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If you’re not someone who enjoys sleeping on the ground — and who really enjoys sleeping on the ground anyway? — then camping cots are the way to go. These pop-up beds are a vast improvement on the layer of tent fabric and, if you’re lucky, the slim foam mat you’re used to when heading out into the great outdoors. (Or, if you’re short on space for guests in your apartment, these can be put up in short order.)
Of course, a camping cot isn’t exactly a pillow-top mattress: It’s going to be a little stiffer than you might be used to. However, it keeps you dry and off the cold ground on chilly adventures and a bit closer to the window on warm ones — and a better night’s sleep means you’ll be in fighting form for whatever trails and outdoor sports the next day throws your way. Just keep in mind that the more plush the cot is, the more it’s likely to weigh. But figuring out exactly which camping cot to buy can be daunting with all the options available out there — that’s why we’ve rounded up the best camping cots the internet has to offer.
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One of the most well-loved camping cots out there, the TETON Sports Outfitter XXL is a basic-looking folding model. However, it delivers when it comes to comfort, with some users reporting that they slept even later on this cot than they do at home. The size, which is a bit larger than a twin bed, helps: Sleepers can toss and turn as much as they need to, and it supports up to 600 pounds. Its durability is solid — something you’ll feel laying on it — thanks to strong, lightweight aluminum legs and a steel S-leg design, plus rubber bushings that help to absorb shock.
Setup and takedown is pleasantly easy, and it packs right into an included carry bag. The cot’s packed weight is 26 pounds, so it’s heavy to carry, but those looking for an extra bed for guests, or for a comfortable sleeping situation during a car-based camping trip, don't need to look any further.
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Coleman’s known in the camping field for solid products that stand the test of time, and budget-version cot is no different: If you just want a camping cot that’s cheap and easy for occasional camping trips, the Coleman Comfortsmart Cot is your best option. We like the fact that something so low in price comes with an included foam mattress pad, which sits on top of the brand’s proprietary coil suspension and has surprisingly thick, comfortable cushioning.
The folding setup makes it easy to get it ready for sleep — and take down in the morning (even without your daily cup of coffee) before loading it into the car trunk. Those who are on the tall end of the spectrum, however, might need to order the large size — the regular sleeps those up to five feet, seven inches — though it does support up to 275 pounds.
Coleman stands by their product, too: Just in case it doesn’t work out, the company includes a one-year limited warranty.
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Some people aren’t willing to compromise on their standards for a solid night’s sleep when they take off into the great outdoors, and they won’t have to with Coleman’s Airbed Folding Cot. A (very) poshed-up version of the brand’s foam-pad-enhanced budget cot, this bed is as close to what you have at home. You won’t have to worry about leakage either: the beds are factory tested.
Although it doesn’t offer a nightstand, it does have the next best thing: mini-side tables with cup holders attached. We love that both a pump and a carry bag are included to make setup and pack down as easily as possible — though it weighs more than 40 pounds, so it’s not ideal for those doing anything more adventurous than car camping.
You can also order it in both a Queen size (which, admittedly, is snug for two, especially if they toss and turn) and a Twin size.
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Some couples just don’t do well sleeping apart, so if your ideal camping trip involves snuggling up to your loved one, this cot is a comfortable bet for a solid night’s sleep. The folding cot opens in just a few seconds, so setup doesn’t take too long when you’re tired after hiking all day. There’s plenty of room for two on here as well, with a sleeping area that measures 85 inches by 55 inches and can support up to 550 pounds.
It sits about 18 inches off the ground once set up, too, so you won’t be losing any space for storing gear underneath. The frame feels sturdy — even with two people tossing and turning — and the cot’s canvas sleeping dek doesn’t stretch out too much over time. We also love just how quiet this cot is: Some can be really squeaky, to the point of waking up a partner, but this cot doesn’t make a peep when people roll over.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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If you’re camping out of your car, there’s a better option than trying to sleep in the back seat — and that’s this cot, which sets up with an included dome tent attached right to it. Although the total-encapsulation rainfly won’t hold up in a deluge, the tough 190T nylon material will do the job for a light nighttime sprinkle (and keep the mosquitos out, thanks to the No-See-Um mesh on the windows and doors).
The cot itself sets up to be almost a foot off the ground — well away from snakes and bugs — and weighs about 25 pounds (don’t expect to use this for backpacking). We do love the fact that the cot comes with its own foam pad, too (three-eighths of an inch is pretty slim, but it improves the cot’s comfort and helps with insulation).
It’s also versatile for daytime use: Thanks to the clever hinge design, once the top is collapsed, you can configure the tent to be an upright chair or lounge, too.
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Sometimes — whether there’s bad weather, you’re exhausted, or you have a whole scout troop to set up cots for — you just want the practical aspects of camping to be done with ASAP. For that, Byer’s Easy Cot is a great option: It sets up in less than one minute — practically a world record when it comes to the world of camping cots.
This cot is super durable and supportive, and it can also accommodate most campers, thanks to a welded steel leg construction that can hold up to 325 pounds and a 78-inch length that will sleep people over six feet tall. At almost 18 inches tall, the cot creates bonus storage space underneath for gear. We also like the cot’s five reinforced panels that do a great job of covering the frames so nothing digs in while you’re sleeping.
Plus, once your camping adventure is over, it’s easy to dismantle this cot, and it even packs away neatly in its own camping bag — complete with a strap for carrying.
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It’s a generally accepted fact that most kids love bunk beds, and bringing one along on a camping trip — especially if they don’t have one at home — is sure to be a great surprise. This model is a great way to conserve space in a tent (more room for all that requisite gear) and an option for making your perhaps too-small tent last a little longer. Setup is surprisingly quick and simple, with patented parts that mean you don’t have to break out the toolbox to get the job done right, and the design itself was created with an eye to stability first (the steel rails make it feel especially strong).
Kids will sleep super-comfortably without a mid-bar poking their backs, a distance of 28 inches (with the included leg extensions) between cots, and large side organizers off each cot. We also like that the sleeping deks dry easily with a bit of ventilation and are removable for easy cleaning back at home.
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It’s rare to find a camping cot that works for the trail, too, but this Therma-Rest is a favorite of backpackers, thanks to its schlep-friendly weight, which clocks in at right around two pounds — one of the very lightest options on the market. It sleeps taller people (around six feet, four inches) comfortably with plenty of length on the cot, but some say that when they lay down on it, their bodies are just a couple inches off the ground (this is a bonus, however, for those who have lower-slung tents).
The cot will hold up over time, too: It has sturdy aluminum poles and ripstop fabric that holds most comfortably. Best of all, after a long day on the trail, setup time only takes around three minutes to go from pack to pitched. It also packs down extremely small: It’s just 16 inches by 4 inches once it’s ready to go after a good night’s sleep.