Being tall and discomfort:

Short people seem to handle back pain a lot better than taller ones do. Sure being tall has it’s advantages; at concerts for example (I don’t have to climb on other peoples shoulders to see the stage, and my air isn’t fart filled). While being tall is awesome and something I wish everybody could try at least once in their lives, where being tall really sucks is in the outdoor gear world. Gear cost more for taller people, it’s heavier and some gear just isn’t even made for tall people.

On top of all this tall people especially heavy tall people have to deal with immense back pain while sleeping. This of course varies from person to person but since it’s me writing this from my own perspective I will just assume all tall people have back pain issues. To this day I still get pain in my shoulders and hips when I sleep; I am a side sleeper as well as a flopper.

I have however found some techniques that help with the pain, and some nights when everything is just right I don’t get any pain at all. I will describe my different techniques here:

  1. I don’t blow up my sleeping mat to full – this allows my hips and shoulders to be a little lower.
  2. I use a bigger air pillow which pushes my head and spine into a relatively straight line when I’m sleeping on my side
  3. I try to dig a little hole out under my pad in the dirt, just under my hips and shoulders (remember I have a floorless tent so this is pretty easy for me)
  4. If digging holes is not an option than cutting out a donut shape support out of a closed cell mat and placing it under the hips works well
  5. I take a shitload of sleeping pills (Benadryl to be exact, but basically just knock out pills)
  6. Sleep in a hammock


The xTherm is perfectly comfortable, but can’t compare to a hammock. 

Posted by Kenneth Shaw

Blogger, photographer and backpacker. If you like my writing or my site don't be afraid to follow me, like or share my posts here on the site. Thanks and enjoy!


  1. This – and flying in coach – is where being short comes handy!


    1. Very true 😉


  2. As a fellow tall person, I’d agree that back pain is a common issue. Like you, I’m a side sleeper and my sleep system is quite similar. I’ve found that taking a second inflatable pillow (this adds ~60g) and placing that under my knee while sleeping on my side really helps with both back and hip pain.


    1. Thanks For the tip!


Leave a Reply