I have camped a lot – often twice a month to out of the way places where there are no shops to buy something else if your mattress doesn’t provide a good sleep.
And I have slept on/in everything from a blanket on the ground next to the fire (that was only because a heavy snorer who sounded like he was cutting down a redwood forest with a chainsaw managed to evacuate all six people sharing the tent), to a camping cot with foam mattress, fitted sheet, and snuggly duvet.
Then there were the sessions with a camping pad – yes very light weight when you are hiking mountain trails, but you still feel the stone on the floor of a cave poking into your hipbones.
I tried the blow up mattresses – great stuff until someone at the festival decided it would be fun to ride the river on it. Yes, it was fun until it got snagged on a rock! So it was back to sleeping on the ground with the now deflated air mattress.
We had camping cots that folded out, but didn’t have a locking mechanism and somehow, they sometimes became “unclicked” and you’d get that sinking feeling… so out they went.
Camping Cots for Babies and Kids
When it comes to camping with babies you definitely want a camp/travelling cot that zips up against any creepy crawlies getting in, and one that is portable so you can have your baby near you.
I vividly remember arriving home from a camping trip with my three-week old baby, who was placed into his regular cot while I cleaned out the carry-cot in which he had been sleeping – and found a live scorpion under his pillow!
The cot had been covered with a loose net to keep off the mosquitoes, but this little crawler just went under the net. I still get chills thinking about what could have happened.
When a cot is advertised as able to carry 300lbs that means the maximum – to be safe always buy a cot rated for a heavier weight so that if you sit down suddenly, or a kid jumps on the cot while you are in it, or a friend decides it will be fun to wake you up by diving on top of you, it will not take strain and collapse!
Spoilt for Choice
Now, cots may be a bit bulkier, but for camping trips where you have a zip up tent to sleep in, as opposed to a cave or tarpaulin slung between trees, the top of the range camping cots allow you to go all day, have a great night’s rest and be ready to tackle everything from swimming and diving to hiking, fishing, and sightseeing the next morning without a yawn or an ache.
So here goes with some of the best camping cots around, with a couple of suggestions for babies and younger kids.
#1. Extra Strong “Military Style” COT-Bigger-Taller-XL-Wider
- Dimensions: Expanded 77”L x 25”W x 17” H. Folded 38″L x 8″W x 6″H
- Weight capacity: 450 lbs.
- Weighs: 17.5 lbs.
- Costs: $79 – usually $110.
This extra strong has a frame made with steel tubing as opposed to aluminum which will support a large person’s weight – and that of a couple of extra little bodies – you know how it is when kids jump onto the cot demanding a snuggle, or sit there on your chest tapping your face until you get up.
The color is a military style khaki, which is very practical so it doesn’t show up marks, and the 600 denier polyester fabric is washable and mildew resistant.
How many times on a trip haven’t you come to unfold your cot and it’s got mildew – eeugh – because it wasn’t quite 100% dry when you put it away after the last trip? A tip is to store a little bag of silica gel in the bag with your equipment.
There is a pocket at the head to keep valuables like car keys and a wallet, perhaps even a handgun if you are out in bear, wolf, or cougar country, and side utility pockets are useful for reading glasses, a small flashlight, a bottle of water, and other extras you may need.
Being 17” off the ground makes this cot easier to get in and out, and gives you storage space underneath, which is a great space saver in a tent. Because it is 77” in length, people over 6’ tall don’t have to contend with their feet sticking out over the edge.
Although it comes with body contouring fabric, and Velcro straps to adjust the fabric tension, a foam pad on top is pleasant to have for extra comfort, but that is a personal preference.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be kept with the “camping stuff” but in a cupboard at home to use when extra guests sleep over and there aren’t enough beds – it’s that comfortable, especially if you put that lightweight foam mattress on top.
It comes with its own pillow and a 5-year limited warranty, yes that’s correct – these cots are built to last. Don’t let the fact that is it currently out of stock put you off – if you are prepared to wait order one, it will be worth it. Their stuff is quality and this model and the Jamboree Military style that is a bit longer and wider are both out of stock.
#2. Timber Ridge Deluxe XL
- Dimensions: Expanded 83″L x 31″W x 20″H; folded 40″ x 7″W x 5.5″H.
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
- Weighs: 27.5 lbs.
The heavy-duty steel frame and 600 denier polyester material will support up to 300lbs, making this a tough cot to beat. The fabric does have a slight ease in it so you are not sleeping on a straight ‘board’ type surface.
There is also enough clearance on this cot for a person to be able to store stuff underneath, leaving the tent floor clear. It comes with a removable mesh side bag, ideal for holding a magazine, phone, keys, torch and water bottle, or whatever else you need close at hand during the night.
It is fairly heavy at 27.5lbs and one should take care that you adjust the fabric when folding it up after use so the fabric doesn’t get caught as you fold the legs. Those concerns aside, it does provide an extra wide sleep space.
#3. Kamp-Rite Oversize Tent Cot
- Dimensions: Expanded Cot size is 90”L x 32”W. Tent size is 90”L x 32”W x 36”H and it stands 11” off the ground. Folded 37”L x 34.2”W x 6.8”H
- Weight capacity: None specified, but people of 250 lbs have slept comfortably in it.
- Weighs: 32 lbs. (Remember it’s a cot and a tent in one)
You know what it’s like when you are packing for a trip and kids nag for their very own tent – and that means extra expense and weight. This has everything in one – plus it’s a daytime den for little kids.
There is a sturdy cot base with added stability from two additional support legs located at each end of the Tent Cot. The Oversize Tent Cot has a unique hinge design enabling it to be converted to a lounge chair for daytime relaxation, or a standard style cot for sleeping under the stars.
It is easy to set up and comes with a rain fly and carry bag for convenience. Made from heavy duty 190T Nylon, it also has No-See-Um mesh on all windows and doors to keep the bugs and snakes out. It does not come with sleeping pads, but you can add these if you want.
When you order, be careful to order Item model number: SS-SMS-3442033 with the rain fly as some don’t come with the added rain fly.
The cot will remain dry in light rain, but in heavy rain and cold you can get condensation and it may get damp around the edges.
#4. King Camp Camping Cot
- Dimensions: Extended 81”L x30”W x18”H; folded 40.2”L x5.5”W x 8.7”H.
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
- Weighs: 21.4 lbs.
- Costs: $64 plus free shipping.
Made with a 600 Denier oxford fabric that is washable and mildew resistant, the cot provides a comfortable sleep on the extra space – it’s 30 inches wide and 81 inches long.
Aircraft grade aluminum with steel tubing brackets, lock joints and a triangular structure design for the leg supports means its not going to collapse like those cots with legs that fold out at an angle from the base – with those type it just needs someone maneuvering goods around the tent to knock one of those legs out of place and when you sink into bed you really do sink at the cot collapses.
There is a zip-up storage bag attached to the side of this cot for personal items. Two extra bars ensure the top and bottom of the frame are held firmly once threaded through the seams and locked into position. Watch here to see how easy it is to set up and set down the cot:
#5. Teton Sports Outfitter XXL
- Dimensions: Extended 85″L x 40″W x 19″H; folded 42″L x 12″W x 7″H.
- Weight capacity: 600 lbs.
- Weighs: 26 lbs.
When you really want space the Outfitter XXL Cot with a sleeping area that is as large as a twin size mattress is the one to go for. The rubber feet have been redesigned to provide better protection for the tent floor and the whole cot folds into a convenient carry bag.
This cot is large enough and comfortable enough to use as a guest bed, especially when you use it with the Outfitter XXL Camp Pad or a foam mattress. The frame is made from extruded aluminum and the fabric is a 600-denier heavy-duty brushed canvas that comes in black.
The cot has a sturdy S Leg assembly – which does require a little physical effort. Although this cot doesn’t come with side pockets or a head pocket these can be bought from a camping supplier and attached.
When you buy, look for the Outfitter model with the pivot arm – it just makes locking that 4th corner into position easier when you slide the 2 bars at the head and foot into place.
#6. Coleman Comfort Smart Deluxe Camping Cot
Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. See my full disclosure for more.
Dimensions: Expanded 60”L x 31”W x 15”H; folded 37.4”L x 25.6”W x 5.5”H.
Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
Weighs: 20.5 lbs.
Costs: check price on Amazon
The coil suspension system comes complete with a foam mattress pad for a really comfy night’s sleep.
The folding steel frame is a strong one that supports up to 300 lbs., and although there is a bar in the middle you won’t feel it through the foam pad.
Just a note on folding the thing up – you remove the foam pad, flip the cot upside down, slide the mattress through the legs, fold the legs down to hold the mattress in place then fold up the cot – this way it keeps your mattress clean and protected.
Trying to fold it up with the mattress on top is going to just frustrate you – it won’t work! Just make sure the legs are clicked and locked into position before lying down on this cot that takes less than a minute to set up.
#7. Byer of Maine Camping Cot
- Dimensions: Expanded 78″L X 31″W X 18”H, Folded 38”L x 6”W x 6”H (approx.)
- Weight capacity: 325 lbs.
- Weighs: 21 lbs.
The cots gets its name because there are no bars to fit into place –it just folds out, almost like a camp chair, making it super easy for camping trips.
The 311 EC model comes with 600-denier polyester.
The design does not have braces across the middle that could cause back discomfort and the sidebars are wrapped in fabric so they aren’t cold to the touch should you roll over in the night.
With an all-steel frame and welded hinges you are also not in danger of the cot collapsing like some of the lighter aluminum frames, which at some point decide enough is enough and bend inwards. The steel frame does make the cot a bit heavier, but this is offset by longevity of the frame.
#8. Coleman Pack Away Camping Cot
- Dimensions: Expanded 80”L x 31”W x 17”H. Folded 39.5”L x 10”W x 11.2”H – approx.
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
- Weighs: 21 lbs.
- Costs: check price on Amazon
The removable side table with a drink holder is a brilliant idea for anyone who has had to clean up spilled drinks in a tent, as it has place to hold a drink securely so the next person walking past won’t brush it off by accident.
The table also has place for a book, reading glasses, and keys. At 31 inches this cot is wider than the standard camping cot making for a comfy sleep and with its length can accommodate people up to 6’ 6 “ tall.
The hinge on the cot frame is covered by a little canvas flap – meaning no cold metal shock in the middle of the night should you accidentally touch the hinge. For older and heavier people the 17” height makes it easier to get up from the cot in the mornings.
The cot is advertised at 44” but when you measure the actual width it comes in at 31” – the detachable table that takes it up to the higher figure could account for the 44” advertised width.
A person needs to take the larger dimensions into consideration when planning how to fit a couple of these into a tent, because being able to set up the table on whichever side of the cot you choose is very convenient.
#9. King Camp Camping Cot
- Dimensions: Extended 75”L × 25”W × 4.7”H; folded 14”L × 5.1”W × 5.1”H.
- Weight capacity: 265 lb.
- Weighs: 4.4 lbs.
This ultra-light cot comes with its own pillow however it is doubtful how comfortable it’ll be if you put the storage bag inside the pillow bag as advised – I think I’ll stick with a soft fluffy pillow to take along, space permitting.
With 4.7” ground clearance this one is for the young and fit – older folk may have difficulty rising from a cot so low to the ground. Also you cannot store stuff underneath it in the tent.
The good part is that it keeps you dry and off the ground, is made from durable aluminum alloy rods and 420D polyester fabric so you can take it on those backpacking and rougher trips where being light is all important.
Imagine sleeping in a cave with this kind of cot – no rough cave floor poking into your back! It will give people up to 6” and a little over a decent night’s sleep. You are advised to set it up on level ground so that the legs do not take undue strain. And just look at the folded dimensions given below – it really is compact and at 4.4 lbs is really light too.
#10. Niceway Oxford Camping Cot
- Dimensions: Extended 75″L x 27”W x 14.5″H; folded 40.5″L x 8.6″W x 5.5″H.
- Weight capacity: 440 lbs.
- Weighs: 18.8 lbs.
This camp bed opens up by pulling the 10 legs outward until they click into position, forming the sturdy base for this cot frame made from anti-rust steel and covered with a double layer of 1200 denier Oxford fabric.
The head area is elevated and there is a useful side pocket with double stitching for durability. People love this bed because it’s a snap to fold out and just as easy to put away after use.
The triangular double reinforcement brackets can take the strain of over 440lbs, and the anti slip caps on the legs prevent it from moving on the tent floor. All in all, this cot will last a number of years if treated with respect.
#11. Alpcour Camping Cot
- Dimensions: Extended 75″L x 26″ W x 15″ H, Head Height 19″; folded 40″ L x 8″ W x 5″ H.
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Weighs: 13 lbs.
What makes this strong and stable cot a bit different is that instead of being flat it inclines at the head giving the user a more elevated sleeping position – best suited to those who sleep on their backs or on their sides.
People who sleep on their stomachs may find the incline uncomfortable and you cannot make it lie flat – it is designed to remain in that position. To set it up lay out the stretcher upside down and straighten the bottom leg supports for it to open.
Be sure you push down so you hear the legs latch into position otherwise all legs won’t touch the ground and it won’t be as comfortable as when it is fully open.
To close, turn it upside down and pull on the frame cord. It comes with its own pillow, but I would advise bringing your own – I have yet to find a camping pillow that beats a regular pillow.
The addition of a foam pad makes for a comfier sleep on this cot suited to average length people – remember it is 75” not the 80”extra length size of some of the cots we have reviewed.
Considering the fact that it only weighs 13lbs, the military green fabric is sturdy and serviceable and the side pocket a welcome addition for keeping the necessities at your bedside or should that be cotside?
#12. ElanBambino Portable Crib
- Dimensions: Extended 49”L x 29,5”W x 27”H; folded 23″L x 22″W x6.5”H.
- Weight capacity: Around 50 lbs –the deciding factor here is the height of the child as the length of the cot is 49”.
- Weighs: 11.3 lbs.
This cot is so well constructed and thought out that it could be used at home too. Everything is designed to help make life easy for mum too. Small babies can sleep in the top part, which also serves as a changing station.
The useable interior space is 44″L x 24″W. Older toddlers – up to 30 lb can be zipped into the lower portion to keep them safe from insects and they can’t unzip it from the inside, nor can junior Houdinis climb over the top and escape.
The thick foam mattress sits on the cot base, which is on the ground for stability, providing a comfortable sleep for bambino. The cot just takes a minute to set up and this can be reduced to a few seconds with practice. It can also be moved outside so baby can play in the lower section safely.
#13. Baby Beach Tent Travel Bed
- Dimensions: Extended 41.34″L x 25.59″W x 19.69″H；folded 13.78″L x 13.78″W x 1.18″H
- Weight capacity: Around 30 lbs.
- Weighs: 1 lb.
When you are taking young babies camping this is ideal as the little tent/bed that comes in grey and yellow is made of premium 190T nylon fabric, with high breathability and wear resistance.
Besides a safe place for baby to sleep at night it can be taken with you to the beach, lakeside or on hikes – wherever you need a spot for baby to rest safe from insects and the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays.
The Aiernuo baby travel bed comes with 2 tent pegs to anchor the cot if you have it outside. It doesn’t come with a mattress, so you’ll need to get a sleeping pad for baby. It suits babies up to about a year and will protect them from insects getting in and is UPF rated at 50+.
#14. Regalo My Cot Portable Toddler Bed
- Dimensions: Extended 54”L x 28”W x 12”H; folded 9”L x 8”W x 28”H.
- Weight capacity: 80 lbs.
- Weighs: 8.7 lbs.
This camp cot is so easy to set up the kids can do it themselves, as it folds out like a camping chair. The sleep area is extra long and ideal for placing next to mum and dad’s camping cots especially for kids who feel insecure at night in a new environment.
It is also ideal for keeping at grandma’s house when staying overnight. For the more confident kids the cots can be set up in their own tent. The full canvas sleeping area has reinforced stitching and a steel frame, because as we all know kids can be hard on cots – pretending they are trampolines and flinging themselves down with abandon.
The Regalo Toddler Bed comes with a fitted sheet for comfort and is suited to kids aged from 2 to 8 years. Certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), the cot also meets the safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
#15. Magshion Portable Camping Bed Cot
- Dimensions: Extended 72″L x 24.5″W x 13.5″H; folded 36″L x 24.5″W x 4.5″H
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
- Weighs: 8 lbs.
When it comes to teens and adults who are not over 6 foot tall, the Magshion is a popular choice. The cots have a steel frame, are covered with oxford cloth, and fold up easily.
There is the dreaded middle bar but it doesn’t pose a problem as it is set slightly down from the material covering the cot. With a comforter and pillow it’s an ideal sleeping arrangement for older children as they can set the cots up themselves.
Users do have a problem with the quality of the storage bags – but that is common with the majority of camping equipment.
I tend to make my own easy storage canvas bags– making them a bit longer and wider to get the equipment in easily and adding a stitched on canvas tie so the excess material is gathered up and tied shut, eliminating the worry about zips breaking or the closing cords fraying and ripping.
Have you tried any of these (or other) camping cots? Do you think we had it wrong when we chose the best camping cots? Let us know in the comments below.
Traveler, photographer, writer. I’m eternally curious, in love with the natural world. How people can survive in harmony with nature has fueled my food safety and survival gardening practices.
At the age of 12, I found a newspaper advertisement for a 155-acre farm at a really good price and showed my parents one Sunday morning. They bought it and I happily started planting vegetables, peanuts, maize and keeping bees with the help of the local labor.
Once I married wherever we moved it was all about planting food, keeping chickens and ducks, permaculture and creating micro-climates. I learned how to build wooden cabins and outdoor furniture from pallets, and baked and cooked home-grown produce, developing recipes as I went along.