Laying out a cushioned pad, slipping into a comfy sleeping bag, and busting out a camp pillow to keep your head elevated are usually enough to keep many people comfortably sleeping at the campsite. For some, though, it’s just not enough. If you’re looking for the same kind of support you get from your bed at home while slumming it out in the wild, your best recourse is to bring a camping cot.
Camping cots are the closest thing to an actual bed that you can bring to the campsite. It elevates you from the ground, gives you a level surface to lie down on, and even offers some amount of cushion to provide a supportive platform. Suffice to say, it’s a big upgrade over dozing off on the cold, hard ground, bringing a fair amount of the creature comforts of your home bedroom out there in the wild. And it does that without requiring complicated setup.
Of course, even the best camping cots do have their downsides. The most glaring one is the size. Since it’s, essentially, a stripped-down bed, it takes up a good load of space even when folded, all while weighing a fair amount due to its rigid frame. As such, camping cots are really only an option when you’re either car camping or parking somewhere near the campsite, as hiking with any gear as bulky and heavy as this isn’t going to make for a pleasant time.
These are the best camping cots to help you sleep soundly in the outdoors.
Coleman ComfortSmart Cot
This affordable camping cot uses spring coils to support the weight it holds, with a two-inch foam mattress on top providing the necessary cushioning, so you don’t feel any of those springs on your back. Despite the apparent simplicity, it’s surprisingly comfortable. It’s a bit small, though, so anyone taller than 5’7” will have their feet dangling off the end of the bed, although it is rated to handle up to 275 pounds. Because of the spring coils and the integrated mattress, it folds quite big, so you’re going to have to make room in the boot of the car to squeeze this in. It weighs 21.5 pounds.
It’s seriously impressive how compact this camping cot packs, rolling up to a size of just 37 x 5 inches (length x diameter). Despite that, it manages to deploy into a large cot measuring 74 x 28 inches with 15 inches of ventilation space underneath and a weight capacity of 250 pounds. Construction is lightweight aluminum for the frame, PVC-coated 1000D polyester fabric for the bed, and grade 5 steel hardware. It has adjustable tension, too, so you can tighten the nuts if you want a stiffer bed and loosen it for a relaxing cradle.
If you’re going to bring a sleeping cot to the campsite, might as well make it as comfortable as possible. This thing definitely brings that in spades. It comes in two parts: a camping cot with an attached bed cover on top and a separate inflatable twin-size mattress. To use, you unfold the cot, place the collapsed air mattress inside the bed cover, and use the included air pump to inflate it. The whole thing collapses into a bag measuring 38 inches long and weighing 14 pounds, so this is not a comfortable thing to carry to camp, but should fit into your car’s trunk just fine. The cot itself is very stable with its steel frame and the mattress is incredibly comfy, with the combo able to capably support sleepers up to six feet and 300 pounds. It also comes with a pull-out side table, so you have a secure place to set down personal items.
When collapsed, this camping cot measures 33 x 32 x 8.5 inches (width x height x thickness) and weighs 20 pounds, so it’s going to take up a fair amount of space in the trunk. Your reward for putting up with that is a soft and cushy sleeping surface with a 1.5-inch pad wrapped in a quilted cover, allowing you to lie down and enter slumber in utter comfort. Well… as comfortable as it can get in the wild outdoors, anyway. It’s generously-sized, too, measuring 82 x 31.5 x 14 inches (length x width x height), allowing even taller individuals to slot in comfortably. Features include a twist knob that makes it easy to adjust position, oversized feet that allow it to maintain stability on uneven ground, a pillowed section on top, and a weight capacity of 300 pounds.
This camping cot has a sleeping surface measuring 78 x 28 inches, allowing it to fully fit even taller sleepers up to 300 pounds. Despite its generous bed size, the whole thing just weighs five pounds, while collapsing into a carry bag measuring 18 x 8 x 3 inches (length x width x depth). Do note, you’ll need to assemble it onsite, as it doesn’t simply fold into some place like some options here. Assembling the shock-corded poles are easy enough, though, so your bed should be ready in just a few minutes. While the cot’s bed fabric isn’t cushioned, it does have sleeve pockets that you can use to insert an air pad up to two inches thick, so you can outfit it to be a lot more comfortable. Construction is 7000-series aluminum for the legs and the 420D polyester riptop fabric for the bedding.
Helinox is best known for their lightweight camping gear and those qualities hold true for their camping cot. Seriously, if there’s any cot here you can actually take backpacking, this might be the best candidate for the job. When collapsed, it measures just 21 inches long and weighs just a hair over five pounds. When deployed, it rolls out to a sleeping surface measuring 75 x 27 inches that’s elevated 6.5 inches above the ground. You can also purchase optional leg extenders to raise it to 15 inches if you want even more ventilation under the bed. And it’s no puny camping cot, either, as it can support sleepers up to 320 pounds using its aluminum legs, aluminum frame, and 600-weave ripstop polyester bedding. There’s no cushion, by the way, so you’ll have to lay down a sleeping pad if you want additional buffer between your body and the frame.
Some people probably won’t consider this a camping cot, as there’s no proper bed frame involved. Instead, you get a pair of inflatable mattresses measuring 78 x 28 inches stacked on top of each other to elevate you from the ground. Sure, you don’t get the under-the-bed ventilation of traditional cots, but it should keep you high enough to not feel any part of the ground whatsoever. It has buckles on the side meant to work with the optional accessory cover, which you can use to secure a sleeping pad on top for even greater comfort, along with Velcro, so you can set up the two air mattresses side by side. The mattresses, by the way, are built with a larger outer chamber to keep its occupants in the middle during slumber.
This modular piece of outdoor furniture is incredibly versatile, allowing it to be assembled into a camping cot, a couch, two separate armchairs with a table, and even a three-level freestanding shelf. Use it as a couch during the day for your group to lounge in and turn it into a cot at night to sleep you comfortably inside the tent. You can also combine it with more modules to build bigger cots and couches if that’s your thing. Granted, that’s going to take up a lot of space, but you’ll arguably have the best glamping setup around. Do note, you’ll have to assemble these individually each time out, so it won’t be simple folding and unfolding like other options in the list.