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If your family loves camping but isn’t comfortable sleeping on the ground, getting a comfy camping cot can make a huge difference. You’ll find the best camping cots are available in all shapes and sizes, and some of them even have additional features that make them feel more like a traditional bed, so there really is something for everyone.
Cots for camping are portable and easy to store, and some of them are so comfortable they can be used as standalone beds for a guest room. Here are the best camping cots for families and an insight into what features to look for when buying the best kids cots. Let’s get started!
Why Choose A Cot for Camping?
Cots have several advantages for camping, but the biggest of those is comfort. Many campers have a difficult time getting comfortable sleeping just on a camping pad or air mattress, so a cot is a good option. Cots do take up more room in a tent (so consider getting a large 6 person or 8 person tent), but several cots are tall enough to allow you to store your clothing and other gear under the camping cot while you sleep.
How To Make A Cot Comfortable?
Think of your camping cot like a stiff mattress at home. While you might like a stiff mattress, if you want something more plush, consider adding a camping pad to the top for more comfort, or you could even add a memory foam pad if you need more padding. I also recommend making sure that you have a good kids sleeping bag to help keep kids warm since cots are colder than sleeping on the ground because they allow cold air to circulate underneath you..
Best Camping Cot Features to look for
While you can’t expect a camping cot to be completely as comfortable as your bed at home, it should definitely have a decent amount of sturdiness. The support you are getting is coming from the spring system, the fabric tension, or a combination of both of these features.
With some camping cot, the support of the sleeping surface is adjustable, and you can remove or add as much padding as you need until you reach the perfect level of sturdiness.
You also want to make sure that the portable camping cot you choose doesn’t wobble or wiggle when you’re laying down or you’ll probably have a hard time sleeping at camp. The cots that we’re sharing below are all some of the best cots, but a good way to make sure that a camping cot will be stable enough for you it to follow the manufacturers weight recommendations (very important for kids’ camping cot).
Ease of Setting Up The Cot
Setting up most of the cots is a relatively straightforward process. You just need to unfold the metal cot frame and lock it in at the allocated places. Make sure that the legs are extended and you’re all set. Cots with specific features may take more time to set up. The average cot takes less than a minute to set up.
For example, some models are held together by shock cord poles, which you’ll need to thread through the fabric. Assembling the tension spring in these models may also take some time, which means they are recommended for experienced campers (or campers who REALLY VALUE comfort).
Camping Cot Weight
Some of the cots that we share below are SUPER HEAVY and intended for easy car camping trips, while others are REALLY LIGHT and can even be taken backpacking. Consider where you’re going to be using your family camping cots, and go from there. When in doubt, go lighter rather than heavier!
Cots Vs Air Mattresses
The choice between a cot and an air mattress can be challenging, but it all comes down to your needs and preferences. If your camping trips involve a lot of hiking and outdoor activities, during which you need to carry your equipment around, the lightweight mattress will be the obvious choice. You can just pump it up to the desired firmness and lay on it anytime you need it. The downside to camping with an inflatable air mattress is that they offer little to no insulation and can get quite cold for camping (since all the cold air is directly under you all night).
However, if you value comfort over convenience, you will probably want to opt for a portable camping cot. You won’t have to worry about debris, or insects and when sleeping in a camping cot, you can often get the same support as you would be in your own bed. Cots are often more insulated than an air mattress, so are typically better for keeping you warm while camping.
Downsides to Sleeping In a Cot for Camping
Despite their many benefits, camping cots have their drawbacks as well. One of the most critical issues you’ll come across with this equipment is its size and weight. Even lightweight cots are heavier to carry around than a mattress or a sleeping bag, which means they are only suited for car camping.
Another complaint users have against cots is that they are cold to sleep in. Air gets underneath the frame, as there is a thin layer of insulation. While they do have increased air flow, some people prefer this feature.
Benefits of Sleeping In a Camping Cot
Sleeping on uneven ground can get pretty uncomfortable, even for the most experienced campers. Not to mention how hard it is for newbies to get used to sleeping on a mattress or sleeping bag on the ground. One of the greatest advantages of sleeping in a cot is resting on an even surface. This also means that you will be comfortable during the night and sleep better.
And if you need to get up during the night, you will find it much easier to rise from an elevated position than if you would have to when getting up from the ground. You’ll also have a space where you can sit, dress, and eat more comfortably during the day. Plus, some cots allow space for gear storage underneath them. With your gear tucked safely away, your space won’t be as cramped.
Best Cots for Family Camping
We’ve looked at why these cots are so popular so we can now check out some of the best family camping cots out there today. We’re sharing the best cots for kids, best baby cots for camping, cots for toddlers, and of course, the best cots for teens and adults.
Best All Around Kids Camping Cots
Kid-O-Bunk Bunk Bed Cots For Kids
Length and Width: 65×32.5 inches
Weight Limit: 200lbs per bunk
Carrying Weight: 36.5lbs
The Kid O Bunk is seriously an amazing innovation in cots for kids, and we love that it’s super versatile. It can be used as 2 separate cots, a cot bunk bed, or even turned into a couch for kids to enjoy during the day. Cots typically take up more room in a tent than a camping air mattress, and we love that this innovative cot has come up with a solution that takes into account both space and comfort.
This easy to assemble bunk bed cot for kids is really the gold standard for kids cots. Designed for children ages 7-12, it doesn’t contain any complicated features, and we love how it give you more floor space in your tent. While this cot has a weight limit of 200 pounds per cot, your kids will likely get too tall for it before they ever get too heavy for these kids cots.
It comes with two organizers you can attach to the bottom part for some essential gear your kids need during camping like a flashlight, card game or small stuffed animal. This cot has several pieces, but assembles relatively quickly, and the carrier bag helps to make transport so much simpler.
Best Cot for Babies and Toddlers
Baby Delight Go with Me Bungalow Deluxe Portable Travel Cot
Length and Width: 50×26 inches
Weight Limit: 75lbs
Carrying Weight: 12.2lbs
Due to its safety mesh, this cot is recommended for children starting from just 15 months old and up to 12 years (though older kids may weigh too much for this toddler camping cot). The frame is made from sturdy metal construction, which further adds to the children’s security since it’s extra stable.
The cot also comes with a handy canopy, which blocks out the harmful UV rays and makes it excellent for outdoor use on sunny days. If you’re looking for a solution for outdoor nap or quiet time for toddlers or baby, we love this toddler cot. It allows kids the freedom to get in and out, with the security that the mesh sides provide to prevent them from rolling off. This is also a great toddler cot for playtime! Whether camping in the forest or at a beach, the children will always be protected from the dirt below and the sun above!
If you want something that contains baby more, consider a baby camping bed. As always, it’s important to get a good baby or toddler sleeping bag to keep little ones extra warm when they’re sleeping in a cot, since the cool air under the cot can make them colder.
Best Budget Cot for Kids
Joovy Foocot Child Travel Cot
Length and Width: 48×24 inches
Weight Limit: 75lbs
Carrying Weight: 6.5lbs
This incredibly lightweight sleeping cot is perfect for families who travel and camp a lot and want to ensure their little kids has a consistent bedtime routine whenever they are. We love that it’s small and lightweight so that it’s easy to take along with you on trips to help kids have a consistent bedtime routine while traveling.
They can also keep small toys, books, snacks, and even their toothbrushes near them in the two storage pockets the cot comes with. Despite its low weight, the cot is made from a sturdy steel frame, and both the insulation and the complimentary travel bag are made from high-grade nylon.
This cot is really basic, but comes at a budget price. If you want a simple kids cot, this is our top pick!
RedSwing Kids Cots for Sleeping
Length and Width: 53×26 inches
Weight Limit: 220lbs
Carrying Weight: 11.6lbs
This cot is really sturdy and durable with 10 legs and feet with anti-slip features that are guaranteed to keep your child safe and secure. The thickness of the bedding provides lots of structure and support to allow your child to relax. This cot is insulated for extra warmth and comfort and the insulation is made from high-quality oxford fabric for extra durability.
This cot is SUPER EASY to set up since it simple folds together similar to a folding camping chair.
You can simply pack the essentials into the attachable portable bags, and carry both bags to your campsite where you can attach the side bag to the cot so the children can have their items at hand.
Overall Best Cot for Teens and Adults
Disc-O-Bed Large Bunk with Organizers
Length and Width: 79×36 inches
Weight Limit: 500lbs per bunk
Carrying Weight: 60lbs
This item is very similar to Kid O Bunk, except it’s meant for adults and teens. It even has the same features as that one with the possibility to separate the bunk into two single beds or benches. Again, we think that these are some of the best cots for teens and adults that you can buy.
It also has two heavy-duty organizers with zipper compartments and a long sleeve for a fishing rod or hunting rifle. It comes with a hook system that allows them to be placed anywhere you want on the steel frame. The bottom cot is still far enough from the ground to store additional equipment underneath. While this cot really is amazing, to get this sort of quality and stability, weight was added, so take note that this is a pretty heavy cot set, but if you’re car camping, we think this is the best cot for teens and adults.
Mountain Summit Gear Horizon Cot
Length and Width: 75×27.55 inches
Weight Limit: 300lbs
Carrying Weight: 18lbs
Another light yet incredibly sturdy cot designed for lounging or camping. This cot has a more lightweight design and packs up smaller, making it VERY VERSATILE! Not only that, but the 600-denier polyester fabric makes it so comfortable and offers so much support that it can be even be used as a spare bed for your guest room.
Whenever you need it, the only you need to do is unfold the frame, and you will have a bed in a few seconds. Outdoors you can take advantage of the side pockets, which provide convenient storage space for the camping essentials you want to keep at hand.
Length and Width: 76×25 inches
Weight Limit: 300lbs
Carrying Weight: 14lbs
Designed for quick getaways, this cot can be easily packed into your car in the handy carrying bag that comes with it. You will be off from the cold, wet, and uneven ground wherever you go, while the high weight capacity of the sturdy steel frame will ensure you are fully supported.
It can handle frequent trips and all the abuse it comes with them. You will sleep comfortably, even if you happen to forget your pillow at home. The cot comes with a faux leather headrest, boosting your comfort level in an instant.
ALPS MountaineeringEscalade Cot
Length and Width: 80×31 inches
Weight Limit: 325lbs
Carrying Weight: 16lbs
This cot is really sturdy and is one of the best options if you want to store all your gear under your cot. This cot comes fully assembled, which means the setup lasts only a few seconds anytime and anywhere. The sturdy construction ensures durability despite frequent use. The high-quality center grants comfort and restful sleep.
It’s set on angled legs designed to prevent rocking and has a coated aluminum frame granting durability. The telescoping center allows you to adjust how much above the ground you want to sleep and provide added support.
Best Lightweight Cot/ Best Backpacking Cot
Length and Width: 72×24 inches
Weight Limit: 200lbs
Carrying Weight: 2.6lbs
This cot is a great option if you want to make sure you are securely elevated when camping on rocky, uneven ground. It’s ultralight, so you can just disassemble it, place it into its carrier bag, and bring it with you attached to your back when hiking. Yes, this lightweight cot is light enough that you could even take it BACKPACKING!
When you need it, you just take out the poles, feet, and insulation and assemble it in just a few minutes without any tools. Another great feature this cot offer is a heat-resistant insulation material – perfect for using it for double duty as a place to lounge safely around the campfire.
All these family camping cots are high-quality models which will give their user a great night of sleep wherever you are. All you need to do now is choose the one which most closely matches your needs. Then you can head out your camping trip knowing that you’ll wake up happy and rested the next morning.