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Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Sleeping pads for lower back pain


Postby SpamFritter » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:04 am

Hi all,

I love wild camping but am plagued with bouts of lower back pain, mainly from the Sacroiliac joint. I have tried a variety of sleeping mats over the years but never seem to get it quite right. My most recent purchase is a Thermarest Neoair X Lite. It is only 170g, warm and is fairly thick to give some cushioning. It wasn't cheap at about 130 quid. Only issue is that it is too narrow (I'm no Kate Moss) and slippy so I keep ending up on the floor. Woke up in Corrour bothy 2 nights ago on the hard wooden floor in serious pain :(

I had thought a hammock would be good but you can't always find trees to hang it on and it would make me anxious not knowing I can pitch it anywhere.

Anyone got any mat recommendations for the feeble-backed amongst us? I appreciate I will have to compromise on weight but the lighter the better really.
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby BobMcBob » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:27 pm

I (literally) feel your pain. If it'll fit, stuffing the mat inside your sleeping bag will prevent you falling off it. I also find that using a wider, broader sleeping bag allows me to find a more comfortable position to sleep in when compared to those 'Mummy' shaped ones that basically require you to sleep on your back like a corpse.
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby SpamFritter » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:03 pm

BobMcBob wrote:I (literally) feel your pain. If it'll fit, stuffing the mat inside your sleeping bag will prevent you falling off it. I also find that using a wider, broader sleeping bag allows me to find a more comfortable position to sleep in when compared to those 'Mummy' shaped ones that basically require you to sleep on your back like a corpse.


Yeah that is a good idea. My bag is a bit snug so maybe I should try and get a wider bag. It's swings and roundabouts with the weight factor though!
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby Robinho08 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:53 pm

They're a bit fiddly at first, but have you looked at a Thermarest Ultralite cot?

Also try foam rolling your lower back before and after your trips. I find it helps my lower back pain anyway.
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby Robinho08 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:54 pm

Another tip to keep you from slipping off, is to buy a roll of anti slip underlay for rugs. Less than £2 from Ikea, cut what you need and it doesn't weigh much at all.
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby walkingpoles » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:38 pm

Is the problem that the mat is too hard/shallow? I got an inflatable one which I consider as comfy as a bed (well, it can't compare in size :).

The big outdoor shops (like Tiso outdoor experience) very probably will let you try out mats instore. You know best what feels right.
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby SpamFritter » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:50 pm

Robinho08 wrote:They're a bit fiddly at first, but have you looked at a Thermarest Ultralite cot?

Also try foam rolling your lower back before and after your trips. I find it helps my lower back pain anyway.


Yes - me and the foam roller are best friends! I've bought a cheap rip off of the thermarest ultralight bed so will give it a go. It's a pain to assemble but it felt pretty comfy lying on it for 5 mins. It's bloody heavy though at 1.5kg (Thermarest legit one is 1.3kg) so I need to make sure it suits before committing to buying the proper Thermarest one.

Thanks for the tips folks. Apparently the Big Agnes Q Core SLX is really thick and comfy, and only weighs 500 grams. Plus it has higher sides which would hopefully keep me from rolling off and comes in a wider width. I just wish I could try before I buy as it only seems to be online only.

I'm probably going to sell the Thermarest Neoair X Lite so will hopefully make some of the cost back. It's a cracking mat, mega light but just too thin and narrow for me.
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby mrssanta » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:00 pm

another tip is don't blow your mat up too hard.
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby cmcmurdo » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:43 pm

I have similar back issues, and currently use an Alpkit Dirtbag XL (discontinued). I have also been looking at a Cloudbase v Numo also from Alpkit, but I'm plagued by the warmth reviews - anyone got comments? I'm only likely to fair-weather camp, but I'm considering whether I'll regret an inflatable with an overly mouthy pup as my tent-buddy.

How thick is the Big Agnes? I can't seem to find that information anywhere.
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby Robinho08 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:23 pm

cmcmurdo wrote:I have similar back issues, and currently use an Alpkit Dirtbag XL (discontinued). I have also been looking at a Cloudbase v Numo also from Alpkit, but I'm plagued by the warmth reviews - anyone got comments? I'm only likely to fair-weather camp, but I'm considering whether I'll regret an inflatable with an overly mouthy pup as my tent-buddy.

How thick is the Big Agnes? I can't seem to find that information anywhere.


I've got the Numo and I like it. It supports my back better as the tubes run from head to toe, rather than horizontally. My only gripe is it's slippy when on a slight slope so I use a bit of anti slip underlay for rugs.
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Re: Sleeping pads for lower back pain

Postby doggy » Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:34 pm

SpamFritter wrote:Hi all,

I love wild camping but am plagued with bouts of lower back pain, mainly from the Sacroiliac joint. I have tried a variety of sleeping mats over the years but never seem to get it quite right. My most recent purchase is a Thermarest Neoair X Lite. It is only 170g, warm and is fairly thick to give some cushioning. It wasn't cheap at about 130 quid. Only issue is that it is too narrow (I'm no Kate Moss) and slippy so I keep ending up on the floor. Woke up in Corrour bothy 2 nights ago on the hard wooden floor in serious pain :(

I had thought a hammock would be good but you can't always find trees to hang it on and it would make me anxious not knowing I can pitch it anywhere.

Anyone got any mat recommendations for the feeble-backed amongst us? I appreciate I will have to compromise on weight but the lighter the better really.


Are you sure it's 170g?

I've got three bulging discs in my lower back which cause a lot of pain an d bad sciatica. I'm on 500mg of naproxen each morning. When wild camping i use a exped winter lite, it's 9cm thick. I tend to sleep on my side so one leg is almost always on the ground. I sleep at least 100 nights of the year in the farden with my kids and use ( because its the garden) two double vango mats blown up quite hard. They do loose pressure so it softens up a bit. I keep tramadol handy for the odd bad bout of sciatica and I'll pop two of them once in a blue moon.

but in general I can sleep on almost anything, so no special mat advice I'm afraid.
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