When you go camping or backpacking, sleeping at night is always a problem. Backpackers are pretty much relegated to carrying sleeping pads from companies like Therm-a-Rest or roughing it completely and sleeping right on the hard ground. Tent campers have a few more choices when it comes to camping beds. They can bring in luxury air mattresses that are bulky and don't always fit in tents properly or they too can go the minimal route and sleep on camping mats or sleeping pads. A middle of the road option is a camping cot or tent cot which cost between $40 and $100. A camping cot will at least raise you off the ground level and reduce the chances of ground moisture being an issue in the morning. Camping cots are easy to erect and break down quite easily for compact storage. Boy Scout troops have used camping, or army, cots for years on their outings and they are a great place to rest our feet and body at night. What should you look for when buying a camping cot? We go into details down below on brands, pricing, and features.
When you go looking for a camping cot, the first thing to remember is that you want something reasonably comfortable if you are going to spend money to sleep on it. If the cot is in a box at the store, ask the sales clerk to take it out so you can sit on it and lay down on it to test it out. Secondly, you want a cot that is lightweight and folds down nicely so you can carry it to your campsite from the car or into the backcountry for longer stays. Many cots come with storage bags that fit nicely on backpacks if you are going into the woods for a few days and still want a little comfort. Make sure the cot is long enough to support your entire body (some cots are too short). Another feature that is often overlooked is stability. When you go camping outdoors, you can't guarantee that the ground will be perfectly flat with no rocks or slight hills. The last thing you want is to have your cot fall over in the middle of the night and wind up on the ground. Make sure the bottom of the framing on the legs is straight and level. The material should be durable and the stitching around the seems should be well done to avoid potential unraveling and tearing. If you can get a little padding on the sleeping surface you are doing well since most cots are pretty basic. I know several people that use a camping cot and then put a sleeping pad on top of it to get that extra foamy comfort. The top brands in camping cots are Coleman, Slumberjack, Kamp-Rite, EZ Cots, Rio, Texsport, and ALPS Mountaineering. Online sites like Amazon.com, Campmor.com, and Cabelas.com all offer traveling cots, folding cots, army cots, and camping cots at pretty cheap prices. You can also visit your local outdoor sporting goods store like Dicks Sporting Goods or Sports Authority to see them up close. You can browse the most popular camping cots online here.
Best Camping Cot:
We went searching for a quality camping cot by looking in camping forums online and found a non-name brand cot that seemed to get pretty good reviews by most that use it. It's called the Go-Kot and the regular version costs a little less than $100. There is a large version that has a longer length (7 feet 1 inch) for and extra $15. The regular Go-Kot comes in 13 different colors, has "tough spring steel galvanized legs", aluminum side-rail hinges, and 1000 Denier DuPont Cordura cover is resistant to scuffs, tears, and punctures. The material is also water resistant and it dries quickly. Owners say the setup couldn't be any easier and taking it down is just as simple. The carrying bag has an adjustable sling which makes it comfortable for all sizes to carry. It weighs in at 8 1/2 pounds and is 26" wide with a 6 foot 2 inch length. There is a kids version for $60 and they carry Air-Spring Go-Kots that are quite the luxury item for around $210. See their inventory online at Campingcot.com.
Budget Camping Cot:
Coleman has been making camping gear and equipment for decades and their line of camping cots is extensive. They offer folding cots, military cots, portable beds, and padded cots for those who want to enjoy the outdoors without all the amenities of home. The Forester Folding Cot ($40) from Coleman is a top seller in sporting good stores across America. The Forester sleeps a person up to 5 feet 10 inches tall (there is a larger version for those up to 6' 6" for an extra $10) and its sturdy aluminum construction with polyester material will last for years. The center leg brace make this cot stable and the bi-fold collapsible legs make this compact when it comes to storage. The cot is lightweight and comes with a 3 year limited warranty. You can view the entire collection of camping cots from Coleman on their website. RECOMMENDED - The most popular cot on Amazon.com is the Rio Adventure Military Style Cot and it too sells for about $40. Great folding style cot that works great on camping trips and features durable fabric. Owner reviews are generally very positive for this model although a few mention having trouble assembling the cot. We suggest you put it together a few times before going camping.
Luxury Camping Cot:
There is a product that is called "Tent Cot" and it's produced by Kamp-Rite. Imagine a camping cot with a tent over the top. It's actually pretty unique and reviewers say they work pretty well for $220 (The Double). There is a tent cot for individuals and "The Double" is perfect for couples. It's longer than a queen size bed and almost as wide. Supports up to 500 lbs and there is a 3/8" foam sleep pad under your body. Constructed of sturdy aluminum framing and durable 210D poly-oxford fabric. The PU waterproof coating keep you dry when the weather turns bad. There are entry doors on both sides and on the ends. If outdoor camping is what you do, but sleeping in a tent is too luxurious, consider the Tent Cot as an alternative. Check out the luxury tent cots from Kamp-Rite here.