Whether you enjoy roughing it outdoors or a little taste of luxury when camping in the backcountry, the best camping cots are one of the most important tools you can take along on your next camping, hiking or hunting trip. As you already know, a good night’s rest can have a major impact on how you feel and your energy level. So, if you’re planning a long camping or hiking trip, taking along a camping cot with a reputation for comfort and durability can make all the difference.
A high-quality cot enables you to rest better at night, so you can recover and recharge your energy for the next day’s adventure.
Our site is dedicated to helping you find the right type of camping cot based on your specific needs, whether you prefer setting up camp and spending a few weeks out on the river, or you enjoy long hiking excursions in the backcountry.
Aside from the top five camping cot reviews, we’ve also included an extensive buying guide that’s designed to teach beginners about the different features camping cots have to offer and what to look for in a cot, based on a variety of factors.
Our article on camping tips by season is another great read designed to help prepare beginners for a fun camping experience based on the time of year they decide to brave the wild.
How We Chose the Best of the Best: A Look into Our Top Five Camping Cots
There are many features you need to consider before you dive in and purchase a new camping cot. But these features can also depend on the type and style of camping cot you’re looking for.
So, how did we choose our top five?
First, we looked at the weight. The weight of a camping cot is one of the first specs a hiker or camper will check out. We’ve include models ranging from just two pounds, up to a whopping thirty-five pounds.
We also focused on quality of construction and ease of use. Many campers and hikers are in need of cots that are easy to set up and break down. You don’t want to have to whip out the instructions each time you set up your cot. Because of this, we focused more on models that feature a simple set up process.
We also looked at the style. There is a big difference between cots that are designed for a semi-permanent campsite and models that are portable and light enough that you can easily haul them from campsite to campsite.
Next, we looked at comfort. Many lower priced camping cots don’t have a great reputation for comfort or support. The cots we have chosen all scored high in these areas. Each cot offers better than average back support, ensuring you get a good night’s rest.
Pricing was another factor we considered, which is why we’ve included both pricey models and cots that are designed for hikers and campers on a tight budget.
Basically, we’ve covered every area.
We’re confident that you’ll find the best camping cot on our top five list, so you can finally use a comfortable, lightweight cot that you can depend on year after year.
We’ll start off by taking a quick look at our best model, a camping cot by Helinox called the Big Agnes. This cot is one that rated well with the pros and it’s definitely a cot that you’ll find yourself using year after year.
Best Camping Cot-Big Agnes Helinox Cot One V2
This leading Helinox camping cot features a lightweight design and fast and simple set up, making it a great choice for hikers and campers. Despite the lightweight frame, this cot is surprisingly sturdy. It can also be set up or broken down in just a few minutes. The cot folds up into a small compact package and comes with its own carry case that can easily attach to your pack. Convenient, versatile, and made to last, you can’t go wrong with the Big Agnes One V2.
Most Versatile-KingCamp Ultralight Compact Folding Camping Tent Cot Bed
If you’re in need of a large, lightweight camping cot that folds down into an incredibly small package, then look no further. This model by KingCamp folds down into one of the smallest packages we’ve ever seen, so you can easily stash it inside of your pack during a hike. Versatile, easy to use, and impressively comfortable, this ultralight cot is in a class all its own.
KingCamp Camping Cot Double 2 Person Cot
A sturdy, durable two-person camping cot that’s loaded with features and equipped with an innovative carry bag that allows you to easily haul this beast from your car to your campsite, this KingCamp cot is a great buy for campers on a tight budget.
Best Camping Cot for Hikers-Therm-A-Rest LuxuryLite Mesh Cot
The LuxuryLite by Therm-a-Rest is the backpacker’s best friend. The ultra-lightweight design is what really makes it an asset in the backcountry. This cot allows you to enjoy a little comfort out on the trail, without adding too much bulk to your pack. In fact, it also folds down into a small compact package, so you can place it inside your pack or attach it to the exterior.
Top Luxury Camping Cot-Chinook 29250 Heavy Duty Padded Cot
A heavily padded camping cot complete with a built-in pillow and leg adjustment system, this model by Chinook truly allows the avid camper to enjoy the great outdoors in style and comfort. However, considering the size and weight of this cot, it’s not a model we would recommend for backpacking or car camping.
Camping Cot Buying Guide
A camping cot is designed to provide the camper, hunter, or backpacker with a small taste of home. This type of added luxury can do wonders in terms of how comfortably you rest at night but choosing the wrong cot can also end up being a burden.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a new camping cot. Make sure you pay close attention to the details including weight, frame, materials, and style, so you can choose the best type of cot for your trip.
Aspects To Keep In Mind
Hikers will want a cot that’s lightweight and durable. Outdoor enthusiasts who plan to set up their camp for a longer period of time and hike out will want to focus more on comfort.
If you need a durable cot, models equipped with a durable stainless-steel frame can be your best bet. Aluminum alloy camping cots are a lighter option and they’re a better choice for mountain climbers and hikers who prefer to keep their pack weight as light as possible.
If you’re camping with a tent, then the type of material used for your cot won’t matter much, but if you plan to camp out under the stars then look for a cot that’s both breathable and waterproof. Some cots are made out of a type of durable nylon that’s highly breathable, while others are made out of cotton. While cotton is another type of breathable material, if it gets wet it can take several hours to dry.
Are you looking for a stretchy cot that offers plenty of give or a model that features a firmer base? This is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Hikers who prefer a softer mattress will prefer a camping cot with a base that consists of stretchy fabric and a thin layer of padding for extra cushioning. Higher priced cots also come equipped with a built-in coil support system. Keep in mind that a firmer base often equals better back support.
If you and your team are planning on setting up a base camp, then the weight of your cot isn’t a priority. But if you’re a hiker or hunter who is constantly on the move, then a cot that offers a quick and easy setup, combined with a lightweight design is a more convenient option. Before you choose a cot, make sure you consider how often the cot will be used, how long you plan to stay at a particular campsite and whether portability is a crucial factor. The weight of the cot should be clearly listed on the spec sheet. A cot’s weight will give you a clear idea of how portable it is and can help you to determine if it’s the right model for your trip.
The length of a cot will also determine how comfortable or uncomfortable it will be. The cot should be long enough to accommodate your height without any overhang. Be sure to check out a cot’s dimensions before you buy.
Durability really matters, especially if you go with a model that you need to set up and break down each day. Check out the stitching and materials on the canvas, look at the thickness of both the legs of the cot and the frame itself, and inspect the type of fasteners that are used to hold the cot together. Avoid models that use riveted aluminum. Instead, go for a snap-together style frame, which is designed for frequent use.
The height of a cot is basically a matter of personal preference. A cot that’s lower will be cooler in the summer, while taller cots are often warmer for winter use. A taller cot can also be a better choice for campers with disabilities because they’re a little easier to get in and out of.
If you’re looking for more than just a basic camping cot, some newer models now come loaded with storage compartments, which can be a great way to stay organized on your trip. Higher priced cots will feature hanging storage compartments where you can store important gear.
Want a camping cot that’s loaded with features? Higher priced models will come with attached nightstands and built-in cup holders, so you can easily stash your phone, wallet, and keys, and keep your drink close at hand.
You’ll quickly find that most types of cots designed for backpackers are less expensive compared to thicker, more durable cots used at semi-permanent campsites. These luxurious cots will cost more than a standard hiking cot, but for campers who suffer from back pain, the higher price tag is often worth it.
Additionally, if you camp often, look for a cot that has a reputation for durability and a model that will last for more than just one season. Another thing that will make your life easier when in the mountains is a great outdoor watch.
Other Features To Look For And What To Avoid
Try to steer clear of cots that feature a crossbar design. While for some models, this style can add stability, with lower-priced cots, a crossbar design simply means most of your weight will end up sinking across these bars, which makes for one uncomfortable night of tossing and turning. If you do end up with a cot that features a crossbar frame we recommend purchasing a thin camping pad to place on top of the cot.
The width of cot matters just as much as the height and length. A narrow cot will not be suitable for larger sleepers. However, they do make cots that are extra-wide, measuring in at over forty inches in width. These extra-wide models tend to be made out of heavy stainless-steel, so they won’t be a good choice if you’re looking for a cot that’s highly portable.
In terms of weight, with the average camping cot designed for semi-permanent campsites, you’re looking at a weight of fifteen pounds. The weight of a cot increases if they’re equipped with extra padding, a longer frame design, or if they’re made completely or partially out of stainless-steel. Ultra-light camping cots weigh in at just a few pounds, but these cots are often intended for smaller sleepers and are considered very flimsy. If you’re a restless sleeper then you’ll want to avoid a lightweight cot at all costs because they may tip during the night.
The smallest cot can be packed down to roughly the size of a one-person tent and will weigh only three to five pounds, but these cots also tend to sit very low to the ground and feature a lower user weight capacity.
As we have mentioned, ease of assembly will be important if you’re backpacking abroad or traveling from campsite to campsite every day or two. In cases such as these, you’ll want a cot that’s easy to break down and pack up. While with every cot some assembly is expected, some models feature instant assembly that consists of snapping portions of the frame in place, while setting up other cots can be just as time-consuming as setting up a tent.
If you want to learn some great hiking and camping tips check out our article on the topic.
Finding the Best Style of Camping Cot
With a camping cot, the design is mainly about the frame. How the user is supported can make all the difference when it comes to durability and comfort.
In terms of leg styles, there are a few options to choose from, including C-shaped legs, military-X, and vertical legs. If a cot is used inside a tent it should also have rubber caps attached to the ends of each leg to avoid puncturing or tearing the tent floor. The C-shaped frame design is considered the least sturdy and it’s usually found on lower priced cots.
The type of fabric that’s used often plays a major role in how comfortable or uncomfortable a cot will be. Basic models will feature a single layer or polyester or nylon material, which can be easily cleaned with a simple wipe down. Cotton cots feel much softer but they’re harder to clean and stain easily. If you’re looking for a cooler cot, choose one that’s made out of mesh.
Cots with fabric that’s attached to the frame may also feature a type of tension system that allows the user to adjust the level of support needed. Some of these systems will also allow users to make adjustments to the legs and supports.
Do You Really Need a Camping Cot?
Are you tired of roughing it on every camping trip? Do you often wake up after a night sleeping on the ground feeling stiff and sore?
The best thing about using a camping cot is that it allows you to sleep off the cold hard ground. If used in a tent, it also works to save precious space, allowing you to store your food, gear, backpack and other supplies underneath. Using a cot can also keep you safe from wildlife such as insects and snakes.
These days, camping cots are more affordable than ever, and they’re made from high-quality materials that are both supportive and comfortable. Cot technology has come a long way. While in the past, a cot used to be uncomfortable, lumpy, and difficult to travel with, most top of the line models like the Big Agnes Helinox Cot One V2 have simplified the entire camping cot design, and instead of using a heavy gauge steel, many manufacturers have opted for aluminum alloy, which is just as strong but only a fraction of the weight.
Making the switch to sleeping on a cot out in the wilderness can give you a small touch of luxury, but it can also do wonders for your sleep and prevent the dreaded aches and pains that come with sleeping on the forest floor.
User Weight Capacity
Aside from paying attention to how much the cot weighs, take a look at the user weight capacity. Most cots can accommodate up to one hundred and fifty to one hundred and eighty pounds. A higher weight capacity usually equals a heavier frame.
Measure your tent and check out the cot’s dimensions to ensure it’s actually going to easily fit inside your tent. This can be especially important if you plan to use more than one cot inside your tent. You can also find double cots, which feature either a wider one level design or a bunk bed two-level style design.
Camping Cot Advantages and Disadvantages
While a camping cot may not be the right choice for everyone, for some campers they’re definitely worth considering and can provide several advantages.
- You won’t have to sleep on the hard or uneven ground
- A camping cot can cut down on insect and bug bites
- Cots provide space underneath to store your gear, unlike an air mattress
- People who suffer from chronic back pain or arthritis can finally camp in total comfort
- Faster and easier setup compared to an air mattress
- Thanks to their height, cots are very easy to get in and out of
- They fold up tightly for packing and storage
- Many models of camping cots are heavier than the standard air mattress
- During the summer months, the space under a camping cot allows for improved air circulation, working to keep the camper cool, but this can work against you if you camp in colder climates.
- Cots are not quite as comfortable as air mattresses
- Their size and weight can be impractical for longer hiking trips
It is important to note that different seasons have different camping requirements. We dedicated a whole article to this topic which you can see here.
Final Thoughts on Finding the Perfect Camping Cot
There are several models and styles of camping cots to choose from, but the best option for you is the cot that meets your individual needs and works well for the type of trip you’re planning. If you’re searching for a large, comfortable, heavily padded cot, keep in mind that it’s going to be heavy and bulky, which makes it a poor choice if you plan on moving from campsite to campsite during your trip.
Cots designed for backpacking are typically lighter in weight and less stable than cots designed for a semi-permanent setup. Often, these hiking cots aren’t quite as stable and comfortable as heavily padded cots, but if you’re hiking several miles a day then you’ll quickly come to appreciate the cot’s minimal padding and frame design.
We hope our guide and the reviews of the best camping cots has helped you to narrow down your choices, so you can choose a cot that works with your budget and one that meets your comfort and camping needs.