Mattress Accessories & Bedding

Best Cots for Camping

Cots are a great option if you need a temporary sleeping solution that is portable and comfortable. This guide outlines the best choice for every scenario.

By Madison Muire

A cot, or camping bed, is a lightweight, portable, small bed typically used in situations where a larger, traditional bed isn’t accessible. Cots are portable and compact, making them an excellent option for campers and travelers who want to explore without sacrificing some of the comforts of home.

For those who prefer sleeping on an elevated surface while camping as opposed to in a sleeping bag or pad on the ground, cots offer an affordable solution. They’re not just for camping trips, however, as cots can also be found in homes and hotels as an alternate additional sleeping surface.

In this guide, we’re sharing our top picks for the best cots. We also share a guide for shopping, with considerations, information about the types of cots available, and more to help you make your purchase confidently. Read on to learn about the best cots available for your budget, lifestyle, and hobbies.

Best Cots of 2020

L.L. Bean Byer Cottage Cot Bed

Editor’s Pick

Reason to Buy: With its ultra-comfortable layer of memory foam, 300 lb. weight capacity, sturdy steel frame, and portable folding design, this is our Editor’s Pick for the best cot. 

L.L. Bean is a nationally renowned go-to retailer for outdoor equipment, and this cot is no exception. A highly-rated item on L.L. Bean’s website, it has a simple, easy-to-assemble design with thoughtful details to help you achieve an excellent night’s sleep anywhere you go. 

The generous weight capacity and dimensions (75” L x 32” W) make it appropriate for even tall and heavyweight individuals, and the memory foam mattress measures 3-inches thick to mimic your comfortable at-home mattress more closely.

The cover can be easily removed for machine washing, and the steel legs lock after setup for safety. Whether you’re camping outdoors, waiting on permanent furniture in a new home, or need an extra sleeping surface for guests, the L.L. Bean Byer Cottage Cot is the perfect sleeping surface at just $179.95. Reviewers write that it’s the “best cot they’ve ever slept on,” and it comes with free shipping.

Byer of Maine EasyCot

Runner Up

Reason to Buy: A close second for Editor’s Pick, the EasyCot by Byer of Main is an all-around well-built camping cot that’s likely to meet the needs of most shoppers.

The Byer of Maine EasyCot is constructed with a durable, welded steel frame and polyester five-panel reinforced fabric. It sets up easily and has a 330-pound weight capacity, and it measures 78” L x 31” W. It folds to fit nicely into an accompanying carrying bag and assembles in seconds by simply unfolding and securing the legs.

The only downside of the EasyCot is its weight. At 21 pounds, it’s a little heavier than other options on this list, but the price, features, and durability make it a worthwhile investment if you don’t mind towing the extra weight along on your trip. 

Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camping Cot

Best Oversized

Reason to Buy: With a 600-pound weight capacity and measurements larger than a twin bed, this is our best cot for those who want to stretch out or are larger in size.

The Teton Sports Outfitter XXL measures 85” L x 40” W, making it larger than a standard twin mattress. It supports up to 600 pounds, which is one of the highest weight limits available on the market and can be paired with the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Pad for an even better night’s sleep.

Despite its size, the Teton XXL cot sets up easily: a pivot arm acts as a built-in lever to make “wrestling with the fourth corner of the cot” nonexistent, according to the company. The reinforced steel S-legs keep you safe while sleeping, and rubber bushings act as shock absorbers for quieter, more restful sleep outdoors. The Teton XXL camping cot comes with a storage bag, weighs just 26 pounds, and ships free for Amazon Prime members.

Alpcour Folding Camping Cot

Best Lightweight

Reason to Buy: If you have a long hiking journey to your campsite or don’t enjoy carrying heavy objects while outdoors, this 13-pound cot should do the trick.

The Alpcour Folding Cot marries function with a lightweight design, and it doesn’t sacrifice on weight capacity. Individuals weighing up to 300 pounds can sleep safely on this cot, and it comes with a built-in pillow, side pockets for easy storage, and is water-resistant and easy to clean.

The cot is constructed from a double layer of polyester material to keep it breathable, and it’s supported by a steel frame. Our recommendation for campers who want a cot that checks all the boxes but is lightweight and easy to store during the day, the Alpcour Folding Camping Cot comes in three colors and costs less than $100 on Amazon.

Kamp-Rite Oversize Tent Cot

Best Tent Cot

Reason to Buy: Acting as a two-in-one, this tent cot combines a sleeping surface with a tent for a cot that will protect you from the elements while outdoors.

This innovative cot not only keeps you off the ground but protects you from rain, bugs, and other outdoor nuisances while you sleep. The elevated base prevents contact with rocks, bugs, and damp ground, and the tent has two zippered polyester and mesh doors that allow for easy access while keeping bugs at bay throughout the night. 

The tent portion of the cot has a dome shape, creating ample interior space to prevent you from feeling cramped, and it takes moments to set up and store. A heavy-duty carrying back makes transport from the car to the campsite easy. The Kamp-Rite Oversized Cot Tent comes in two colors and, while among the more expensive cots on our list, it’s made of heavy-duty 190T nylon that’s bound to last many years.

Osage River Folding Camping Cot

Best Value

Reason to Buy: This lightweight, affordable option has excellent reviews across the board and costs less than $50, making it our Best Value cot pick.

The Osage River Folding Camping Cot is constructed with heavy-duty 600D PVC-coated polyester, a fabric that’s waterproof and helps prevent moisture buildup in rainy conditions. The legs are made from carbon steel and can support up to 300 pounds, and flat plastic feet prevent the cot from sinking or slipping in soft soil. 

When set up, the cot measures 28” W x 75” L, and it’s easy to set up. Simply open the cot by pressing down on the four frame joints to lock them into position. You can fold the cot by loosening the same joints.  Weighing in at just 13 pounds, this is a lightweight option that even children can carry. The Osage River Folding Camping Cot comes in eight colors and costs just $49.99 on Amazon. 

Coleman Camping Cot Air Mattress Combo

Best Air Mattress and Cot Combination

Reason to Buy: An innovative combination of a cot and an airbed, this fancy number includes side tables and a battery-operated pump for the best of both worlds.

This portable twin air mattress cot by Coleman can be used at a campsite or indoors for extra guests. It features Coleman’s ComfortStrong coil system for added support and comfort, and Coleman’s AirTight system prevents the mattress from leaking with a double lock valve.

This larger-than-twin-size cot, measuring 74” L x 40” W, can support up to 300 pounds and individuals up to 6 feet tall. The sturdy steel frame supports the added weight of the air mattress. Shoppers who want to almost guarantee a better night’s sleep out in the wilderness will make their best bet with this airbed cot, but keep in mind that, at 30 pounds, it weighs more than other cots on the market. The Coleman Camping Cot Air Mattress costs less than $100 and comes with a bag for easy storage and carrying.

Coleman ComfortSmart Cot

Best Padded

Reason to Buy: Campers and sleepers who desire comfort will enjoy the extra padding on the Coleman ComfortSmart Cot.

The Coleman ComfortSmart Cot has a 300-pound weight capacity, a sturdy coil suspension, is easy to assemble, and weighs just 21.5 pounds. It’s a highlight feature, however, is the plush foam mattress pad that sits atop the cot. The thick foam offers additional support and comfort for sleepers who have trouble with temporary sleeping surfaces. 

The ComfortSmart is also slightly larger than other options, measuring 80” L x 30” W, and reviewers write that it’s “one of their best camping purchases ever.” This cot comes in two colors and is Amazon’s Choice for “folding cot.” 

REI Co-Op Kingdom Cot 3

Most Luxurious

Reason to Buy: If you fall into the category of those who prefer “glamping,” or camping in luxury style, to camping, you’ll love the bells and whistles of REI’s Kingdom Cot 3.

Anything but bare-bones, the padded REI Kingdom Cot 3 provides plenty of room to stretch out and plush support for sleepers of all size and weight ranges. The steel frame is notably strong, holding up to 300 pounds, and is powder-coated to increase longevity. Atop the frame is a padded, quilted top made from quick-drying, water-resistant fabric, just in case you encounter elements while outdoors.

The cot has oversized feet to help achieve a stable sleeping surface on uneven ground, and the back can be adjusted up or down for comfort. This folding frame from REI packs up quickly for convenient transport and measures a generous 82” L x 31.5”. Reviewers write that it’s the “most comfortable cot they’ve ever slept on.” The only drawback to this cot is that it doesn’t come with a bag, so you’ll need to purchase one separately or ensure it fits easily into a camping backpack.

Coleman Queen Size Airbed Cot

Best for Couples

Reason to Buy: Whether you’re headed out on a romantic camping outing for two or spending the first night in a new master bedroom and waiting on furniture, the Queen Size Airbed Cot by Coleman provides enough room for couples who want to stay close in a temporary bed.

Sold as a three-piece combination, the Coleman Queen Size Airbed Cot comes with side tables, an air mattress, and a battery-operated pump, practically mimicking the comforts and furnishings of your bedroom at home. The airbed has a coil construction that contours to the body for better support and sleep, and it’s encased in a sewn cover that helps keep it in place on the cot. 

Two side tables in a pull-out design add storage and a place for drinks and snacks, and the strong steel frame can support up to 600 pounds. This Queen Size Airbed Cot measures 78” W x 59” L and folds for easy storage. It weighs almost 42 pounds, but the entire air mattress and frame pack into a bag that’s roughly the size of a small tent bag, making it reasonably easy to carry anywhere you go.


Camping Cot Buying Guide

Types

When considering the best cot to purchase, it can be helpful to understand the types available on the market. While most cots have similar designs and functionality, there are several common add-ons or features that distinguish some cots from others. From this perspective, there are three different types of cots:

  • Traditional Cots—Foldable sleep surfaces with a steel frame and a reinforced fabric sleeping surface.
  • Padded Cots—Foldable sleep surfaces with a steel frame and a thicker sleeping surface, sometimes made with memory foam. 
  • Cots with Air Mattresses—A foldable sleep surface with a steel frame that’s sold with an accompanying inflatable air mattress and inflation device.

Considerations

  • Comfort—A traditional camping cot can offer a reasonable amount of support, especially if you sleep on your back. Side sleepers and combination sleepers may fare better on a cot with a padded surface or air mattresses, which are generally more comfortable. 
  • Durability—Look for reinforced, steel frames and high weight limits. Even if you don’t measure anywhere close to the top weight capacity, a high weight limit is an indication that the cot is less vulnerable than its competitors.
  • Size—Most cots available measure roughly the equivalent of a twin-size mattress. If you plan to sleep with a partner on the cot or are a tall or heavyweight individual, consider investing in a Queen-size cot.
  • Portability—If you plan to use the cot primarily for camping, look for portable, lightweight, and foldable designs that are sold with a bag and take just a few minutes to assemble and disassemble. If you plan to use the cot at home, portability may not weigh as heavily in your purchase decision.

How to Pick the Right Cot

The best cot for your lifestyle will depend on your hobbies,  budget, preferences, and sleeping style. If you’re an avid camper, consider a cot that’s durable, well-made, and extremely portable. If you’re purchasing a cot as a temporary sleeping surface for a guest or yourself at home, consider a cot that’s well-made and comfortable. We also recommend considering the return policy and warranty policy of the cot you purchase: many camping cots can be an investment, and it should last you for years. You’ll want to be protected if the cot isn’t up to your standards or if you have trouble with it during the first few days of use. We hope this shopping guide and our list of the 10 best cots available gets you started on the right foot as you choose the best cot for you.


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