Camping is a wonderful way to escape the trials of the modern world and engage with the natural world around them. And great days spent camping need the best tent cots for a good night’s sleep. For those of an outdoorsy persuasion, there’s no better way to relax and enjoy your free time than by exploring the natural wonders on their doorstep. Whether you’re camping alone, with your significant other or with the family, camping represents an opportunity to put some physical distance between you and your stresses and anxieties. You enjoy the calming and restorative properties of the great outdoors. Not to mention getting a much-needed tech detox!
But let’s not kid ourselves, camping is a rugged outdoor pursuit. It involves a lot of energy spent on hiking, wading, watching, exploring and even (for some) fishing and foraging. And after all that effort, you and your family will want a comfortable night’s sleep. Here’s where a good tent cot can work wonders.
What is a tent cot?
Designed to provide support and comfort, a tent cot is all you need to get a good night’s sleep. This is especially if you are unable to get to sleep in a sleeping bag. They provide the elevation to allow you to sleep without coming face to face with any creepy crawlies that have invaded your tent.
While most tent cots are for single-use, there are some double-sized tent cots on the market, too. With these, you and your significant other can enjoy restful slumber together in the humble wonders of the outdoor world.
A tent cot helps you to get the most of your sojourn into the great outdoors. It provides a small measure of the comfort you need to get a restful night’s sleep under the stars. This makes you ready to face the morning with a rested body, an energized mind, and a positive outlook.
Since all campers are different, we thought it might be prudent to take a look at some of the best tent cots on the market. This way you can choose the one that’s best suited to your unique needs.
Choosing the right tent cot for you. Know your needs
Because every camper is different, each will have their own needs and priorities.
For some, comfort and support will be of paramount importance. And so, they might be more than prepared to carry a bulkier and more cumbersome tent cot around with them to get it. On the other hand, there may be some who struggle to walk for long distances while carrying heavy or bulky objects on their backs. So, their top priority might be a lighter and more portable tent cot. And then there are many for whom assembling and disassembling camping equipment is a tedious struggle. They will, thus, want a tent cot that is easy to fold and also something quick and easy to assemble.
If you’re unsure where to start, this YouTube video from GO Outdoors has some great ideas on what to look for. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyxh2mkRbVY
While your priorities will be as unique and individual as you are, here are some things you might want to consider…
Size and weight
The last thing you want is a tent cot that is inadequate for your size or that of a family member. Arms and legs dangling from a tent cot onto the cold ground are not conducive to a good night’s sleep. At the same time, the larger the tent cot the more cumbersome it is likely to be even when folded down. Heavier tent cots will also make transportation more physically grueling. This can result in energy loss and dehydration. If you’re likely to be carrying your tent cot for long periods of time, you may need to make a compromise with the size and weight.
Materials are another area in which you may need to find a balance based on your own priorities. You may prioritize materials that feel soft and comfortable to help you to get a good night’s sleep. Or you may prefer to use materials that are lighter, stronger and more hard-wearing or practical. Eco-conscious campers, on the other hand, might prioritize natural and more sustainable materials.
It’s a no-brainer really isn’t it? It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when you’re uncomfortable. And discomfort can lead to frustration which in turn can lead to more lost sleep. It’s potentially a vicious cycle.
Those with back problems especially will need to feel supported while you sleep. Although some prefer to feel like they’re sleeping on a marshmallow, there are many who can only rest when they know that their joints are well supported.
Color and design
You wouldn’t want your assembled tent cot to be an eyesore that’s an affront to your aesthetic sensibilities. As such, you may want to choose a tent cot that looks pleasant. It also has to make you feel a little more at home even in the great outdoors. Sometimes, a little home comfort can go a long way in helping you get a good night’s sleep.
Ease of assembly/setup
After a long day’s exploration, the last thing you want is to spend over an hour grappling with an uncooperative camp bed just as you’re ready to turn in. As such, you’ll want a tent cot that’s quick and easy to set up, especially if you tend to be all thumbs when it comes to assembling things. So you can spend more time snoozing and less time wrestling with your tent cot.
Finally, it’s worth taking some time to consider where you’ll be heading with your tent cot and what kind of environment it’ll be subjected to. This will likely also have a knock-on effect on how far / how often you’ll be carrying it and what kind of surfaces you’ll be trying to get comfortable on.
If you’ll have the use of your car for most of your trip or traversing flat open ground that’s one thing. But if you’ll be traversing rugged or mountainous terrain with your tent cot, that’s quite another.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best tent cots for a good night’s sleep…
Seasoned outdoorsmen and women will no doubt be familiar with the Coleman brand. Their reputation and product range are impressive, which is why they’re the makers of several entries on this list.
This ComfortSmart Deluxe Cot offers an excellent combination of rugged support combined with a level of comfort. You might not expect this from a tent cot. At 80 x 30 x 15” it can comfortably suit most adults, even those up to 6’6” in height.
Weighing in at just over 20lbs, it’s light enough to be able to carry even on long trips. Yet, its sturdy steel frame can accommodate a weight of up to 300lbs. It will, thus, be able to accommodate most healthy adults.
But there’s more to this cot than just sturdiness. The padding, provided by coil suspension underneath a memory foam pad provides a feel that’s as close to your own bed as it’s possible to get while sleeping under the stars. It’s also easy to set up which is always welcome after a hard day’s labors.
- Lightweight, making it readily portable
- Able to accommodate most adults comfortably
- Great combination of comfort and support
- Luxurious feel that’s close to your own bed at home
- A trusted brand with a good reputation
- While not particularly heavy, it’s generous size can make it cumbersome to carry over long distances.
- Nowhere to store personal items
Another entry by Coleman, this camping cot provides maximum portability without compromising support. What’s more, this cot is easily adjustable and you can use it for sitting and reclining as well as sleeping. This makes it great not only for camping sojourns but long fishing trips, too.
Best of all, it even has a little side table with a built-in cup holder. This makes it perfect for storing personal items like books, magazines, wallet, car keys, cell phone, and many more. You are also able to store your drink securely without the fear of spillage.
The cot measures 80 x 44 x 17” when unfolded. It can easily accommodate most adults under 6’7” in height and 300lbs in weight. Despite its robust nature, it’s surprisingly easy to set up. It also folds into a handy size for easy storage in most car trunks.
This rugged Pack-Away Camping Cot is able to withstand season after season of continuous use without wear or tear.
- Versatile and suitable for a range of occasions
- Easy to set up, fold down and adjust without tools
- Built-in side table and cup holder
- Sturdy and robust
- Generously sized
- Light in weight
- Lacks in padding which may lead some to feel uncomfortable
- While fairly compact when folded may be tricky to carry over long distances.
Coleman’s third and final entry on the list is Trailhead II Military Style Cot. Composed of heavy-duty polyester fabric, this Military Style Cot stretches over a durable, dual-cross-bar steel frame. This allows the cot to achieve an admirable balance between comfort and functionality.
Unfolded, the cot measures 75 x 30 x 17” and can accommodate most adults up to 6’2” in height. While it is capable of supporting weights of up to 300 lbs it weighs just over 18lbs. You can also fold it down into a compact size for easy transportation. This makes it perfect for campers who want to make multiple stops across long-distance journeys without the aid of an automobile. Folded, the cot measures just 40.2 x 7.9 x 3.9” and even has its own carrier bag for easy transportation.
While campers rest, a sturdy steel X frame supports them. This stretches the heavy-duty polyester for an effect that is surprisingly comfortable and supportive without padding. What’s more, the cot also features storage pockets to allow easy access to your belongings.
It’s intelligent yet modest design makes it a very affordable tent cot. It will help campers on a budget get a good night’s sleep.
- Surprisingly comfortable and supportive
- Easily portable even over long distances
- Quick and easy to setup
- No padding
Who says you should have to choose between comfort and portability? This folding camping cot from Aplcour provides campers with all the comfort of a bed, wherever they go.
Available in three colors (green, gray and blue) this single person “bed in a bag” is one of the most readily portable on this list. Yet, it still offers great comfort and support. Its collapsible steel frame is capable of supporting adults weighing up to 300lbs. It can also fold out to 75 x 26 x 15” with around 19” of head height. This should be able to comfortably accommodate all but the tallest adults.
It also comes with a pillow for added head support and a storage pocket for your gear on the aside. The 600D Double Layered Polyester is also developed with a slight incline to give you a great combination of comfort and support without the need for passing or coils. And the fabric is breathable so you won’t wake up hot and sweaty during the night.
But perhaps the biggest selling point of this cot is its portability. It weighs in at a feather-lite 13lbs. It folds down to a diminutive 40” x 8 x 5” before being safely stowed away in its carry bag which can be slung over yours.
- Extremely light
- Easy to carry around, set up and collapse
- Excellent comfort and support
- Fits most adults comfortably
- Range of colors
- Pillow and pockets for added comfort and convenience
- Some people might still want extra padding, but they can bring this along separately.
Tall or well-built campers (or those who prefer a little personal space when they sleep) may well yearn for a tent cot that gives them the space they crave yet folds down into a manageable size for easy transportation. The TEFTON Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Cot is designed for those who refuse to compromise. And because it is capable of supporting the weight of up to 600 lbs, even heavy adults can relax with peace of mind… or you could even share this extra-large cot with your significant other.
Folded out, the cot has generous dimensions of 85 x 40 x 19” yet folds down to a petite 42 x 12 x 7 for storage. It has a weight of just 26lbs. The combination of aluminum frame and steel legs give the perfect combination of lightweight and sturdy support. Supplemented by the S-Leg, this design gives the cot superior stability even on unpredictable terrain.
This cot is also designed to be super-easy to set up too. It comes with a pivot arm that spares users from having to struggle to make the fabric tight across the frame.
- Innovative design
- Easy to set up
- Impressive capacity
- Good comfort
- Extremely sturdy
- Even when folded may be heavy or cumbersome on long journeys, making this entry best suited for car camping rather than hiking
A wonderful and memorable camping trip means nights of comfortable and restful sleep. Chosen to give its users comfort and support, these tent cots ensure that they can travel without the folded cot becoming an encumbrance.
However, if we had to pick a winner, we’d be inclined to go for Alpcour’s entry. This bed in a bag offers the best combination of sturdy support, lightweight, easy portability, and comfort which make it great for all kinds of outdoor adventures.