Guide to the Best Camping Cot

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Sleeping while on your camping trip can be a bit difficult if you aren’t used to being away from your bedroom’s environment. Having the best camping cot can help you acclimate better to the unfamiliar surroundings making easier to fall asleep.

The different smell of the air, ambient noises of nature and the tight living quarters of the tent are only some factors that can keep you from getting a restful sleep. So finding any means to tilt things into your favor is something worth looking into.

When it comes to outdoor sleeping arrangements, there are many different types of sleeping systems available ranging from sleeping bags to air beds. A good camping cot however, is hard to beat as far as comfort and versatility is concerned. It is, in our book one of the most comfortable ways to spend your evenings asleep while out in the wilderness.


Camping Cots Defined


Camping cots are folding beds that resemble stretchers used by paramedics. They consist of a mat that’s inserted on a steel or aluminum frame. The frame allows the mat to stand up to the height of a standard bed.

This makes them have a more similar feel to what you’re familiar with at home. The height of the cot also lets you sit on them to tie your shoes or do other things like play games or read.

To help with transport, the frame folds up to become more compact. However it will still end up being bigger and heaver than most other outdoor sleeping options. For this reason it is a more suitable sleeping solution for those who are setting up a base camp or camping with their vehicles.

These cots range from 5 pounds to over 20 pounds in weight. The size and type of material used for the frame are primary factors here. When it comes to cost, inexpensive cots for camping can be found for as low as $20 to $40. Higher end, which come with more features and heavier duty frames can cost between $100 and $150, though top of the line units can cost close to $300.

See the available camping cots on


Types of Camping Cots

Folding cots also come in different styles and designs.

Frame Design

With design, you’ll find two types that are available. One uses the end bar style and the other is what’s called the no-end bar style.

  • The end bar design can be easily recognized by its cross style legs. The frames legs form a letter ‘X’ where their intersection is a hinge that allows it to fold up.
  • The no-end bar style on the other hand uses a leg design that’s similar to those on beds. It uses four poles in a rectangular shape. With this design the cot folds differently from that of the end bar style.


Padding Styles

Modern cots now come with or without extra pads on top.

  • Cot with no padding – these are the most common ones found. They only consist of a fabric that stretches over the ends of the frame. These are the cheapest and lightest but also offer no extra insulation from the cold.
  • Cot with sleeping pad – for added comfort, a number of brands carry cots that come with their own sleeping pad. This saves you from having to find a pad that fits your camp cot. The sleeping pad offers a few extra inches of cushion plus the advantage of additional warmth.
  • Cot with air bed – these are much larger as they have an air bed integrated on top of them. They are the most comfortable and as close as you get to a regular bed. But they are also very bulk, not to mention heavy.


Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Cots When Camping

  • Cots are very comfortable. They will let you get better sleep which can be difficult when away from home. They offer extra space that’s not always the case when you use sleeping bags.
  • They keep you off the ground. The frame on which they stand lets them be as high as regular beds. This keeps you away from the ground. During warmer seasons the extra air circulation cools you. And during cooler seasons, the height keeps you away from the cold ground.
  • Sleeping on cots when camping is excellent for people with bad backs. It lets you rest easier and not get bothered by your back.
  • The extra height gives you storage room underneath where you lie.
  • Using cots also makes it much easier to sit and lie down on or stand up from. As we get older, it becomes more difficult to bend and sit all the way to the ground and stand up from it in the morning.
  • Being above the ground also means you are further away from bugs and insects that may crawl into your bed while you are asleep.


Disadvantages of Cots When Camping

  • To use them, you will need to set them up and also disassemble them when you’re about the leave camp. While this doesn’t take long to do it is still an extra task.
  • Camping cots are bulkier and heavier than many other outdoor sleeping options. This makes them not practical for lightweight camping or backpacking.
  • When set up they can take up a lot of space leaving you little room in your tent.
  • With regular cots, the fabric is the only layer you get to sleep on. This provides no insulation from the cold. You may opt to get cots that come with pads, or get one separately. You can also use a blanket for warmth as another option.


Tips for Choosing the Best Camping Cot

When it comes to picking out the right cot for camping here are a few tips that will help buyers.

  1. Choose the size that fits you. Cots come in different lengths and widths. Make sure you get one that fits your height and has enough room for your to roll side to side. Before making your decision, don’t forget to check the weight capacity of the product.
  2. Next, do consider the weight and size of the product. Compare this with how much you are able to carry on your trip. Also measure the size of the product when it is folded up and completely assembled. Then compared these to how much room you have to carry and also in your tent.
  3. Check to see how the item is set up and disassembled. You want something that is easy to set up and likewise take down.
  4. If the criteria above are satisfied, check to see if it is sturdy and stable. You don’t want something that is uneven or will rock as you move or get on or off it.
  5. Look for something that is built on a durable frame. This goes the same for the fabric. Done correctly, cots should last longer than air mattresses and many other camp sleeping equipment. One last thing to check is to see if the frame is rust resistant.


Rest Easy

When it comes to cots for camping, there are a number of different things to look for. They are excellent to sleep on making them one of the popular things to bring on a camping trip as long as you have room to spare.


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