worry about stepping on any eyeglasses during those midnight bathroom runs.  Best part about these side tables?  With built-in cup holders you never have to worry about finding- or spilling- your water bottle!

The Coleman Air Mattress Camping Cot is a bed system that travels well. With a battery-operated pump, you can inflate your mattress in the middle of the wilderness, no electricity needed. Coming with a labor-saving wheeled carrying case, the only downside about this air mattress and cot combo comes upon loading or removal of the bed from your vehicle or moving over rough terrain. 

At a hefty 40 pounds, carrying the Coleman Camping Cot is no easy feat. However, with a two-person lift team and relatively flat campground, we believe the Coleman Air Mattress Camping Cot is the perfect camping bed to bring the comforts of home into your tent. 

PROS

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REI Co-Op Kingdom Insulated Sleep Sytem

best camping mattress for bad back - rei co op

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Air Mattress
  • Mattress Size: Queen
  • Dimensions: 79”L x 56”W x 6”H
  • Pump: hand pump
  • Price:  $$$

Best For: Cool-Weather Camping

REI, perhaps one of the most well-known American outdoor recreation retailers, makes our list with the REI Co-Op Kingdom Insulated Sleep System. Say goodbye to cold drafts and frigid nighttime air with this sleep system. 

The REI Co-Op Kingdom includes not only a blow-up queen-sized mattress but also a cushioned mattress pad, insulated quilt, as well as a fitted top sheet which wraps around the bottom of the mattress, keeping the cold weather out and body heat in. This mattress is rated down to almost freezing temperatures, making it perfect for those cooler nights in spring or fall. 

The downside to the REI Co-Op Kingdom System is it’s thin, 6-inch mattress. With not much distance off the ground, this bed system could be difficult for those with bad backs to get out of in the morning.  This can be mitigated by using it how we recommend: for car camping! You could also purchase a cot frame separately, just don’t forget to find one fit for a queen (literally!).

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Coleman Support Rest Double

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Air Mattress
  • Mattress Size: Twin
  • Dimensions: 75”L x39 ”W x 18”H
  • Pump: none
  • Price: $

Best For: Campers on a Budget

Coleman makes our list again with the Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed. This twin air mattress has an internal coil support system, providing more back support than just any old airbed.  

Every Coleman air mattress also uses the AirTight System which is factory tested to be leak-proof prior to shipping. The Coleman SupportRest Airbed also features their Wrap ‘N’ Roll storage concept, where a convenient storage bag is physically attached to the mattress, along with instructions on how to easily ‘wrap’, ‘roll’, and store your airbed when not in use.

As the most inexpensive air mattress on our list, the Coleman SupportRest does come with a few drawbacks. This airbed does not include any sort of pump, so you will have to purchase your own separately. This could be a nice cost savings for experienced campers who have an old pump laying around, but an inconvenience to those new to the inflatable mattress world.  

The Coleman SupportRest also features a regular airbed valve, meaning that there is nothing to prevent the air from escaping if your pump slips off during inflation, or while trying to remove the pump and quickly close the valve. Overall, the Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed is the perfect airbed for budget campers who want a little extra back support with none of the flair.  

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InstaBed EZ Raised Air Mattress

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Air Mattress & Cot
  • Mattress Size: Queen
  • Dimensions: 78”L x 60”W x 22”H
  • Pump: plug-in
  • Price:  $$$$

Best For: Couples Wanting Elevated Comfort

Say goodbye to bending your bad back before bedtime. Sitting nearly 2 feet off the ground, the InstaBed EZ Raised Air Mattress is tied for the most elevated sleep system on our list. Just sit down, and you’re on the bed- no hassle required! 

InstaBed really has attempted to make the EZ Raised Air Mattress hassle-free in more ways than one. The mattress includes Never Flat Technology, meaning air is automatically pumped into the mattress any time it is needed to maintain its firmness, no user required. 

It also has an attached carry case with wheels, and the cot frame will unfold itself while the mattress is being inflated. An interior coil support system also provides more back support than regular air mattress alone, making the InstaBed EZ Mattress an easy and comfortable night’s sleep.

Like all good things, this comfort and ease do come at a cost – literally! The InstaBed EZ Raised Air Mattress is the most expensive sleep system on our list. But the price tag isn’t the only thing weighing this bed down.  That would be the whopping 50 pounds this sleep system weighs. Thank goodness for the wheels on that carry bag! 

We believe that if you have access to electricity, the InstaBed EZ Raised Air Mattress is well worth the cost for its quick set-up, constant firmness, and cozy nights’ sleep. If you want a supportive sleep system that is virtually hands-free, this is the camping bed for you.

PROS

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King Coil Queen Air Mattress

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Air Mattress
  • Mattress Size: Queen (Also Available: California King, Twin)
  • Dimensions: 80”L x 60”W x 20”H
  • Pump: plug-in
  • Price: $$

Best For: Extra Support

If you are looking for a camping bed with extra spinal support, look no further.

With it’s enhanced coil beam support system and built-in pillow, the King Koil Queen Air Mattress is the only mattress on our list claiming to help spinal alignment and be endorsed by the International Chiropractors Association(ICA). That’s right.  This is one of, if not quite possibly the best inflatable camping mattress for bad backs.

The King Koil Air Mattress is also elevated 18” off the ground, meaning that there is no crawling out of bed in the morning, and a dual valve pump leads to easy inflation and deflation.

Unfortunately, this easy, built-in dual pump does require an electric plug to operate, meaning that you are out of luck if your campsite doesn’t have an outlet. After deflation, the Koil King comes with a drawstring carry bag making it easy to pack away.

The biggest complaint about the King Koil – and there aren’t many! – is customers finding a leak after inflation, which we believe is likely due to the lack of a factory leak-check similar to what some other air mattress producers are conducting.

Luckily, the King Koil comes with a one-year warranty, ensuring replacement on the off chance something does go wrong. 

PROS

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Coleman ComfortSmart Cot

best camping cot for bad back

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Mattress Pad & Cot
  • Mattress Size: Single
  • Dimensions: 69”L x 25”W x 15”H
  • Pump: n/a
  • Price:  $

Best For: Shorter Campers Wanting Firm Support

Coleman makes our list one last time with their ComfortSmart Camp Cot. The ComfortSmart Cot is a relatively inexpensive cot with a super-easy set-up: you simply unfold it!  With this being said, other than the legs, the bed only folds once – in half – making it a very bulky 35” long by 25” wide carry. This is not a cot you’d want to drag far, but it’s light-weight enough to tote to a nearby campsite. 

The Coleman ComfortSmart Cot is made of an all-steel frame, meaning it’s built for durability. It has a coil suspension system providing maximum back support, and the foam mattress pad provides comfort while eliminating the need for electricity or pumps. 

Tall Campers Beware!

The biggest drawback of this camping cot is its short length.  Measuring 14” shorter than the previously reviewed Kelty Cot, the Coleman ComfortSmart Cot won’t provide a great sleep for taller campers. 

In fact, it is recommended for persons 5’9” and below, and we think that is a stretch – we’d say 5’8”! Overall, if you are below average height or looking for a cot for children, we think the price and ease of set-up can’t be beaten. 

PROS

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Kelty Discovery Cot

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Cot
  • Mattress Size: Single
  • Dimensions: 83”L x 32”W x 20”H
  • Pump: n/a
  • Price:  $$

Best For: Convenient Carry For Single Campers

If you are looking for a simple sleep system to carry into the woods and set-up on your own, the Kelty Discovery Cot is the camping bed for you. Forget the pumps and need for electricity, the Kelty Discovery Cot rolls up and can easily be transported from car to campsite.  

With a simple set-up and weight capacity up to 300 lbs, the Kelty Discover Cot has an aluminum-steel frame that is built to last. It also sits 20” above the ground, perfect for sleeping away from the bugs and putting less stress on your back and knees. 

While not providing much cushion, the cot fabric is tight and won’t sag or lack back support during the night.  We recommend bringing along a thin foam mattress pad (purchased separately) if you’re looking for a cushy rest. 

Perhaps the coolest aspect of the Kelty Discovery Cot is that its carry tote can actually double as a rug while the cot is set-up. Leave your shoes by the rug, and there’s no more pesky grass or dirt that might stick to your sock while climbing in or out of bed.  

Overall, we think the Kelty Discover Cot is the ideal sleep system for single campers wanting back support and easy set-up in the middle of the wilderness, away from modern utilities.  

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Etekcity Camping Air Mattress

etekcity camping mattress

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Air Mattress
  • Mattress Size: Queen (Also Available: Twin)
  • Dimensions: 80”L x 60”W x 9”H
  • Pump: rechargeable – car or wall plug-in
  • Price: $

Best For: Family Camping

Sporting a weight capacity of 650 lbs, the Etekcity Camping Air Mattress comes in as the heftiest sleep system on our list. Made from extra-thick .4mm PVC, this mattress was made to be heavy duty. 

It is puncture resistant and water-resistant, meaning the Etekcity Air Mattress was made for families with younger children. Playing with sticks, nighttime accidents, sleeping 3-4 people: no matter the camping challenge this mattress is ready.  

The Etekcity Camping Air Mattress features a wave beam internal support system, helping provide a comfortable, real-bed-like night’s sleep, where back pain is sure to be forgotten. 

Its low, 9” height off the ground might be a challenge for some, but that can be overcome by using the mattress for car camping or with a cot frame. 

Etekcity provides a pump that is rechargeable both from your car or from a regular electric outlet. Remembering to charge the pump is key, with it taking an estimated 3 hours to fully charge the battery.

Each charge can fill the mattress approximately twice (in under 2 minutes!), so having access to a charger is important for longer camping trips.  

Forgetting to charge the pump aside, we think that the Etekcity Camping Air Mattress is the perfect fit for families with small children. If you want a mattress durable enough for your toddlers that also provides the back support you need as an adult, there isn’t a better option. 

PROS

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Sound Asleep Dream Series

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Air Mattress
  • Mattress Size: Queen (Also Available: King, Twin XL, Twin)
  • Dimensions: 78”L x 58”W x 19”H
  • Pump: plug-in
  • Price: $$

Best For: All-Over Support

The SoundAsleep Dream Series Queen Air Mattress is unique in the fact that it has 40 (yes, FORTY!) internal air coils for added support and durability.

SoundAsleep guarantees your mattress will stay firm and flat all night, providing relief to your back and ensuring you stay, well, sound asleep! The air mattress also features a waterproof top and is puncture resistant, making this mattress durable while comfortable.  

The SoundAsleep Dream Series is elevated 19” from the floor, reducing the effort required to get in and out of bed. It also features a unique SureGrip Bottom, reducing mattress slippage, and keeping your bed firmly in place.  

There is a built-in pump on the SoundAsleep that is certified to be 20% quieter than most air mattress inflators, which can inflate or deflate the mattress in just four minutes. It also comes with a carrying tote for easy transport after deflation.  

Unfortunately, similarly to the previous air mattresses with built-in inflators on our list, the SoundAsleep Dream Series does also require electricity with its plug-in pump.

The SoundAsleep makes a point to state that the mattress is not outdoor approved or weather rated, meaning with this mattress you are safest indoors or inside a vehicle.

If electricity and staying indoors are not a problem for your style of camping (if you prefer glamping, perhaps), then the SoundAsleep Dream Series Queen Air Mattress is the best option for you.

Back pain is no more with the all-over support system and flat, firm surface provided by SoundAsleep.

PROS

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Wey & Fly SUV Air Mattress

best car camping mattress for bad back

Specifications

  • Bed Type: Air Mattress
  • Mattress Size: Between Twin & Full
  • Dimensions: 76”L x 47”W x 4”H
  • Pump: car adapter 
  • Price: $ 

Best For: Car Camping

The SoundAsleep Dream Series Queen Air Mattress is unique in the fact that it has 40 (yes, FORTY!) internal air coils for added support and durability.

SoundAsleep guarantees your mattress will stay firm and flat all night, providing relief to your back and ensuring you stay, well, sound asleep! The air mattress also features a waterproof top and is puncture resistant, making this mattress durable while comfortable.  

The SoundAsleep Dream Series is elevated 19” from the floor, reducing the effort required to get in and out of bed. It also features a unique SureGrip Bottom, reducing mattress slippage, and keeping your bed firmly in place.  

There is a built-in pump on the SoundAsleep that is certified to be 20% quieter than most air mattress inflators, which can inflate or deflate the mattress in just four minutes. It also comes with a carrying tote for easy transport after deflation.  

Unfortunately, similarly to the previous air mattresses with built-in inflators on our list, the SoundAsleep Dream Series does also require electricity with its plug-in pump.

The SoundAsleep makes a point to state that the mattress is not outdoor approved or weather rated, meaning with this mattress you are safest indoors or inside a vehicle.

If electricity and staying indoors are not a problem for your style of camping (if you prefer glamping, perhaps), then the SoundAsleep Dream Series Queen Air Mattress is the best option for you.

PROS

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How to Choose the Right Camping Mattress

If you’re still wondering which camping mattress is right for you, we’ve come up with a few additional considerations for further narrowing down your options.

Portability

All camping involves traveling. Whether it’s by foot, car, plane, or boat, you need to make sure your camping bed or mattress can get to where you need it. Ranging in weight from about 15-50 pounds and with drastically different carry dimensions, not every sleep system on our list is easily portable.

Some mattresses can be thrown in a backpack and forgotten. Other beds have bulkier, wheeled carry bags, great for transporting until you run into steps or uneven surfaces. Some cots only fold in half. Many airbeds on our list require electric outlets for their pumps. Others come only with car adapters.

Take into account where you are going, how you are getting there, and what amenities you will have when you arrive.

Material

Durability is a desirable quality for all outdoor recreation equipment. You want your purchase to not only survive the duration of your trip, but last for adventures and years to come. The materials making up your sleep system are an important part of this.

A strong steel frame will generally withstand more than an aluminum one. Nylons and polyesters will last better outdoors than their cotton blend alternatives. Airbeds using thicker PVC are more resistant to punctures and damage. Choosing a sleep system made with quality materials can be the difference between your camping bed lasting two days, two months, or two years so make sure you take them into consideration.

Size

How many people are sleeping on your camping bed? How tall are they? How much do they weigh? Are you planning on setting up your mattress on the ground, in a tent, or in the back of a vehicle?

It is important to consider these questions when deciding on what size camping mattress or cot is right for you. Options on our list vary greatly in size, with widths from 2-5 feet and lengths in the range of 5.5-7 feet. Making sure you choose an appropriately sized sleep system is key for a good night’s rest.

Type of Camping

Are you camping in a vehicle? At a campsite with a concrete or dirt pad? Are you day hiking from one central location or backpacking through the woods?

The type of camping you are doing affects which bed or mattress will be right for you. As mentioned previously, not every cot or airbed will travel long distances well. Some are difficult to carry by yourself. Others are made specifically for the backs of SUVs or trucks. Not every sleep system on our list is designed for every camping situation. Evaluate which camping bed will be best suited for your trip before you buy it.

Warranty

What if something goes wrong? Your airbed doesn’t inflate on your second trip, or it develops a leak. The leg to your cot gets bent after it fell out of your trunk onto the concrete.

Several air mattresses and camping cots have limited-time warranties included or available for purchase. We think these options are worth exploring, especially for air mattresses where the most frequent complaints are developing leaks or holes over time.

Price

Camping Mattresses and Beds can range in price drastically, from under $100 to well over $400. It’s important to know your budget and choose a sleep system accordingly. You want to make sure you find a mattress that is durable and meets your needs but also doesn’t break your bank.

Final Thoughts

It’s time to say goodbye to backaches and purchase a new camping bed that won’t have you waking up stiff in the morning. There are over 60 national parks in the United States alone that are waiting for you to visit. Choose a campsite, buy the best camping mattress for bad back support, and all that’s left is for you to book a flight or fill your tank with gas!

No matter which bed or mattress from our list that you go with, we guarantee it will be the best night of sleep you’ve had camping to date. What are you waiting for? Get back to exploring nature!

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