What is the best camping cot to bring along on your next outdoor adventure? That’s one question whose answer many would consider relative since different people have different tastes and preferences.
But on the bottom line, there’s a long list of things that make the bits and pieces of a reliable, cozy, high performing and durable cot.
We understand how getting a cot that offers all of these can be a challenging feat, which is most likely why you are here. Thankfully, it doesn’t take rocket science, all you need is to know some of the things you should keep your eyes one.
And in this piece, we are going to take you through everything that you need to check and double-check before stepping in for the purchase. So strap in for a night of comfortable sleep in a good quality Camp-bed.
Who needs a camping cot
For many, a camping cot is simply for resting at night, but if you are one of the few who don’t settle for less, then going for a cot that offers something more than just basic sleeping experience is definitely worth it.
First, if you want a piece of equipment that doubles as an extra bed in your home, then a camping cot fits the bill, thanks to its ideal size and easy portability. You could use it as a guest bedroom while you are not out in the woods.
The other thing that makes a camping cot worth considering is if you want something that can prevent damage to your sleeping bag, especially if you use both of them quite often. The fact that you won’t be using your expensive sleeping bag on a rocky ground should be sure to enhance its durability manifold.
And there’s more; a camp cot also comes to the rescue for those with a sore back but their yearning for outdoor adventure is still burning within.
Of course, there’s the need to avoid sleeping on soggy ground, which could lead to catching a cold and other health problems related to cold conditions. Even the sheer insulation that a cot offers is enough to offer you toasty warm sleep.
And most importantly, if you are out to get the solution to comfortable sleeping even when you are miles from home, a cot does a great job at ensuring you can enjoy a cozy night sleep.
Not forgetting, for those of you who have a small tent, you can also use it as a seat during the day, which also helps at minimizing the amount of stuff you bring along.
On the bottom line, however, just about every camper who wants to enjoy a sweet, sound sleep and wake up invigorated and ready to take on the wild the next day needs a camping cot.
A few things you should consider when buying
Just as these cots come with a long list of benefits that are worth going for, the checklist of the things that you need to be keen on when making the choice for the right cot is also a long one.
And what’s even more important here is that you don’t want to end up with a cot that could give way under your weight in the middle of the night.
Does it offer value for the money?
There’s definitely no two ways about this one, you can dig deeper into your pocket for a cot that has the features you want if you like, but at most, any cot you go for should be able to offer you the value you pay for.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend an arm to get a good cot, but again, make sure you don’t settle for those cheap knockoffs on the market that will only land you in frustration.
How strong is the frame?
The frame of any cot or bed is the skeleton of the whole thing and the feature that does the most lifting when it comes to supporting your weight. As such, it’s the last thing you want to get wrong when choosing the cot you want to buy.
Here’s the thing; cots come with different frame materials, which include aluminum and steel. If you want something light, then an aluminum frame would be the way to go. But if you want a tough, sturdy and solid frame, then a steel one would be the perfect pick for you as these frames make sturdy cots.
You also need to check the design of the legs as well, which in most cases should either be X style or vertical ones. For a larger and sturdy cot, it’s best to go for the military-style X-shaped cots like the Teton Sports Adventurer Cot.
Check the size too
Just as the frames differ in cots, the same goes for the size as well, so it’s all a matter of choice. In most cases, you’ll find such cot sizes as 25 inches by 75-inches when set up. This is an ideal size for adults, which makes it the most common.
However, you still need to check to ensure that the cot, since there are some longer, wider, and shorter versions that you can still go for. So it’s all a matter of deciding which one best suits you. It’s best to ensure you get the best cot for your size, the last thing you want is to sleep with your feet sticking out of the cot.
What’s more, the market has a good number of cots that can accommodate up to two people. Such an option would be a great choice if you are camping as a couple and you would like to keep the number of stuff you hog along at minimum.
How good is the fabric?
The fabric might not sound like a vital part of a cot, but it plays a crucial role as well and it could determine the durability of the cot.
Again, the fabric also differs from one cot to the other, so it’s all a matter of choice. Some feature a polyester, others are made of cotton canvas while others come with a nylon fabric, and each of these has its upsides and shortcomings.
Make sure to choose your cot depending on your needs. A mesh fabric, for instance, will be the best pick for warm weather, while a cotton canvas one would be great for comfort although it might get dirt and stains easily.
Canvas fabric is great for durability, but this can be heavy to hog along, and challenging when it comes to cleaning, so if you are a bit clumsy and tend to spill food on your cot, this one could make things a little difficult for you.
Nylon or polyester one would be the way to go if you want to get as much insulation as possible to keep warm through the night. Besides, polyester and nylon fabrics are not so difficult to clean, and not excessively heavy either.
Check the support too
No matter how strong the material of the frame or fabric might be, if the cot isn’t well built, it still won’t provide the much-needed support. In most cases, the tension of the fabric is what brings out that perfect supportive experience that you would ever ask for.
Some cots even feature a spring system that takes the whole aspect of support, and comfort too, to a completely new level. There are many different cots that will provide you with many different surfaces do yourself a favor and check out my article titled The Best Camping Cots
But the best you can go for is a cot with an adjustable tension system that you can dial in with ease to set it at the right level for the ultimate sleeping experience. In that case, a cot with spring systems goes a long way at making setting the support easy.
But for even better support, you can consider looking for one with additional padding, although this would mean additional weight. And some even come with a recliner-like feature that’s hands down awesome, but this one should be sure to cost you a pretty penny.
Consider the portability
The ease of portability is an important consideration that you have to factor in when shopping for any outdoor gear, and cots are no exception. As much as you want a top-of-line product that can take on the rigors of the outdoors and still last you for years, you shouldn’t trade off the portability.
Some cots feature a folding design that makes them easy to pack, store and transport while still being easy to erect and use. But this doesn’t mean you can’t find other types of cots that you can carry with ease. All it takes is a good look at the one that you want before diving all in for the purchase.
Besides the design, the weight of the cot also plays a significant role in how easy or difficult the portability can get. While you might think that portability is all about packing your cot in your car and driving off, you’re wrong.
Things get a bit complicated when you have to move it, along with other camping gear of course, from where you pack your car and all the way to the campsite, and it could get even worse if the distance is a few dozen yards away.
A 15 or 20-pound cot, which is typical of most aluminum-frame cots, wouldn’t be a pain to carry. But anything heavier than this will definitely make you break some sweat, especially if you have to carry it over long distances.
Have a “bad back”? Not to worry, there are still some extremely lightweight cots for backcountry use, which weigh only about 2 to 3 pounds, although these might be a bit more expensive, they could be worth every single penny.
By now, you might be thinking that a lighter cot is always the best way to go. Well, turns out, there are still more factors at play that could make a heavier cot worth considering after all.
One thing that could mean all the difference when it comes to cots is just how much weight it can support. In that case, cots come in different capacities. Some can support from 100 lb to 200 lbs, which is ideal for kids, others support heavier weight at 225 lbs to 275 lbs, making a great option for normal size men, women as well as youths alike.
Some cots can support even higher levels of weight from 300 lbs to 375 lbs, which is perfect for extra large men within that weight bracket. Then there are the real heavy lifters that can cope with 400 lbs to 600 lbs, which are built for people with more weight.
It seems finding that cot that best fits your weight is all but a matter of choice now, isn’t it? However, keep in mind that overloading your cot isn’t a good idea. This could not only lead to a reduced lifespan, but it could also spell disaster if the frame can’t hold up under your weight, no one likes the idea of falling off in the middle of the night.
Just make sure to keep an eye out for the recommendation by the manufacturer on the weight that the cot can support. I suggest looking at the Moon Lence Camping Cot If you are looking for a lightweight cot at just over 4 pounds with a carrying capacity of 350 pounds
Will it fit in your tent?
Remember what we said about cot size? It needs to be spacious enough to offer you a comfortable night’s sleep. But there’s a catch since you also have to factor in the size of your tent and the room you have for the cot.
In good weather and a warm season, that shouldn’t be a problem since you can sleep out in the open and enjoy the magnificent view of the starry sky.
However, keep in mind that the weather and temperatures could change on a moment’s notice out in the wild, so it’s always best to stay safe in the shelter of your tent, which makes getting a cot that can fit in there essential. A good cot inside a tent is any round bar type that will not damage the floor of your tent with pointed legs, for example, take a look at the legs on the Coleman Comfortsmart Camping Cot
What makes cots better regardless of this challenge, however, is that they create storage space underneath, where you can store your items and camping gear. As such, you’ll be able to make the most of the available space despite the cot taking up some space. But, this will depend on the height of the cot, so that is also a factor you will need to consider as well.
Another thing to note is that you should also mind how big your cot is once folded up. This enables you to decide beforehand whether you have enough space to store it inside your tent when you are not using it, for instance during the daytime.
Besides, it could also give you an idea of how much space you’ll need when transporting it or storing it at home if you don’t intend to use it as a guest bed.
Are heavier cots good, and for which trip?
If you are a car camper who doesn’t have to tote a cot over long distances, then a heavier cot could be the best choice for you. This means you can get the best of both worlds as you can enjoy the comfort that such cots offer, but without having to worry about all that weight on your shoulders.
What makes heavier cots worth a hard look is that they usually have a sturdier construction that means higher performance and more durability. Besides, they also feature extra padding that ensures more comfort and insulation.
On the downside, however, these cots are not the chosen one would consider going for if you have your eyes set on hiking, or backpacking or camping trip that will require a long trek. So it’s best to go for these heavy, luxurious cots if you are heading out on a car camping trip.
How easy is the assembly?
A cot that takes forever to put together is the last thing you want to be struggling with once you get at the campsite, late, tired, and sleepy. One of my favorites is the popular and highly rated Byer Of Maine Cot
As such, you also need to make sure that besides every other beat, the cot you go for won’t be a challenge to set up, especially if you are not used to erecting these portable beds. The design of the frame could give you a hint of how easy the cot is to assemble.
For instance, a cot with a U-shaped design on the legs doesn’t necessitate any assembly since all it takes to set it up is simply unfolding the legs right from underneath the frame and they snap into place, then you are all set for the night.
Others such as cots with X-shaped legs, on their part, will require some assembly, just keep in mind that you can still find instructions on how to set up your cot on an included manual that should come with the product. So keep an eye out for that one to be sure you can enjoy the easier assembly.
Does it comes with some accessories
One thing about cots that has changed with time is the addition of accessories that are designed to make it more cozy and convenient, but sadly, many people overlook this consideration when shopping for one.
These accessories might not make a world of difference in terms of performance, durability or other essential functions of the cot. But such accessories as pouches make things very easy and fun for you since you can keep those handy personal effects by your side when sleeping.
Others such as a carry bag help make packing, transporting as well as storing your cot as easy as it is convenient. A great feature on the Coleman Airbed Cot is the side table which is convenient to hold your keys, phone, drink, or other small accessories.
And then there are those other accessories as sleeping pads that will make sleeping more comfortable, and the list rolls on. So when shopping for a cot, remember to keep an eye on these accessories, they could be all you need to make use of your cot more pleasing.
Why you should avoid cheap cots
Whatever the choice you make, one thing is for sure, don’t fall for those cheap knockoffs on the market when shopping for a cot. Usually, the cheapies perform ok but tend to fall apart quickly.
Some of the problems that come with using the wrong cot include not getting enough comfort or sufficient insulation to keep you toasty warm at night. But things can get even more serious if the frame turns out to be flimsy and just can’t support your weight.
The other problem with cheap options besides the poor performance is lack of durability, and the last thing you want is a cot that can’t last for a season or two. This is crucial since the outdoors can be very unforgiving, and it takes a well-built cot to withstand the rigors that the outdoor can throw at it.
Instead of buying a hoard of cheap cots, it would be better to go for one quality cot that you can count on and be proud of for years on end. This way you can save yourself a lot of frustration as well as save on money.
If you are out on the hunt for the ideal cot to bring along on your camping trip, now you know what to go for. A camping cot with the features you demand should be enough to transform your outdoor sleeping experience.
It pays to put your money on a worthy purchase rather than go for any first cot that you come across. So do a bit of scouting to look for the one that meets the standards of a good cot, it’s worth the effort.
Above all, you’ll need to be very careful with those cheap cots out there. It will be in your best interest to invest a little more if you have to and get a cot that can go the distance at catering to your needs.
If you have any more questions about What is the Best Camping Cot, I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.
Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.