Would you rather sleep on a pad/cot or the ground when you go out camping? Some campers prefer sleeping on the ground with a sleeping bag.
Conversely, others prefer a sleeping pad, hammock, or cot. Today, we’ll be talking about cots and explore the best camping cots for bad back and side sleepers, and why you would go for them.
But most importantly, how would you choose the best cot out there?
Well, don’t scratch your head over it because this article will help to answer all these questions for you. Just sit back, relax, and read on.
Ready? Let’s go.
Benefits of Using Camping Cot in a Camp Area
Remember we asked why any camper would go for a camping cot? Now is the time to answer that.
Unfortunately, some campers think that a cot does nothing more than just adding extra comfort.
But that’s not the case. It does more than just offering you a comfortable sleeping platform. Here are the other key benefits of a cot when camping;
A cot offers additional protection that a sleeping bag may not offer. First off, it protects you from the stones, twigs, or other elements that might be on the ground.
Besides that, the cot will keep you safe from those tiny rodents, insects, and other small animals that might be roaming in your tent. But, if you are going on a bear country, you need extra precaution. Like, you may carry a bear spray for safety.
Furthermore, a cot will protect you from soaking up the groundwater in the morning. When it rains or snow, this sleeping platform will always keep you from soaking up water.
Better and Healthy Sleep
By the way, did you know that when you get older, your body gets more vulnerable to sleeping on hard and uneven surfaces? Generally, the body needs a soft and comfortable platform when you’re sleeping.
If you were sleeping on the ground, you would wake up feeling exhausted and your body would even ache for some time.
But a cot offers an even platform that is soft and cozy enough for you to sleep without worrying about having an aching body in the morning. No more back problems or soreness when you sleep on a cot.
Durable/Save You Money
If you are going for a cot, you can be confident of having a platform that will last for long. You can even use your sleeping bag or pad on the cot.
The cozy platform will prevent the pad/bag from wearing out as it would when you sleep on the ground.
So clearly, a cot is beneficial to have amongst your camping supplies and accessories.
Folding Camping Cot vs Sleeping Pad
If you are still undecided to whether you should go for a camping cot or a sleeping pad, we will dig even deeper to highlight the differences. Keep in mind that you can still use them together.
That being said, here are the major differences between a camping cot and a sleeping bag;
Obviously, the design of these two sleeping options is different. A camping pad will be made of air, foam, or a blend of the two.
You can place them on the ground or the top of a cot when you want to sleep and roll them up when not in use.
Conversely, a cot is like a full bed frame when it is set up. It is raised off the ground. Luckily, you won’t need any pumps or tools to set up a cot.
To be precise, a cot is more of a collapsible bed, whereas a sleeping pad is simple as a cushioned mat.
So, these items are designed for sleeping. However, their design makes them usable even in other applications. Starting up with the sleeping pad, it is highly portable, thanks to its design.
You can roll up the sleeping pad and hook it up to your backpack. This way, you can carry it when you go hiking or on any backpacking trip.
You can even use them as an extra support layer when you are sleeping in a hotel or when sleeping on the floor.
On the other hand, cots are collapsible bed frames that are best used in a more advanced campsite. The cot can also be used as an extra bed for guests in the house.
You can use them either in the tent or outside in the open. A cot offers better back support compared to a sleeping pad.
So in general, it depends on your camping needs and preferences when you are choosing amongst the two.
10 Best Camping Cots For Bad Back & Side Sleepers
Now that you have a clue of what a camping cot is and how helpful it will be to you, it is important to take a look at the best contenders out there. Have a look at our top 10 cots for camping;
Top 1: Coleman ComfortSmart Cot
If you are the type of camper that values comfort without minding the design of a cot, here is a great pick for you.
First off, the cot is large enough to support a person that is 6 ft 6 inches tall. This baby is big and can also support a user weight of up to 300 lbs. The best part is that it is lightweight.
Mr. ComfortSmart comes in at only 22 lbs and measures 80 by 30 by 15 inches.
This cot stands out as one of the simplest designs out there. If you are looking for one that is advanced with extra features, you might be disappointed with this one.
For us, we just loved how comfortable it is yet as simple as it gets. This is a true example of “a cot is just a cot” phrase.
One benefit of its unique design is the fact that it doesn’t require any tools or skills to set it up. All you have to do is unfold it and it is ready to offer a strong sleeping platform.
Speaking of strength, the cot comes with a sturdy folding steel frame. This means that it can stay strong for long while resisting rust and corrosion out there.
In terms of comfort level, it has a cozy foam mattress pad. In other words, you won’t need any extra mattresses on this baby. It doesn’t have a bare canvas like most cots out there.
Plus, the cot comes with a coil suspension that gives you a bed-like feel.
#2. Teton Sport Outfitter XXL Camping Cot
If you sometimes sleep in the car when you go out camping, you’d love having this cot. It is a sturdy cot and can support more user weight.
The cot also has a simple design but offers a heavy-duty and robust functionality. You can slide this fella at the back of your car and enjoy a comfortable sleep.
This one comes with a lightweight but sturdy aluminum frame. The frame features easy-attach connecting pins that will give you an easy time when setting it up.
The best part is that it comes with a reinforced steel S-leg assembly. This feature offers the cot enough strength and stability to support up to 600 lbs of user weight.
The cot itself weighs around 26 lbs and measures 42 by 12 by 7 inches. Its leg assembly will stay strong and free of rust or corrosion.
We thought the cot also offers a comfortable sleeping surface, but not as comfortable as the first unit on this list. This cot features the Oxford high-denier top, which pulls tightly into place when you set it up.
In other words, it will give you a great sleeping surface that lets you wake up feeling refreshed.
Mr. Outfitter comes with the unique pivot arm revolution. There is a special end bar that offers tension for the sleeping canvas.
Normally, you’d have a difficult time putting the end bar into place. But with this cot, you can enjoy the innovative swivel bar design that makes it easy to set up.
Would you like to store the cot for future uses or carry it to use elsewhere? No problem at all. It comes with an oxford storage bag for easy storage and transportation.
#3. BYER of MAINE EasyCot
A good sleeping surface when you are camping can assure you of an enjoyable experience out there. Our third product on the list is another great choice to pick if you are looking for a simple cot to offer a comfortable sleeping platform.
This one comes in at 21 lbs and it measures 78 by 31 by 18 inches. Even with its lightweight, this baby can support a user weight of up to 330 lbs, which is decent enough.
Unfortunately, it might not be the perfect pick if you want a cot for two people in the woods.
Setting it up is a walk in the park, and you’d take a maximum of 60 seconds to fully set up this unit. It features strong welded steel for the legs. These will offer stable support while resisting rust and corrosion.
There’s the 600-Denier polyester fabric that offers better support while also giving you a comfortable surface.
Plus, the polyester fabric is reinforced in five panels to hold up your weight without sagging excessively at night. This also means that you will enjoy steady back support.
You can fold it up and put it in the carrying bag provided. This carrying bag is strong enough to last for a while without wearing out. We also loved the heavy-duty straps that remain strong for long as you carry the bag around.
#4. Disc-O-Bed Large
If you are going to the camp with a friend or partner and you need a cot that can hold more than one person separately, this one here would make a good pick.
This is a double cot that looks beautiful but also offers a strong and comfortable platform. It comes with a unique design and is a low-profile type of sleeping cot.
The cot itself measures 79 by 27.75 by 32 inches and comes in at 36 lbs. Each cot can support up to 500 lbs. So yes, this unit can perfectly fit a family on a camping spree.
It is made with a high-quality, anti-rust, powder-coated steel frame. This assures you of reliable support throughout the night.
There are also some rounded ends on the frame, which increases the overall bunk stability. This also minimizes the damages on floor surfaces (in case you will be using it indoors).
If you prefer a cot with advanced features, don’t hesitate to go for this one. The cot comes with organizers on each piece.
This way, you can store up your electronics, toiletries, or other small personal items. No need to put them in your camping bag when you have the organizers on each cot.
You’ll enjoy a high-grade polyester sleeping deck that gives you a true contoured comfort without the need for a mattress. You won’t need any tool or skill to set this baby up.
All the parts are packed and stored in two zippered canvas bags. This means that you can easily store and transport the bag without a problem.
The cot is also quite versatile. You can use it as a bunk, two single cots separately, or as a sitting bench.
#5. Kamp-Rite Oversize Tent Cot
Are you on a tight budget but still want a tent and cot all at once? Worry not, because this product is a solution for you.
This one is a camping cot that comes along with an attached tent. In other words, you won’t need to budget for an extra tent to sleep in. The cot itself measures 90 by 32 by 11 inches, whereas the tent measures 90 by 32 by 36 inches.
Therefore, it will measure 90 by 32 by 47 inches when fully set up. In terms of weight, this one comes in at 32 lbs.
It is made of a heavy-duty powder-coated steel frame. This means that you can enjoy a durable unit that doesn’t wobble when you sleep on it. Mr. Kamp-Rite can support a maximum weight of 400 lbs.
We loved the unique multi-function hinge design that makes it better than most cots out there and on this list. This design lets you use the cot as a lounge chair, bench, or a regular cot.
The tent is detachable, which is an added advantage. It means that you can use the cot for relaxing and enjoying the morning sun.
Besides that, the cot features No-See-Um mesh on all windows and doors. This means that you will enjoy some privacy, especially if you are using the tent in a public campsite.
It comes with three windows and a door. Technically, there are two windows and two doors. You can use either of them and zip up the other one.
#6. Coleman Camping Cot
Anybody that isn’t for the fabric kind-of-comfort and wants to enjoy that mattress feel should go for this cot.
For starters, it comes with an air bed to enhance your comfort level as you sleep. What about when you want to pump the air mattresses?
No problem at all because you get a free 4D battery-powered pump. You’ll need to buy the batteries separately. All in all, you can be sure of enjoying your camping sleep on this twin air mattress.
The cot is made of a sturdy steel frame to offer stable support. It measures 74 by 40 by 23.5 inches and comes in at around 15 lbs. Even with such a lightweight, this baby can support a maximum user weight of 300 lbs.
The comfort level is very much reliable because the mattress comes with a ComfortStrong coil system. With this coil system, you can be sure of enough support and comfort all night long.
Furthermore, you can enjoy the AirTight system on the mattress, which comes with a Double Lock Valve. These two features will help to keep the mattress from leaking.
We loved the side table that comes on both sides of the cot. With these side tables, you can place your phone as you sleep, a cup of coffee as you read a book, a glass of water, a plate, or any other small item.
You won’t have to worry about carrying a stool or mini table when you have this cot.
#7. Tough Outdoors Cot
If you are the type of camper that prefers rugged supplies that are strong and durable, this cot from Tough Outdoors would be the perfect choice for you.
The cot comes with one of the simplest design out there, but it qualifies among the strongest units for camping. This one has been made like a military cot to serve you for a long time without wearing out too quickly.
It measures 75 by 25 inches and will stand at 19 inches off the ground. In terms of its weight, it comes in at just about 18 lbs. That shouldn’t give you a hard time when carrying it around. Luckily, it can hold a maximum user weight of 300 lbs.
We loved the fact that it comes with a heavy-duty, all-aluminum frame with steel legs. It’s powder-coated to keep it free from rust and corrosion hence make it endure the outdoor condition.
Besides that, the cot features a heavy-duty 600D Oxford canvas that acts as your mattress.
You won’t have an easy time when it comes to setting up this unit for sleeping.
By the way, the best way to achieve total comfort from this baby is to assemble it and let it sit for around 24 hours. This will allow the canvas to break-in and stretch to give you a strong and comfortable surface.
Anyone would enjoy working with this cot because it also comes with a fitted organizer.
Translation? You don’t have to carry your bag or move to the car to pick your toothpaste, toiletries, or other small items. Just arrange them in the pouches that hang on the side of the bed.
#8. Kamp-Rite Tent Cot
This is one of the best camping cots for hot weather because it comes with a simple, open design. As simple as it might look, the cot remains strong and it can serve you for a very long time.
In terms of the measurements, this unit offers a sleeping area of 81 by 28 inches. It also stands at 21 inches off the ground.
The cot is made of a heavy-duty powder-coated steel frame. In other words, this little guy can offer you a durable sleeping platform for a long time without wearing out.
You also don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion getting on the frame.
When it comes to the comfort level, this cot performs decently. It features strong polyester fabric that is cozy and durable too. The fabric won’t sink excessively when you sleep on the cot.
This also means that you can be confident of strong support. No more back pains and soreness on your body when you have this cot.
If you want to use your toothbrush in the morning or have your toiletries near your cot when you sleep, you can be happy because this one comes with a mini organizer.
There is a small pouch that lets you store your small items, including the car keys. This gives you an easy time when you need to access those valuables.
By the way, this unit comes in only at around 15 lbs. So yes, it is super lightweight. Even with that lightweight, the cot can support a user weight of up to 300 lbs.
You can pack it in the included carrying bag for easy transportation.
#9. Alpcour Folding Cot
This folding cot comes with a bright green color that makes it perfect for that outdoor look. If you’re not into the black or grey themes, this one would be a decent pick for you.
It is ultra-lightweight and can still hold a heavy user. First off, this master measures 75 by 26 inches and stands at 15 inches off the ground. Amazingly, it only weighs 13 lbs.
In other words, you won’t break a bone when carrying this cot in your hands. Of course, the cot comes with carrying back for storage and transportation.
One thing that makes it ultra-lightweight is the steel tube frame. But don’t be fooled by this baby’s lightweight. It is quite durable and comes with a powder-coating to resist rust and corrosion.
We loved the premium polyester fabric that is breathable and water-resistant. This means that you will not sweat when sleeping on the cot.
By the way, you don’t have to carry a pillow when you have this unit. It comes with a padded pillow that is inbuilt. Furthermore, the cot comes with a side pocket for putting your small/valuable items.
We also have to mention that the fabric is double-layered to offer extra strength and support. This little thing is so strong that it can support a maximum user weight of 300 lbs.
Whether you want to use this cot indoors or out in the woods, you are free to do so.
The leg design of this unit is crisscrossed to offer you more support.
#10. Osage River Collapsible Cot
If we were ranking the best cots for camping that come with a simple design, this one would probably take the top spot. It is very minimalistic but can still offer a reliable sleeping platform.
This little master comes in at only 13 pounds. Even a child can carry this thing. The cot measures 75 by 28 inches and it will stand 18.5 inches off the ground when fully assembled.
Though it only weighs 13 lbs, this cot can support a maximum user weight of 300 lbs.
It comes with a durable carbon steel X-frame with strong polyester fabric that is PVC-coated.
The combination of the frame and fabric gives you a strong cot that will serve you for a long time. It will also resist rust and corrosion as you use it outdoors.
If you need to set it up, simply press down on the four frame joints and they will quickly lock in position.
When it’s time to store it, you’ll just have to loosen the joints and pull the frame cords. This will then fold the legs and allow you to store it in the carrying bag.
One of the ends is slightly raised to act as a virtual pillow, though this isn’t as comfortable as such. It would only be comfortable if you are having a quick siesta or when relaxing under a tree.
Features To Consider Before Buying
So, now you have our suggestions for the best cots for camping to consider buying. But then again, we are not forcing anybody to buy one of the cots we listed above.
Since you might have your taste, it would be important to go for a cot that perfectly meets your needs.
That being said, here is a look at the things you should contemplate before buying a camping cot. Keep in mind that we used the same strategy when listing down our top picks.
The first point you need to consider is the size of the cot. When choosing one, it must be big enough to fit your body size. Tall users tend to have a difficult time when picking a cot because they always go for the average size cot.
Instead, you must ensure that you choose one that can accommodate your full length without leaving your feet hanging.
Besides the length, you should also consider the width of the cot. Specifically, it should be the right width if you will be sleeping two people on it.
A narrow cot will be difficult to accommodate more than one person. Even if it is designed for one person, it must have a few inches extra to allow you to turn with ease.
When you set up the thing, it should stand high enough off the ground. The higher the cot is off the ground, the more space you get to store other items under it.
If you will be placing the cot inside the tent, ensure that it is small enough to fit inside.
The weight is yet another feature that you should keep in mind. This cot weight should be in relation to yours. How much does it weigh, and how much weight can it support?
Most of the cots are made of ultra-light materials that make them easy to carry around. On average, most cots out there can support a maximum weight limit of 300 lbs.
So, we can take a guess that all of the cots on our list will comfortably support your weight without a problem.
Besides considering if the cot is easy to move around, ensure that it can comfortably support your weight.
Strength of the Fabric
The fabric is very vital because you will be sleeping directly on it. You should know that the cot fabric will be measured/rated in Denier or simply D. The higher the number, the better the quality.
For instance, a 600D fabric is a strong and high-quality fabric to serve you for a long time. Ideally, choose one that is 600D or more. Furthermore, you should consider the material of the fabric if it is breathable and weather resistant.
The Frame of the Cot
The frame will serve two purposes; hold the fabric and legs together and also support our entire body. You should always go for a high-quality frame.
Ideally, choose one that is thick enough and generally sturdy enough. Most of them come with aluminum frames with steel legs.
The frame should also fold and unfold easily without the need for tools when you want to set it up. Also, check that the frame is powder-coated to resist rust and corrosion.
You’ll need to consider the weather at the time you intend to go camping. If you are purchasing a cot right now to use during the cold months, you’ll need to go for an insulated cot. You can also add some merino base layer to keep you warm enough.
But on hot days, going for a breathable cot enhances your comfort. The fabric should be thin and breathable enough to keep you cool through the night.
Honestly, this point might not be as important as such. Nevertheless, it is a good point to consider if you will be traveling frequently and need to pack the cot. How small does it converts when you fold and pack it?
Does it still look big even after folding?
Ideally, go for one that is not cumbersome even after packing. It should fit in your vehicle without any problem. If you need to store it, the cot should also not consume too much space.
Well, a camping cot is not only about size, weight, and fabric quality. Rather, you should also consider if it comes with other accessories.
The accessories, in this case, are not meant to add any quality or strength to the cot. Instead, they help to give you an easy time when camping out there.
Some of the accessory we’d advise you to look out for include the following;
The pouches that come along with the cot will allow you to keep your small/valuable items near you as you sleep. You can even slide a magazine or book into the storage pocket.
A side table on the cot will allow you to place a cup, glass, plate, and even your phone as you sleep. You won’t have to carry a stool or small table when your cot comes with the side tables.
Foam or Air Mattress
The cot that you buy might come with either a foam mattress or an air mattress. Whichever you choose, it will add an extra level of comfort to your sleep.
Obviously, this accessory will help to keep the mosquitoes away as you enjoy sleeping outdoors.
You can find a cot with rubber feet to prevent it from sliding on slippery floors hence adding stability to the entire unit.
With a carrying bag, you will have an easy time to store and carry around the cot.
How much are you willing to spend on the cot? What is your budget in the first place? Regardless of how much you are appealed to by a specific cot or the salesperson is too convincing, never go beyond your budget.
Always ensure that you purchase one that falls within your set budget. All in all, choose a cot that has good value for money.
Required Camping Cot Accessories
Once you purchase the camping cot, you’ll need to take an extra step ahead and buy some accessories that would go well with it. Here are some of the accessories you should consider buying for your cot (if it doesn’t come with them);
Since you will be sleeping outside on a cot, you’ll have to think about the open air. Mosquitoes and bugs will be flying around the area. As you sleep, you don’t know how many bugs will try to get in your mouth, nose, or ear.
There is no need to take the risk. Instead, just purchase a bug net and install it over your cot to keep the bugs and pesky insects away.
Camping Chair Tray
You can also find an adjustable cot tray. Mostly, the auxiliary table will be attached to the pole or frame of the cot. The tray can then freely move at 360 degrees. Ensure that the bed is installed/placed on an even surface.
Under Cot Storage
Keep in mind that this is not the same as the distance between the cot and the ground. Rather, it is a dedicated storage compartment that lets you keep your stuff instead of leaving them lying around on the ground.
Usually, the under-cot storage will be made of heavy-duty nylon fabric and it can hold up to 200 lbs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it difficult to set up a camping cot?
No, it’s not. Most cots are designed to be assembled in less than 3 steps. It would take you less than a minute to do so. You will only need to fold and unfold it.
Can I use the cot at home?
There are no limitations to where you should and should not use a cot. And the answer to this question is yes, you can use it at home. Just ensure that it is placed on an even surface. Also, check that the feet are rubberized to prevent unnecessary sliding.
Can I clean my camping cot?
Yes, it is advised to keep the thing clean. Just make sure that you don’t dip it in water entirely. Rather, use a piece of cloth or sponge with water and cleaning detergent to clean it. Ensure that you leave it out to dry after cleaning it.
How many people can sleep on the cot?
That would depend on the size of the cot and the maximum weight it can hold. Ideally, give it an allowance of around 20 to 30 lbs. If it can support a maximum of 300 lbs, ensure that the person or people on it weigh a total of 270 lbs.
Can I use a mattress on the cot?
Yes, there is no problem to use a mattress on the cot if you want some extra comfort. Just ensure that it fits perfectly.
So, we have come to the end of our best camping cots review. We are confident that you can step out and find the perfect cot that meets your needs.
Remember to go for a reputable brand and also take good care of the cot once you have it at home. Above all, enjoy your camping out there.