7 Best Camping Cots for Different Types of Campers
Are you a tent camper, car camper, cowboy camper or glamper? Doesn't matter—we have the best camping cot options for you.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
At the end of a long drive, you arrive at a gorgeous, secluded, dispersed campsite along the northern portion of the Pacific Coast Highway. You set up camp, watch the sun change the color of the sky over the ocean, listen to the waves lap at the towering cliffs, settle into your inflatable sleeping pad and cozy up into your blanket.
It’s all magical and wonderful—until two hours later when the sleeping pad deflates, leaving your hip bones digging into the rocky soil of the Pacific coast. This specific scenario is what led me on a quest to find the best camping cot for all types of campers—from car camping and glamping to tent camping and backpacking—guided by my own pain points from past camping trips.
7 Best Camping Cots
- Best Overall: Coleman ComfortSmart Cot
- Best Budget: Trailhead II Cot
- Most Comfortable: Co-op Kingdom Cot 3
- Best Large: Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camping Cot
- Best for Car Camping: REI Co-op Trailgate Vehicle Sleeping Platform
- Best Lightweight: Helinox Lite Cot
- Best Packable: ALPS Mountaineering Ready Lite Cot
Best Overall Camping Cot
Coleman ComfortSmart Cot
The Coleman ComfortSmart Cot is truly the best overall camping cot I’ve found. For under $140, this cot provides a cushioned and stable sleeping platform for people who weigh up to 300 pounds and up to 6 feet, 6 inches in height. It features a steel frame with springs and a durable nylon platform with a little bit of give (kind of like a trampoline, but tougher). Then, there’s a foam mattress with a water-resistant nylon cover you place on top.
While the frame does fold, it doesn’t fold down to a truly packable size, making this cot better for people who typically drive into their campsites. If you really wanted to save space, you could even ditch the pad part and sleep on the frame.
“Very comfortable and roomy. Easy deployment, no fiddling with straps or braces to latch, simply fold or unfold,” writes verified purchaser Marcelo. “Springs provide even distribution and even comfortable without the mattress. It’s essentially laying on top of a trampoline. However, the mattress complement and complete a comfortable bed feel.”
- ComfortSmart coil suspension system provides superior support
- Thick foam mattress pad
- From a longstanding and reputable brand
- Steel frame is foldable
- Fits humans up to 6 feet, 6 inches
- Over 10,000 five-star Amazon ratings
300-pound weight capacity could be higher
Best Budget Camping Cot
Coleman Trailhead II Cot
Another great pick from Coleman, the Trailhead II Cot is simplicity at its finest. This is a basic military-style camping cot with a crossbar steel frame and a thick, durable polyester fabric platform. It folds and packs up nicely into an included carrying bag, although it’s still not backpacking friendly (most cots are not).
Assembly is simple, although Coleman discloses that “you’ll need a little muscle to lock the last crossbar in place.” This is the most common customer complaint, so if you choose this cot, you might want to enlist the help of your strongest friend. This cot does not come with a sleeping pad to place on top of the platform, which is actually a bonus for campers who already have a sleeping pad and don’t have use for a new one.
- Affordable price
- Reputable brand with great customer service
- Extremely simple with barely any setup
- Over 15,000 five-star Amazon ratings
- No mattress to place on top of the platform
- Weight capacity (300 pounds) and height capacity (6’2″) could be higher
Most Comfortable Camping Cot
REI Co-op Kingdom Cot 3
You can probably tell how cozy this thing is just by looking at it. Take a gander: It features a plush, quilt-seamed sleeping pad with gentle curvature that almost mimics an outdoor lawn chair. The plush padding is made of water-resistant nylon for easy cleanup of camping grime.
REI knows its target customers and it shows in the design of the Co-op Kingdom Cot 3. The frame is powder-coated for extra durability and longevity, and it features three sets of feet that create a wide, ultra-stable base. The point of the extra feet is to make the cot more accommodating to uneven terrain—which is almost always a given when camping.
“Sure looked comfy on the website and 100% totally delivered while first time using it on a three-night car camping fly fishing trip,” writes five-star reviewer Terry. “Slept great! Dubbed my six-person dome tent the King Cot Palace!”
- Plush sleeping pad
- Sturdy steel and aluminum frame
- Powder-coated frame
- Wide, stable base with three sets of feet
- Water-resistant fabric
- Takes up more storage than other options
- Bulky even when folded
Best Large Camping Cot
Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camping Cot
For larger individuals, couples, singles with dogs, or anyone who simply wants more space to spread out when sleeping, the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camping Cot is my recommendation. Measuring 86 inches long by 40 inches wide, this extra-large camping cot is longer than a queen-sized bed and almost as wide as a full-sized bed. Customer reviews call this cot “the Hulk of cots.”
Not only is it larger than most cots, but it’s also durable and packable too. It has a weight capacity of 600 pounds, yet the product itself weighs only 26 pounds. It folds down and fits in an included carrying bag. A pivot arm makes assembly easier so you won’t have to wrestle with the fourth leg. Unfortunately, the sleeping pad is not included, but if you want the pad designed to accompany this cot, look for the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Pad.
- Designed for larger individuals and/or couples
- 600-pound weight capacity
- Included pivot arm
- Longer than a queen bed
- Lifetime warranty
Sleeping pad not included
Best Camping Cot for Car Camping
REI Co-op Trailgate Vehicle Sleeping Platform
As someone who lived out of a Subaru for several months on end, I know how important it is to get a car camping sleeping space just right. You need comfort, but your setup can’t be too tall, or things get claustrophobic. The REI Co-op Trailgate Vehicle Sleeping Platform is a great compromise between comfort and space.
It’s designed with adjustable legs that accommodate folded-down seats in the back of an SUV or wagon. It also comes with a third set of shorter legs that replace the longer legs for a level sleeping space to move the cot to the ground. The front legs are independently adjustable to accommodate wheel wells or other obstructions. REI really thought of it all!
With available widths of 25 inches and 40 inches, choose whether gear space or sleeping space is more important to you. The cot frame is topped with a plush sleeping pad made of polyester foam.
- Three sets of adjustable legs that fit most SUVs and station wagons
- Available in two widths
- 400-pound weight capacity on the 40-inch version
- Foam sleeping pad included
- Only a 250-pound weight capacity on the 25-inch version
Best Lightweight Camping Cot
Helinox Lite Cot
Some backpackers are all about forgoing comfort and making their base weight as light as possible. Others refuse to give up some creature comforts. I fall into the latter camp and would be more than willing to carry an extra 2 pounds, 13 ounces if it meant better, deeper sleep. And that’s just what the Helinox Lite Cot promises.
Packing down to just 5 inches wide by 21 inches long, this cot can strap to the side or bottom of a pack or even slip inside a larger pack. It’s not a true ultralight solution by backpacking standards, but more than doable for a moderate or occasional trip. Even if you’re not going backpacking, the lighter weight is welcome when your vehicle is loaded with other gear.
The platform is made of durable ripstop nylon that resists tears and fraying. You’ll need a sleeping bag or pad on top for warmth, but otherwise, this cot is ready for all your upcoming adventures. Oh, and don’t forget to check out this Helinox chair for another excellent camping essential.
- Weighs under 3 pounds and packs down to a compact size
- Durable construction
- Aluminum frame
- Internal bungee self-assembles the poles
- Sits really low to the ground
- Weight capacity is only 265 pounds
Best Packable Camping Cot
ALPS Mountaineering Ready Lite Cot
The ALPS Mountaineering Ready Lite Cot packs smaller than the above Helinox Lite Cot, but it weighs about 2 pounds more. It folds down to a nice, neat, 18-inch by 8-inch by 3-inch rectangle and fits in an included carrying bag. There are lighter and smaller cots out there, but we like this one because of its full steel frame, whereas other backpacking cots have plastic parts that won’t last as long. This cot also features a sleeve platform to insert a sleeping pad in between the two honeycomb ripstop layers.
- Packs down to 18-inch by 8-inch by 3-inch
- Weighs just 5 pounds
- Durable ripstop fabric
- Platform doubles as a sleeve for a sleeping pad
- Low to the ground
What to Consider When Buying a Camping Cot
Here are several factors to work into your search for the best camping cot.
- Body weight and size: Make sure to check the weight and height capacity in the product description to ensure the cot can fully support you comfortably.
- Number of campers and/or pets: If you plan to sleep on the same cot as your partner, friend or pet(s), you’ll probably need an XL or XXL cot.
- Type of camping: If you are backyard camping, car camping or backpacking, you’ll need a cot with specifications that make it more suitable for that purpose, such as adjustable legs or a smaller size, respectively.
- Weather conditions: Look for a cold-weather cot if you plan to camp during winter months or at high elevations, and a water-resistant cot if you camp in humid, damp or rainy areas.
- Assembly: Read customer reviews to get an idea of how easy it is to assemble the cot and if there are any safety hazards.
- Product size and weight: Make sure the cot fits in your vehicle and/or pack and isn’t too heavy to carry around, whether you’re only moving it from your car to your tent or you’re hiking to your site.
Types of Camping Cots
Here’s a brief on different types of camping cots to keep in mind as you continue your search:
- Military cots: This is your basic, run-of-the-mill cot with a steel or aluminum frame and a nylon or polyester platform. They may or may not come with a sleeping pad.
- Car camping cots: These are specifically designed for vehicles and have adjustable legs to account for the design of most SUVs and station wagons.
- Lightweight cots: This type of cot may mean you sacrifice some comfort to keep your pack weight down.
- Backpacking cots: Even lighter than lightweight cots, backpacking cots also pack down to a small size suitable for long hikes.
- Cold-weather cots: A cold-weather cot comes with a cot warmer or a specific layer to help trap body heat when camping during cold weather.
How We Found the Best Camping Cots
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject-matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
What is the difference between cot and camp cot?
In reality, any cot can be a camp cot if you take it camping. The cot that goes camping is a camp cot. But to be more specific, a camp cot is designed to withstand the typical wear and tear that comes with facing the elements. They feature aluminum or powder-coated steel frames to protect from oxidation as well as easy-to-clean rip- and water-resistant fabrics. Camp cots tend to be smaller than regular cots since they are designed to fold up for easy transport.
Are cots warmer than pads?
Cots actually tend to be colder than sleeping pads because they are raised from the ground, so there is nothing to trap warm air beneath your body. However, coldness can be mitigated by investing in a good sleeping bag to use on your cot.
Shop smarter with our expert recommendations for tools, gear and money-saving deals on can’t miss DIY and home products. Sign up for the Stuff We Love newsletter.