Are you tired of sleeping on the ground when camping? Then you might be interested in using a camping cot. A camping cot is a great option for a more comfortable camping experience.
Cots are more comfortable than sleeping on the ground when camping. Different cots have different levels of comfort because of the different materials used to make the cot. Each brand of cots makes cots a little differently to help with the overall sleep quality of a camping trip.
Each cot has a different comfort level. Read on to hear about different kinds of cots and why each of them is comfortable in their own way to help you decide on what kind of cot to bring with you on your camping trip.
How Comfortable are Camping Cots?
Compared to a fluffy bed, camping cots might not be very comfortable. Compared to sleeping on the ground with nothing but a squished sleeping bag for padding, camping cots are just a step away from heaven.
The comfort level of camping cots is largely dependent on the quality of the cot and how you’ve padded it. Cots often serve as a base layer to get you off the ground, and then you can build on top of it for added softness or insulation. Blankets, foam mats, camping pads, and even air mattresses can be stacked on top of a camping cot base.
The Highest Comfort Level In a Cot
For the maximum comfort level, cots can be used as a base and layered with air mattresses and mattress pads to make a full bed. This insulates the air mattresses from the cold ground, makes it easy to get into and out of the bed, and secures the air mattresses so they won’t slip as you sleep. The cots make the difference between camping and glamping.
The Lowest Comfort Level In a Cot
For an uncomfortable camping experience, choose a worn-out cot that sags, has bars across where your body will lie, and has no padding. Don’t put a blanket over it, don’t use a mattress pad, and just sleep directly on the cot. You’ll have a miserable night.
If you hate sleeping on cots, chances are you’ve experienced one or more of the variables mentioned above. Rock hard cots with no padding are better than cold, rocky ground, but that’s only true if you don’t have a bar pressing into your lower back all night. Cots are as comfortable, or as uncomfortable, as you want them to be.
How Can I Make My Cot as Comfortable as Possible?
There are a few components that make cots as comfortable as possible for camping. Padding, length, and stability are the most important factors for many people who sleep on cots. You can buy them with comfort built-in or adjust them on your own before use.
Padding a cot helps make the cot comfortable by insulating it against the cold and by making it soft to sleep on. You can buy a pre-padded cot like this one, or you can pad the cot yourself.
Some of the things you can use to pad a cot include:
- Air Mattresses
- Wool blankets
- Mattress Pads
- Camping Pads
- Foam Pads
- Yoga Mats
- Padded Camping Cot Sheets
Try a few of these out at home before you go camping. If you don’t like it, it’s better to find out while you can get up and replace it instead of just suffering through it. The most popular padding options are usually old quilts and camping pads, but accessibility and personal comfort level are important.
Make sure that your padding is well secured. You don’t want it to slide off the cot in the middle of the night!
Have you ever sat down on a park picnic table bench, a cheap futon, or an unbalanced cot just to have it flip over and take you with it? That isn’t the kind of experience you want to replicate at 2:00 AM from your cozy camping cot. Make sure that it’s at least relatively stable and won’t just violently flip over as soon as you roll wrong.
One of the best benefits of camping cots is their height. Anyone who struggles to lie down on the ground and then get up the next morning will be singing the praises of camping cots. It’s easy to sit down comfortably, lie down without a struggle, and then sit up and stand again without a fight.
Pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with mobility issues will appreciate this aspect of camping cots. Really, the bliss of realizing you won’t have to crawl up off the ground when you’re sore from a day of hiking can’t be understated. Cot height is important.
Length and Width
Many cots are only 6’0 or 6’1 in length. While this is fine for a large portion of the population, the tall crowd will want to make sure they buy a cot that is appropriately long for their comfort level. Some people like having their legs dangle off the end of the cot, but that definitely isn’t for everyone.
Width is also important. Some people value width because they want to share the cot with someone, others prefer added width because they toss and turn in their sleep, and a large number of people prefer extra-wide cots because they themselves are extra-wide. Whatever the reason, wide cots with a high weight tolerance are a great thing to check out before your next camping trip. You’re allowed to get whatever makes you comfy!
Nobody wants to hear a cot creak every time they move in their sleep. It gets old fast and it makes for an exhausting night. Make sure your cot is well-lubricated and in good repair so you won’t be disturbed by noise.
If the noise continues, see if anything is bent or out of place. Remember, your camping trip can only be as good as the quality of sleep you get.
Is a Cot More Comfortable than an Air Mattress While Camping?
In the summer, a camping cot and an air mattress are in tight competition for the most comfortable camping bed. Air mattresses are cooling and soft, but cots keep you off the ground and give support. Which is the better choice?
Air mattresses are popular camping supplies. They’re fairly lightweight, can be set up with a pump, and are consistently comfortable. However, they’re freezing cold in the winter and tend to pop at the worst possible times. If there’s a stick on the ground, your air mattress will find it.
For comfort, air mattresses are great. For durability, warmth in cold or even slightly cool weather, and space in the tent, air mattresses come in second behind camping cots.
Camping cots can be harder to set up than air mattresses, along with being significantly heavier, but they’re still worth the trouble for many people. The top reason people switch to camping cots is that you can’t pop a camping cot while you’re setting it up, can’t make it deflate if you use it too many times, and can’t be ripped open by a root under the tent floor.
Besides the durability bonus, cots are nice because you can modify them to your ideal comfort level. You can keep it flat as a board or soft as a pillow. You’re fully in charge.
Why Not Both?
Few people realize that they are not committed to a binary of camping cots vs. air mattresses. You can have both! Air mattresses work well on top of appropriate camping cots, leading to the most comfortable night in a tent you’ll ever experience. Cots lift the air mattress away from the cold, poky, bug-filled ground, making it more comfortable to get in and out of bed, and air mattresses provide a dreamy level of padded comfort.
If you’re having trouble deciding between the two, try both and bring a blanket to go on top. Glamping has never been this functional before. After all, who decided that camping had to leave you with a backache?
Are There any Downsides to Sleeping on a Cot While Camping?
Unless you’re going full ultralight backpacking, there’s really no downside to sleeping with a cot. It gives you more storage space in your tent, keeps you off the ground, and is flexible enough to adapt to any camper. Go get one for yourself and enjoy a good night’s sleep!
Best Camping Cots
Now that you know how comfortable camping cots can be, you’ll need some links so you can find your own. Your options are as diverse as consumers’ comfort levels!
The Coleman Camping Cot And Air Mattress Combo
This Coleman Camping Cot And Air Mattress is the perfect hybrid of the camping cot and the air mattress. Yes, you can have both! The air mattress inflates easily and is already sized to the cot, so you don’t need to worry about matching them, and the two come in both a king and a queen size. The queen supports up to 600lbs without flinching, making it perfect for couples looking for a cozy camping bed.
The one potential problem with this combo is the weight. This is definitely a bed made for car campers, not the backpacking crowd.
The Disc-O-Bed Large Cam-O-Bunk Camping Cot
Yes, the Disc-O-Bed Large Cam-O-Bunk Camping Cot is indeed a bunk bed! How crazy is that? This bed is made for efficiency and function, but it doesn’t leave comfort on the sidelines. This camping cot can fit up to 500lbs per bunk, 1000lbs total, leaving plenty of room for all the padding you want.
Be warned that this double-decker camping cot does take up a little bit more head space, so this bunk bed is best for dome-shaped tents with plenty of height. Nobody wants to whack their head on a tent pole and bring the whole tent down with them.
The Helinox Cot One Lightweight
The Helinox Cot One Lightweight is the answer to backpackers’ camping cot dreams. It weighs just five pounds, which makes it approachable for anyone who doesn’t want to be restricted to car camping but who still wants the comfort of sleeping on a cot.
If you think this cot will be wimpy because of its stature, think again! It can hold up to 320lbs, more than many other cots with more height. It’s plenty sturdy to hold large and small hikers.
One thing to remember before purchasing this cot is that it is short. It is still off the ground, giving many of the comfort and security features cot campers love, but it won’t be as easy to sit down comfortably on after a long day of hiking. You’ll need to maneuver yourself onto and off of it with a little more coordination and focus. If the height is one of the reasons you love cot camping, choose a different cot.
The TETON Sports Outfitter XXL Limited Edition Camping Cot
This cot, the TETON Sports Outfitter XXL Limited Edition, is made with big people in mind. Besides being over seven feet tall and nearly three and a half feet wide, the cot can hold up to 600lbs with no problem. Sasquatch could make himself comfortable in this camping cot.
For context, this means that this cot is longer and wider than a twin mattress. While that does mean it won’t fit easily in all tents, it also means it will easily fit almost all campers. It can even fit two determined campers who want to cuddle, or a camper and a dog. Since the material won’t wear down or stretch over time, you’ll have lots of opportunities to test out the limits on this cot.
Best of all, it has a pivoting corner setup that makes it easy to get this cot standing. There’s no battling this cot while you try not to cuss. The final corner rotates easily into place when you’re finished getting everything else together.
The only downside is that this cot is too heavy and large to maneuver unless you’re car camping. Convenience had to be sacrificed for comfort. In the end, though, can you really complain? You’ll sleep like a camping king.