CAMPING & HIKING

An Embedded Tradition: The Best Camping Cot

Camping cot review
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Camping has been a past time for families for years. Everyone has got a story of how they got started. Maybe it was an embedded tradition in your family for years or maybe it’s something you’ve just started. Either way, it only takes one sour experience to turn a camping trip on its head.

One of the smartest things you can do before you and your family attempt the outdoors is to do the research necessary to make sure you have what you need, and that means looking for the best camping cot money can buy.

There is no denying that camping, hiking, backpacking, and the like are difficult. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, there’s always a challenge. It could be making the trek to your campsite or attempting to get the fire started. Camping can be downright exhausting.

That’s why a good night’s sleep is one of the key factors in making or breaking a camping experience. Finding the best gear is always difficult but here are a few things to think about when choosing one of the best camping cots to take with you into the wild.

Camping cot

Camping cots have become one of the essentials on the trail. This is especially true when camping with children or older adults. When you get past a certain age you get sick of sleeping on the ground, after all. Now is the time to invest in one of the best camping cots to make your whole experience better from sun down to sun up.

What Makes A Good Camping Cot

Weight

The weights to take into consideration when choosing the best camping cots are:

  • the carrying weight of the actual cot when it’s folded up and ready to be carried, and
  • the holding weight the cot will hold while staying upright and intact.

Starting with the carrying weight, this is most important for backpackers, hikers, and mountaineers. When every ounce in your pack has a purpose, you can’t afford to carry around more than 20 lbs. of just a sleeping contraption.

 Camping cot weight

That weight doesn’t include anything else and will weight you down entirely too much. Secondly, the holding weight needs to be taken seriously as well. How much you weigh is a huge factor in how much you should pay for a stronger cot.

No one wants to experience a cot collapse while they are sleeping on it. Check to make sure that whoever is going to be using this cot is well under the weight limit or that you have tested it first yourself. It’s not a “sit and see” kind of check either. I urge you to physically lay on the cot if you can.

Move around a bit as if you were sleeping and do all of this before you buy it. Then you will find out where it’s weak and if it’s a good option for you after all.

Unfolded Dimensions

The dimensions of every product you want to buy are important, but even more so are the unfolded dimension of a camping cot. Oftentimes, things are created and built with the “average human” in mind. This doesn’t always account for those that may be shorter, taller, smaller, or wider than normal.

Being any combination of those attributes is never wrong, but they need to be considered when choosing the right item.

Double camping cot

In this case, sleeping cots, might be too short for a taller person or much too long for a shorter person or child. They might not be wide enough for you or might be too wide. Using the unfolded dimensions needs to be a guide to choosing the right cot for you.

No one wants their toes or arms hanging off the side of the cot during the night and becoming cold. Likewise, you want the comfort to have room to stretch and turn while getting comfortable too.

Materials

The materials of most camping cots are similar in these times, but there are a few outliers. Most frames are made with some sort of steel and with a strong, sturdy fabric holding them together where you will lay.

Steel is steel, but how that steel is processed or maintained during shipping and traveling might have weakened it. Before purchasing a cot, check it’s strength. Do the legs seem sturdy under your weight? Is anything bowing out or creaking at the joints? Are the nuts and bolts all tight and snug?

Is the stitching solid or is it pulling too much? Taking any type of furniture outdoors is hard on it. A camping cot is no different even though it’s made to be outside. Rain, dew, or condensation could still find their way onto your cot. Dust, rust, and other fine minerals will make their way onto the fabric and the into the crevices over time. Make sure your cot is going to be tough enough for the job you’re asking of it.

Cot for camping

The material and dimensions should also play a vital role in ensuring that you are on a comfortable sleeping cot that holds you securely, but also with comfort based on the fabric. It should be long enough and wide enough for the sleeper to roll and move without tipping over or falling out. The bottom line is that a cot should be built for you

Now that you know what to look for, here are some recommendations of the best sleeping cots in the market as a starting point for your search.

Top Camping Cots

Coleman Pack-Away Cot with Side Table

Coleman Pack-Away Cot with Side Table

Carrying Weight: 21 lbs.

Holding Weight: Up to 300 lbs.

Unfolded Dimensions: 80 in. x 32 in. x 17 in.

Material: Steel Frame & Polyester Fabric

Added Features: Removable Side Table, Cup Holder

Best Use: Camping, Hiking, Outdoor Recreation

Description: This middle-of-the-road weighted camping cot is a solid start to our list. The Coleman Pack-Away Cot is top of the line in quality and functionality. With a carrying weight of a little over 20 lbs. this one shouldn’t scare you from taking that trip up the mountain.

It’s got a strong steel frame and holds up to 300 lbs. easily. With the added features of a cup holder side table, this would be a great friend to invite to your bonfire. The combination of these specs makes it a good choice for the hiker or the recreational camper.

Coleman ComfortSmart Cot

Coleman ComfortSmart Cot

Carrying Weight: 18.1 lbs.

Holding Weight: Up to 275 lbs.

Unfolded Dimensions: 69 in. x 25 in. x 15 in.

Material: Steel Frame

Added Features: Foam Mattress, Spring Coil Suspension

Best Use: Camping, Hiking, Outdoor Recreation

Description: The Coleman ComfortSmart is strong and sturdy with a solid steel frame and holds up to 275 lbs., but this camping cot is a high roller. Included in this bunch is a foam mattress.

This is added comfort to the user that is unlike many camping cots. The steel frame underneath includes spring coil suspension for easy setup and takedown and extra comfort while you toss or turn in the night. With its smaller dimensions, though, this cot fits a person who is a little over 5 and a half feet tall. The average person would be highly satisfied with this cot while others may find is missing in its dimensions.

Disc-O-Bed Youth Kid-O-Bunk with Organizers

Disc-O-Bed Youth Kid-O-Bunk with Organizers

Carrying Weight: 66 lbs.

Holding Weight: Up to 500 lbs.

Unfolded Dimensions: 79 in. x 34.5 in. x 32 in.

Material: Steel Frame & Polyester Fabric

Added Features: Bunk Beds, Zipping Sleeves, Pockets

Best Use: Household, Camping, Outdoor Recreation

Description: Disc-O-Bed Youth Kid-O-Bunk with Organizers is in a league of its own. A cot with two levels? A bunk bed cot, it is. This makes this easy for visitors, camping with a spouse or friend, or even used in the military.

Easily one of the toughest and most durable out there since it needs to whole two people, but that makes it heavy to carry as well. With fairly long dimensions at 79 inches, this would work for even some of your tall friends. This cot doesn’t include a mattress but has other added features like zipping sleeves and pockets for overnight storage of important things to they may stay close to you in your sleep.

Disc-O-Bed Youth Kid-O-Bunk

Disc-O-Bed Youth Kid-O-Bunk

Carrying Weight: 34 lbs.

Holding Weight: Up to 400 lbs.

Unfolded Dimensions: 65 in. x 32.5 in. x 32 in.

Material: Anti-Rust Steel Frame &  Polyester Fabric

Added Features: Bunk Beds, No Middle Brace, No Mattress, Polyester Carrying Bag, 2 Side Organizing Compartments

Best Use: Household, Outdoor Recreation

Description: Specifically designed for kids, the Disc-O-Bed Bunking Cot is every sleepover’s dream! Similar to the adult bunking cot, this one is also created with strength in mind. Even kids who are the same age will have significant growth differences. This could pose more difficulties, but kids aren’t as picky as adults.

Holding up to 400 lbs. and better for an adult to carry at 34 lbs. makes taking other kids on camping trips possible. Another key feature is the lack of center brace down the middle of the cot. Some cots will place a bar down the middle of the cot for added strength, but often it only becomes an added nuisance when it’s right in the center of your back. Finding other ways to build strength, they removed it for added comfort.

Trademark Innovations Aluminum Portable Folding Camping Bed & Cot

Trademark Innovations Aluminum Portable Folding Camping Bed & Cot

Carrying Weight: 14 lbs.

Holding Weight: Up to 260 lbs.

Unfolded Dimensions: 75 in. x 25 in. x 17 in.

Material: Aluminum Frame

Added Features: Carrying Case, Minimal Set-Up

Best Use: Camping, Outdoor Recreation

Description: This cot fits well in a lot of categories. The Trademark Innovations Camping Cot holds up to 260 lbs. but is only about 14 pounds to carry. That makes for a pretty good trade off for a lightweight hiker.

An added bonus for hikers and backpackers when carrying extra weight is knowing they won’t have to sleep on the cold hard ground if they carry this guy along. For the heavier campers, though, this one might not have the strength to make you feel comfortable about sleeping on it.

An aluminum frame keeps this cot so light, but also loses a bit of its strength Accompanied by a carrying case, this cot is super easy to set up. Simple cross-bars at the top and bottom make for easy set-up and tear-down so you can spend more time on the go or getting to sleep.

Kamp-Rite Oversize Kwik Cot

Kamp-Rite Oversize Kwik Cot

Carrying Weight: 25 lbs.

Holding Weight: Up to 400 lbs.

Unfolded Dimensions: 84 in. x 33 in. x 21 in.

Material: Steel Frame & 600D Fabric

Added Features: Padded Head Section, Mesh Storage Hammock Underneath, Side Storage Pockets

Best Use: Camping, Outdoor Recreation, Hiking

Description: The word “oversize” here doesn’t do it justice. The Kamp-Rite Oversize Kwik Cot is just that. Oversized and quick! Opening in seconds with an easy set-up  gives you more time to be roasting marshmallows instead of hassling with locks and bolts or blow-up mattresses.

With an 84-inch sleeping length and a 33-inch width, this cot is made for the mighty. Although it shouldn’t be, exclusively. Anyone would enjoy a little extra room when they are sleeping, right?

They should enjoy stretching out and moving in their sleep without the fear of tipping over. Especially when they are propped up on a solid steel frame with amazing 600D Fabric and has a weight limit of up to 400 lbs. At only 25 lbs. to carry, though, this cot should definitely be invited on your next camping trip.

TETON Sports Outfitter Cot

TETON Sports Outfitter Cot

Carrying Weight: 26 lbs.

Holding Weight: Up to 600 lbs.

Unfolded Dimensions: 85 in. x 40 in. x 19 in.

Material: Aluminum Frame & 600D Poly Canvas Fabric

Added Features: Carrying Bag, Compatible With Camping Pads, Gun Sleeve, Under-Cot Storage

Best Use: Camping, Hiking, Outdoor Recreation, Military, Hunting

Description: The Teton Sports Cot is one of the strongest out there. With a weight limit of up to 600 lbs., you might think this is actually a bunking cot. It’s not, it’s just that strong.

One key feature that adds to its strength is its S-shaped legs. Strong and more reliable than the original X-shaped cross bars, the S-shape allows them to give added strength to the center of the cot, where it’s needed most. Pair the legs with a high-quality 600D Poly Canvas top and you have one solid night’s sleep.

Another key feature that adds value to this cot is its versatility. It’s only 26 lbs. to carry which is light for such a strong structure, but it also has added space too. With a sleeve especially made for a gun, this cot might make a military appearance. The cot also features extra storage underneath the cot with an added organizer that will keep the most important things very close to you.

Which One Holds Up?

Choosing one of the best camping cots is a decision you, literally, have to sleep on. A good night’s sleep is highly influential on how the rest of a camping trip might go. Whether you are taking your kids out for their first time or trying it out for yourself as a new hiker, make sure you are doing your research.

There are deals out there that are worth their money and there are deals out there that are not, but a lot of that depends on what you need the most.

Putting your own needs first, ask yourself when and where you might be using this most. This might help answer the question of weights. Are you taking this cot up a mountain? Across a desert? Or just to the back of your Jeep on the drive to the camping area?

Camping cot with tent

Whatever you answer just realize that you still need to be able to carry this cot. The distance will vary based on what you’re doing, but if you cannot comfortably carry the cot that you buy, then it may be worth reconsidering.

This also goes for set-up and tear-down. Are you going to be able to set this up on your own or will it take more than one person? This could influence your choice as well because you may end up with more cot than you need.

It should be a decision that has almost just as much thought as a couch or other piece of furniture. Having a cot that fits best with your needs will always be worth the money. This includes your needs to travel to the mountains, your needs to sleep under the stars comfortably, and your needs to have freedom and comfort while sleeping in whatever position you would like.

Keeping these factors in mind as well as your own personal needs will lead you to the best sleeping cot for you.

Are there any cots we may have missed? Please leave any recommendations you’ve had good experiences with in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Steven Schick

    If you’re car camping, try to find an Army cot. There are quality foam pads that are downright indestructible to use on the cot if you don’t like the reliability of the inflatables. They are durable and last forever too. I had one 10 years ago, and that thing was indestructible.

  • Daniel Carraway

    You might want to consider a The Teton Sports Cot Steven. This is one of the strongest cot around and weighs a mere 26 pounds. Big guys love this since it can hold 600 lbs in weight!

  • Meg Gardner

    Purchasing the Teton camping cot won’t disappoint you. It is so huge, sturdy, and a cot that is very suitable for children. We’ve seen and tested it! The little kids were being very playful over it but it buckled under pressure. All the other tents in the list are good as well but I chose this one for the satisfying experience we had with it.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Thanks for the great review Meg! The Teton can withstand weight of up to 600 lbs, and that’s a lot! So, no wonder that your family love the cot. I can imagine the children enjoying themselves – and you heaving a sigh of relief that the Teton held up!

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