6 Best Camping Cot Options: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

You used to love camping, but now it seems like an exercise in endurance rather than a pleasant interlude in nature. Maybe it’s time to address some of the more primitive aspects of camping. Getting older can mean it’s harder to get a good night’s sleep. Choosing the best camping cot for your sleep style could help you fall back in love with camping.

Benefits of Camping Cots

If you’re a car camper, then adding taking along a camping cot should be a breeze. Although they may seem like a needless expense, they definitely provide a few tangible benefits.

Warmer in Winter

Sleeping on the ground is uncomfortable in the winter. You may be bundled up, but the cold can eventually seep through your ground cover, sleeping bag, and into your bones.

Even during milder weather, ground temperatures can remain cold, adding another element of ache to your camping experience.

Cooler in the Summer

Likewise, using a cot while camping in the summer can provide better ventilation. That’s because you’ll get airflow between your body and the ground, reducing night sweats.

Less Pressure on Joints

We may not want to admit we’re getting older, but joint pain and body aches are a reality for many people over the age of 30. Even the best-cleared ground can mean lumps, bumps, and uneven surfaces. Unless you’re sleeping on beach sand, using a camping cot is the best way to avoid hitting painful pressure points that make mornings something to fear.

Some Downsides to Camping Cots

Even the best camping cot has a few downsides. However, understanding their weak points will help you identify when to use one and when to leave it at home.

Takes Up Space

Camping cots can take up a lot of room in your tent. If you have a small dome tent, expect to dedicate most of the space to your camping cot. 

Along with taking up more square footage than a sleeping pad, they also take up height. Most cots measure between 12 and 18 inches high, which means you’re going to feel squashed in a tent with a low center height.

Costs Money

If you’re on a tight budget, the cost of the best camping cot may not be in the cards. While most models are reasonably priced, any added cost can be an obstacle if you need to be frugal.

Air mattresses can provide insulation from the ground as well as comfort, and most are less expensive. However, they generally have a poor lifespan in the rough. And there’s no worse feeling than waking up at 4 a.m. with the remains of a deflated air mattress around you, while your rear kisses the frosty ground.

You’ll have to weigh the benefits vs. the expense for your individual situation in order to decide whether a camping cot, air mattress, or just a better sleeping pad is the wisest investment.

What to Look for in the Best Camping Cot

If you’re camping with a bad back, your first step is to use good body mechanics and plan your trip to make it as stress-free as possible.

Depending on your reasons for adding a cot to your equipment, you’ll want to narrow down your choices to the best camping cot for your particular situation. If back pain is an issue, a sleeping pad may be a better choice for the extra firm support.

On the other hand, in cold weather, muscle pain from sleeping on the ground can exacerbate the problem. This is especially true if rising and lowering yourself to the ground is a problem.

Keep the following in mind:

  1. Weight: Car camping with a roomy vehicle means weight is not an issue. However, if you need to hike to your site, you’ll want a lightweight cot.
  2. Size: Even if transporting your cot isn’t an issue, it still needs to fit in your tent. Make sure your tent is roomy enough to accommodate your cot without making it impossible to move around.
  3. Price: Budgetary concerns may limit which models you can purchase. Therefore, we’ve broken our review list into several sections based on price.

Setting Up

Depending on your reasons for choosing a cot, consider each cot’s assembly instructions before purchasing. Folding cots may require less effort to set up if you have physical challenges. Roll-up models are light enough for backpack camping but may require more effort to assemble.

Best Camping Cot Under $75

You’ll find most basic camping cot models under the $75 mark to be well-designed and constructed. You’ll even find a few highly rated choices well under this price point.

Coleman ComfortSmart Cot

Coleman is the go-to brand for camping, and this contender shows why. The company delivers a quality product. This cot holds up to 300 pounds on its steel frame and accommodates sleepers up to 6.5 feet tall. It measures 69 x 25 x 15 inches high and folds up for ease of transport. Its top feature is the included foam sleeping pad.

Pros:

  • Durable steel frame
  • Accommodates large and heavy adults
  • Foam pad measures nearly 2 inches thick
  • Comfortable enough to use as a spare bed for visitors
  • One year warranty

Cons:

  • Heavy at nearly 20 pounds
  • Pad slips off metal frame easily
  • Pad fabric not durable

Osage River Folding Camping Cot

If you’re looking for a portable model, this might be the best camping cot for you. Utilizing tubular carbon steel for the frame, Osage keeps this model light. It measures 28.5 by 75 by 18.5 inches high and weighs about 12.5 pounds. It holds up to 300 pounds and folds neatly into its tubular carry case.

Pros:

  • Flat plastic feet to prevent sinking and ripping
  • Raised head for better comfort
  • Easy to assemble
  • Folding design and carry bag make it easy to store
  • Height makes it easy to get in and out of

Cons:

  • Frame may not be sturdy enough for advertised weight
  • Fabric can carry chemical odors
  • May still require a sleeping pad

Best Camping Cot Under $150

Larger and more luxurious camping cots will run a bit higher in price. So, if you need more room to sleep or extra padding, you’ll find these models worth your money.

TETON Sports Outfitter XXL Camping Cot

For those who like to stretch out when they sleep, the TETON Sports cot provides the room you need. It measures 85.75 by 44.75 by 19.25 inches and holds up to 600 pounds. It features an all-steel S-leg design that is sure to last for years. You can pull the oxford cotton top tight on the frame if you need a firm sleeping surface for back comfort.

Pros:

  • Pivot arm lever aids in setup
  • Large sleeping area
  • Firm top makes it suitable for seating
  • Stable enough to change position easily
  • Neutral black color

Cons:

  • Heavy at over 26 pounds
  • Cot rails stick out and are a hazard in tight spaces
  • Carry bag is pretty flimsy

Alpcour Folding Camping Cot

This single-wide folding camping cot offers plenty of support and comfort. The sleep surface is made of breathable polyester that’s waterproof for comfort. It folds easily into the carry case and includes an organizer side pocket for storage and a pillow. It measures 75 by 26 by 15 inches high, holds up to 440 pounds, and weighs 18 pounds

Pros:

  • The bonus storage pocket
  • Easy to assemble
  • Choice of three colors
  • Low height makes it flexible for smaller tents
  • Pillow is removable for cleaning

Cons:

  • Heavy to carry
  • Frame and legs dent easily
  • Frame noisy when moving

Best in Class

Finally, these models get our vote for the best models overall. If you’re looking for all the comforts of home, you’ll find any of your previous objections removed.

Coleman Deluxe Camping Cot with Air Mattress

This combination camping cot solves a number of problems. You get a large, sturdy steel frame that supports up to 600 pounds and measures 78 by 59 by 22 inches high. The air mattress features coil construction for optimal conformance to your body. Its leak-proof design and sewn in cover means no slipping, sliding, or sinking in the middle of the night.

Pros:

  • The 22-inch height makes it easy to get in and out of
  • Pull-out side tables provide convenience for storage
  • Battery-powered air pump is included
  • Comfortable enough for a guest bed
  • Perfect for couples camping and romantic getaways

Cons:

  • A bit short for those over 6 feet tall
  • Frame can be noisy during movement
  • May be hard to find fitted sheets that fit perfectly

Disc-O-Bed Cots

These bunk bed cots are super versatile for family camping. If you need to save floor space in your cabin tent, these are the perfect camping cot option for your brood. The rounded corners are safe for small children, and the patented lock-in system means it’s durable and stable. Each bunk measures 79 by 28 by 11 inches high and holds up to 500 pounds

Pros:

  • Separates into two separate bunks if desired
  • One-person, no-tool assembly
  • Side organizers included
  • Low enough for domed tents
  • Converts into couch seating

Cons:

  • Not light to transport
  • Bulky and awkward to carry
  • Assembly can be time-consuming

Get Comfortable

If you’ve put off your next trip to the woods because the last one left your sore and achy, maybe it’s just time to elevate your gear. The best camping cot can turn a night on the cold, hard ground into a real glamping experience.

We recommend the Coleman cot with air mattress as the simplest solution. It combines the best of both air mattresses and cots, keeping you well off the ground and well-padded. The height also makes it easier to get in and out of bed, and the included pump makes set up a breeze.