How To Choose A Camping Cot

Camping Cot in Tent

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Comfort is the main reason why campers choose to sleep on a camping cot instead of sleeping on the ground. Camp cots help you stay warmer and sleep better. The main advantage is that a cot keeps your body off the ground and for individuals who have difficulty with getting up or down, an elevated cot can make a huge difference. Being off the ground helps to regulate your body temperature and prevent the cold air that naturally settles on the ground at night from sapping your body heat. And in warmer weather conditions a cot will help keep you cooler by allowing the air to circulate below as well as above you.

Another advantage of a camp cot is the storage space it offers below the cot where space is limited inside a tent. And of course a camp cot cannot spring a leak and deflate which is possible with an air mattress used for sleeping on the ground. Most cots are made from strong polyester cloth with a vinyl covering that prevents dampness and resists stains and grime. Many camp cots feature an organizer pouch that hangs from the side and includes separate pockets for storage and quick access to personal belongings such as eyeglasses, keys, tools, flashlights, medication and wallets.

Tips on How to Choose the Best Camp Cot

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1. Where Do You Intend to Camp Out?

Whether you are canoe camping, biking, or taking part in long-term camping like research trips will determine the type, the frame, and the size of the cot you choose. For extended trips the extra weight and bulk of a sturdy camp cot will be worth the effort for extra comfort. For canoe and biking trips a lighter weight cot will be better where you don’t have to carry the cot very far.

2. Is It Lightweight Enough?

The frame is the basic support structure of a cot and most lightweight cots are made from aluminum.

3. How Much Weight Can It Bear?

Heavy duty frames are made out of steel to withstand weight and prevent bending under load. Check the manufacturer weight rating to ensure it can handle your weight.

4. Does It Have Proper Support?

Camp cots have three types of leg styles: vertical, military X-style, and C-shape connected by a horizontal bar. Cheaper cots normally have a C-shape design which is more suited for indoor use. For outside use inside a tent you will need rubber end-caps to prevent the leg from tearing or puncturing the floor of the tent.

5. What Type of Fabric Will Be Suitable?

Most cots are made from single-layer nylon or polyester fabric that is supportive enough and easy to clean. Cots with mesh fabric are cooler for use in warmer weather.

6. How Supportive Is the Sleeping Surface?

Camp cots rely on spring systems or the tension systems to support your weight. Some cots come with tension systems that are adjustable for the level of support required. Spring systems can be fine-tuned by relocating, removing or adding some of the supports.

7. How Comfortable Is the Sleeping Surface?

Some cots come with extra padding for additional comfort but are heavier and bulkier. A more flexible option is a foam mattress or pad for extra cushioning and warmth.

8. Is It the Right Size for You?

The average camp cot dimensions are in the region of 75 inches long by 25 inches wide to accommodate most adults. There are larger sizes for taller individuals and youth models for shorter ones. Extra-wide models are up to 40 inches wide and are heavy duty to support more weight. If you wish to fit two of you in the cot then you could consider a double camping cot.

9. Is It Easy to Assemble and Fold Down?

Choose a design that assembles and collapses quite easily for ease of transport and storage. Some cots disassemble completely while others fold over into sections. Some designs are more complex to set-up but once you get the hang of it will only take a few minutes.

10. How Portable Is the Cot?

The packed size and weight of the cot will determine its portability. The most portable ones weight between 2 – 4 pounds and pack down to the size of a small 1- or 2-person tent and are a viable option for backpackers. However, they may have a lower weight capacity, sit lower to the ground, and be less durable. Most camp cots come with a carrying bag and a shoulder strap for easy transportation.