How To Pick A Camping Cot?

Rilor Staff
Update: April 12, 2021
Table of Contents

How to pick a camping cot? How can you guarantee that you are getting the best one right from the get-go?

A camping cot is a portable bed that you can carry with you while camping, boon-docking, or having a sleepover. They are usually made of aluminum or steel and can range from simple, lightweight mats to more complex, collapsable models. And, their uses extend beyond the outdoors, as well. (For instance, they're also great for providing extra sleeping space in an emergency.)

Camping cots are ideal for those that want to camp but have problems getting comfortable on the ground. They suit all types of camping, including family camping and RV camping. You can choose from a range of sizes and styles depending on the type of camping you prefer.

But of course, the quality of one camping cot differs from another camping cot. Hence, it is essential that you can pick one appropriately for intended use and preferences.

Why Use A Camping Cot?

Camping cots are great for camping, as they provide a safe, comfortable, long-term solution when it comes to sleeping outdoors and are ideal for those looking to get away from it all. When it comes to camping, you can sleep on a camping bed, or you can sleep on a camping cot. 

There are a lot of reasons as to why you should use a camping cot. Here are some of them.

  • Inherent durability - Unlike your sleeping bags, these camping cots are made to withstand the elements. Their frames and legs are made from rugged steel and metal, which don't wear even if exposed to the elements. Since the fabric of the cot is away from the ground, they are not prone to ripping or punctures. They can remain tout and water-resistant for extensive periods. 
  • Hassle-free - With a sleeping bag, you need to snuggle in before you can lie on them. That process may take a lot of time. Of course, it is still another story if you want to get out of your outdoor bedding. But with a camping cot, you simply have to lie on it with your blanket, and you can already get a pleasant sleeping experience. 
  • Prevents contact with the elements - Since sleeping cots have elevated construction (thanks to their frame), it is naturally easy for it to keep its users from getting in contact with dirt and insects. You will no longer have to worry about bugs and mud ruining your sleep.
  • Improved air circulation - During hot evenings, the lifted design of camping cots allows cool air to circulate below them. It causes a soothing, cooling effect, which is essential for you to be able to sleep comfortably. 

How To Pick A Camping Cot?

I often hear people ask what to look for in a camping cot? Essentially, the process of picking a cot is not that difficult, especially if you know the determining factors that highlight their quality. But sometimes, the way you pick an outdoor cot is based on your preferences and intended application.


Most of the camping cots today are designed for single-person use. But at the same time, you can still find bunk models, which is an excellent option for children or for those who have small tents. They are also great for those people who want to save space in their shelters. 

Of course, you are also free to look for bigger camping cots if you are particularly big or you like to sleep together with a person. Do not forget to check the length of the cot, too. If it is too short, it would be impossible for you to fully stretch your body. You may end up hanging up your feet!

Simplicity In Assembly

Similar to other outdoor amenities, there are other camping cots that offer quick and hassle-free assembly than others. As much as possible, you have to identify which one of them can give you a relaxing time while camping. There are camping cots with a plug-and-play design; just unfold them, and you are good to go. Meanwhile, other outdoor cots will require you to attach threading poles and other locking mechanisms before you can set them up.


You should pick an outdoor cot that has superb construction. The better the materials used on the cots, the more reliable they are. Camping cots have two major parts: the frame and the cot (or the platform where you are going to lie down and sleep).

For the frame, you should pick either steel or aluminum. Aluminum boasts decent durability and excels in lightness. Basically, it is your best choice if you want to go lightweight. If you are expecting harsh conditions or difficult terrains, go for cots with steel frames. They are somewhat heavy, but they can endure a beating. 

For the cot, it should be made from highly rugged polyester and nylon. The higher the denier rating of these fabric materials, the better. It certifies that they are not easy-to-puncture. They can remain tout even if you use them consistently. 

Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of the camping cot refers to the load that it can carry. The standard cot can carry at least 300 pounds of weight, which should be enough for any regular-size adult. The heavier the weight that the cot can hold, the more people it can cater to. If you can see an outdoor cot that has a weight capacity of 600 pounds, this means that the cot can handle two adults or one adult and two kids. 


While storage may not be an issue for some people, it can become for backpackers and weight-conscious outdoor enthusiasts. Camping cots are generally big and space-eaters. Once they are fully unfolded, they can already take up a significant amount of space inside your tent. It is because of this reason why others prefer to set their cots outside. 

But even if these cots are folded, they can still be burly. You should go with those options that fold nicely and compactly. Aside from convenience in storage, an outdoor cot that can be folded tightly benefits portability.

Where To Buy A Camping Cot?

There are a lot of places where you can get a camping cot that can meet your needs and expectations. 

First, you can always go to your local outdoor stores and outlets and see if they have a selection of camping cots. Seeing the cot in person will let you have a good feeling about its quality. 

Second, you can go to the sites of known cot manufacturers. You can also go opt to shop on different online retail sites if you don't want your choices to get restricted. You should be able to find a myriad of options for your next camping cot. 


Learning how to pick a camping cot is essentially the best way to get a nice sleeping platform without having to risk your money. Not all cots deserve your attention, so you better scout for the right one that gives you the most pleasant experience while you are outdoors. 

I hope that you find this guide hopeful. If you have inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

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