Best Camping Cots For An Elevated Sleeping Experience

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Throw out that leaky old air mattress and tired foam pad: Nothing compares to the best camping cots for catching zzz’s outside.
Best Camping Cot - Introduction
Our top pick overall is the REI Kingdom Cot 3. 

This is The Wise Adventurer’s guide to the best camping cots for the outdoors. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re tired of wrestling with leaky air mattresses, noisy sleeping pads, and uncomfortable foam mats. You’re in good company in that regard, and a camping cot is just what the doctor ordered for a good night’s rest in the wilderness. 

Cots come in a wide variety of designs nowadays, but we’ve found the best cot of the lot to be the REI Co-op Kingdom 3. The Kingdom’s plush padding, smart suspension system, and overall quality for the money make it a standout pick in our book, and we’ll wager 9/10 campers would agree. 

Not everyone reading this will though, and that’s to be expected: Stomach sleepers will want something a bit flatter, backpackers will want something much lighter, and many campers will want something a bit more budget-friendly. 

The good news is, we’ve got top pics for all of the above and then some in the list below. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide for prospective cot owners down below to help point you in the right direction for your ideal camp sleeping situation. 

Right, let’s get started!

CotBenefits
REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3: Best Camping Cot Overall A plush foam sleeping surface made even sweeter with a suspension system and adjustable back angle. Plenty of room to spread out, and a simple folding design for quick and easy set-up. See Review
Disc-O-Bed Large Bunk: Highest Overall QualityThe toughest frame on the market paired with an extra-large sleeping surface. A double cot design that converts into bunk beds when space is at a premium. See Review
Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Cot: Best Camping Cot on a BudgetAn affordable cot that’s comfortable, lightweight, and portable. Durable materials and reinforced stitching will last for years. See Review
Helinox Lite: Best Ultralight Camping CotAn elevated sleeping system that’s lighter and more compact than some sleeping pads. Highly durable fabric with a DAC aluminum frame. See Review
REI Co-op Trailgate: Best Cot for Car CampersA great option for car campers that works just as well inside a tent. Adjustable height frame makes the most of your vehicle’s interior space. See Review
Coleman ComfortSmart DeluxeAn affordable option for campers looking for extra cushion and extra room to stretch out. Easy to set up and includes a cozy foam mattress. See Review
Teton Sports Outfitter XXLAn extra long and extra wide option with room for campers up to seven feet tall. Bulletproof construction and surprisingly easy set up. See Review

Best Camping Cot

REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3: Best Camping Cot Overall

Best Camping Cot - Best Camping Cot Overall

Specs:
– Bed dimensions: 82” x 32” x 14” (208cm x 81cm x 36cm)
– Weight: 20 lbs (9.1 kg)
– Occupancy: 1 person
– Packed size: 33” x 32” x 9” (84cm x 81cm x 23cm)
– Max weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
– Materials: polyester fabric/aluminum & steel frame
– Best for: Car camping
– Price: $$

Traditional stretched fabric cots have their place in the outdoors (you’ll find a few in the list below), but if you want to see how far cots have come in the last decade, look no further than the REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3. This is arguably the most well-designed, comfortable, feature-rich cot on the market, and as such it made an easy pick as our best camping cot overall. 

Comfort wise the Kingdom has a few unique things going for it. For starters, the entire sleeping surface is plush and padded, including the shoulder areas that stretch over the cot’s frame. You’ll also notice that the cot is suspended from the frame using a series of burly elastic cords, which adds another degree of firm-yet-flexible comfort to the Kingdom 3. Lastly, we’ll point out that REI designed the Kingdom to cradle the body with a concave sleeping surface, which helps keep your body centered throughout the night for optimal comfort. 

The REI Kingdom 3 also gets high marks for its adjustable back, which transitions from fully reclined to fully upright with the turn of the side knob. It’s a great feature for bedtime reading or mid-day lounging, and can also help compensate for uneven ground should you get a less-than-ideal camping spot. 

There’s not much to complain about with the Kingdom, but we will point out that the quick and convenient tri-fold design adds bulk when packed up. Stomach sleepers may also prefer the flat profile of traditional cots to the “scooped” feeling of the Kingdom, but for our money we’re all in on the camp cocoon vibe. 

Pros:Cons:
– Extra roomy sleeping surface
– Padding and suspension are super plush
– Adjustable back angle for custom comfort
– Bulky when folded
– Concave shape isn’t for everyone



Disc-O-Bed Large Bunk: Best Overall Quality

Best Camping Cot - Disc-O-Bed Large Bunk

Specs:
– Bed dimensions: 79” x 28” x 36” (201cm x 71cm x 91cm)
Weight: 60 lbs (27.2 kg)
Occupancy: 2 person
Packed size: 33” x 15” x 5” (84cm x 38cm x 13cm)
Max weight capacity: 500 lbs (227 kg) per cot
Materials: 600D polyester/ steel
– Best for: Car camping
– Price: $$$

Yes, the Disc-O-Bed Large Bunk is exactly what it looks like: Bunk beds for your tent. The Disc-O-Bed might seem like overkill at first glance, but hear us out here: What better way to maximize floor space in a large camping tent than stacking sleepers? Especially if you’ll be camping with kids who already happen to think bunk beds are the coolest place to sleep on the planet?

The Disc-O-Bed certainly isn’t limited to children though, and its beefy steel frame and 600D polyester fabric allow each bunk to support up to 500 pounds. Each bunk also happens to include a generously-sized organizer with multiple pockets, giving each sleeper plenty of space for all their personal items, books, headlamps, or middle-of-the-night bathroom sandals. 

We also love that the Disc-O-Bed employs a modular setup that allows you to use it as stacked bunk beds, two separate beds, or as a solo cot (just leave the second bed at home). The Disc-O-Bed also converts into a “camp couch” by dropping the top bunk down into a backrest, giving you a convenient place to sit and hang inside or outside the tent when you aren’t sleeping. 

Quality-wise we have zero concerns with this camping cot, but its overbuilt (and double-sized) nature does create some drawbacks. The most obvious is that this system weighs in at a whopping 60 pounds for both bunks, which is by far the heaviest on our list. Granted both bunks pack into separate carrying cases, but it’s still a lot of cot to haul around. The Disc-O-Bed also retails for over $400, so although it’s not the most expensive per cot, it is the most expensive option on our list. It’s spacious, comfortable, and built like an absolute tank though, so if you plan on using a large tent, this is one of the best options money can buy. 

Pros:Cons:
– Maximizes floor space in taller tents
– Adds storage/organization to the tent
– Converts to a bench during the day
– Heavy/bulky
– Expensive



Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Cot: Best Camping Cot On A Budget

Best Camping Cot - Best Camping Cot on a Budget

Specs:
Bed dimensions: 74” x 30” x 7.5” (188cm x 76cm x 19cm)
Weight: 9.3 lbs (4.2 kg)
Occupancy: 1 person
Packed size: 33” x 8” x 3” (84cm x 20cm x 8cm)
– Max weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
– Materials: 600D polyester/steel
– Best for: Car camping
– Price: $

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a good night’s sleep, and if a simple, well-made camping cot is what you’re looking for, the Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Cot has everything you need for under $100. There’s nothing particularly fancy about the design, but for us it’s the quality and simplicity of this cot that make it such a great buy. 

Materials-wise, Alps Mountaineering cut no corners here: The fabric is a rugged 600D polyester, the frame is 100% steel with no flimsy plastic or questionable hinges to worry about, and the stitching is high quality and thoroughly reinforced in high-stress areas. Four simple “w” legs provide ample tension and support to the cot without over-stressing the material, making for a taught yet comfortable sleeping experience with or without an added sleeping pad. 

It’s also worth noting that this cot weighs in under 10 lbs and packs down smaller than anything short of a superlight model like the Helinox Lite below. Alps Mountaineering achieves this compact footprint in two ways: First, the lateral support poles of the Lightweight Cot are broken into interlocking sections (like a tent pole), which keeps the overall length down without resorting to a folding design. Second, the legs of the tent are short (it sits less than 8 inches off the ground), and therefore extra portable. 

We don’t have any complaints with the Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Cot personally, but there are a few potential pain points you may want to consider. First, collapsible poles and hand-tensioned legs take more time and effort to set up than comparable folding cots like the REI Kingdom above. Second, this cot’s lower standing height makes it great for smaller tents with less-than-vertical walls, but it’s not as easy to get in and out of (or sit on) as taller cots, especially for folks with knee/joint issues. All things considered though the Alps Mountaineering is a well-made and comfortable cot, and for under $100, it’s a smoking deal. 

Pros:Cons:
– Durable materials and construction
– Lightweight and portable
– Generous bed dimensions
– Low height isn’t for everyone
– Takes some extra time/effort to set up



Helinox Lite: Best Ultralight Camping Cot

Best Camping Cot - Best Ultralight Camping Cot

Specs:
– Bed dimensions: 73” x 23.5” x 5” (185cm x 60cm x 13cm)
– Weight: 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg)
– Occupancy: 1
– Packed size: 21” x 5” x 5” (53cm x 13cm x 13cm)
– Max weight capacity: 265 lbs (120 kg)
– Materials: ripstop nylon/ aluminum
– Best for: Backpacking
– Price: $$$

Typically the thought of carrying a camping cot into the backcountry is a non-starter, but the folks at Helinox have a proposition for you: What if they made one that weighed the same as an inflatable pad and packed down just as small? Here comes the Helinox Lite Cot!

Look, we love our inflatable sleeping pads as much as the next person, but we’ve all had one spring a leak at some point and fixing leaks has never been our idea of a good time. The Helinox Lite, on the other hand, is virtually indestructible thanks to its 600D ripstop fabric and DAC-branded aluminum frame (yes, the same DAC that makes some of the toughest tent poles on the planet). It’s also easy to use with a combination of collapsible poles (which are internally bungee’d, just like a backpacking tent) and press-fit legs that are fast and intuitive to set up. 

The Helinox is a sweet piece of kit, but as is the case with all ultralight gear, it’s expensive, and requires some compromises in comfort. The first such compromise is its overall width, which at 23.5 inches (including the two side poles) is the most narrow cot on our list. It’s also the lowest to the ground at just 5”, so it’s only marginally better than a sleeping pad for sitting on and you can’t store much of anything beneath it. That’s still five inches higher than a sleeping pad though, so if you’re tired of trying to get comfortable on an air or foam pad, the Helinox Lite is what you’re after. 

Pros:Cons:
– Incredibly lightweight
– Compact enough to take backpacking
– Durable materials throughout
– Low height isn’t great for sitting
– Narrower sleeping surface



REI Co-op Trailgate: Best Camping Cot For Car Campers 

Best Camping Cot - Best Camping Cot for Car Campers

Specs:
– Bed dimensions: 72” x 25” x 10” (183cm x 64cm x 25cm)
– Weight: 31 lbs (14.1 kg)
– Occupancy: 1 (2 person also available)
– Packed size: 31.5” x 19” x 13” (80cm x 48cm x 33cm)
– Max weight capacity: 250 lbs (113 kg)
– Materials: Polyester covered foam / aluminum & steel frame
– Best for: Overlanding/car camping
– Price: $$

Car camping, van life, overlanding, boondocking… Whatever you want to call it, it’s more popular than ever, and REI has a solution for car sleepers: The REI Co-op Trailgate. At a glance, the Trailgate looks like a fairly standard (albeit plush) camping cot, but a closer look at this cot’s legs reveals things aren’t as they seem. 

That’s because the three sets of legs on this cot are all height adjustable between 7-10”, and the front set of legs is actually interchangeable for a longer pair that independently adjustable between 20-27”. This allows you to get the most out of your car’s interior by taking advantage of the lower floorboard space while the rear seats are folded down. It’s an ideal solution for a wide range of popular rigs from Subaru wagons to pickup truck beds, especially for folks who don’t have the time or inclination to figure out a DIY solution. 

The sleeping surface is another high point of the Trailgate, which uses aluminum slats (rather than stretched fabric) and a polyester foam mattress for a plush and supportive feel. Materials are high-quality throughout, with an aluminum/steel frame and rugged polyester fabric that may outlive the car you’re camping in. 

As far as downsides go, the Trailgate’s main shortcoming is that its value is almost entirely dependent on whether or not it fits your vehicle. REI provides a sizing guide for this purpose, so double-check your vehicle’s measurements to make sure you’ve got a compatible layout. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a comfortable cot in its own right and can absolutely work in a tent, but there are larger and arguably more comfortable options out there like the Kingdom Cot 3 for a lot less money. The comfort and convenience of the Trailgate is worth every penny for car campers though (assuming it fits around whatever wheel well/center hump combo your vehicle may have), and we love that you can try it without fear thanks to REI’s reliable return policy. 

Pros:Cons:
– Adjustable legs work for tents or for use inside vehicles
– Comfortable foam mattress included
– High-quality materials throughout
– Expensive
– Not a guaranteed fit for every vehicle



Coleman Comfortsmart Deluxe

Best Camping Cot - Coleman Comfortsmart Deluxe

Specs:
– Bed dimensions: 80” x 31” x 15” (203cm x 79cm x 38cm)
– Weight: 21.5 lbs (9.8 kg)
– Occupancy:
– Packed size: 37” x 26” x 6” (94cm x 66cm x 15cm)
– Max weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
– Materials: Steel/polyester
– Best for: Car camping
– Price: $

If you’re looking for an extra-plush camping cot on a firm budget, we recommend checking out the Coleman ComfortSmart Deluxe. These big comfy cots are almost always on sale for under $100, but deliver some serious bang for your buck. 

The biggest standout feature here is the ComfortSoft’s included foam mattress pad. The pad is comfortable enough on its own, but Coleman doubles down on the ComfortSoft by adding a spring-coil suspension system underneath for some added give. 

Coleman makes a standard ComfortSoft as well, but we prefer the “deluxe” model because it extends the sleeping area to accommodate campers up to 6’6” and adds some extra width at the sides as well. You’ll also get an extra 25 pounds of weight capacity thanks to the Deluxe model’s reinforced steel frame, so clearly this camping cot has a lot going for it despite it’s budget-conscious price.

While the frame and suspension system of the ComfortSmart are built extra tough, our main complaint with this cot is that some owners have reported tears forming in the fabric on both the mattress and the cot itself. It doesn’t effect every model, but it seems common enough for concern. Granted these cots are backed by Coleman’s lifetime (of the product) warranty, but a tear in the main support fabric mid-trip would be a major bummer. It’s also worth mentioning that the ComfortSmart is a folding design similar to the REI Kingdom above, so all that added comfort will cost you some added bulk as well. 

Pros:Cons:
– Outstanding comfort
– XL sleeping surface
– Affordable
– Bulky
– Questionable durability



Teton Sports Outfitter XXL

Best Camping Cot - Teton Sports Outfitter XXL

Specs:
– Bed dimensions: 86” x 45” x 20” (218cm x 114cm x 50cm)
– Weight: 24 lbs (10.9 kg)
– Occupancy:
– Packed size: 42” x 12” x 7” (107cm x 30cm x 18cm)
– Max weight capacity: 600 lbs (272 kg)
– Materials: 600D polyester fabric /aluminum & steel frame
– Best for: Car camping
– Price: $$

Cots are great for added comfort and support, but if you’re the type of sleeper that tends to roll around in the night, you’ll likely struggle to stay off the hard edges of a traditional cot. If that sounds like you, we recommend checking out the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL

With a staggering 86”x45” sleeping surface, the Outfitter XXL absolutely dwarfs every other camping cot on our list. That’s enough space for campers up to seven feet tall to sleep comfortably, and it’s almost wide enough for two to share. 

Aside from its massive size, the Teton has a few other things going for it as well. As is the case with many Teton products, every aspect of the Outfitter XXL is built to take a beating: The fabric is a heavy duty 600D oxford polyester with properly reinforced stitching and it’s frame is constructed using a hybrid aluminum/steel design. 

We’re also happy to report that despite its plus-sized footprint, the Teton Outfitter is surprisingly easy to set up. Teton used a standard tension-bar design for the Outfitter, which usually requires a fair amount of elbow-grease to snap into palace, but they also included a unique pivoting arm at the head of the frame that takes most of the grunt work out of properly tensioning the cot. 

As far as downsides go, there are no surprises here: This is big, burly cot, and as such it weighs more than most and takes up more space than a typical collapsible cot as well. You’ll also want to keep in mind that this camping cot takes up some serious real estate on your tent floor, so make sure you’re enough room to use it before you pull the trigger. 

Pros:Cons:
– Truly massive sleeping surface
– Built to last
– Easy to set up
– Bulky/heavy
– You’re gonna need a big tent.



Buyer’s Guide For The Best Camping Cots

So you’ve made the decision to graduate to a camping cot. Good for you! Whether you’re used to sleeping on a foam pad, inflatable mattress, or (god forbid) the cold hard ground, you’re in for a real treat. 

Camping cots are great because they get you up off the ground and give you a uniform surface to sleep on. No more rocks and sticks on your side, no more waking up to a deflated sleeping pad. Consistency and comfort is the name of the game, and you’ll be glad you played after your first night on a cot. Here are the metrics we look for when choosing the best camping cots on the market. 

Size And Weight

With the exception of ultralight camping cots like the Helinox cot above, most cots are resigned to car camping only due to their weight and bulk. Depending on your preferred method of transport (an SUV or pickup has a lot more space than the trunk of a Honda Civic), size and weight may not be a concern for you, but you shouldn’t ignore it entirely either. 

Best Camping Cot - Size and Weight
You want enough space to sleep on comfortably, but you need to make sure your cot fits in your tent too.

Keep in mind that at some point, you’ll have to store your camping cot. Some break down into camp-chair-sized shoulder sacks, while others simply fold flat, similar to a lawn chair or camp table. Whatever cot you buy, make sure you’ve got room to store it when you’re not out camping, especially if you’re planning on buying one for everyone in the family. 

Weight also isn’t a major concern unless you’re planning on hiking with your cot, but again, not all cots are created equal in this regard. Plus sized camping cots often weigh 20 pounds or more, which is absolutely manageable for most adults, but not exactly something you’ll look forward to carrying when camp is 100+ yards from your parking spot.

Ease Of Setup

Best Camping Cot - Ease of Setup
The Teton Outfitter cot incorporates a swingarm to simplify setup.

Camping cots are, in essence, very simple beds, and as much they should be very simple to put together. Keeping that in mind, remember that a “simple” design doesn’t always translate to an easy one. 

The easiest cots to set up are the folding variety, as there’s nothing to figure out or assemble by hand: Simply unfold them, click them into place, and you’re good to go. Traditional “crossbar” cots, on the other hand, require you to assemble the sleeping surface and tension the fabric by hand, which takes a little more time and effort. It shouldn’t be difficult (especially for an adult), but some require much more tension (and therefore strength) than others. 

Durability

Best Camping Cot - Durability
Sturdy cot fabric and hardware make for a long-lasting investment. 

Cots put up with a lot of stress, and their materials and construction should be up to the task. The quality of a cot’s fabric is your first concern, as flimsy fabrics will tear under the constant weight and tension of regular use. 600D polyester seems to be the industry standard, but not every manufacturer provides those details. 

We also recommend looking closely at the stitching used to hold the fabric together. Any cot worth having will use reinforced seams and double stitching in high-stress areas like pole sleeves. 

Lastly, your cot’s frame plays a role in durability as well. Most cots use steel for its strength and reliability, but steel isn’t the only option. Aluminum is becoming increasingly popular for use in camping cot frames, which makes sense considering it doesn’t rust and weighs significantly less than steel. 

Height

Some cots are tall, some are low, and both have their pros and cons. It all depends on your camping setup and personal preference, but here are the key points to keep in mind. 

Taller cots (13” or higher) are easier to get in and out of (especially if you’ve got knee/joint problems), and make for a comfortable place to sit inside the tent as well. The extra space between the cot and the ground also gives you a place to store gear to make the most of your tent’s interior space.

Best Camping Cot - Height
A taller cot doubles as a place to sleep and a place to hang out inside the tent.

Shorter cots (typically 8” or lower) typically weigh less and pack down much smaller for transportation and storage. They’re also a better choice for smaller tents or tents with steeply angled walls because they can be pushed further out of the way into the sides of the tent without touching the walls. 

Comfort

At the end of the day, the choice to sleep on a cot all comes down to comfort, so you should keep that in mind as you shop. Comfort is highly subjective, as some campers prefer as firm and supportive a surface as possible while others want something more plush and forgiving, but there are a few key aspects to look for in this regard. 

Best Camping Cot - Comfort
Whether large or small, each campier should have a cot with enough room to lie down comfortably.

The first is the size of the sleeping surface itself. Some cots are longer and/or wider than others, and the most important aspect of comfort is ensuring your body will fit on the cot without touching any rigid surfaces on the frame. Some cots are made extra large to accommodate taller and wider sleepers, so if you fall into either of those categories, double-check your measurements against those of any cot you’re considering.

The second factor to keep in mind is cushioning. Traditional cots don’t feature any cushioning, opting instead to serve as a supportive base for whatever cushion you bring yourself. Whether that’s a sleeping pad, an air mattress, or just an extra blanket is up to you, but you’ll probably want something beyond a sleeping bag between you and the cot. 

On cots like the REI Kingdom and Coleman ComfortSmart above, however, cushion comes as part of the package. For most campers, a cushioned/padded cot will always be more comfortable than a non-padded one, even if you’re still adding your own sleeping pad on top for extra padding and insulation. Cushioned cots are almost always bulkier than traditional models though, so keep that in mind if storage space is a concern. 

Conclusion

Taking all the above factors into consideration, we found the REI Co-op Kingdom 3 to be the best camping cot currently on the market. The Kingdom’s combination of comfort, adjustability, and durability make it a standout product for us, and the fact that it’s one of the less expensive cots on our list doesn’t hurt its cause either. 

If you’re looking for outright quality at any price, the Disc-O-Bed is a rugged set of cots that are built to hold more weight than you can throw at it. They also happen to convert into a space-saving set of bunk beds as needed, which is ideal for families or anyone else using large cabin-style tents

Best Camping Cot - Conclusion
The DiscoBed is our highest overall quality cot.

If you’re looking for a great cot without spending a ton of money, the Alps Mountaineering Lightweight is about as well built and durable as they come, and can be had for under $100 all day long. 

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