Wake up on the right side of the tent with the best camping cots

We found camping cots ranging from classic to contemporary, so dig in and find a better way to sleep outdoors.

Best Overall

camping cot

Teton Sports Outfitter XXL

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Best Value

camping cot

Trademark Innovations Camping Cot

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Honorable Mention

camping cot

Coleman Camping Cot

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What’s the difference between camping and spending a week in the field? Well, for starters, you can get more than two hours of sleep without being woken up for firewatch. You can cook up bacon and eggs instead of destroying your digestive system with the failed chemical experiment that is MRE cheese. Perhaps most importantly, you can find a comfortable place to sleep without fighting with other people for the most ergonomically supportive patch of dirt to lay on. Camping by foot will limit you to foam or inflatable sleeping pads, but driving to the campsite opens up a world of possibilities. By equipping your tent or cabin with a camping cot, you can sleep better and wake up ready for another day of hiking, hunting, or releasing your inner Henry David Thoreau. 

We found camping cots ranging from classic to contemporary, so dig in and find a better way to sleep outdoors. 

Teton Sports camping cot

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Trademark Innovations camping cot

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Coleman camping cot

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Araer camping cot

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Marchway camping cot

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Yescom folding tent cot

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Related: Elevate your camping with these 6 cabin tents

Types of camping cots

Camping cots are portable beds that get your sleeping bag up off the ground for a more comfortable night’s sleep. Without rocks and roots stabbing you in the back, you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to go. There are different approaches to this, so feel free to explore your options. Traditional cots are wide enough for one sleeping bag and stand about knee-high, with a canvas panel stretched tight to provide a sleeping surface. Compact options sit lower to the ground to save space and weight, but might not as comfortable. The most accommodating camping cots offer unique features like cupholders, tilting headrests, mosquito netting, and even air mattresses. That might blur the line between camping and glamping, but what’s wrong with that?

Key features of camping cots

  • Size: Camping cots are designed to accommodate one sleeping bag, although there are a few exceptions built for two people. Standard cots are one or two feet high and collapse into a relatively portable carrying case.
  • Weight: While camping cots aren’t meant to be carried in your pack on foot, they’re still designed to be lightweight and fairly compact. Most only weigh a few pounds and can easily be carried and set up by one person. Compact cots weigh as little as four pounds. The most luxurious options weigh around 40 pounds.
  • Portability: Car camping is a perfect opportunity to use a cot. These portable beds are easy to toss in the trunk of a car or bed of a pickup. If you’re hiking to your campsite by foot, though, stick to a foam or inflatable sleeping pad.
  • Cushioning: By design, camping cots are more forgiving than the cold, hard ground. The stretched fabric is an upgrade on its own, but you can use a sleeping pad to get the most out of your camping cot. Larger cots can even accommodate air mattresses.
  • Perks: Side effects of camping cots may include not having a sore back, not being eaten alive by ants, and not setting off your tent mate by saying good morning with an irritated tone. Other perks include fold-out nightstands, pockets for your valuables, and air mattresses. 

Benefits of camping cots

Camping cots work marvels for campers with bad backs and achy joints. If you’ve ever lugged a pack on top of body armor while wearing worn-out combat boots, switching to a camping cot is a fantastic way to make camping feel less like work. You might be surprised by how much of a difference just getting off the ground can make. Camping cots are great for weekend trips or even making room for house guests, but they can also turn your deer camp or fishing camp into an oasis.

Camping cot pricing

If you could measure comfort by the dollar, cots would rank pretty high on the list of ways to improve your camping experience. Entry-level options cost less than $50. For that, you’ll get basic accommodations that beat any night on the ground. Up to $100, you’ll get things like lighter materials, more breathable fabric, and one or two bonus features. Spending up to $200 will get you a camping cot that’s about as close to a portable hotel as you can get. Look for things like mosquito netting and padded sleep surfaces. 

Related: 9 of the best camping and survival hatchets money can buy

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Scott Murdock

Commerce Reporter

Scott Murdock is a Task & Purpose commerce writer and Marine Corps veteran. Since 2020, he’s selflessly committed himself to experiencing the best gear, gadgets, stories, and alcoholic beverages in the service of you, the reader.