One of the first things I wanted to do when I got my drivers’ license is to pack my bags and go camping with my friends. When people think about traveling, they usually think about visiting foreign countries.
Sure, learning about foreign history and culture, different lifestyle etc. is fun. What if currently that is not possible, but you still want to take a couple of days off with your friends? I recommend camping with your friends in your own country. People often forget that there are probably so many explored and unexplored natural places in your country that you can visit.
The first couple of times, me and my friends didn’t think about comfortability and portability of our camping gear. Although we managed to transport everything to our camping spot relatively easy, there was one problem that persisted during our whole trip-uncomfortable sleeping.
Initially, we’ve thought that sleeping bags are the easiest and best way for sleeping during our trip. We were so wrong. Waking up with stiff neck and back pain lowered our enthusiasm for hiking and all-day activities in the nature.
That’s why I’ve decided to find a better alternative. The first thing that came up during my search was a camping cot. I didn’t think about getting a camping cot for a couple of reasons. I was uninformed so I thought that they are heavy, uncomfortable and hard to transport. This search definitely changed my mind.
After thorough research and trying numerous camping cots, I present to you the best camping cots in my opinion.
Why Should You Consider Buying A Camping Cot?
One of the biggest advantage of a camping cot is that it keeps you elevated from the ground. Natural places are filled with uneven surfaces. Even if you find one that is relatively even, there are probably so many rocks and grass underneath your sleeping bag that will make even less comfort. Don’t forget about insects too.
Being off the ground will also make you space for putting your other gear and stuff underneath the cot. This way you will have more space in your tent.
Elevated cot will also prevent heat dissipation. If you sleep on the ground and the ground temperature is high, you will be hot and end up sweaty. If the ground is cold, you will transfer your heat easier and spend your night feeling cold.
What To Consider When Buying A Camping Cot?
There are couple of things that you should consider when buying a camping cot – materials, size, weight, portability and comfort. Out of all these things, size and portability are the most important. You should measure your tent before deciding what size of camping cot you are going to buy. Portability is something that is also important, especially if your camping spot is far away from you vehicle, or if you plan on changing your spot more often during your trip.
Camping cots usually have 2 parts-frame and a cover fabric. There are also cots with extra padding, but they have more weight.
Frame is usually made of aluminum or steel. Cots made of aluminum are lighter, more compact and portable. But they are also less sturdy and can take less weight.
If you want to have a camping cot that is sturdy and you don’t mind carrying extra weight, steel framed cots are the way to go. They can withstand higher weight and there is a less possibility to band or fail.Cover is usually made of polyester or nylon. They are light, easy to clean and can support weight during sleep. Just be sure to check the quality of the fabric. Lower quality materials can rip easily. Nobody wants to end up on the ground during sleep.
Camping cots come in different sizes. Most of them are suitable for average sized people, but there are also bigger cots and the ones made for children. Manufacturers usually make the same product in various sizes, so I’m sure you are going to find the right one for you. Just be careful when you’re choosing the size. You don’t want to end up with a cot that is too short for your height or too big for your tent.
Materials used for a camping cot impact its weight. Stainless steel, bigger camping cots and the ones with extra padding are heavier and harder to transport. On the other hand, aluminum made and smaller cots are more practical. Most of them come with a carrying bag with shoulder straps which will make transportation easier.
Camping cots are either foldable or can be disassembled completely. If you’re beginner, I recommend foldable camping cots. Just unfold it and it is going to snap into place. You don’t have to think about carrying a manual and losing time for assembling the cot. You’ve already spent time on setting up the tent.
More compact and lighter camping cots are usually less comfortable. You can solve this problem by putting a sleeping bag on top of the cot or getting a mattress. That is if you don’t mind carrying an extra weight.
My Top 5 Camping Cots Currently Available On The Market
Now that I’ve told you what to consider when buying a camping cot, you should also check my review of five best camping cots that I’ve found on the market.
#1 Coleman ComfortSmart Camping Cot
There are couple of reasons why this camping cot caught my eye. Foldable, compact camping cot with mattress is something that is rarely seen in the same product. They are usually big and quite heavy. This one is totally opposite.
The mattress folds in half together with a cot, and is pretty compact and lightweight. It can easily be stored in the back of your car.
The frame and legs are made of steel, so you don’t have to worry about its sturdiness. Manufacturer notes that it can support up to 275 pounds and people up to 5 feet 7 inches tall. I am 5 feet 8 inches tall and I didn’t mind that part of my feet hang off. But, tall people - don’t worry, Coleman got you covered.
Even though the mattress is not that thick (around 1.5, 2 inches), it definitely makes a difference when sleeping. The mattress is probably the reason why you will be comfortable and won’t feel the center metal bar while sleeping.
But, not everything is perfect. The same thing that caught my eye is also its downside. The mattress is made of slippery material so I recommend putting a sheet that will secure the mattress to the frame. It also makes small noise when you move at night, but I think it is not enough to wake up a person. Moreover, there is no bag included for transporting.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with this camping cot.
#2 Coleman 2000020273 Pack Away Cotton – Twin
This product is also made by Coleman. I was pleasantly surprised with their previous product, so I wanted to try out other products too.
In comparison to previous camping cot, this one does not come with a mattress. If you don’t want to sleep on its cover fabric, you can use sleeping bag or a mattress on top of it. It comes in a small carrying bag, so you don’t have to worry about transportation.
It has a steel frame and tough polyester that supports up to 300 lbs. The sleeping area is pretty wide and long – 80 x 32 inches, and it can fit people up to 6 feet 6 inches tall.
It seems that Coleman always make some innovative addition to their products. This one comes with a removable side table with a cup-holder. With this addition, you don’t have to get up to pick up your drink or snacks during your rest from your activities.
Folding and unfolding of this camping cot is really easy and doesn’t take time. I was a little bit worried that there are no locks on the legs. The person’s weight is what prevents legs from closing. Don’t worry. The high-quality materials and sturdiness of this cot will prevent that from happening.
When it comes to noise, I have to disappoint you and tell you that it does make a noise. The noise is bigger than the previous one. So, if you’re not a calm sleeper, maybe you should consider other products.
Given its size, make sure you have a tent that is big enough for this cot. It is also pretty heavy so be prepared for flexing your muscles. Or you can just find a camping site that is closer to your vehicle.
#3 Coleman Queen Airbed Folding Cot with Side Tables and 4D Battery Pump
The third camping cot on today’s list is also made by Coleman. It includes airbed mattress so it is similar to Comfort Smart.
Even though I read the specifications before I ordered this cot, I didn’t expect it to be so heavy. Whole package weights around 40 pounds which is more than any other camping cot I’ve tried. Fortunately, there is a carrying bag with four wheels on the bottom that will make transportation easier.
The cot is made of steel, which seems pretty sturdy. Manufacturer notes that it can support up to 600 pounds and accommodate people up to 6 feet 2 inches tall. Moreover, it also includes two detachable side tables with cup holders that you can use for your drinks, snacks and personal items.
The mattress features ComfortStrong coil construction for support and comfort. There is also a sleeve to hold the mattress in place. I wish the Comfort Smart model has the same option.
I was a little bit skeptical when I’ve seen the manufacturer’s statement that their AirTight system prevents mattress from leaking. It is normal for air beds to deflate. But because of their innovations in camping gear I was hoping that this statement is true. Unfortunately, it is not.
This model was no different than other air beds. You need to inflate more than once during your stay. Sometimes even during the nights while sleeping, especially if you move too often.
It is more comfortable in comparison to other camping cots but it is so noisy. Noisier than the first two products I’ve tried. Using a mattress cover makes things better, but unfortunately for some people it is not enough.
I also think that the included 4D battery pump is weak, so I recommend using other if you have. I was definitely expecting more from this product.
#4 Magshion Portable Military Fold Up Camping Bed Cot + Free Storage Bag- 5 Colors
The first thing I’ve noticed when I got this camping cot is how its middle bar is couple of inches below the fabric. Middle bars are usually right beneath the fabric, so if you don’t use some mattress, bag or blanket on top of it, you are going to feel uncomfortable. My little sister always complains about this middle bar when I take her to camping. This was the first time she didn’t.
The frame of this camping cot is made of steel, while the cover fabric is made of oxford cloth. Out of all camping cots that I’ve tried, this is the lightest. It weighs just 8 pounds, so it is really easy to carry.
With camping cot this light, you’re probably going to question its sturdiness. Usually with lighter camping cots, there is a possibility that it is not sturdy enough. With this product, you don’t have to worry about that. I was surprised how light but sturdy it is. During our trip, kids were non-stop playing on it and it didn’t move at all.
The weight limit is 280 pounds and it can fit people that are up to 6 feet tall. It is easy to set up and simple to use. There is also a free storage bag included in the package that will protect your cot until next usage. Unfortunately, the bag doesn’t have a shoulder or a hand strap. If you want to carry this cot easier, you need to make a strap by yourself.
The only downside is that it is narrow, so it is maybe better for smaller people or kids. It comes in 5 different colors, which is great for kids or if you want to make your tent interior more colorful.
#5 Kamp-Rite Oversize Kwik Cot
This Oversize Kwik Cot by Kamp-Rite is made of heavy duty, powder-coated frame and nylon fabric. Even if you use something on top of it, having a padded head section is a welcome addition. There are two side storage pockets that are easy to reach.
The frame seems sturdy enough to withstand bigger weight. It is covered by fabric so you won’t feel cold metal while resting. There is no locking mechanism, but I didn't have any problem while sitting or sleeping on it.
For a camping cot that does not include mattress, it is really comfortable. After really bad experience with Qeen Airbed’s loud noise, I need to note that this cot doesn’t make a noise.
The main disadvantage is its size. The sleeping surface is pretty big – 84 x 33 inches. It is even bigger than the Coleman’s Pack Away model. Make sure you measure your tent before ordering this product. Moreover, its really tall when unfolded. Much taller than previous models.Therefore, it is a lot harder to get out of the cot. That is why I don’t recommend it for smaller and older people.
I think that with this review I’ve included almost all types of camping cots. Big, small, folding, with or without mattresses. All of the above camping cots are good in their own way. Your choice depends on your needs.
For somebody who doesn’t want to carry a mattress or sleeping bags, I recommend buying a Coleman’s ComfortSmart Camping Cot. Just don’t forget to put something underneath the mattress so it won’t slip away.
If you want small and lightweight cot that gets the job done-Magshion’s camping cot is the way the go.
Although the Coleman’s Queen Airbed is the most comfortable, it’s noise and the fact that it is easily deflatable makes it a tough sell in comparison to other models that are much cheaper.
I hope that with this review I made your choice easier and your camping more comfortable than in the past.
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