If you’re one of the people that loves backpack camping but can’t really enjoy it because you always have a hard time sleeping at night, you might want to buy a backpacking cot.
A backpacking cot will not only save you the restlessness of sleeping on the ground or in a sleeping bag during camping, but it will allow you to have a good night’s sleep so that you can wake up feeling rested.
Rather than sleeping on the ground and dealing with a stiff back the next day or having to fend off insects all night, a camping cot will allow you to have a comfortable night away from all the pesky insects. It is also said that you lose 50 times more body heat when you sleep on the ground versus off of the ground.
There are various camping cots in the market with many different features to pick from; I’ve made a short list of the best camping cots I’ve come across so far.
Teton Sports Outfitter Camp Cot
Therm-A-Rest Ultralite Cot
Coleman Pack-Away Camping Cot
Alpcour Folding Camping Cot
What are some things you should consider when buying a backpacking cot?
Not all Backpacking cots are the same and that’s why I’ve highlighted the most important things you should be on the lookout for when making a decision to buy a new cot. To go into more detail about cots, check out our detailed Buyers Guide.
- Comfort -
The whole point of a camping cot is comfort. Good cots are obviously ones that would offer more comfort than the ground or a mattress would. How the cot is built is one of the factors that directly affect the comfort of the sleeper.
For instance, some cots that are deemed uncomfortable are deemed so because the bars on which the cot is supported are installed in an awkward manner.
You’ll find that these cots may have a crossbar for extra frame-support right under the fabric where you’re supposed to sleep. This especially bothers side-sleepers because the bars bump into their hip and get in the way of having a good night’s sleep.
Another thing that may take away from tall sleepers’ comfort would be the existence of end bars at both ends of the cot. After all, you would not be able to sleep well, if your feet are constantly bumping into hard metal bars. My advice is to avoid those even if you’re not that tall.
A comfortable cot also offers stability. You’ll want to find a cot that is not so flimsy as to it would move around when you flip over or toss around during the night. Generally, the heavier the cot, the more stable it can be on the ground, however really heavy cots are a disadvantage on their own, so I urge you to find a cot with the right balance of weight and stability.
One of the main deciding factors you should keep in mind when buying a camping cot is its size relative to yours.
Most cots are long enough to accommodate regular people, however, if you’re anywhere near six feet or taller, you’ll want to make sure that the cot you buy will not leave your feet hanging off on the other side.
Most cots also are as wide as a twin bed; so enough to accommodate one adult comfortably. Nonetheless, if you want extra space for more comfort or freedom, or for instance plan on having two children sleep in one cot, you’ll have to find a cot that is on the larger side of the spectrum.
You also want to keep in mind that if you plan to place your cot inside a tent, you’ll want to make sure that the cot you buy will fit inside the tent without rendering the space unusable.
The drawback, however, to buying a bigger sized cot for comfort purposes is that you’ll be buying a heavier cot too. That could be an inconvenience if you plan on carrying your cot while trekking instead of keeping it in your car till you arrive at your campsite. So keep in mind that the optimum scenario here is finding the right-sized cot for your needs while making sure it’s not unnecessarily heavy and you could still carry it around.
You’ll want to make sure that the camping cot you buy is able to support your weight without breaking, bending, or tearing.
The typical camping cot usually has a weight limit somewhere around 300 lbs which is fairly proper for most people.
However, if you’re heavier or you want a sturdier cot, you might find that a camping cot with a higher weight limit would be more suitable for your needs.
One of the camping cots reviewed below has a maximum weight limit of 600 lbs which is almost double all the other cots in the market.
Since these cots are mainly used for outdoor activities, it would make sense for them to be easy to pack and transport to different places.
All the cot models below come with a sturdy carrying bag that you can compactly fold and pack the cot in to carry around or place in your car without taking too much space.
The best cots are ones that can be conveniently packed in a compact and hassle-free manner to make transport easier for the user.
Weight also plays a role here where lighter cots are much easier to carry around while trekking as opposed to heavier ones.
If you’re planning on using your cot more than a few times in its lifetime, you’ll want to put strength as one of the main priorities during your purchase.
Manufacturers are now turning to reinforced steel and aluminum for use in the cots they produce. This is due to the strength of these two metals and how well it serves for a strong and sturdy cot.
Aluminum is usually used for the frame due to its lighter weight and steel is used for the legs.
Along with a sturdy mechanism, a good cot will come with sturdy fabric. Most strong cots are made out of polyester blends and some out of canvas although canvas adds to the weight of the cot and may make it heavier than wanted. Quality material allows for numerous uses without having the bed part of the cot sag down at the center eventually leading to discomfort during sleep.
-Ease of assembly-
An easy assembly method definitely compliments the cot in addition to other features and adds to its overall value.
Many cots are now being made to fold out into a lying down position without having to assemble them piece by piece.
That makes it very convenient for the camper especially if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of figuring out the assembly instructions and having to assemble and unassembled the cot each time you want to transport it.
However, more compact cots may come with separate parts to be assembled by the user but companies are keeping simplicity as a high priority when designing an unassembled cot. Most cots will not cause much trouble in their assembly process so you don’t have to worry much about this unless you really don’t want to bother putting your cot together and taking it apart.
Backpacking Cot Reviews
1. Teton Sports Outfitter Camp Cot
The backpacking cot is larger than a twin bed which makes it the largest on the list so it’s perfect for taller people and ones that seek the comfort of a regular bed in their camping cots.
Made out of an aluminum frame, Teton’s own patented steel legs, and heavy duty 600D polyester canvas, this Teton cot also provides extra durability for heftier use.
- Supports up to 600 lbs which is almost double the standard of other cots in the market
- Includes a pivot arm that helps hook in the fourth corner of the cot to make assembly easier
- Patented reinforced steel S-shaped legs provide ultra-strength and stability during sleep
- The cot lays 19” off of the ground making it suitable for being used as a chair as well as a sleeping cot
- Because of its larger size, the Teton XXL also weighs more than a regular-sized cot would (26 lbs) which makes it harder to carry around
- Another drawback to its size would be that it’s not that easy to place the cot inside your regular-sized camping tent; you will need a tent made for more than one person
2. Therm-A-Rest Ultralite Cot
This extremely compact and light backpacking cot is the most practical choice for those who don’t really have a lot of space to store their cot and don’t want to bother with extra added weight during their treks.
It’s made out of RipStop polyester and Therm-A-Rest’s bow frame system to ensure durability. This cot while not made for extra space, does not skimp on it either; it can fit sleepers as heavy as 325 lbs and as tall as six feet comfortably.
- Extra light at only 2 lbs making it the lightest on the market
- Packs compactly into a small bag so it’s very easy to carry around
- Made with a thermal reflective coating (ThermaCapture Technology) that helps retain the sleeper’s body heat
- Heavier people may sink down and touch the ground while sleeping in the cot due to its relatively low frame
- Therm-A-Rest’s bow frame construction may cause a hassle for some users during assembly as it is unlike other regular frames and requires a bit of strength
3. Coleman Pack-Away Camping Cot
The Coleman Pack-Away backpacking cot is very simple to set up and use during camping; you simply take it out of its bag and unfold it for a hassle-free camping experience.
This cot also comes with a side table that doubles as a simple nightstand and allows the sleeper to place their stuff right beside them.
Coming only five inches shorter than the largest on the list; the Teton XXL, this cot can sleep people as tall as 6’6” and as heavy as 300 lbs.
- The removable side table can be attached to either side of the cot
- The cot can be adjusted for sitting and reclining as well as sleeping making it an all-in-one cot
- Unlike other cots, the Coleman Pack-Away is foldable and super-easy to set up
- The main concern with this cot is that it doesn’t lock in the fully reclined position and is held down by the sleeper’s weight
- Although this Coleman model turns camping into a hassle-free activity, it can be a little flimsy and does not withstand heavy-use
4. Alpcour Folding Camping Cot
This backpacking cot is made specifically for a more comfortable sleeping experience during camping. It’s designed with the camper’s comfort in mind so campers will not need to bring a pillow or mattress with them during camping.
It’s as big as a twin bed and can take a weight of up to 300 lbs. The Alpcour is also made out of a foldable steel-tube frame making assembly a piece of cake.
- The Alpcour, like the Coleman, is also foldable and simple to set up
- The cot comes with a sleeping pillow and a side pocket for extra storage space
- The material the cot is made of is water resistant and very easy to clean so you don’t have to worry about where you set it up and whether or not it’ll get dirty
- Unlike the Teton, this cot is not very durable and does not stand up greatly to heavy-use
- Although the gentle head incline is designed to eliminate backaches, some users may prefer a completely flat cot as opposed to a slightly inclined one but unfortunately, the Alpcour’s incline is non-adjustable
For someone like me who occasionally camps out and highly values comfort, the Alpcour Folding backpacking Cot is the first choice. However, at a little under double the weight of the Alpcour, the Coleman Pack-Away becomes the next best option.
If however, you’re someone that needs a camping cot that is able to live through the several uses of a regular camper, I would recommend the Therm-A-Rest Ultralite Cot especially if you plan on carrying your cot around in the most compact manner possible or the sturdy Teton XXL if you don’t mind the extra weight.