If you’re going camping, you want to bring the best supplies with you to make your adventure as enjoyable and accommodating as possible. One of the best ways to ensure you get the most from your trip is to bring a camping cot along. This way, you don’t have to sleep on the ground, leading to sore muscles and a bad back in the morning.
Picking the best camping cot can be a bit challenging, especially because there are cots that work well for different needs. For example, if you’re sleeping next to your partner, you want a cot wide enough for both of you. Alternatively, if you’re planning to go backpacking, you need something lightweight and compact, so you’re not weighing yourself down too much.
So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best camping cots for a variety of situations. Get your sleeping bag ready, and let’s dive in.
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Best Lightweight Cot
Best for Couples
Best Budget Cot
|Ease of Setup||4.6||4.7||4.2||4.4||4.7||4.5||4.6||4.0||4.5|
|Value for Money||4.7||3.8||4.7||3.8||4.4||4.7||3.8||4.7||4.0|
With a wide frame, an elevated headrest, and the ability to support 600 pounds, this camping cot is one of the best we've seen.
At just over five pounds, this cot works well for both regular camping and backpacking, assuming that you don't mind a few extra ounces here and there.
Although this is a bunk bed and not good for canoodling, the Cam-O Bunk is extra durable and perfect for couples of all shapes and sizes.
If you're looking for something cheap and relatively reliable, the Trailhead II is the cheapest model on this list. However, it won't last much more than one season.
As a wide and durable cot, this model is suitable for most campers. It's also pretty easy to setup, thanks to its proprietary S-shaped legs.
As an ultralight cot, this model works best for backpacking. Otherwise, it's pretty low to the ground and not as durable as others we've seen.
This is another ultralight cot that works best for backpacking, but it will set you back quite a bit, so it's only suitable for hardcore backpackers.
Since this double bed has an air mattress, it works well for couples or those with bad backs. But, it's not very durable, and you'll have to replace the mattress soon.
A side cup holder is one of the positive things we can say about this cot. However, it's not as reliable as others on this list.
Comparing the Best Camping Cots
Considering that we broke down our review table by looking at the best cots for different scenarios, it should be obvious that this list is both narrow and comprehensive. On the one hand, we’re covering quite a few types of cots so you can find the one best for your needs. On the other hand, with relatively few options, it’s hard to say which is the best in each category.
That said, let’s take a closer look at each of these camping cots and see why they can be so valuable for your next adventure.
- Elevated headrest
- Holds up to 600 pounds
- Extra feet for better weight distribution
- Side pockets for storage
- Durable canvas material won’t sag easily
- Affordable for what it is
- Doesn’t work well for side sleepers
- You cannot lower the headrest
As we’ll discuss more in-depth later on, a few features can make your camping cot more comfortable and easier to use. First, if it’s relatively high off the ground, you don’t have to struggle to get in and out of it. Second, a wider cot allows you more freedom and flexibility to move while you sleep. Finally, you want something extra durable that won’t bend or buckle under your weight, meaning it will stay mostly flat.
Fortunately, this oversized cot from Alpha Camp fits all these parameters, which is why it’s our top pick overall. We also like that it has a built-in headrest, making it even more comfortable and accommodating. Since this cot can hold up to 600 pounds, it’s pretty durable, and making it even better is the fact that it only weighs 14 pounds. Overall, you get many features and benefits with this product.
- Higher than other backpacking cots
- Easy to setup and tear down
- Foot design won’t break your tent flooring
- Holds up to 300 pounds
- Weighs only 5.1 pounds
- Works well for all sleep positions
- More expensive than other backpacking cots
- Might be too heavy for hardcore backpackers
If you’re mainly worried about space and weight, you want a cot that is both compact and lightweight. The Cot One from Helinox is an excellent choice because it only weighs about five pounds but can hold up to 300. While this weight is a little too much for hardcore backpacking, it’s perfect for most other outdoor adventures.
One element about this cot that may not appeal to everyone is its height. At only six inches tall, it’s much lower than something like the Alpha Camp model. However, this height is better than some other backpacking cots, and it works well for car camping if you’re not using a tent.
When it comes to setup and tear down, this cot is much easier to handle than other models, so you can be ready to go in less time. Overall, this is an excellent cot that should work for most campers.
- Doubles as a sofa
- Can separate the cots to sleep individually
- Each cot holds up to 500 pounds
- Durable material won’t sag easily
- Steel frame will last for multiple seasons
- Pretty heavy, making it ideal for car camping only
- Can be tricky to set up and tear down
When searching for the best cot, you must consider whether you sleep solo or with a partner. In the latter case, you either need a double-wide cot that can accommodate both of you or something like this bunk bed model from Disc-O-Bed. While this setup is heavier and more cumbersome than other cots on this list, it is very durable. Also, each cot itself can hold up to 500 pounds, making it perfect for campers of all shapes and sizes.
One notable feature of this cot is that you can separate the two bunks so each person can sleep individually. Also, you can rearrange them to work as a sofa instead of a bunk bed. This versatility means this cot is ideal for various situations. However, its weight can be prohibitive if you’re trying to pack light. Also, you may need a partner to set it up and tear it down, so keep that in mind.
- Extra affordable price
- Relatively tall, so it’s easier to get in and out
- Holds up to 300 pounds
- Relatively easy to set up
- Feet may damage tent flooring
- Canvas can start to sag over time
Typically, the Trailhead II Camping Cot would be further down on this list, but we wanted to mention it as the best budget cot because it is the most affordable model on this list. Also, while the cot is not as durable or reliable as others, it’s still decent enough to work for most camping situations. The dimensions of the cot are pretty good, and it can easily hold up to 300 pounds.
So, if you’re looking for something cheap and useful for a few camping trips, this cot could be an excellent choice. Also, while the canvas may start to sag over time, it should hold up well if you’re on the lighter side of the weight spectrum.
- Wider frame so you can move around while sleeping
- S-shaped frame is easier to put together and take apart
- Durable bed and leg materials
- Holds up to 600 pounds
- Canvas material doesn’t sink as much as other cots
- Relatively heavy for what it is
- In rare cases, the S-shaped locking mechanisms can break
At the beginning, we mentioned a few features that can make a camping cot valuable and versatile. A wide, strong frame and an elevated position can make it easy to move around and get into the cot at night. This XXL model from Teton Sports fits the bill, but we didn’t rank it as highly as the Alpha Camp for several reasons.
First, while the S-shaped bars are easy to set up and distribute weight evenly, we’ve heard reports of them breaking or coming undone while people shift around at night. Second, this cot weighs more than the Alpha Camp, so it’s not as portable. However, it does hold up to 600 pounds, so it’s a decent product that should work for most campers of varying sizes.
- Super light camping cot
- Holds up to 275 pounds
- Perfect for backpacking
- Relatively rugged material
- Anti-skid feet to prevent sliding
- Wider feet won’t damage tent flooring
- Extra close to the ground
- Not ideal for side sleepers
If you’re looking for more of a backpacking cot and you want something extra light and low to the ground, the MARCHWAY cot is an excellent option. While this model is a bit too low for side sleepers, it does work better for hardcore backpacking than the Helinox model. We didn’t rank this higher because it’s not as durable, and you’ll sag a bit more, so you can start to feel trapped as the canvas wears out.
Otherwise, this cot is easy to set up and tear down, and it has anti-skid feet to help you stay stationary at night, even if you’re on uneven terrain. The feet are also less likely to puncture your tent flooring, which is a huge plus if you do take it backpacking.
- Ripstop polyester holds up season after season
- Holds up to 300 pounds
- Leg design distributes weight more evenly
- Ideal for backpacking at less than five pounds
- Reinforced seams for better durability
- Expensive compared to other models
- Closer to the ground than other camping cots
Here is our final backpacking cot model, which is also super lightweight and easy to set up. However, we didn’t rank it higher than the MARCHWAY model because it’s more expensive and doesn’t really offer any notable improvements. That said, it can hold up to 300 pounds, so it’s a little stronger, but not by much.
Overall, as a camping cot, this model works well for those who want even weight distribution and a shorter frame. Since backpacking tents can be pretty small, having a taller cot may not work. However, those with bad backs or side sleepers may not be super comfortable with this model.
- Air mattress provided for extra comfort
- Wide enough for two people but comfortable for one
- Holds up to 600 pounds
- Doesn’t sink as much when sleeping on your side
- Air mattress feels kind of flimsy
- Feet may cause tent damage if you’re not careful
As we mentioned above, camping cots for couples can either be bunk-bed style or double-wide to accommodate both people at once. This cot fits into the latter category, so it might be better if you like to snuggle at night. Also, it comes with its own air mattress, so you can feel a bit more comfortable than you would with a standard cot.
The reason we didn’t rank this model higher is that it’s not as durable as the Disc-O-Bed, and the air mattress itself feels pretty flimsy. While you can replace it with a different model, that kind of defeats the purpose. However, since this cot can hold up to 600 pounds, it should work well for at least a couple of trips.
- Side cup holder
- Elevated frame for easier accessibility
- Affordable price tag
- Holds up to 300 pounds
- May work well for taller campers
- Cup holder section is relatively flimsy
- Canvas will start to sink sooner rather than later
Our final option is yet another cot from Coleman. This model is also pretty affordable and high off the ground, so if you’re primarily focused on your budget, you might like this cot over others on this list. We also like that it has a built-in cup holder on the side, making it extra convenient to keep your water bottle nearby. This cot can hold up to 300 pounds, making it relatively durable and resilient.
On the negative side, the feet can potentially puncture your tent’s floor, and the cot materials are not as rugged as others we’ve seen. The canvas can start to sink over time, and in some cases, it may rip at the seams. Overall, a decent budget-friendly cot but not ideal for serious campers.
How We Came Up With Our Rating Criteria
When looking at the best camping cot, either for individuals, couples or those with bad backs, you need to consider various factors. Although the specific details may change slightly depending on the demographic, the basics are still the same. So, when we compared the best camping bed options, we decided to look at the following criteria – comfort, ease of setup, portability, durability, and value for money. Here’s a rundown of why these elements were vital for our rating process.
The entire point of getting a camping cot is to elevate yourself off the ground so you’re more comfortable while you sleep. So, if your cot isn’t very comfortable, that defeats the whole purpose. However, what may be comfortable for one person might not be the same for another, so here’s how we define “comfort.”
- Cot Width – Most people like to turn at least a few times throughout the night to get comfortable. For example, one might switch from one side to another or go from one side to sleeping on their back. So, we prefer cots that are wide enough to allow for this shifting and movement without the risk of falling off. Also, cots often have sidebars, which can be pretty uncomfortable when digging into one’s arms or back.
- Cot Firmness – Getting in and out of a cot is much different than a bed. As a rule, cots sink in slightly, so you must put in a bit more effort to lift yourself up. Also, you may not be used to being so elevated, depending on what kind of setup you have at home. Overall, we prefer firmer cots, so it’s easier to sit up and get out of bed. Also, if you’re using a camping mattress, you don’t want something that sinks too much.
- Cot Material – Realistically, you’ll use a sleeping bag or camping mattress when using a cot. However, you may prefer to sleep on the cot directly and use a blanket or something similar as necessary. Unfortunately, cots are often made from canvas or some other rough material, so sleeping on them can be uncomfortable. We prefer models with a softer surface in case you don’t have any padding between you and the bed.
Our Pick for the Most Comfortable Camping Cot: Alpha Camp Oversized Camping Cot
Ease of Setup
As a rule, cots are pretty easy to set up. All you have to do is unfold the piece and lock the frame in place. However, some models are a bit more complicated than others, so we had to rank them accordingly. For example, some cots sit closer to the ground, so they don’t have legs that lock. Instead, they have fixed bars that don’t fold in or out.
Another point to consider is whether the cot comes with any additional pieces. Some models may have an air mattress attached, making setup and tear-down a bit more complex. Also, if you need to use a portable inflator, that takes away from the ease of setup.
Our Pick for the Easiest Cot to Set Up: Teton Sports Outfitter XXL
If you’re going to use a camping bed, chances are you’re not trying to save as much weight as possible. However, some cots are designed for backpacking, meaning they’re lighter and more portable than other cots. You may also have to consider whether the cot is for yourself or you and a partner. Double cots for couples will be around twice as heavy as a single cot, so you have a plan accordingly.
When looking at portability, we also paid attention to:
- Carrying Case – Camping cots with a carrying case are more convenient and easier to carry than those without. However, you also need to be able to store the cot efficiently with the case. So, if this piece causes more problems than it’s worth, we ranked the whole thing much lower.
- Folded Dimensions – When buying a cot, you need to know its width, length, and height when folded and unfolded. For example, if you’re backpacking or headed to a rugged campsite, you’ll want a cot that doesn’t take up too much room. However, if you’re driving to your camping spot and have a car nearby, you can afford to use a cot that uses more space when folded. Overall, we prefer cots with a smaller footprint, but keep in mind that it may not make a massive difference to your specific needs.
Our Pick for the Most Portable Camping Cot: Helinox Cot One
One of the worst things that could happen is for your cot to collapse while you’re sleeping on it. Camping cots have a maximum weight rating, but some cots are still sturdier than others, even if their ratings are identical. Generally, you don’t want to max out the weight limit. For example, if a cot can hold 300 pounds, it would be ideal for those weighing around 285 or less. However, some cots really mean 300, and even if you’re slightly over (i.e., 303), you won’t encounter any problems.
Another aspect of durability is whether the cot can withstand the elements. Although you’ll likely have the cot inside a tent or under a tarp, it can still experience temperature variations and moisture. So, if a cot is prone to rust, we wouldn’t rank it very highly because it’ll likely break after one or two seasons.
Finally, each piece of the cot has to be durable and resilient, not just the frame. It’s not worth it to buy a cot with a sturdy structure but a canvas bed that will rip if you shift around too much. Also, keep in mind that you may bump and scrape your cot while transporting it to your campsite, so you want something that can take some abuse.
Our Pick for the Most Durable Camping Cot: Disc-O-Bed Cam-O Bunk
Value for Money
Finally, you must ensure your camping cot is worth the investment. Whether you go camping once a season or are a regular weekend explorer, the right cot can make all the difference. Also, consider whether your cot will sit in storage for most of the year or if you’ll use it for other purposes besides camping. For example, it might be nice to use a cot on your deck or porch when the weather is nice. Or, you might need to use it for guests when people are staying the night.
Overall, you want a cot that can withstand lots of wear and tear without breaking, bending, or buckling. Therefore, we favored models made of high-quality materials, such as powder-coated steel or reinforced aluminum. That said, most durable materials tend to weigh more, so there’s a bit of a trade-off. On the one hand, you need something that will last, but on the other hand, you don’t want it to be so cumbersome, particularly if you’re trying to pack light.
Our Pick for the Camping Cot With the Best Value: Alpha Camp Oversized Cot
Top Camping Cots by Situation
Sometimes, comparing the best camping cots doesn’t come down to the best fabric or which one holds a sleeping pad better. Instead, you need to know which one works best for specific scenarios. So, let’s break down our top picks for different camping cots that work best for unique situations.
Which is the Best Cot for Those With Bad Backs?
Having a bad back means you need something extra comfortable that won’t force you to contort and move too often throughout the night. We also prefer cots that aren’t too low to the ground so you won’t accidentally hurt yourself getting in and out of bed. For that reason, we like the Alpha Camp Oversized Camping Cot. Not only is it wide enough to move around, but the elevated headrest helps relieve tension on your back while you sleep.
Which is the Best Cot for Side Sleepers?
Sleeping on your side means putting extra pressure on the cot’s fabric material. So, you need something strong enough to maintain its shape and not curve in on itself too much. You should also have something that’s relatively wide, so you can switch from one side to the next without feeling trapped inside the cot. For these reasons, we chose the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Cot as the best for side sleeping.
Which is the Best Cot for Couples?
As a couple, you have to decide whether you’ll sleep next to each other on a cot or separately. While snuggling is nice for a bed, it can be a little uncomfortable for a cot, especially if the model isn’t very wide. So, if you like sleeping apart, we highly recommend the Disc-O-Bed Cam-O Bunk model. Also, if you don’t want to sleep on top of each other, you can separate the cots and stay next to one another.
For those couples that prefer to sleep together, the Coleman Camping Cot w/Air Mattress is the only suitable model on this list. However, the relative flimsiness of the mattress means you might have to replace it sooner rather than later.
Which is the Best Cot for Backpacking?
Technically, none of these cots are light enough to be true backpacking models. Instead, they’re all pretty much the same weight, with just a few ounces difference between them. For that reason, we feel comfortable recommending the Helinox Cot One since it’s only 5.1 pounds and sleeps better than the other models. However, if you’re deciding based solely on weight, the MARCHWAY Ultralight Cot is the lightest option available on this list.
Which is the Best Heavy-Duty Cot for Larger Campers?
Just because you’re carrying a bit of extra weight doesn’t mean you can’t use a camping cot. In this case, you want something with a durable frame that won’t bend or buckle, even as you move throughout the night. Also, having extra legs can help distribute your weight more evenly, leading to a longer-lasting product. Overall, the Alpha Camp Oversized Camping Cot is the best option for heavier campers because it holds up to 600 pounds without being extra heavy.
Which Cot Works Best for Taller Campers?
In this case, you really want the longest camping cot since that will best accommodate your taller frame. Therefore, we recommend the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL because it has the longest measurement of 85 inches. The next-best option is the Disc-O-Bed Cam-O Bunk, measuring 82 inches. However, it doesn’t make sense to bring a double bed if you’re traveling solo.
Which Camping Cot Works Best as a Bunk Bed?
On this list, there is only one cot that doubles as a bunk bed, so you’re pretty limited with your options. That said, the Disc-O-Bed Cam-O Bunk is a reliable and durable piece of equipment, so don’t feel bad that you don’t have other choices. We also like that this cot can separate and be used as a couch for added versatility.
Which Camping Cot is Best for Seniors?
While each person is different, seniors tend to have similar bodies and experiences. Realistically, you’d want a tall cot off the ground to prevent back pain, wide enough for different sleeping positions, and comfortable enough, so you don’t wake up sore. Overall, the Alpha Camp Oversized Cot fits these parameters, so it should work best for seniors, as long as they don’t sleep on their side. In that case, the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Cot is a better choice.
FAQs About the Best Camping Cot
If you’re still not convinced that the camping cot you like is perfect for your needs, let’s answer some frequently asked questions. These queries come directly from other users, so you know they’re valuable for making the right decision.
Is a Camping Cot Worth It?
Yes, if you like waking up without a sore back and muscles. That said, some tents don’t work well with cots, so you may have to buy this piece first and then everything else on top of it.
Are Backpacking Cots Worth It?
Backpacking usually means sleeping in tiny tents on uneven terrain. A backpacking cot is only worth it if you can keep it steady. Otherwise, it’ll only weigh you down.
Are Cots Good for Cold Weather Camping?
Yes, they can work well because you can insulate yourself better than you could on the ground. While direct contact with the ground can help you stay warm, consider your tent fabric and sleeping bag. A cot allows you to get comfortable and wrap yourself as much as necessary to battle the cold temperatures.
Which is the Most Comfortable Camping Cot?
The Alpha Camp Oversized Camping Cot seems to have the best features that make it the most comfortable. That said, if you sleep or lay on your side, you may find the immovable headrest more of a problem than a benefit.