Whether you have been an avid camper or have recently discovered the joy of spending recreational time outdoors, comfort eventually becomes a concern.
Not ready for full glamping? Is the idea of another night on the ground equivalent to getting a tooth pulled? Enjoy the freedom of the outdoors but also get a good night’s sleep.
Read our guide on creative usage and comfort tips for buying camper cots.
Consider Size Before Buying Camper Cots
Today’s cots have a lot to offer for providing comfort even in the most remote settings. To find the best sleeping cot for you, here are some size considerations.
The length and width of sleeping cots have gone through improvements to make them suitable for people of all sizes. The standard length is 6 feet, but some cots have extended lengths.
An extended width of your cot will add comfort if you are sleeping with someone else or just want to be a bed hog.
For those of us that enjoy the snug comfort of being cradled in our sleeping bag, single sizes are still available.
Take the height of the cot into consideration. If it is too low to the ground, getting up can be a challenge for many campers. The extra height also provides a storage area under the cot.
Weight Capacity Is Important
You can read descriptions for the amount of body weight a camping cot will support, but also consider the design.
Many cots have been improved to hold more weight but be sure that the weight is distributed so that you are not sinking in the middle. Look for quality stabilizing bars and heavy-duty fabrics.
When thinking of weight capacity, calculate your weight and allow for extra if you are sleeping with a partner.
Mattress and Bedding Options
An air mattress is an added comfort for sleeping cots. They protect backs from support bars and assist in distributing weight. Make sure that the size of the mattress meets the length and width of the cot.
The height of the mattress should be 6-8 inches. You may initially think the thicker the mattress the better. But, consider the height of the cot frame with added mattress and you may find it difficult to get out of your cot.
Your choice of bedding is really a matter of preference. A sleeping bag can offer added insulation for cold nights and many have moisture-wicking material. Still, using your favorite blanket is always an option.
Some manufacturers offer cots that come with the frame, mattress, pillow, pump, and sleeping bag with an easy-to-carry bag that fits everything for campers looking for an all-in-one camping cot.
Look for Protective Materials
The material that is used over the frame of a camping cot should offer water resistance and durability in the weave to comfortably support you.
Oxford fabric is often the preferred choice for camping equipment because it offers these features plus superior breathability to keep you from getting sweaty.
The materials used in the frame should also be weather resistant. Look for quality aluminum for lightweight options.
For increased strength, steel is preferred but is heavier to carry. Look for steel that is powder-coated for rust prevention.
Sleeping out in the open air is so enjoyable for star gazing and a feeling of fully connecting with nature. It’s great until it gets too cold or the bugs get hungry!
If you have a tent, you can always move your cot back in at night. However, there are also cots built into a tent that provides light weather and bug protection but also allows for views outside.
A cot tent can be single or double sleeping. Many offer ample window space and breathable fabrics for cozy sleeping and added protection.
Accessories for Camper Cots
It may not be the most important requirement, but having pockets for storing flashlights, glasses, and medications on hand makes for a convenient and comfortable night. No more rummaging around in the dark through bags for necessities.
Many outdoor cots offer sturdy frames to support LED string lights for a quick flip of the switch to light your way during the night. Kids love this added comfort of nighttime lighting in fun colors.
For added water protection, look for a coordinating rain fly or tilting umbrella. If lounging outside on the deck or patio, consider installing an affordable retractable awning with a tilt feature for water runoff.
How Portable Are Today’s Cots?
Most cots are not intended for long hiking trips. There are lightweight styles that are easy to carry without sacrificing heavier weight support. Look for single-size cots with durable fabric and an easy fold and carry design.
For shorter walking distances, you may be surprised to find how easy it is to pack up a large sleeping cot. Some cots are quick to fold in seconds.
Some offer the ability to use with or without a mattress for light transport. Divide the load for longer walks by carrying the frame in its packing bag and have your partner carry the mattress in a separate bag.
Creative Uses for Your Sleeping Cot
Outdoor cots offer so much versatility in how they are used beyond traditional camping methods. They are an affordable option for providing comfort for guests and are portable for ease of storage.
Many campers are finding an affordable alternative to the expense of towing a pop-up tent. If you own a pick-up truck, a cot tent is perfect for the truck bed. It’s great for outdoor music festivals, tailgating, and beach lounging.
If you have children, you know how difficult it is to help a tired child during an outdoor event when there is nowhere for them to nap. Keep them safe and comfortable within arms reach at your next tailgate with a cot tent.
Using a cot tent in your truck bed also gives you many more options for camping remotely. No more worry about damage to a tow on rugged terrain or having to worry about height clearances.
Events at Home
For outdoor home parties that lead late into the night, you don’t need a mansion or a local hotel to provide comfortable sleeping arrangements for guests. Keep them safe from unnecessary travel with multiple tent cots spaced throughout the yard.
Provide some family fun for the kids at home! Create a caravan scene with a central fire pit and multiple camping cots. If you have an outdoor theater projector, arrange tent cots for a night reminiscent of a drive-in theater experience.
Kids love to have outdoor slumber parties. Invest in single outdoor cots you can place in a large screened canopy. The kids will enjoy being together for late-night giggles, and you can sleep comfortably in a nearby tent cot for monitoring.
A camping cot can be used for so much more than camping outside. Use them for quick set-up in a room for guests and easy storage later. But, continue to think out of the box for a moment.
Many Americans are learning from other countries that have traditionally incorporated naps into the work schedule. The benefits of a nap during work hours include increased productivity. Many employers and health insurance companies are promoting this idea for better health and overall cost savings.
If you are a remote worker, a camping cot might be a dream come true! Work out on your deck and continue to enjoy the fresh air at nap time. Bring the joys of the outdoor hammock to the next level of comfort with an easy-to-fold-away cot or leave it up for daily use under a covered porch.
Retrofit Your Camping Gear With Cots
If you already have a large tent but have been thinking of ways to keep food protected, consider using the tent for an eating area and provide individual sleeping quarters with tent cots.
For ultimate freedom to experience the outdoors, opt for a sleeping cot under a canopy. Many styles of outdoor canopies offer a large screening area for bug protection and open-air sleeping.
Don’t forget your best bud when considering buying camper cots. Dogs are great companions and offer protection in remote camping areas. Show your appreciation with a dog cot that provides cooling comfort at rest time.
Bring Comfort to All of Your Outdoor Adventures
Whether you are looking for outdoor fun at home or ready to embark on taking in new sites, there are so many products out there to make experiencing the outdoors a little more comfortable and practical.
If you’ve enjoyed the tips in this guide for buying camper cots, visit us often for new products and advice for getting the most out of your outdoor living space and adventures.