Four cots for sleeping well in the woods
Catch quality Zzzs in the backcountry.
Don’t get us wrong, there’s a time and a place for roughing it and sleeping on the bare ground. But there’s no shame in partaking in a little comfort while in the woods. If you can, why not? Camping cots not only afford a better night’s sleep than, say, the flat earth or a paper-thin sleeping pad, but they’ll also keep your back from stiffening up, so you’re nice and limber for stalking a trout stream come daybreak. Plus, with several super-lightweight models on the market, a cot doesn’t even have to add much extra weight to your pack.
When you hear the words camping cot, there’s a strong chance that a classic Coleman model, like this ComfortSmart Cot, springs to mind. It’s a foldable, no-nonsense, 6-foot-6-inch bed, with an included thick sleeping pad that promises a good night’s sleep. At 19.6 pounds, it’s not exactly light, but it’s the cheapest model on our list, so it has that going for it.
If you’re a big dude, you don’t want to get stuck trying to catch Zs on a tiny cot. Behold, the reasonably priced, 26-pound Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Cot. It has a 600-pound weight capacity (as opposed to the Coleman ComfortSmart’s 300) and an extra-large sleeping area, measuring 80 inches long and 35.5 inches wide. “The BEST camping purchase ever!” one user wrote. “Finally! I’ve graduated to a real camp bed!”
Camping cots, for all the good sleep they afford, tend to be heavy and not terribly compact. That’s typically the tradeoff: good sleep in exchange for extra weight. The Helinox Lite Cot is an outlier in this regard. At 2.8 pounds, it’s one of the lightest cots on the market, and it packs down to fit in a 20.5-inch-long bag, making it backpacking friendly. The catch is that it’s fairly pricey, but if you’re serious about shedding pounds, the Helinox Lite Cot will do the trick.
The Desert Walker Camping Cot is an ultralight cot, weighing about 3 pounds and packs down to 19.6 inches. It sits 6 inches off the ground when assembled, and has a 440-pound weight capacity (though some users call this into question). It receives slightly more mixed praise than the Helinox Lite Cot—but it also costs about half as much, and would be our pick if given the choice.