I’ve got good news: you don’t need to spend hundreds of bucks to pamper your back inside your tent.
Although we’ve already covered the best camping cots for bad backs in a different article, there sure needs to be a place for the best camping mattresses for bad back as well.
Honestly, sometimes I prefer taking just a camping mattress with me and not an entire camping bed. Especially when we’re walking large distances daily.
To cover things up, this is definitely made for:
- SUV / car campers
Still, we urge you to go through the whole list with the best camping mattress for bad back. Also, make sure to check out our Camping with a bad back guide in the end.
✔️ Carries the advantage of foam AND air
✔️ No chilly air vents through (four season use)
✔️ Only 5.5 pounds
❌ Awkward to put it back into its carrier
Milliard 6-Inch Foldable Memory Foam
✔️ Gives good support for your lower back (high density foam)
✔️ Super wide = super comfy
✔️ Can fold up
❌ Too bulky for a hiking trip
Chillax Ultralight Air Sleeping Pad
✔️ Featherweight at 1.1 lbs
✔️ Still gives good support for your lower back
✔️ Embossed, silent fabric (no squeaky sounds)
❌ May hurt side sleepers’ shoulder due to 2.5″ thickness
Better Habitat SleepReady
✔️ Super dense memory foam
✔️ Only 2.75″ thick
✔️ Easy putting away
❌ One-size-only: Comfy for 1 person
The best camping mattress for bad back:
The biggest selling point of the MondoKing mattress is it combining air and foam thickness to pleasure your back while night.
Thanks to it, you’ll only need to unroll the mattress and turn the two valves and there you go. It inflates by itself. The result? 4 inches thick foam + air layer to avoid any root or rock below.
Speaking of which, this combined layer prevents chilly air flowing through itself, making this mattress a good choice for four-season camping.
Before you think that you’re going to sink into it (which is one of the main causes of sore backs in case of camping mattresses), I can assure you: you’re not. The whole mattress is firm enough to hold your lower back straight.
A pretty large sleeping surface (77 x 25 inches) is achieved by the vertical sidewalls on each end. This not only extends your space for slumber but spares you a lot of otherwise unused space inside the tent, if you place two or more next to each other.
The whole thing is 7 x 26 inches when rolled up and weighs only 5.5 pounds, making it a perfect solution for hikers.
Although it’s a bit awkward to squeeze it into its sack, you’ll thank yourself buying the MondoKing when waking up with the feeling as if you’re at home. I can’t help praising this little companion.
Best car camping mattress:
One of the best memory foam camping mattress is the Milliard 6-Inch without doubt.
Due to taking up ample amount of space, this is definitely not for hikers but for van campers.
A 6-inch thick and 78” x 38” memory foam makes you feel as comfortable as possible when it comes to adventures. It’s extremely wide indeed, so big guys with back problems, this might be the one for you. It folds into a 3 layered sandwich measuring 38” x 26” x 18” making storage easier.
What we loved about it is the high density construction that not only gives you solid support for your lower back, but also keeps its shape even after years. Again, no sinking in that destroys your back.
A big plus is that you can buy mattress covers from Milliard in case you want to regularly wash it (which is quite useful thinking of dirt at a camping site).
Pro tip: You can use the Milliard 6-inch mattress not just for camping action, but for guests at home as well.
One of the two drawbacks worth mentioning here is that the carrying case seemed a tad unwieldly, meaning that you’ll need to probably look for a better one.
Secondly, you won’t want to place your back right above the fold, because it may worsen your current back pain state. It’s just about placement, and you’ll thrive on this mattress.
Lightweight Camping Mattress for Back Pain
The Chillax Ultralight may be another great candidate for hikers with back issues.
It’s true magic lies within its unbeatable, 1.1 lbs of overall weight.
Coming in a regular, 78” x 24” size with 2.5” thickness, this little fellow is optimized for ultimate portability.
You might guess that 2.5” is not enough (compared especially with its foam contenders). Let me prove you’re wrong. At least to some extent.
The embossed fabric is designed to support your body by dozens of flexing points. These will not only give your lower back ample amount of support, but will keep roots away. Also, that typical wobble-effect is to be forgotten.
One great benefit worth to mention is the silent TPU cover, that literally absorbs squeaky sounds as you change position.
Chillax Ultralight has one disadvantage though, which you ought to keep in mind. If you’re a side sleeper you may feel roots and rocks due to the 2.5” overall thickness.
Since the company advertises a No-Risk-Purchase, just feel free to try it out, and at most, return it, if it fails in action.
Super-thin memory foam camping mattress:
Want to have an 8-hours, full night sleep in your tent or in the back of your pickup? It’s not impossible, I say.
Our compact little friend, the SleepReady memory foam is here to aid your lower backs on any kind of trip.
Unlike the Milliard 6-inch, this mattress is somewhat thinner with a 2.75” thickness. However, this doesn’t mean rocks will stick into your shoulder, because it’s super dense.
I won’t say this is an organic product, still, it’s free from PVC, Vinyl, Phthalates, fire-retardants and other chemicals which can be a concern for parents who don’t want to expose their children to such threats.
A big relief for me was the easy putting away procedure, thanks to those convenient straps and a little-bit oversized carry bag. No fighting in the morning in your already-hot tent.
And the biggest selling point of the SleepReady mattress was left to the end. It has a waterproof cover! For hikers, I’m sure I won’t need to explain the benefit of this.
One disadvantage I wanted to include here is that it’s one-size-only currently. Would love to see a queen-size of these once!
Ultralight Memory foam camping mattress
As its name predicts, it has to do something with your back. Well, that’s right LaidBackPad did a great job at calming your back pain even in your tent.
I consider as its biggest advantage the weight. 4.4 pounds. Can you name a rival which is so lightweight but is still made of memory foam? Think so.
Dimensions are also backpack-friendly at 72” x 24” x 2 3/8”, however it might feel a bit narrow for bigger guys.
As a portable memory foam, both hikers and car-campers will adore this little back-saver. It’s super easy to put it away, thanks to the two straps attached to it.
What I also loved about the LaidBackPad is connectability. Yes, there’s an option to connect two, three or six of them into one big bed inside your tent.
And about lower back pampering: yes, it does a great job at that. Not as thick as the Milliard, however it’s much easier to carry. In fact, you can carry this on a backpack trip with ease.
Some honorable mentions
Klymit Static V Luxe – The reason the Klymit Static V Luxe hasn’t made onto our list is thickness. Many of the customers experienced that although it’s super-lightweight, 2.5” thickness with an air mattress can still trouble your back on a rocky terrain.
How we decided which is the best camping mattress for back pain?
Type – The biggest differentiating factor is definitely the type of the mattress. Is it air or foam? Or maybe both, like our favorite Therm-A-Rest MondoKing.
Thickness – This was especially important when speaking of air-filled mattresses. If it did not inflate to a minimum expected thickness, then it did not get on our curated list.
Firmness – Those ultra thick air beds are out of scope of course. These all make great efforts to ruin your lower back. Therefore, we only selected mattresses that are firm enough to provide ample support for your back. Whichever you decide upon in the end, you’ll surely get a super firm camping mattress.
Weight – It might not be a concern for all, but it is for hikers, without doubt.
Size & Comfort – Size wasn’t the most important among differentiating factors. Why? Because you can have a pretty bad night on a queen-size camping mattress too.
Camping with a bad back: What to look out for?
In my experience, the biggest lesson was to follow the minimalist’s path. If possible, don’t take a tent with you at all which weighs a lot, and pack only the stuff you really need.
Whatever you lift throughout your journey lift with bent knees and straight back. This might sound cliché, however I can’t stress it enough, because fellow back pain sufferers tend to forget it.
Take a pillow with you. In the beginning, I used my backpack as a pillow. For years. After a point, I realized that a pillow increases my comfort so much, that it feels I slept 2-3 hours more, especially if you’re sleeping under the stars.