Best Camping Cots - Gear Lobo

Best Camping Cot: Our Best Picks for Hikers, Backpackers, and Glampers

If you love camping but aren’t crazy about sleeping on the cold, hard, ground, a camping cot is just what the doctor ordered. They offer added comfort and come in all styles and sizes. 

We looked at some of the best camping cots out there and came up with our picks by choosing products suitable for hiking, camping, backpacking, and other outdoor sports. Here is our short take on the best cots money can buy.

The Quick Answer

After hours of research and side by side comparison, we’ve concluded that the all-around best camping cot for most people is the Coleman ComfortSmart Deluxe Camping Cot.

It offers a comfortable foam mattress, coil suspension, and can support up to 300 pounds. And even better, it can be purchased on Amazon for right around $60.

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Camping Cot Reviews

You can’t be all things to all people. The same is true of camping cots. We understand this, which is why we put together this best camping cots guide.

For 90 percent of the people reading this, our overall top pick will be fantastic. However, if you are looking for a cot with something specific in mind, the reviews below will give you a brief look at the best camping cot in each category. Each one is highlighted with a specific use case in mind (backpacking, kids, budget pick, etc). We hope this helps you in choosing the best camping cot for you.

1. Coleman ComfortSmart Deluxe Cot (Best Camping Cot)

As mentioned above, the Coleman ComfortSmart Deluxe Cot offers some solid upside at an affordable price point. It combines both a padded mattress and coil springs to bring new meaning to the phrase “a good night’s rest.”

The steel frame folds easily for a hassle-free setup and takedown, and it fits easily in the trunks of most cars. With sturdy dimensions, it can accommodate campers up to 6’6″ tall, and an ample weight limit of 300 pounds.

On the negative side, the construction is somewhat bulky and heavy and doesn’t lend itself to backpacking or ultralight camping. Still, this didn’t stop us from awarding it the title of best camping cot on our list, a title it really deserved.

  • Size: 80 x 30 x 15 inches
  • Product Weight: 16.5 pounds
  • Frame: Steel
  • Fabric:
  • Additional Support: Coil suspension and mattress pad
  • Weight Limit: 300 lbs.
  • Pros: Budget sensitive price point and comfy suspension
  • Cons: Weight and bulky transport
  • Who It’s for: Average sized adults looking for an entry-level car camping cot
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2. ALPS Mountaineering Ready Lite Cot (Best Backpacking Cot)

This compact camping cot includes a steel frame and polyester fabric that is intended for extensive use and durability. The ALPS Mountaineering Ready Lite Cot is our best backpacking cot since it is lightweight and foldable. 

With only 5 lbs, one can use it for hiking and backpacking, not just car backpacking cot What we love about this cot is that it’s pack-friendly with minimal weight and most importantly, it breaks down and comes with a carrier bag. This makes the cot easily transportable, you don’t have to car camp with your cot anymore, now you can take it backpacking with you. 

What we also like about the construction of the cot, is that there are no steel bars under the sleeping platform. Therefore, no bars digging into your back when laying on it. The cot is spacious and offers enough cushioning for a good night’s sleep. No plastic anywhere to be seen on the construction, so breakage or collapse possibility is kept to a minimum. 

We tried it out on a chilly autumn night and the fact that we felt no difference in insulation is a huge plus for us. But, on the other hand, no cot is perfect and we have the facts to prove it. 

Assembly of the ALPS cot takes up to 5 minutes, it takes strength so you won’t be able to enjoy this activity with your kids either. But once you get the hang of it, the process will surely last much shorter. Still, a lot of strength is needed to assemble it. 

Another big con for us is the price of this cot, but if you’re dying for a good backpacking cot, you should get this one. 

Despite a slightly more complicated setup than folding cots, the savings in weight are worth it. The most important factors: sturdiness and comfort are definitely respected with one of the most comfortable camping cots out there. 

  • Size: 28 x 78 x 7.5 inches
  • Product Weight: 5 lbs 4 oz
  • Frame: Aluminum & Nylon
  • Fabric: Mesh
  • Additional Support: None
  • Weight Limit: 300 lbs
  • Pros: Lightweight, packable and compact
  • Cons: Slightly more complicated setup and pricy
  • Who It’s for: The backpacking crew that wants something more than a sleeping pad
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3. Coleman Queen Airbed (Best Queen Size)

If you have the audacity to want to go camping with a queen size cot…. good for you! Why shouldn’t you be able to camp the way you want to camp? While elsewhere on the interwebs people taunt and make fun of the regal queen size, we support it!

In this category, The Coleman Queen Airbed Cot is the clear winner. Because it is a bit of a specialty item, there are actually very few manufacturers even producing a queen sized cot. One of the greatest things about this system is that you are purchasing both the cot AND the air mattress, so if you ever need to, you could actually separate the two for even more sleeping space.

Its sturdy steel frame can generously support up to 600 pounds, and the airbed also includes the pump to inflate and deflate the mattress. Finally, it’s AirTight mattress technology is guaranteed not to leak, and it even comes with a 1 year warranty.

Though an obvious one, the main drawback is it’s lack of portability. Both frame and mattress take up a fair amount of space. Due to its size, the Coleman Queen is best suited to car camping, or as a temporary bed to setup for indoor situations. This could be a house guest, or perhaps a short term rental that doesn’t include furnishings. So if you are looking for a cot that can travel with you, this isn’t it.

  • Size: 22 x 59 x 78 inches
  • Product Weight: 43.3 pounds (shipping weight)
  • Frame: Steel
  • Fabric: Unspecified
  • Additional Support: Includes ComfortStrong coil air mattress
  • Weight Limit: 600 lbs.
  • Pros: Accommodations for 2 with easy setup
  • Cons: Lack of portability
  • Who It’s for: Car campers, and people wanting a short term or guest bed for indoors.
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4. Kamp Rite Double Tent Cot (Best Double)

The Kamp Rite Double Tent Cot is quite literally a double cot. Unlike cots set up with special frames in the bunkbed style the Kamp Rite just looks like you took 2 cots and smashed them together (if interested, we have a review specifically covering stackable cots).

But hey, good on em! It doesn’t need to be fancy to get the job done, and in this case, the simplicity actually won our vote. With its compact storage size, no-hassle setup, and ample 85 x 55 inch surface area, this cot is an excellent choice for campers that need space for two (p.s if you’re looking specifically for camping cots for 2 people, see our recommendations here).

It should be noted that there is a rail running down the center, that divides the 2 sections. Some folks are simply looking for a bigger cot to use for 1 person–this isn’t a good option for you. You would be better served by getting a queen sized cot, instead of a double like this.

  • Size: 85 x 55 inch (surface area)
  • Product Weight: 35 lbs.
  • Frame: Metal (unspecified) with plastic joints
  • Fabric: Unspecified
  • Additional Support: None
  • Weight Limit: 550 lbs.
  • Pros: Solid construction and easy setup
  • Cons: Rail down the center prevents solo campers from taking advantage of the additional space
  • Who It’s for: Pairs of campers who prefer a minimal, modestly priced cot
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5. Regalo My Cot (Best Small Camping Cot)

Maybe you’ll be camping with kids who would like (or need!) a camping cot. The Regalo My Cot has you covered. With over 5,000 reviews on Amazon, and a lifetime 4.4/5 stars, the Regalo is everything you hope your kid’s camping cot would be. It’s constructed of durable steel and canvas, it sets up in seconds, and even has a machine washable fitted sheet.

This cot also sits just 9 inches off the ground, making it perfect for those kiddos that may roll off mid-sleep (or Superman!). Comes with a carrying case and supports up to 75 pounds. What’s not to love?

In addition to camping, this cot makes a great little utility bed for day care, sleepovers, or trips to grandma’s house.

  • Size: 54 x 28 x 12 inches
  • Product Weight: 6.25 lbs.
  • Frame: Steel
  • Fabric: Canvas
  • Additional Support: None
  • Weight Limit: 75 lbs.
  • Pros: Compact, inexpensive, and durable
  • Cons: None that we could find
  • Who It’s for: Younger children (roughly 2-5)
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6. Desert Walker Camping Cot (Best Lightweight Camping Cot)

We don’t get to see that many lightweight camping cots on the market. Therefore we love the Desert Walker Camping Cot and named it our Best lightweight camping cot champion. That’s a title it really deserved, and here’s why. 

This product is extremely light, and that’s what you were looking for, right? Atbest lightweight camping cot just 2.8 pounds, the Desert Walker Camping Cot you get a comfortable sleeping surface that is easily portable and light. Pack it up, pack it in, and hit the trail!

This cot’s frame is made from aluminum, and the bed face is waterproof. It’s easily transportable with a stuff sack that fits on any backpack. But (here comes the but), what Desert Walker didn’t think about when designing an ultralight cot, is how stable it’s going to be. 

This is why the legs of the cot seem to be collapsing under pressure sometimes and the weight limit is 275 lbs. Therefore, it’s a cot not designed for bigger individuals. 

If you’re an ultralight backpacker who’s looking for more support than a sleeping pad, but can’t afford to add much to your backpack in the way of weight or volume, this cot is perfect for you. 

  • Size: 72.8 X 23.6 X 5.9 inches
  • Product Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fabric: Polyester Oxford
  • Additional Support: None
  • Weight Limit: 275 lbs
  • Pros: Extremely lightweight and portable
  • Cons: Collapsible legs and low weight limit
  • Who It’s for: Ultralight backpackers who tally every ounce
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7. Kamp Rite Oversize Tent Cot (Best Cot for Tent Camping)

Maybe you were hoping you could find a combination of a tent and a cot. Well… you can. The Kamp Rite Oversize Tent Cot is just the thing for you. This sturdy cot features a tent covering, affixed directly to the cot. So wherever your cot is, your tent is also. A tent cot is a great way to keep yourself covered from the possibility of rain, and elevated above bugs, snakes, and other critters.

The beauty of this cot is the time savings. In just a minute or two, you can completely set up your entire “camp.” frame on this sucker can actually be affixed in different positions, so it can be used as a chair, a lounge, or laid flat as a cot.

Don’t want a tent for one night? Collapse the tent completely and lay on top of it like you would a normal cot. The tent also has screened “No See Um” doors, to keep it 100% insect-proof, while still maintaining 360 degree airflow (critical for summer camping in many parts of the world!).

  • Size: 90 x 32 x 36 inches
  • Product Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fabric: Cordura (cot surface)
  • Additional Support: Foam pad
  • Weight Limit: 350 lbs.
  • Pros: Easy setup quickly kills 2 birds with 1 stone
  • Cons: Even with screening, retains heat in warm conditions.
  • Who It’s for: No fuss car campers that want easy comfort.
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8. Coleman Trailhead II Cot (Best Affordable Camping Cot)

Are you looking for one of the best cots for camping but at a minimal price? We have the right choice in store, and that’s the Coleman Trailhead II Cot. With a price of around 40$, it provides a powerful construction that lifts you off the ground and most importantly, comfortable sleep. All that and at a modest cost too. 

The heavy-duty canvas won’t rip and the setup process is quite easy. Ourbest affordable camping cot favorite pro of this item is that it comes in a carrier bag, for easier portability. 

One potential con is that the bag meant for carrying might rip, due to the weight of the cot. The bars on the side of the cot look unpolished and when using in the dark, pose a threat to your shins. We all know how bad a shin kick hurts. 

Most people won’t really admit it, but for most of us, the price of our gear really plays an important role when buying. Sadly, sometimes we end up with extremely low-quality articles. But on the other hand, sometimes – like in this case, we end up purchasing an amazing item that we will use for the rest of our camping career. That is why we believe in the Coleman Trailhead II Cot!

  • Size: 73 x 35 x 17 inches
  • Product Weight: 20 lbs
  • Frame: Steel
  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Additional Support: None
  • Weight Limit: 300 lbs.
  • Pros: Budget and space-friendly
  • Cons: Carrier bag might rip
  • Who It’s for: Campers looking for a budget-friendly option
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9. Redcamp XL Cot Pad (Best Camping Cot Pad)

We really love camping cots, and the Redcamp XL Cot Pad is another gadget you should consider adding to your collection. This mattress just screams camping luxury! Once you see it, you might even consider sleeping on it in your house too. We also love it for its fluffy interior, and here come some of the other specs of this item. 

You are not just elevated from the ground for maximum comfort, the mattressbest camping cot pad feels like a cloud, and can be easily set up. Not just for comfort, we love this pad because it provides extra insulation and heat retention when sleeping in the cold. It’s not a problem to bring it with you since it’s lightweight and portable.

Two types of materials and a cotton blend inside pose for a good night’s sleep. What we don’t like is that this cot pad might be too long for some cots and not too plush, but for this price, we definitely won’t complain. What we will do is enjoy our high comfort camp outing, because we take this pad with us everywhere.

  • Size: 75 x 29 x 2 inches
  • Product Weight: 3 lbs
  • Frame: N/A
  • Fabric: Polyester and cotton
  • Additional Support: None
  • Weight Limit: N/A
  • Pros: Comfortable, cheap, and light
  • Cons: Thin
  • Who It’s for: Anyone wanting some extra heat from their camping cot

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10. Timber Ridge Folding Camping Cot (Best Camping Cot for Side Sleepers)

If you’re worried about how sleeping in a tent will affect your back, we have the best camping cot for side sleepers. The Timber Ridge Folding Camping Cot is perfect for smaller people, with a quality canvas that is held together by zippers. That might sound unsafe, but the cot holds long and proves its durability. 

What we loved is the easy setup process, just unzip it and unfold it. They callbest camping cot for side sleepers this a no-assembly setup, and we love how easy it is. Great for a fast unfolding in a tent or van, when you’re out camping with the family and really need to hurry due to a raincloud coming in. 

Also, with only 12 lbs, it’s pretty lightweight for a car camping cot. This means it’s not too heavy for transport, a pro for situations where you can’t park right next to your campground. 

A con for us is the fact that the cot has very low legs, it’s almost like sleeping on the floor. We also understand that this might not pose a problem to most people though. Some love sleeping on a lower bed. Also, the quality material is very stiff and provides zero bouncing. This makes for a very stiff surface to sleep on, but might pose a great idea for a side sleeper. 

  • Size: 74 x 25 x 6 inches
  • Product Weight: 12 lbs
  • Frame: Steel
  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Additional Support: None
  • Weight Limit: 225 lbs
  • Pros: Low height and durable material
  • Cons: Low weight limit and comfort
  • Who It’s for: Side sleepers looking for a stable camping cot

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Buying Guide: What To Look For in Your Camping Cot

choosing a camping cot

Like most things in this world, all cots are not created equal. And that’s a good thing. You wouldn’t want to have to use the same cot you take on your comfy car camping trips when you’re ultralight backpacking in the Sierras. Similarly, you obviously wouldn’t give your 6’4″, 220-pound friend the kid’s cot that your son uses for grandma’s house.

Accordingly then, because a cot isn’t “just a cot”, we put together this brief guide on how to choose your best camping cot, to help you in your decision. Each section touches on one of the main things to consider with your next cot, so stay tuned to learn more about the best camping cots out there. 

How Will You Be Using Your Cot?

The first and biggest thing to think about is–how will you be using your cot? What will the weather, temperature, and climate conditions be like?

If you’ll be camping in the heat of summer, why not opt for a mesh fabric? If you’ll be using the cot for somebody that already doesn’t like camping and needs a positive experience, why not get them the most comfortable cot money can buy? If you have a week-long trip coming up, but you know you’re not somebody that camps a lot, don’t let the sales guy at REI talk you into something high-end. If you’ll be using it on a backpacking trip, it needs to be smaller and lighter.

Some of this is common sense, but spend a few minutes being realistic with yourself about what you will and (perhaps more importantly) won’t be doing.

The most important thing is that you know what you need to buy, and we are here to help you with that. No one wants a wasted purchase that will lie in the garage for years. 

Surface Area Size

Your best camping cot doesn’t just need to fit you. It needs to fit your other equipment too. This is one of the biggest things that people overlook. If you want to use your cot inside a tent, you should really set up your tent and then bust out a tape measure. Spend a minute making sure that you’ll have enough clearance with the ceiling and sides. If you need to get 2, 3, or 4 people in total, will it all still work?

To a lesser degree, you also need to think about this with your sleeping bag (and possibly sleeping pad). Most people will see the specifications of a cot, and say, “Great, I’m under 6 feet. This should work!” What they’re not thinking about is that they have an oversized sleeping bag that will now be hanging off the feet and sides. Not a deal-breaker for everybody, but hey, if you have the opportunity, why not get everything to fit as best as possible. That’s how you make the best sleeping cots! 

Packed Size and Weight

Going hand in hand with sizing your cot to your gear, you should also make sure you know exactly how small it breaks down. Does your cot fold up like a child’s pack ‘n play? Does it disassemble into small aluminum poles that can be sleekly tucked away in your pack?

The weight also is an important consideration for a fair majority of readers. Most folks don’t want an overly heavy cot, and especially backpackers, and that’s why they look for lightweight camping cots. 

For campers that will be carrying their gear for any amount of time, portability is a big piece of the overall equation. It does you know good to score a terrific deal on a cot with high ratings if it is too big. Make sure this box is ticked early on before you fall in love with a cot that won’t work for you.

Frame construction

For the most part, the frames on camping cots essentially fall into 3 categories: steel, aluminum, and nylon plastic. Most entry-level cot frames are made of steel. Steel is extremely sturdy, easy to work with, and is the perfect choice when weight is not a concern.

Because of its lightweight, aluminum frames are typically seen on compact camping cots designed for backpacking or ultralight camping. Often these cots come at a higher price point. Aluminum still has incredible tensile strength and is a great choice.

Nylon plastic (or other polymers) is an extremely cheap material, and can be easily manufactured en masse, but slightly inferior for a cot frame. It usually lends itself to bulkier cot frames that aren’t as portable. Exceptions to this are cases like the Thermarest, where nylon is used in conjunction with other frame pieces.

Cot Fabric

The fabric on cots can be made of several different materials–canvas, nylon, denier (polyester), mesh polymer, and more. There are even cots that don’t actually have a fabric sleeve per se. The Coleman ComfortSmart deluxe (our top pick) is one of these. Instead of a traditional sleeping surface of nylon or poly, the ComfortSmart makes use of a mattress pad that sits on top of a layer of coil springs.

As far as the hierarchy of fabrics goes, deniers and nylons are considered the most “trick.” These fabrics are extremely lightweight and everlastingly strong. In general, these are the fabrics that you should be targeting. Canvas or other cotton blends will retain dirt and stains more easily. Because cotton is hydrophilic and retains water, it also lends itself more towards mildew and microbial concerns in extremely humid climates.

In conclusion, opt for a nylon or polyester fabric when it comes to the best camping cot, and never cotton. 

Support: Padding, Springs, Straps, and Bars

deciding on a camping cot for the campsiteOne of the most common complaints you will hear from cot campers is that their cot has uncomfortable support bars that their bodies rest unnaturally on during sleep. We, on the other hand, look for the most comfortable cots, and this is one of the things you should do too.

In order to get around this, manufacturers have engineered systems with straps or bow-like crossbars, to create separation between the camper’s body and the frame structure.

Additionally, many cots come with a foam sleeping pad, for added comfort and insulation. These are an awesome touch. Some manufacturers even go as far as to include air mattress type padding or even coil spring support.

Ease of Assembly

The general rule of thumb with assembly is that the more portable you want your cot to be, the harder it will be to assemble. It’s not rocket science, think about it: If you want a cot to break down into a bunch of small pieces for easier transport, those pieces are going to have to be reassembled when it comes time to set it up and sleep.

On the other hand, cots made for car camping or indoor use typically have folding or collapsible frames that are extremely easy to be set up. A good old-fashioned trade-off (industry term).


Money don’t grow on trees you know? Of course, you know, or you’d just buy every cot and not bother reading this. Although lots of review websites shy away from mentioning the price and pretend like it doesn’t matter, it does.

The bulk of cots fall within the $40-$150 range, with a few outliers on either side. If you are a casual to moderate camper, there is absolutely no reason that you have to spend north of $60 to get a pretty solid cot. There are lots of basic models that come in less, that are sturdy and comfortable.

If you spend a pretty fair amount of time on the trail though, don’t feel bad about investing a little more in the best camping cot money can buy. A good night’s rest is high on the camper’s hierarchy of needs (along with pampering your feet). The best backpacking cots can range in the $100-$300 price markers, without breaking a sweat. This is because the fabrics, materials, and quality needed to keep things small and lightweight simply cost more.

Weight Limit

Most folks won’t have too much trouble with this. Weight limits are not standard, but most fall around the 250 to 350-pound range. If weight is a consideration, don’t worry. Several manufacturers offer multiple sizes of the same model cot. In addition, many double cots or queen-size cots are available on the market, which has a significantly higher weight rating.

Camping Cots FAQ

Here is just a small cross-section of some of the most frequently asked questions that we come across:

Do I really want (or need) a cot? What about an air mattress, camp pad, or hammock?

This is a good question, that we ultimately can’t decide for you, so it’s up to you what you will invest in. We can tell you though, that hammocks are for people that want the most structural support. Sleeping pads, hammocks, and even air mattresses are better for other reasons but do not offer the same support.

Sleeping pads are a great option for their portability, and ease of setting up. They can be relatively comfortable, as well as cost friendly. Air mattresses are great for folks that want a little more space, a low price point, and a really soft sleeping surface. Hammocks are awesome for people that like to sleep in that position and have been deemed by several as the “most comfortable” option, but they usually require a little bit more setup (i.e. trees, poles, or some kind of structure that can support your weight). 

There are tons of takes on this, and after hours of research, you will still have to know yourself and decide alone what and how do you want to sleep. 

Are camping cots actually comfortable?

Yes, extremely. Sure there are bad apples in every bunch, but to anybody who’s spent a few nights sleeping flat on mother earth, cots are a dream. There’s a reason why people love them and continue to buy them en masse year after year. It would take a pretty bad cot to be worse than sleeping on the ground.

Are camping cots difficult to set up?

Depends. Some (like the best lightweight camping cot and best backpacking cot above) do require a little more time and effort to put together and snap pieces into place, but they are completely doable. As with anything, setting up your cot once or twice before you do it in the wild is never a bad idea.

How do I stop my cot from poking holes in my tent?

This is a question that only affects some cot users. Many people opt to sleep under the stars on their cot, and even if you are wanting to bring your cot in the tent, it still depends on what kind of tent you have, what kind of feet your cot has, and what the ground is like underneath your cot.

Lightweighters worried about this problem can fold up shirts, pants, or other clothes to protect the tent floor from puncturing. You will hear of other folks that are worried about this that actually carry small squares of carpet, or even tennis balls to put on the feet (yes, just like people do with walkers).

How Do I Clean My Camping Cot?

Opinions range all over on this one. Some folks have mild disinfectants that they apply, others will hose down their cots on a sunny day, and then just let it air dry. Many cot coverings can be machine washed (check the instruction manual if you want to be sure). If your cot cannot be cleaned by machine washing, you can also bring the cot covering to a dry cleaner.

Conclusion on the Best Camping Cots

In an array of different manufacturers, types, and styles, finding the best camping cots is very hard for even the experienced camper. If you’re a newbie, we hope our short comparison article helped you with choosing the right camping cot for your needs. 

Next time you’re buying gear, remember to purchase with quality in mind. This will provide you with security and protection out in the wilderness and make your time unforgettable. 

Want more camping gear? Check out our other reviews on:

Air Mattresses

Sleeping Bags

Camping Chairs

Camping Tents


Camping Stoves


Camping Pillows

Camping Gifts

Vintage Camping Gear