A camping cot can keep you warm, elevated, and comfortable outdoors. Here are the best camping cots currently on the market.
For many people, a good night’s sleep in the outdoors is an elusive goal. Sleeping on the ground, even with the help of inflatable or foam sleeping pads, is still sleeping on the ground. For folks seeking a comfortable and elevated sleeping experience while camping, a cot is a great choice.
When car camping, cots can easily be stowed away with the rest of your gear and set up anywhere. Whether you prefer sleeping in a tent or under the stars, cots are a portable luxury that can fit into just about any vehicle.
Though the majority of camping cots are far too heavy for backpacking, certain models are impressively lightweight and relatively portable. On this list, the Helinox Cot One Convertible weighs just 5 pounds
If you’re looking for a versatile way to sleep comfortably in the outdoors, read on.
You can scroll through to see all of our recommended buys, or jump to the category you’re looking for:
- Best Overall
- Best Budget
- Best King-Size
- Best Lightweight Camping Cot
- Best Cot for Couples
- Best Bunk Bed Cot
- Best of the Rest
The Best Camping Cots of 2022
Best Overall: Coleman Airbed Twin Cot
If a comfortable night’s sleep is your top priority, look no further than the Airbed Cot ($160) from Coleman. Part inflatable mattress and part portable cot, this sleeping solution takes camping to a new level of luxury.
Thanks to Coleman’s “leakproof” system, you can count on this inflatable cot to remain fully pumped throughout the night. Additionally, advanced coil construction offers top-notch support and an impressive capacity of 300 pounds. The durable steel frame unfolds quickly, and two pull-out side tables provide space for drinks and personal items.
Though this cot will inevitably take up a significant amount of storage space in your kit, it does have a versatile design that will allow you to get the most out of its bulky size. The cot and airbed can be separated to create sleeping space for two.
This cot comes with a sewn-in cover, a 4D pump for easy inflation, and a burly carrying bag. It is also available as a queen, which is great for couples.
- Bonus: Included electric pump inflates and deflates the mattress in mere minutes
- Weight: 14 lbs.
- Weight limit: 300 lbs.
- Unfolded dimensions: 74 x 40 x 23.5 in. (L x W x H)
- Sturdy frame
- Very comfortable
- Not prone to leaks
- Difficult to wash
Best Budget: Coleman Trailhead II Cot
The Trailhead II Cot from Coleman ($60) is spacious enough to fit sleepers over 6 feet tall and keeps all sleepers over a foot off the ground. The attached side pockets add a great touch of organization, holding your glasses, headlamp, and other smaller items.
The rails are slightly elevated to add security and prevent sleepers from rolling off. The canvas is firm and supportive, and it has a frame sturdy enough to withstand you and your tent mates fighting over who gets to sleep in it.
This cot’s steel X-shaped frame and double stitching add durability, giving you years of use before breaking down. It folds up and stores in the included carry case, so it’s easy to store and pack in the car.
At a whopping 21 pounds, the car is definitely where you’ll pack it, as there’s no way you’ll want to carry this bad boy in your backpack.
The biggest dig we’ve found with the Trailhead II is the assembly. We’ve had reports that the end braces are difficult to attach to the frame, making it likely that you’ll have to use some leverage to attach the second brace.
- Weight: 21 lbs.
- Weight limit: 300 lbs.
- Unfolded dimensions: 73 x 35 x 17 in. (L x W x H)
- Side pockets
- Large packing size
- Assembly requires some muscle
Best King-Size Cot: Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Cot
If you want the roomiest cot available, the Outfitter XXL Camp Cot ($170) is the best bang for your buck. With a whopping 81 inches from head to toe and a 41-inch width, you could fit the average sasquatch in it for a good night’s sleep.
If you don’t know any bigfoots (bigfeet?), it’s also great for larger folks or people who toss and turn in their sleep. Smaller couples who are fond of cuddling will also appreciate the roomy platform it provides.
The S-leg design is the first we’ve seen of its kind. The unique shape of these steel legs provides sturdiness and support. Plus, the brushed canvas is comfortable if you want to plop down on it for a midday nap.
We love the lever-arm setup as well. Many sleeping cots are notorious for how hard it is to pull the last corner of canvas over the frame. The integrated lever uses added leverage to make it easy for one person to set it up and break it down.
It also pairs with Teton’s Outfitter XXL Camp Pad. This 2.5-inch-thick closed-cell foam sleeping pad makes the mattress feel even more like a king-size bed.
- Bonus: With a capacity of up to 600 lbs., it can easily accommodate two to three sleepers.
- Weight: 26 lbs.
- Weight limit: 600 lbs.
- Unfolded dimensions: 85.75 x 41 x 19.25 in. (L x W x H)
- Huge sleep space
- Easy assembly
- Pairs with Outfitter XXL Camp Pad
- Large packing size
- Doesn’t fit in smaller tents
Best Lightweight Camping Cot: Helinox Cot One Convertible
Most of the cots you’ll see here are ideal for car camping, but due to their weight and packed size, they’re not practical for hike-in spots or backpacking. The Helinox Cot One Convertible ($350) is an exception to this rule.
Weighing in at a manageable 5 pounds and packing to roughly the size of a closed-cell foam pad, this cot can easily fit in a backpack or be strapped to the outside. With the above-ground benefits of a cot and a lightweight design, it provides more comfort per ounce than almost any other sleeping system on the market.
The DAC aluminum frame will hold up to 320 pounds, which is more than many car camping cots. The polyester material is taut and reliable, yet forgiving enough to cradle your body.
In addition to the minimal weight, one of the best features of the Helinox One is its versatility. Resting about 6.5 inches off the ground, it can fit into most smaller tents.
If you want more space, you can purchase leg extensions that raise it to 15 inches above the ground. This works in taller tents and is useful for storing gear under the cot.
You can also purchase an insulated sleeping pad designed specifically to fit the cot. The insulated pad replaces the original bed fabric to add cushioning and insulation for cold-weather camping.
If you need more sleeping space, the Helinox One Max Convertible ($479) adds 8 inches of length and 3 inches of width.
- Weight: 5 lbs.
- Weight limit: 320 lbs.
- Unfolded dimensions: 74.8 x 26.8 x 6.7 in. (L x W x H)
- Complicated setup
Best Bunk Bed Cot: Disc-O-Bed
One of the most unique designs we’ve come across is the Disc-O-Bed ($379 with organizers). This comes as a set of two full-size cots that can be configured in multiple ways. You can arrange the set as two separate cots, a large bench, or a bunk bed set.
The camp beds sport an impressive 500-pound capacity per bed, which means you can even cram two people per bed if you’re in a pinch. The sturdy steel frames seem bombproof, and can easily handle adults climbing up to the top bunk.
The cots are large, so you’ll need a large dome tent to fit them. The frames are sturdy enough to support the material without any crossbeams, which creates hammock-like support. This eliminates the need for any sleeping pads or mats.
To achieve such durability, the overall construction has to be quite heavy. The cots weigh 36 pounds each, and the combination weighs 72 pounds total (36 pounds per bag), so make sure your campsite isn’t far from the car.
Also of note are the accessories that are available for the Disc-O-Bed. You can purchase organizers, cabinets, and sleeping pads. There’s even a mosquito pad and frame so you can sleep under the stars undisturbed.
- Total weight: 72 lbs. (36 lbs. per bed)
- Weight limit: 1,000 lbs. (500 lbs. per cot)
- Unfolded dimensions (per cot): 79 x 28 in. (L x W)
- Total height: 36 in.
- Comfortable and sturdy
- Bunk style saves floor space
- Heaviest cot on this list
- Only works in larger dome-style tents
Best of the Rest
Coleman’s Camping Cot with Side Table ($85) adds a bit of organization to the company’s highly regarded camping cot. Easy to set up and break down, the cot provides plenty of support (up to 300 pounds).
It’s not light enough for backpacking, but at 20 pounds, it’s not too heavy to carry to a hike-in campsite. And the lack of crossbars at the head and feet keep you from whacking your head or feet in the middle of the night.
It’s important to note that the cot does not lock into position, so it can collapse if you don’t have the legs fully extended. Just make sure that you double-check that the legs are fully spread before you lie on it.
What makes this cot stand out from the others is the attached end table. The table is useful for keeping items close at hand while you sleep. It’s great for stashing your glasses, headlamp, a book, and a bottle of water next to you while you sleep.
- Total weight: 20 lbs.
- Weight limit: 300 lbs.
- Unfolded dimensions: 80 x 44 x 32 in. (L x W x H)
- Small pack size
- Attached table and cupholder
- Too firm for some users
The ComfortSmart Cot from Coleman ($90) provides the most comfort you can get per dollar spent. The thick foam sleeping pad acts as a mattress for bed-like cushioning. The coil suspension system imitates a box spring as well, giving you a closer approximation to your bed at home. The strong steel frame adds durability, and the simple folding design means you can set it up in minutes.
The length will fit sleepers up to 6’6″ tall and can hold up to 275 pounds, so it can handle everyone from the average NFL tight end to kids. We love the simplicity and comfort — you’re basically getting a portable bed with this cot.
One thing to consider with ComfortSmart is its huge packed size, as it’s built for camping right next to your car. It folds down into a quarter of its full length, which gives it a square profile that is very cumbersome to carry. It takes up a lot of space in the car as well. If you’re not traveling in an SUV or wagon, it’s going to take over a lot of real estate in your trunk.
- Weight: 20 lbs.
- Weight limit: 275 lbs.
- Unfolded dimensions: 80 x 30 x 15 in. (L x W x H)
- Soft mattress
- Easy to set up
This simple cot from Kamp-Rite ($105) offers great value and a tried-and-true design. Compared to other cots on this list, the Kwik Cot is exceptionally easy to set up — less than a minute and you’re ready to nap or call it for the night.
At a hefty 19 pounds, this cot should be reserved for car camping. From the powder-coated steel frame to the thick 1,000-denier fabric, the Kwik Cot is the polar opposite of ultralight. However, these burly materials combine to give it supreme durability, and many users report that their Kwik Cot is still going strong after many years of use.
Other features of this cot include a padded head section, a built-in mesh pocket, and a spacious carrying bag. Most users will want to combine this cot with a sleeping pad, as the fabric surface is quite taut and stiff on its own.
For its relatively low price, this cot adds long-term value to any car camping sleeping system. When you aren’t using it for camping trips, the Kwik Cot can function at home as a handy guest bed.
- Total weight: 19 lbs.
- Weight limit: 300 lbs.
- Unfolded dimensions: 79 x 29 x 19 in. (L x W x H)
- Does not creak or squeak
- Stiff fabric
Why You Should Trust Us
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.
This list of recommendations is the result of thorough testing and careful comparison. When we test camping cots, we consider numerous factors, including durability, weight, value, and most of all — comfort. It’s impossible to gauge the quality of a cot without actually sleeping on it. We did our due diligence and caught some Z’s on numerous cots until we identified the best.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Camping Cot
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.
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. Decide whether you prefer convenience or mobility, and choose the best cot for your needs.
On this list, the Coleman ComfortSmart Cot stands out for its quick and easy setup.
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.
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.
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 under quilt or pair your cot with an insulated sleeping pad.
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 offer XL or XXL versions. These cots are generally longer and wider to accommodate larger people. 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.
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, look for a cot that comes with cushioning attached, such as the Coleman Airbed Twin Cot.
Weight & Packed Size
Most of the camping cots on the market 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 5 pounds on the lower end to around 30 pounds on the higher end.
If you’re seeking minimal weight and maximum portability, check out the ultralight Helinox Cot One Convertible.
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.
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.
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 Helinox Cot One Convertible weighs just 5 pounds, which is ideal if you have to hike to your campsite.
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 Cot One is light enough to take into the backcountry, but is still comfortable enough to sleep on if you occasionally go car camping.
Durability varies widely with camping cots. We’ve found that there’s a proportionate 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.
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 better suits you, make sure that you’re more careful with it than you’d be with a 30-pound behemoth.
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 $40 to $50 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 Coleman Trailhead II is our Best Budget pick at just $60.
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.
Camping Cots vs. Sleeping Pads: Which Is Right for Me?
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 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 sleep.
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.
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 the 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 noncushioned 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.