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The Best Camping Cots of 2024

A camping cot can keep you warm, elevated, and comfortable outdoors. Here are the best camping cots currently on the market.

Best Camping Cots — Hero1(Photo/Meghan LaHatte)
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When it comes to your camping adventures, a comfortable night’s sleep can certainly be an attainable goal with the proper gear. And while you may want to opt for just a sleeping pad supported by the ground, you may still find yourself tossing and turning from the variably rough terrain. For folks wanting to elevate their sleeping experience while camping, a cot is a fantastic choice. 

Whether you’re well-seasoned for sleeping under the stars or a first-time camper, let this buyer’s guide be the helpful compass for your quest to find the most cozy sleeping solution. Our expert team has spent countless nights trying out camping cots, on the hunt for what we think are the best on the market right now. From warm summer nights to more frigid alpine evenings, we’ve put each of these 15 cots through an extensive testing process in which we scored them on comfort, ease of setup, durability, and packability. 

When it comes to deciding on a camping cot, there’s certainly more than meets the eye, and we’ve tested more than 25 cots since 2021 in our search for the best. Be sure to read up on each cot’s size, packability, comfort level, and purpose before making your final decision. Our detailed buyer’s guide and handy dandy comparison chart are the perfect roadmap to help you navigate these various options. And if you have any burning cot-related questions, our frequently asked questions section should provide the answers for those. 

With all that being said, be sure to scroll through our top camping cot picks or jump to a specific product you’re interested in.

Editor’s Note: We updated this guide on March 6, 2024, to add a number of new and worthy camping cots, including the Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot, our new best budget pick, as well the REI Co-op Campwell Folding Cot, a brand-new option that collapses compactly.

The Best Camping Cots of 2024


Best Overall Camping Cot

REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3

Specs

  • Weight 20 lbs.
  • Weight limit 300 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 82 in. x 31.5 in. x 14 in. (L x W x H)
  • Packed dimensions 33 in. x 32 in. x 8.5 in.
  • Best use Car camping or as an extra bed for guests
Product Badge The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Spacious
  • Adjustable firmness
  • Easy to assemble (as easy as it gets, really)

Cons

  • Large packing size
  • Heavy
Best Budget Camping Cot

Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot

Specs

  • Total weight 17 lbs.
  • Weight limit 300 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 75 in. x 27.5 in. x 14.5 in.
  • Packed dimensions 6 in. x 10 in. x 5 in.
  • Best use Car camping and walk-in sites
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Includes carrying case
  • Easy to maneuver around camp
  • Side pocket for headlamp and phone storage
  • Durable

Cons

  • Slightly narrow sleeping surface
  • Setup initially challenging due to stiffness
  • Not much storage space due to x-shape crossbars
Best King-Size Cot

Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Cot

Specs

  • Weight 26 lbs.
  • Weight limit 600 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 85.7 in. x 41 in. x 19.2 in. (L x W x H)
  • Packed dimensions 42 in. x 12 in. x 7 in.
  • Best Use Accommodating two sleepers
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Huge sleep space
  • Easy assembly
  • Pairs with Outfitter XXL Camp Pad

Cons

  • Large packing size
  • Heavy
  • Doesn’t fit in smaller tents
Best Lightweight Camping Cot

Helinox Lite Cot

Specs

  • Weight 2 lbs., 12 oz.
  • Weight limit 265 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 72.5 in. x 23.5 in. x 5 in. (L x W x H)
  • Packed dimensions 20.5 in. x 5 in. x 5 in.
  • Best use Backpacking
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Packable
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Price
  • Lots of pieces (6 poles and cot)
  • Muscles necessary for setup/breakdown
  • Can not use leg extensions on this model
Most Compact Full-Size Camping Cot

REI Co-op Campwell Cot

Specs

  • Total weight 17 lbs., 13 oz.
  • Weight limit 300 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 76 in. x 25 in. x 18 in.
  • Packed dimensions 8 in. x 37 in.
  • Best use Car camping, walk-in camping and festivals
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Super easy assembly and disassembly
  • Packs into a sleek carrying bag
  • Sits high off the ground

Cons

  • Hard to maneuver around camp
  • Fabric on bag and sleeping area prone to wear and tear
Best Cot for Taller Campers

Klymit Cedar Mesa Cot

Specs

  • Weight 16 lbs. for L/18 lbs. for XL
  • Weight limit 400 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 80 in. x 31 in. x 16 in. for L; 85.5 in. x 37 in. x 16 in. for XL (L x W x H)
  • Packed dimensions 19 x 13 x 7.5 in.
  • Best use Car camping for taller users
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Packing case and size is convenient
  • Comfortable
  • Simple assembly
  • Capacity and length ideal for plus-size users

Cons

  • Long size may not fit in smaller tents or cars
  • Tough to fully insert sidebars into cot corners
Best Cot for Vehicle Sleeping

REI Co-op Trailgate Vehicle Sleeping Platform

Specs

  • Weight 31 lbs. (25"), 45 lbs. (40")
  • Weight limit 250 lbs. (25"), 400 lbs. (40")
  • Unfolded dimensions 72" x 25" x 10.7-30.5" (25"), 72" x 40" x 10.7-30.5" (40")
  • Packed dimensions 31.5" x 19" x 13" (25"), 40" x 18.5" x 14" (40")
  • Best use Converting your daily driver into a comfortable nest for the night
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Simple assembly for on-the-fly setup
  • Good adjustability to accommodate different seat and foot-well heights
  • Foam cushion is comfy and easy to clean
  • Available in both 25" and 40" widths

Cons

  • Won't adapt to every vehicle seamlessly
  • Not too much storage underneath
Best of the Rest

Coleman Airbed Twin Cot

Specs

  • Weight 14 lbs.
  • Weight limit 300 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 74 in. x 40 in. x 23.5 in. (L x W x H)
  • Packed dimensions 38 in. x 11 in. x 9 in.
  • Best use Long-term car camping
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Very comfortable
  • Not prone to leaks

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Difficult to wash

Disc-O-Bed

Specs

  • Weight 72 lbs. (36 lbs. per bed)
  • Weight limit 1,000 lbs. (500 lbs. per cot)
  • Unfolded dimensions (per cot) 79 in. x 28 in. (L x W)
  • Total height 36 in.
  • Packed dimensions 34 in. x 16 in. x 11 in.
  • Best use Dome-style tent camping
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Huge
  • Comfortable and sturdy
  • Bunk style saves floor space

Cons

  • Heaviest cot on this list
  • Only works in larger dome-style tents

FLATED Air-Deck

Specs

  • Total weight 17 lbs.
  • Weight limit 500 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 72 in. x 53 in. x 4 in.
  • Packed dimensions 32 x 18 in.
  • Best use Truck bed camping
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Very lightweight solution to truck bed camping
  • Impressive rigidity over a broad expanse
  • Inflation is a simple affair
  • Rugged deck material is silly tough

Cons

  • Non-adjustable height means you get the headroom you get
  • Side pockets too snug to get much into/out of

ALPS Mountaineering ReadyLite Cot

Specs

  • Total weight 5 lbs.
  • Weight limit 300 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 78 in. x 28 in. x 6 in.
  • Packed dimensions 18 in. x 3 in. x 8 in.
  • Best use Limited-space camping and travel
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Very packable cot
  • Ability to add an inflatable or foam mattress
  • Impressive weight capacity

Cons

  • Tough to seat crossbars
  • Not very high off the ground

Cabela’s Big Outdoorsman Cot

Specs

  • Total weight 31 lbs., 4.8 oz.
  • Weight limit 600 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 85 in. x 40 in. x 20 in.
  • Packed dimensions 44.7 in. x 6.7 in. x 7.9 in.
  • Best use Cabin or yurt camping
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Huge footprint
  • Lever system helps with set up
  • Thick durable fabric

Cons

  • Heaviest single-person cot on the list
  • Three pieces (2 extra poles)
  • It rocks back and forth a bit

Coleman Trailhead II Cot

Specs

  • Weight 21 lbs.
  • Weight limit 300 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 73 in. x 35 in. x 17 in. (L x W x H)
  • Packed dimensions 40 in. x 8 in. x 5 in. (approx.)
  • Best use Car camping
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Roomy
  • Side pockets

Cons

  • Large packing size
  • Heavy
  • Assembly requires some muscle

King Camp Folding Cot

Specs

  • Total weight 12 lbs., 6 oz.
  • Weight limit 265 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 74.8 in. x 26.8 in. x 18.9 in.
  • Packed dimensions 41.3 in. x 9.1 in. x 6.7 in.
  • Best use Car camping
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Simple set up
  • Hanging pocket with three compartments
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Can not be adjusted flat (head always tilted up)
  • Water bottle pocket can only fit small bottles

Coleman ComfortSmart Cot

Specs

  • Weight 20 lbs.
  • Weight limit 275 lbs.
  • Unfolded dimensions 80 in. x 30 in. x 15 in. (L x W x H)
  • Packed dimensions ‎33.6 in. x 25.2 in. x 5.5 in.
  • Best use Car camping
The Best Camping Cots of 2024

Pros

  • Soft mattress
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Heavy

Camping Cot Comparison Chart

Camping CotPriceTotal WeightWeight LimitUnfolded Dimensions
(L x W x H)
Packed Dimensions
REI Co-op Kingdom
Cot 3
$19920 lbs.300 lbs.82 in. x 31.5 in. x 14 in.33 in. x 32 in. x 8.5 in.
Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot$10017 lbs.300 lbs.75 in. x 27.5 in. x 14.5 in.6 in. x 10 in. x 5 in.
Teton Sports Outfitter
XXL Camp Cot
$18026 lbs.600 lbs.85.7 in. x 41 in. x 19.2 in.42 in. x 12 in. x 7 in.
Helinox Lite Cot$3002 lbs., 12 oz.265 lbs.72.5 in. x 23.5 in. x 5 in.20.5 in. x 5 in. x 5 in.
REI Co-op Campwell Cot
$10017 lbs., 13 oz.300 lbs.76 in. x 25 in. x 18 in.8 in. x 37 in.
Klymit Cedar Mesa Cot$25016 lbs. for L400 lbs.80 in. x 31 in. x 16 in. 19 in. x 13 in. x 7.5 in.
REI Co-op Trailgate Vehicle Sleeping Platform$299-39931-45 lbs. 250 – 400 lbs. 72 in. x 25 in. x 10.7-30.5 in.31.5 in. x 19 in. x 13 in.
Coleman Airbed Twin Cot$19014 lbs.300 lbs.74 in. x 40 in. x 23.5 in.38 in. x 11 in. x 9 in.
Disc-O-Bed$39936 lbs. per bed500 lbs. per cot79 in. x 28 in. (L x W)34 in. x 16 in. x 11 in.
ALPS Mountaineering ReadyLite Cot$3005 lbs.300 lbs.78 in. x 28 in. x 6 in.18 in. x 3 in. 8 in.
FLATED Air-Deck
$549-69925 lbs.500 lbs.72 in. x 53 in. x 4 in.32 x 18 in.
Cabela’s Big Outdoorsman Cot$13031 lbs., 4.8 oz.600 lbs.85 in. x 40 in. x 20 in.44.7 in. x 6.7 in. x 7.9 in.
Coleman Trailhead II Cot
$5521 lbs.300 lbs.73 in. x 35 in. x 17 in.40 in. x 8 in. x 5 in.
King Camp Folding Cot$8512 lbs., 6 oz.265 lbs.74.8 in. x 26.8 in. x 18.9 in.41.3 in. x 9.1 in. x 6.7 in.
Coleman ComfortSmart
Cot
$12520 lbs.275 lbs.80 in. x 30 in. x 15 in.33.6 in. x 25.2 in. x 5.5 in.
Camping Cot and Tent Set Up
When you’ve got the space, camping cots are one of the easiest ways to boost the comfort of your camping trip; (photo/Josh Boulton)

How We Tested Camping Cots

The GearJunkie team includes a broad spectrum of outdoor enthusiasts. From hunters and anglers to overlanders and rock climbers, there is one characteristic that we all have in common: a multitude of nights spent sleeping outside. Over many years, we’ve tried just about every sleep system for camping, and cots remain a tried-and-true favorite.

To truly assess these costs, we created a testing regimen focused on the comfort, quality, and convenience of each product. Each cot was tested both indoors and out for a minimum of four nights (and often much longer). We timed how long it took to get the cots assembled, and scored them on comfort, weight, packability, and stability. Using a scale of 1-5 (1 being poor, 5 being exceptional), our testers applied these numbers to each category, ultimately leading to the final evaluation for each cot. 

Lead camping cot tester Meghan LaHatte is no stranger to the camping scene, and has lived in rural Colorado for the past 6 years. As an avid climber, hiker, and biker, Meghan knows the importance of a good night’s rest under the stars before those action-packed days.

Her camping cot testing occurred during camping trips in Colorado’s late summer and fall, and involved the aforementioned testing process and camping during 50-, 40-, and 30-degree nights. To better judge each cot, she even set them up in her living room over a 5 week period in which she slept on them for further inspection. 

This collective list of cot recommendations has been curated for a wide range of users over the course of almost three years. Since March 2021, our expert writers have slept innumerable nights in the desert, mountains, woods, cars, and apartments to narrow down what we think are the shining stars of the camping cot market.

Some cots like the REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3 and Coleman Trailhead II Cot have proven to be staples in this guide, as they’ve remained since its inception. Keep in mind that this list of selections is ever-changing and updated as new and improved outdoor sleeping solutions, much like the Klymit Cedar Mesa or REI Co-op Trailgate, hit the scene.

Camper Laying On Top of the Helinox Lite Cot Inside Tent
Testing camping cots is hard work, but someone has got to do it; (photo/Justin La Vigne)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Camping Cot

The question of camping cots versus sleeping pads depends on how you plan to travel. Consider how you plan to use your sleeping system and look at the options below.

Camping Cot User Profiles

The Space-Saving Backpacker

For those looking to bring comfort on their backpacking excursions without sacrificing precious pack space or their back muscles, a lightweight, compact cot is the ideal choice. Cots made with lighter materials like nylon and foldable aluminum poles tend to weigh less and fold into a compact shape. When shopping for a camping cot, backpackers should seek out products weighing in at 5 pounds or less. Anything heavier will likely weigh you down on those multi-mile treks or take up crucial space in your rucksack. 

When considering a backpacking-friendly camping cot, we recommend trying out the Helinox Lite Cot or ALPS Mountaineering ReadyLite Cot. With the ability to pack down to about the size of a loaf of bread, both of these cots are designed to be thrown in or strapped to a backpack. While they are a bit pricier, you’ll be glad you spent the extra dollars on a good night’s rest when you’re a few days into that adventure and feeling tired. 

Best Camping Cots — Setup
Testing out the Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot at a remote campsite near Aspen, CO; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

The Car Dweller

Who said proper car camping can’t be luxurious? Those looking for a long-term solution to their car camping setup at the desert crag or that scenic cross-country road trip should be sure to seek out a cot designed to slide easily into the tailgate. These inflatable, sleek cots are engineered to fit easily in your vehicle, rather than a tent. These designs are well-suited for folks who are on the move or not looking to spend the extra cash on a tent. 

Designed for most cars, the REI Co-op Trailgate Vehicle Sleeping Platform is a fantastic option for classic car camping. With its convenient, low-profile design, this cushioned cot is a cozy option if you’d rather stargaze under the sunroof than in the open air. If you’ve got a truck, be sure to snag the FLATED Air-Deck, which is specifically designed for pickups. Either of these options will ensure that you are well-rested for the following day’s climb or mountain bike ride.

The Sleeping Beauty

If you’re the kind of person who wants to feel like they’re sleeping on a cloud — even while in the middle of the woods — be sure to check out some of the cushier options listed in this guide. These comfort-designed products are bulkier in size, but made to feel as close to a traditional mattress as possible. These cots can even be used as extra beds when hosting guests in your home when there isn’t enough sleeping space. 

Made with a literal air mattress on top, the Coleman Airbed Twin Cot is one of the most comfortable cots listed in this guide. Because it’s bulkier, this cot is better suited for use in a camper or indoors. But, its comfort is certainly the cherry on top when it comes to the glamping sundae. Another comfort-focused option we love is the REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3, made with a padded material and sized for more remote ventures.

Best Camping Cots — Adjustable Cots
You really can’t beat the comfort, ease of setup, and adjustability of a reclining cot; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

The Weekend Warrior

We get it — when Friday afternoon rolls around, it’s time to pack up the car and play. This is why if you’re someone who values a cot that is easily packed and assembled for those shorter trips, you should be getting the most bang for your buck. Once you get to camp, you’ll want a quick setup so you can get straight to the trailhead, music festival, or beach with no time wasted. We suggest snagging a fold-out cot that packs into a bag and assembles in just seconds.

Fold-out cots are ideal for quick trips where you’ll need both ease of setup and comfort at your campsite. Some of our favorite fold-out cots are the REI Co-Op Kingdom Cot 3 and the King Camp Folding Cot. These cots are not only super comfortable and user-friendly but also budget-conscious options for those who don’t want to completely break the bank.

Fold-out cots tend to be heavier, and more cumbersome to carry so these products are better suited for car camping weekend trips. You really can’t beat the ease of setup and a fantastic night’s sleep while camping!

Best Camping Cots — Interior Tent
If you already have a sleeping pad, it can make a great insulating companion to your camping cot; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

Camping Cots vs. Sleeping Pads

Camping Cots

Camping cots elevate you off the ground, providing a softer night’s sleep. They also help to prevent the cold ground from chilling you as you catch those zzz’s.

They also provide a much larger sleeping space. This makes it less likely that you’ll roll off of it in the middle of the night. However, cots tend to be heavy, and they’re much bulkier than sleeping pads. This makes the majority of them less than ideal for portable use.

For people who only sleep a short distance from their cars, camping cots are a great choice. Since they won’t be hauling their cots far, the added weight and bulk aren’t as much of an issue.

In this case, comfort and ease of setup are generally the biggest concerns. Because camping cots are generally a closer approximation to the average bed, they are usually more comfortable than sleeping pads.

Alps Mountaineering ReadyLite Cot
While sleeping pads boast built-in cushioning, they’ll always only be a few inches off the ground, while cots provide a more elevated experience; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Sleeping Pads

Sleeping pads are much lighter and more compressible than cots. They are also generally softer than cots that don’t have integrated cushioning.

However, they do require you to sleep on the ground. This exposes you to the ground’s hardness and can let cold transfer from the ground into your sleeping bag.

Because backpackers have to carry all of their gear with them while they hike, weight and packed size are huge considerations. Many backpackers are willing to sacrifice the added comfort of a camping cot for lighter and more packable sleeping pads.

Many pads are also designed to add some of the amenities that cots provide. Insulated pads are built for cold-weather camping. The insulation within the pad absorbs some of the cold coming from the ground, preventing it from sapping heat from your sleeping bag.

Inflatable sleeping pads keep you off the ground and allow you to sleep on a cushion. These are softer than non-cushioned camping cots but are usually louder, as the lightweight material can make a crunching sound when you move on it. The most common description is that it’s like sleeping on a bag of chips.

Intrigued by sleeping pads? Check out GearJunkie’s full gear guide to learn more.

FLATED Air-Deck with Inflatable Mattresses on top in Back of Toyota Tacoma
Many cots won’t be quite as comfortable as we’d all like, and adding a foam or inflatable sleeping pad goes a long way to adding cushion; (photo/Erika Courtney)

Camping Cots & Sleeping Pads

If luxury is the goal and weight isn’t an option, a camping cot plus a sleeping pad is the way to go. A camping cot paired with a foam sleeping pad provides the best of both worlds.

The cot will elevate you off the ground and give you a bigger space to sleep on, while the pad adds a good amount of softness. It’s similar to the function of the box springs and mattress of your bed at home.

If you want to combine a cot and a pad, check to see if the cot you’re looking at has an add-on pad. Some companies offer pads designed specifically to work with certain cots. This ensures that your pad will fit perfectly with your cot. Some also have securing systems to attach the pad to the cot, which prevents it from moving around or sliding off while you sleep. For a cozy, all-in-one pad and cot option, check out the REI Kingdom Cot 3.

Ease of Setup

Any piece of gear is useless if you can’t set it up. The bed of a cot is generally composed of a material that is stretched tight over a frame that supports your body.

Pulling the material tight enough to support your weight requires a good amount of tension. Many people find it challenging to pull the last section of material over the frame, often requiring help from another person to pull with enough strength.

In our experience testing these cots, we’ve found that the smaller a cot packs down, the more complicated it is to set up. Generally, there are more pieces to put together, and there are more parts that have to be secured to create and maintain tension. Also, there are often snap-together or folding sections that can pinch your fingers if you’re not careful.

Setting up Camping Cot
Putting together the Klymit Cedar Mesa Cot goes easy with the snap-down crossbars; (photo/Josh Boulton)

We’ve even had a tester make the mistake of trying to assemble a backpacking cot with his down sleeping bag lying on top of it. In the process, he snapped two pieces together over the sleeping bag material, causing a small tear in the bag.

The result was clouds of fine down puffing out and filling the air in the tent every time the bag moved, which led to a late-night search for duct tape (and a lot of swearing).

As is often the case when it comes to gear, there is always a tradeoff when it comes to how easy a camping cot is to set up. In general, the bigger and bulkier a cot is, the easier it is to set up. Smaller cots require more pieces to be broken down, but they weigh less and pack smaller. Larger cots are harder to carry around, but they usually require one or two steps to set up.

Some cots are engineered with state-of-the-art technologies that make them easier to assemble, especially for people needing more accessible designs and applications. These technologies include easy-lock mechanisms, adjustable springs, and pop-out assemblies.

Decide whether you prefer convenience or mobility, and choose the best cot for your needs. On this list, both the King Camp Folding Cot and the Coleman ComfortSmart Cot stand out for their quick and easy setup.

Camping Cot Assembly
Some assembly is required with camping cots, but they are all the sweeter to sleep on; (photo/Josh Boulton)

Comfort

Again, there’s a tradeoff here. Larger camp cots with plenty of space and padding are universally more comfortable. However, they’re all but impossible to pack with you on a long hike or backpacking trip. Although smaller camp cots are a lot more mobile, they lack the frills and creature comforts of a larger cot. Below are a few ways you can consider your first or next camping cot in terms of comfort.

Some cots require you to pair your sleeping pad with them for optimal use, while others even have integrated pads attached to the cot itself. Adding a sleeping pad to your camping cot setup can help increase the warmth and comfort of your setup — especially if you are used to sleeping on your pad alone anyway. 

Cots that don’t necessarily require an added sleeping pad tend to have the feel of laying in a hammock. The fabric should be stretchy enough that your body is comfortably supported, but not totally lacking in structure that you feel like you’re sinking in. We felt that the Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot performed well in this instance. 

REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3
With a simple flip, the REI Kingdom Cot 3 is ready for a night under the stars; (photo/Andrew Potter)

When considering the comfort of a camping cot, it’s also wise to think about its overall size. If you tend to toss and turn or sprawl out when sleeping, snagging a wider or double-size cot would probably be the best choice for you. King-size cots like the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Cot are crucial if you are planning on sharing your cot too. 

Finally, it is easy to forget about the height from the ground when shopping around for a camping cot. Because you’re elevated off the ground, you won’t feel any protruding rocks, sticks, or lumps as you normally would sleeping on the tent floor.

The airflow under your cot even helps regulate body temperature by keeping you cool when it’s warm and protecting you from the frosty ground during the winter. When considering height off the ground, keep in mind that a shorter cot would be better suited for camping in a car, whereas a taller one can work best inside a taller dome-style tent.

If you’re going backpacking, comfort is secondary to ease of transport. Ideally, you’re going to want to go with a cot that is lightweight and packs down to a manageable size. If you’re camping next to your car, comfort is a priority, so consider the additional details below.

From this list, we’d consider the Coleman Airbed Twin Cot among the most comfortable camp cots on the market due to its extra cushiony application.

Woman Reading on the King Camp Folding Cot Inside Cabin
Camping cots vary in comfort, and the length and intensity of your trip will determine what type of cot you can afford to carry with you; (photo/Justin La Vigne)

Warmth

It’s worth noting that sleeping on a camping cot is much like sleeping in a camping hammock. Without the insulation of the ground underneath, you’re more likely to become cold. It’s important to either bring an underquilt or pair your cot with an insulated sleeping pad.

Camping cots with integrated sleeping pads will typically be warmer than those without as the extra cushioning helps you insulate body temp. These thicker pads like the one found on the REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3 paired with a warm sleeping pad would keep you plenty cozy during some winter camping action, while the slimmer cushioning on the Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot would be perfect for summer camping without an additional sleeping pad.

Camping cots without attached sleeping pads are great for fully customizing your sleeping setup so you don’t get too frigid or toasty while trying to catch those Z’s. What we love about the ALPS Mountaineering ReadyLite Cot is the option to insert a sleeping pad into the platform, making for a secure fit that will keep your body plenty insulated without slipping out from under you. 

Whatever you decide when considering warmth in a camping cot, it’s always wise to bring extra sleeping bags, blankets, and insulation, especially if you’re winter car camping. You can always shed a few layers, but there’s not much you can do if you haven’t brought the correct provisions to stay cozy.

Sleep Area

Before buying a cot, you’ll want to first ensure that the cot is big enough for you to sleep on without resting on the frame. Most cots are long enough to fit people as tall as 6 feet and run just over 2 feet wide.

If you’re on the taller or wider side, many cots such as the Klymit Cedar Mesa Cot offer XL or XXL versions. These cots are generally longer and wider to accommodate larger people. During testing while elk hunting in the highlands of Colorado, tester Sean McCoy brought along the Cedar Mesa for 14 days straight, and the extra space garnered rave reviews from even the largest 6-foot, 200-pound hunters.

On this list, the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Cot offers a whopping 81 inches from head to toe. If you’re not sure whether a cot will fit you, look for the specifications online. The specs page will show the cot’s dimensions, so you’ll be able to see whether it’s a good fit for you.

Best Camping Cots — Comparison on End
Some cots have wider sleeping areas, while others have more slender spaces for resting on; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

Cushioning

Most cots don’t have cushioning — the sleeping area is a piece of material like polyester fabric stretched tight to provide support. Many campers find these cots to be too firm, so they’ll add a sleeping pad of some kind to provide cushioning.

If you’d prefer to sleep on something that feels like your bed at home or want an extra bed for visiting folks, look for a cot that comes with cushioning attached, such as the Coleman Airbed Twin Cot, or the REI Kingdom Cot 3.

Best Camping Cots — Platform Height
Most cots are made without included cushioning while some others have extra padding; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

Weight & Packed Size

Most of the camping cots are designed for car camping, where pack size and weight are less of an issue. Camping cots tend to be on the larger side, weighing anywhere from 12 pounds on the lower end to around 30 pounds on the higher end.

Elements such as material, fabric, and design factor into the weight of a camping cot. Camping cot frames made with materials like steel will be heavier than those made of aluminum. Cot fabrics like canvas and polyester tend to add on weight compared to lighter nylon and mesh. Consider where you’ll be using your camping cot and how the overall design may affect your ability to carry it to your campsite or backpack with it through the wilderness. 

Best Camping Cots — Stacked
Most camping cots collapse into camping chair-size bags, while others fold flat for easy packing and maneuverability; (photo/Meghan LaHatte) 

Speaking of packing, some of these cots are better suited to just be tossed in a car rather than packed in a backpack or duffel. The Coleman ComfortSmart Cot folds flat, but not small enough to fit easily in any sort of luggage. Luckily it’s not super heavy at 20 pounds, but it could definitely use some straps so it could be worn like a backpack. Meanwhile, the Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot is a fold-out option that’s super easy to carry when packed due to its sling-style carrying case.

For hunting applications, packed size often is the make-or-break reason for whether a cot comes along to the yurt or not. Consider that you’ll need to be able to load up your cot onto whatever ATV you’ll be riding in on, and that most camping-style cots of the folding style are too large to accomplish this. Look to more packable cots like the Klymit Cedar Mesa Cot for the best hunting application, a cot that our elk-fanatic tester called “one of the best cots he’s ever slept on.”

Further still on the other end of the spectrum, some camping cots can pack as small as a camp chair or sleeping bag, making it worth it to throw in your backpack for a longer mileage excursion. The ultralight Helinox Lite Cot really soared on this front as it only weighs in at 2 pounds, 12 ounces, and fits superbly in our backpacks without taking up too much real estate.

The ultralight Helinox Lite Cot is gossamer enough to take on certain hike-in trips; (photo/Justin La Vigne)

Car Camping

If you plan on camping next to your car, the main thing to consider is how much space you have available in your mode of transportation, and whether you’ll have enough room for your cots and the rest of your gear. If you have ample space, comfort often becomes the first priority.

Choose the biggest, cushiest cot you can find, and don’t worry about the weight. Just make sure you have enough room in your car for it.

Our go-to choice for cushy car camping? The ultra-adaptable REI Co-op Trailgate Vehicle Sleeping Platform. And if you’re looking to shack up in the truck bed? Go for the set-and-forget ease of the FLATED Air-Deck.

REI Co-op Trailgate Vehicle Cot Side View
The adjustable legs of the REI Co-op Trailgate Cot are made to adapt to a variety of different vehicle backseats; (photo/Katie Griffith)

Hike-In Camping

People who camp in spots that require a short hike from the car have additional considerations. If you have to hike to your campsite, make sure that your camping cot is light enough to carry to the site. Also, ensure that the cot isn’t too bulky to carry alongside the other necessary gear.

Best Camping Cots — Packed Size
The Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot has an easy-to-carry case for those walk-ins to camp; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

Look for a camping cot that is stowed in a bag, preferably one with handles or a shoulder strap. You’ll be thankful for details like this when it’s time to hike your gear from your car to the campsite.

The Klymit Cedar Mesa Cot is a superb choice if you’re looking for a camping cot that’s light enough to carry without getting winded. The included handled carrying case made setting up camp super easy and convenient without too many trips hauling gear from the car.

The Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot has an included sling bag that is roughly the same size as a champ chair. This made carrying it into the campsite a breeze while keeping our hands free for other gear, allowing for far fewer trips to the car. 

Klymit Cedar Mesa Camping Cot in Tent
The Cedar Mesa Cot balances overall comfort with a compact carrying size; (photo/Josh Boulton)

Backpacking

In general, camping cots are not very compatible with backpacking. Cots are heavy and bulky — two words that backpackers avoid at all costs.

If backpacking is your primary style of camping, and you absolutely must sleep on a cot, consider one of the lightweight cots we profile above. The Helinox Lite Cot or ALPS Mountaineering ReadyLite cots are light enough to take into the backcountry, but are still comfortable enough to sleep on if you occasionally go car camping.

Hunting

Remote hunting outposts accessed by truck, ATV, or pack animal can be made all the more livable with the addition of a few cots to your wall tent. Tracking can take it out of you, and that’s even before the real work starts, so investing in a comfortable, yet packable, cot will make your hunt all the better. If you’re going light and rucking into your basecamp, many of the backpacking-style cots will make the grade, but for vehicle-assisted hunts, moving up to the comfort of a more well-rounded cot is well worth the weight.

Packability is the name of the game when it comes to cots for hunting, and you’ll need to aim for a cot that can fit in your side-by-side, or in the panniers of your trusty stead. The Cabela’s Big Outdoorsman Cot is our go-to for damn-the-weight endeavors for truly large hunters, but the cot we end up reaching for most often for a hunt is the Klymit Cedar Mesa Cot, a platform that collapses down impressively for the extra large sleeping space it provides.

Durability

Best Camping Cots — Foot Pads
Cots made with these flexible pucks as feet are great for conforming to uneven ground and protecting your tent floor; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

Durability varies widely with camping cots. We’ve found that there’s a proportional relationship between weight and durability with this type of gear. Generally, the heavier a cot is, the tougher it is.

Heavy car camping cots are made up of sturdy frames composed of steel or steel alloys. These heavier metals give the cot an exceptionally durable build. This makes them more resistant to drops, exhausted campers flopping down on them, roughhousing kids, and whatever other vigorous activities a bed might face.

Lighter cots have frames that are built with aluminum or some other lightweight material. The lighter weight is great for trekking it into the woods, but they’re often much more fragile.

Lightweight cot frames are sturdy enough to support campers’ weight while they sleep but must be treated with more respect. In our testing, we’ve found that these lighter-weight cots are best eased into when it’s time for bed.

When getting ready to snuggle into your lightweight cot, be sure to sit down in the middle first. Our lead tester made the hilarious mistake of sitting on the head end of one cot and quite literally somersaulted backward, albeit not very gracefully, landing with the cot on top of her.

If you’re camping next to your car and weight is no issue, you can opt for a heavier cot and rough it up a bit. On this list, the Coleman Trailhead II Cot is supremely durable, but it weighs a hefty 21 pounds. If a lighter, more packable cot like the King Camp Folding Cot better suits you, make sure that you’re more careful with it than you’d be with a 30-pound behemoth.

FLATED Air-Deck Camping Cot in Back of Toyota Tacoma
When it comes to durability, it’s hard to beat the extra tough exterior material of the FLATED Air-Deck; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Accessories 

If you want to elevate your camping experience and maximize the functionality of your cot, consider the accessories that come included or as add-ons for an extra price. These accessories can include side tables, storage compartments, pockets, sleeping pads, and other functional elements. 

Designed with hanging side pockets for your phone and headlamp, the Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot and Klymit Cedar Mesa Cot are perfect for those searching for minimalistic accessories for just the necessities.

Really want to go all out with the accessories? Consider the customizable bunk bed style Disc-O-Bed. You can order this puppy with extra fabric cabinets, organizers, and sleeping pads that heighten camping to an extra level of luxury. 

Best Camping Cots — Camp Set-up
Some camping cots are adjustable to various positions while others remain flat; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)

Price

The camping cots that we profile here represent an accurate sampling of the prices you’ll see when shopping for a cot. They vary in price from $45 to $80 for simple, no-frills models, but cots can reach $300 and above at the higher end. When shopping for a camping cot, weigh the options you need against how much money you have to spend.

If you want a simple cot to keep you off the ground when you sleep next to your car, start with the lowest-end cot and think about what you’d like to add to it. A simple car camping cot consists of a folding frame with material stretched over it and should cost somewhere south of $100. On this list, the Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot is our Best Budget pick at just $100.

Want added cushioning or organization options? Be prepared to spend a little bit more on an upgraded option, somewhere in the range of $150-250.

Looking for a cot that is light and easy to carry into a walk-in campsite? These options will cost a little bit more because of the lightweight materials and design that go into the construction. These generally cost around $200-250 and can reach $300 and above with add-ons like rainflies or integrated tents.

Klymit Cot Loading into Tent
At $250, the Cedar Mesa is at the top of the price range, but provides a durable sleeping surface and sturdy legs for the price; (photo/Josh Boulton)

FAQ

What is the most comfortable camping cot?

Comfortable is a subjective term. It can depend on many things, such as how firm or soft you prefer your sleeping space, as well as whether you sleep on your back or side.

The most common complaint about camping outside is how firm sleeping systems are, so a cot with some cushioning is ideal. Our choice for the most comfortable is the Coleman Airbed Twin Cot for its soft cushioning, contouring, and adjustable incline settings, as well as the REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3, for a smaller-packing option.

Best Camping Cots — Pup on Cot
Cots are so comfortable that even your furry companions will want a taste of the luxury life; (photo/Meghan LaHatte)
Are cots good for camping?

Because they closely mimic the feel of sleeping in your bed at home, cots are an extremely comfortable option for car camping. Once assembled, most camping cots can easily be thrown in your tent, car, or under the stars. However, as we’ve stated above, traditional camping cots are too heavy and bulky for backpacking.

There are a few ultralight “backpacking cots,” but many backpackers choose sleeping pads because they are lighter and more packable.

Is a cot more comfortable than an air mattress?

A good full-size air mattress is the closest you can get to sleeping on your bed at home. However, they are bulky, and they usually require an external power source to fully inflate. They are also difficult to clean after a camping trip.

Camping cots are often less comfortable than an air mattress but are more durable, easier to transport, and easier to set up. A high-quality cushioned camping cot can come close to, or even surpass, the comfort of an air mattress, plus they take much less time to set up. The cushioned design of the REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3 stood out for us.

How wide is a camping cot?

Many of the camping cots that we have tested are generally around 25 inches in width. This is wide enough for most campers. If you need a wider cot, many cots offer larger versions for bigger sleepers. These can range from 30 inches to over 40 inches in width. The 40-inch Cabela’s Big Outdoorsman Cot is a perfect example.

How do I wash my camping cot?

If your camping trip had some unexpected moisture or your mud-covered pup hopped up on your camping cot for some snuggles, you’ll probably want to take careful measures to give it a good cleanup once home. 

Before attempting to wash your camping cot, be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions first as there could be some guidelines or restrictions pertaining to your cot’s materials. If you’ve only got some small stains or dirt on your cot, we recommend spot cleaning prior to doing a full-on wash down. This can be accomplished by putting some mild dish soap on a cloth and lightly dabbing the material before applying some water. 

If spot cleaning won’t quite do the job, check to see if your cot’s fabric materials are machine or hand washable. Be sure to avoid using any harsh detergents, bleach, or high heat. When drying be sure to hang dry your cot out of any direct sunlight that could potentially cause the fabric to fade or damage the finishes. 

For cleaning the metal legs and hinges, we recommend wiping them down with a damp cloth and promptly drying them with a towel to avoid any rusting or long-term damage to the mechanisms. 

Keeping your camping cot clean and stored in a dry place will ensure its longevity for many camping trips to come.

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