A chair sitting on the snow looking at the horizon

How to Find the Best Camping Cot Even if You Have Never Heard of One

The best camping cot does not sound like an interesting or appealing item to read about, let’s start there.

Now, if you are in the game for a camping cot you have come to the right place. Nobody likes waking up with a sore back, stiff neck, and a bad attitude.

Getting a good night sleep while camping isn’t always the most comfortable endeavor. I have an uncanny ability to always find the rocks underneath me as soon as I fall asleep.

Sleeping on the ground can be a pain in the ass, literally.

Gone are the days of waking up with a sore ass and a stiff neck, with a camping cot you’re off the ground and into the land of comfort. You’ll feel like a boss camper, running through the six, on your way to a great nights sleep.

Advantages of a camping cot

Keeping you off the ground is the number one advantage, period. That could also be reasons two and three.

If you are considering a camping cot it is likely because you are sick and tired of sleeping on the ground when you camp. A camping cot does one thing and does one thing well, it keeps you off the ground.

I won’t get all sciency on you and make a sorry attempt to explain the thermodynamic principles of hot air rising and cold air sinking. I’ll leave that to a website that actually understands physics. Basically, a camping cot will keep you a little cooler in the summertime and a little warmer in the winter.

If you have bad knees or a bad back a camping cot can make your life so much easier. Camping cots are elevated off of the ground. Eliminating the need to bend all the way down when you decide to sleep and wake up, perfect for Grandma and Grandpa.

Components of the camping cot

When considering a camping cot to add to your camping gear arsenal, you are adding a mattress and a frame. Not literally, but without a blow-up air mattress, it’s as close as you’re going to get in the backcountry.

The classic camping cot is heavy and cumbersome, however, it makes up for it with increased comfort and size. Ultralight camping cots can be pretty freaking expensive as they are made of ultralight, or in non-marketing terms, expensive materials.

Comfort

Comfort is a driving force when considering a camping cot, it’s like having a bed with you and is easier to handle than an air mattress.

They are made of polyester and other synthetic material that has been stretched tightly around the frame to give you maximum strength and support. It makes them a little hard to sleep in, and they are still way more comfortable than the ground. Consider adding a camping pad or mattress to the camping cot for added comfort and a better nights sleep.

Portability

In terms of portability for a weekend camping trip, a cot meets all the criteria. These are NOT for the ultralight long term camper in mind, these are for your family camping trips and a weekend with some buddies.

Let’s be real, if you plan on taking one of these on a long term backpacking trip they are not as practical as some other top results for the term “best camping cots” may suggest.

The average backpack on a long-term trek is going to be in the range of 25 to 30 pounds fully packed, it isn’t feasible to lug around a cot on a long-term thru hike. They weigh between 10-20 pounds so if you are taking a long backpacking trip a camping cot isn’t going to be right for you.

Frame

The frame is a critical build point in any camping cot, you don’t want a flimsy weak frame. They are made of steel, as well as, other composite materials.

Frames made of steel are more durable, and by consequence, weigh substantially more than their composite counterparts. Take a little time and make sure the camping cot that you choose is suitable for the amount of weight you want to carry.

Camping cots need to be built with a sturdy frame, lack of stability will lead to it collapsing and possible injury. The legs of a camping cot are built in a few different ways, there are legs that stand vertically like a picnic table with braces attached to the underside of the frame. There are legs that cross each other to form an X shape, and vertical legs supported with a piece of metal in between.

Fabric

The cot of today is made of nylon, mesh, and single layer polyester which are all durable and easy to clean. The camping cot of a day gone past are going to be made of a different material, typically cotton, and are warmer and more difficult to clean. Avoid them unless you have a heavy case of nostalgia. As with everything else that you purchase, take a little extra time and do your due diligence to find which material works best for you.

Support

Support is one of the best aspects of purchasing a camping cot for your next adventure. If you have back problems when you sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor, then a camping cot is in your lane.

You are guaranteed a flat surface to sleep on, not always level, but flat for sure. For those of us who do not like waking up with a new kink or knot somewhere in your back that you will feel for a few days a camping cot is for you.

Coleman 80 x 32 Pack Away Cot

Coleman 80 x 32 Pack Away Cot
1,132 Reviews
Coleman 80 x 32 Pack Away Cot
  • Adjustable camping cot offers an ideal place for sitting, reclining, and sleeping
  • Removable side table with drink holder provides space for snacks and personal items
  • Durable steel frame can support up to 300 pounds; can accommodate most people up to 6 feet 6 inches tall
  • Foldable design fits in most car trunks; carrying bag for easy transport

The Coleman Pack Away Cot is durable and built to last forever, similar to all of the Coleman products.

There is a reason they are the leader in the industry when it comes to outdoor goods, they only sell well-made products. My family still has a Coleman 10 person green canvas tent from the 1960’s.

This cot is no different, it is made with a durable nylon fabric, which adds to the strength of the cot. It has a small cup holder on the side, that pops out for setting a book, your glasses, or anything else you can imagine on.

Pros

  • Extra long
  • Steel frame
  • 1 year warranty

Cons

  • Legs don’t lock
  • 21 pounds
  • Lacks stability

Teton Sports XXL Camping Cot

Sale
Teton Sport XXL Camping Cot
1,542 Reviews
Teton Sport XXL Camping Cot
  • PIVOT ARM REVOLUTION: Cot setup just became child's play; The pivot arm is a built-in lever that makes putting that last end bar in place quick and easy; No more wrestling with that fourth corner; Look for "Outfitter With Pivot Arm" in the selector box
  • STRONG AND STURDY: Reinforced steel S-leg assembly strengthens the cot and provides stability; Portable folding cot makes camp set up hassle free
  • GET OFF THE GROUND: Take the comfort of a bed to the outdoors; Sleep free from rocks and other unlevel surfaces when you use this TETON Sports Cot; You deserve a good night's sleep when you're camping; Wake up refreshed
  • SIZE DOES MATTER: Larger than a twin bed and supports up to 600 pounds (272 kg) easily; Cot folds down for easy transport; Pack weight 26 pounds (11.8 kg)

The Teton Sports Outfitter XXLCamping Cot is a true sportsman’s dream bed.

Not only are you going to remain off the ground and the envy of all your friends, possibly the butt of a few jokes as well. This cot is compatible with a number of other Teton Sports items, such as a guns sleeve, quick tent, under cot storage, and the XXL camping pad.

There numerous ways to pimp your cot, and with a limited lifetime warranty, this cot is worth your serious consideration.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Rated for 600 pounds
  • Carrying bag

Cons

  • Challenging to put together
  • 26 pounds
  • Odor out of box

Moon Lence Ultralight Camping Cot

Moon Lence Ultralight Camping Cot
1,132 Reviews
Moon Lence Ultralight Camping Cot
  • Adjustable camping cot offers an ideal place for sitting, reclining, and sleeping
  • Removable side table with drink holder provides space for snacks and personal items
  • Durable steel frame can support up to 300 pounds; can accommodate most people up to 6 feet 6 inches tall
  • Foldable design fits in most car trunks; carrying bag for easy transport

The Moon Lence Portable Ultralight Camping Cot is on the ultralight end of camping cots. Weighing in at 4.1 pounds makes it reasonable to pack a short distance without killing yourself.

It is durable, thick, and heavy while maintaining an ultralight weight. On top of being ultralight, it has a waterproof bed surface which maintains breathability so you don’t end up sweating your ass off all evening long.

This model comes with a pillowcase with nothing inside, giving you the option to get creative. Grab a hoodie or a towel and avoid having to pack a pillow from home. This is perfect for anyone who wants an ultralight model while maintaining durability.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • 4.1 pounds

Cons

  • No warranty
  • Challenging to set up
  • Very low to the ground

King Camp Strong Camping Cot

King Camp Strong Camping Cot
151 Reviews
King Camp Strong Camping Cot
  • Grey; Sleep comfortable without pillows as the angle of the top flanges
  • High strength steel tubes bracket and triangle structure, breathable 600D double layer oxford fabric, this cot can last many years; Weights 15.9 lbs, supports up to 220 lbs
  • Fits most people up to 6'2"; Surface 74.8" × 26.8"; Cot Height 15"; Head Height 18.9"
  • Compact, incredibly quick and easy to set up and fold down (Folded Dimensions: 41.3" × 9.1" × 6.7"), folds up to fit inside most car trunks; Storage bag included for easy transport and store

The KingCamp Strong Stable Folding Camping Cot is built with aircraft grade steel making the frame extremely strong and durable. It weighs in right in the middle at 13.1 pounds, we’ll call it a tweener in terms of weight.

You get the best of both worlds with this camping cot, relatively lightweight and extremely durable. Making this cot perfect for a camping expedition where you’re not packing all your gear 50 miles into the backcountry. It also has a pocket on the side for your belongings that otherwise end up on the ground, smashed and broken.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Large
  • Durable

Cons

  • No warranty
  • Large
  • Durable

Terra Hiker Ultra-Light Camping Cot

Terra Hiker Ultra-Light Camping Cot
151 Reviews
Terra Hiker Ultra-Light Camping Cot
  • Grey; Sleep comfortable without pillows as the angle of the top flanges
  • High strength steel tubes bracket and triangle structure, breathable 600D double layer oxford fabric, this cot can last many years; Weights 15.9 lbs, supports up to 220 lbs
  • Fits most people up to 6'2"; Surface 74.8" × 26.8"; Cot Height 15"; Head Height 18.9"
  • Compact, incredibly quick and easy to set up and fold down (Folded Dimensions: 41.3" × 9.1" × 6.7"), folds up to fit inside most car trunks; Storage bag included for easy transport and store

The Terra Hiker Ultra-Lightweight Camping Cot is the last but not least camping cot we’re covering.

Weighing in at only 3 pounds this is the lightest cot so far, making it feasible to carry with you on semi-long distances. Because of the breakdown and setup, it isn’t going to be practical to take this with you on a long thru-hike, but light enough that you sure as shit could try.

It is built using a durable aluminum alloy and is large enough to handle the majority loads thrown at it. Overall this camping cot is ultralight and durable, making it a welcomed addition to anyone’s camping arsenal.

Pros

  • 3 pounds
  • Durable
  • Rated for 550 pounds

Cons

  • Must have level ground
  • No warranty
  • Rare structural issues

Conclusion

An outdoor adventure like camping or fishing is always a good time unless you have the unfortunate circumstance of waking up with a sore back and neck.

A camping cot is a perfect solution for those of us who are looking for a comfortable alternative to a sleeping bag or air mattress. They are durable and some of them can be as light as 3 pounds, making it possible to pack them with you on the majority of your outdoor adventures.

Get yourself a camping cot and sleep like a boss, you’ll be the one waking up refreshed and ready to go, not grumpy and pissed at the earth beneath you.

Get lost and keep wandering.

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