Planning a camping trip is fun, in fact, it is a lot of fun. However, it is not easy, especially if it is your first camping vacation. You need to gather a lot of stuff like camping toilet, shower, chairs, air beds, mattresses and so on. One of the most important requirements to make your camping sheer fun is your sleeping cot (also called “folding cots” or “camping beds”). That is why you are reading this camping cot buyer’s guide. The one thing that you need most in the evening is a round of sound sleep to wake up fresh and rejuvenated in the morning to continue with your safari (or just three-day relaxation by the lake). But buying the right camping cot can be hard, and that is why I put together this guide for you.
Here are a few things to help you buy a camping cot…
- Read user reviews online
- Why buy a camping cot and not any other sleeping means?
- Your budget
- How much weight can the camping cot hold?
- Size of the camping cot
- Buy from the most well know brand names
- The fabric used to make the camping cot
- Cot frame
- The strength of the cot
- Ease of setup
- What do you think?
Read user reviews online
In this digital age, do we still have people who go out to buy stuff they need without reading user reviews? You should do the same before you buy a camping cot. The good thing is that I am the number one user of such items being an ardent camper and therefore, I will bring you reviews on cots and other equipment in the camping cots reviews section.
Why should you read product reviews before buying? There are many reasons, but the chief ones are:
- You can get an unbiased view about a certain product as opposed to reading a professional review, which would give you the benefits only and leave you to figure out the cons on your own.
- It is OK for a camping cot to have one or two cons, but if there are more than that, please move on and try another one. By reading a user review about a camping cot, you will not be buying blindly.
- You will also get to know the top products from the reviews. There are many brands and models for camping cots around and since they all claim to be the best, it can be a bit hard for you to know which is actually the best one. Read the reviews, see what most users go for and go for it too.
- Reviews will tell you the prices for the cots. That way, you can choose what is within your budget, all from the comfort of your living room, assuming you will be buying online.
- You can look at three-dimensional images and know for sure what a good camping cot looks like. Reviews leave no stone unturned when bringing you information about a certain product.
- A good review will tell you how to assemble and use that cot. With the right information, you can be sure of getting the full use out of the camping cot and get more than enough value for your money.
The bottom line is: do not order that camping cot from Amazon or other sites where there are camping cots for sale without reading reviews left for it. You can buy camping cots Walmart offers, but I recommend to look for them online – you’ll find more options and you always have a right to return the cot if you are not happy.
Why buy a camping cot and not any other sleeping means?
As this or any other camping cot buyer’s guide will show you, a camping cot is bulkier than an air bed, sleeping bag or sleeping pad. Thus, you may wonder why you should buy one while there are other options on the market.
The most important thing about a camping cot is that you can sleep off the ground. Now, you know very well that when you are sleeping in the outdoors, the tent cannot prevent smaller, dangerous specimen like scorpions from entering and injecting their venom into your foot or ear. It also cannot prevent snakes. However, when you sleep on a camping cot, you are off the ground, and the elevation makes you feel as if you are home.
If you are camping in an area that has hot weather, you will enjoy some coolness as the elevated status of the cot allows enough air all around you. In addition, it makes you feel safer and therefore you can have long hours of uninterrupted sleep.
And do you know what the best thing about cots is? When your camping vacation is over, you do not have to shelf the camping cot. Just keep it handily around and use it as a guest bed when you have your folks coming over. Despite the name camping cot, a cot is a cot.
Like everything else, in this buyer’s guide, you will find that these cots come in many shapes, colors and sizes and they cost differently. While there are luxurious cots, they cost more than the standard cots, but you can always buy what is within your means. Remember, there is life after camping, so look for money saving deals.
If you are an ardent camper, then it would be much better to spend more money on a cot, buy one that will serve you for a long time. This is better than having to go to the shops every now and then to buy a new one. This means you may have to spend a little more money to buy high-quality camping cot but hey, what do you mind about forking out a few extra dollars for more features? It sure beats paying a lower price for fewer features.
Mostly, good cots will cost anything from $50 upwards. Do find out from the supplier whether the price mentioned includes the shipping fee and, most importantly, when you are buying online, ensure that the product is covered by a return policy and warranty.
How much weight can the camping cot hold?
As you look around the internet and as you read this guide, you will find that there are cots for all sizes of people. Thus, you should buy a cot that can handle your weight comfortably without straining. For some, if you are 180 lb (~80 kg), well, you should look for a cot that can handle that amount of weight and so on. If you are buying cots for your children, you can buy the low-weight ones and the good thing is that in the market, there are all types of cots as you may be looking for.
Consider also the dimensions of the cot. Thankfully, when you are buying your cot online, you will find everything on the site from which you are buying your cot. A good cot for a grownup man or woman will most likely have dimensions like 75 by 28 by 16 inches (~190 x 70 x 40 cm).
There also are double cots (one-level and two-level) on the market which accommodate two people.
When looking for cots, you will from time to time see people calling them “military cots”. Usually, they talk about the same thing…
Size of the camping cot
No camping cot buyer’s guide can be considered complete if it does not give the dimensions of the cot that you should buy. When it comes to the size consideration, you have to consider a few things. One of them is the size of the cot when it has been folded. Will it fit in your car? Remember, a foldable cot is the most preferable option for you so that you can store it neatly at home and also carry it easily when going camping. When the box containing the cot is delivered, you will know its size when it is folded.
What is the size of the cot when it is erected? Will it fit in the camping tent? You should actually know the size of the erected camping cot before you pay for it. Mostly, children’s cots will be at least 6 inches (~15 cm) from the floor, while adult cots could be as low as 9 inches (~23 cm) and as high as 19 inches (~48 cm) from the floor. Do not be surprised however if you find that some cots are even more than 20 inches (~50 cm) high.
As for the width and the length of the cot, well the width starts at 28 inches (~70 cm), 32 (~80 cm) and even 40 inches (~100 cm). For the length, some cots are quite long and can comfortably accommodate a person who is six feet five (~195 cm). You can see that no matter what your physical attributes are, you will find a cot that is good enough for you.
The good thing about elevated camp cots is that they leave space underneath that you can use to store some of the camping stuff that you carried with you.
Buy from the most well know brand names
This rule applies, even when you are buying other items. Sometimes, it is just much better to buy from a tried, tested and proven brand name than being a guinea pig on which a new company wants to try its products.
Since there are so many brand names in the market and all of them claim to be the best, well, you will have to read a few reviews, just as I said at the beginning of this camping cot buyer’s guide. Usually, it will cost slightly more to buy a camping cot from a highly reputed brand name, but then, you will be assured of quality and for the many years that you will use the cot, you will definitely get more than enough value for your money.
Check out our reviews section to see some great camping cots we and our friends have tested in real life.
The fabric used to make the camping cot
Camping cots are like clothes. They are made of diverse material/fabric and this somehow influences their price. However, choose a fabric that will be easy to maintain and one that will last a long time. You must remember that most of the time when you are going camping, the cot will be exposed to the weather elements.
- Some cots are made of 600D polyester
- Some are made of 1000D polyester
- Some are even made of the heavy Oxford polyester fabric that is used to manufacture tarpaulins.
- If you are buying a military-style cot, it will be made of either 600D or 1000D polyester fabric that is PVC-coated to enable it to last many years of use.
It is important that you know how to fix the cot just right so that when you are finished, the cot will not make noise when you lie on it. It should also not be wobbly.
- Because the frame tubing is usually powder coated, it will withstand all the weather elements and will not require any maintenance.
- The cot’s framing has to be enforced with steel or aluminum connectors to make it much stronger.
- The frame will, of course, be foldable to pack it minimally when traveling and when in storage.
- It is better to buy a camping cot that has high ground clearance, say, at least 9 inches (~23 cm) from the floor. That way, you will have room to store some of your stuff under the cot. Some cots have a bigger ground clearance, some even have 20 inches (~50 cm) ground clearance. Kids cots have a ground clearance of 6 inches (~15 cm).
- Note that while the frame of the cot will be made of metal, the part where the legs lock together may be plastic. This should not worry you because the cot will support your weight comfortably.
Because you intend to keep the camping cot for a long time, you should only buy what is covered by a good warranty. The longer the warranty cover, the better because it shows the confidence that the manufacturer has in their product.
Some cots are covered by a two or three-year warranty, others come with a five-year warranty and so on. However, note that there are terms and conditions regarding the use of the warranty. Read them carefully before you can start using the camping cot.
Before you order your camping cot online, please make sure it is covered by a warranty. That way, if it should break apart due to a manufacturer’s fault, you could even have it replaced.
The strength of the cot
Now, this is very important. If you buy a weak cot, then it means you run the risk of collapsing it to the ground in the middle of your sleep. This could cause injuries that are most likely not covered by your travel insurance. But it does not have to be like that. If you are smart, you will want to look for a camping cot that has been rated safe and strong enough for your weight.
The cot frame will be made of metal that is strong and at the same time, light enough to enable you to carry it around on the camping site and to make for easy loading and offloading in the car. What is more readily available in the market is camping cots made of stainless steel. However, for just about the same price, you can buy cots made of aluminum frames, which are much lighter and almost as strong as stainless steel. Both stainless steel and aluminum metals require little to no maintenance. Thus, you can buy such confidently.
It is better to buy a cot that can withstand more than your weight, just in case you add a few extra pounds when you go camping. You just want the assurance that it will not collapse from under you at the most inopportune time.
What kinds of accessories should you expect the camping cot to come with? There are many, but when you order one from Amazon, eBay and other online marketplaces, you will most likely get the packing bag only. However, do not limit yourself at all. Here are more accessories that come with camping cots:
- Nightstands for your personal things like phone, charger, books, and toiletries
- Storage compartments for your clothes
- A few pouches for your stationery, flashlight, screwdrivers and other small tools
- Pocket for your glasses
- Cot trees will provide a good place to hang your hat, jacket and binoculars
- Mosquito nets to keep away the troublesome insects
- A drink holder
- Carry bag
- … and many more
Ease of setup
Lastly, your camping cot must be easy to set up. Assemblage must not take more than 15 minutes maximum, and that is for a newbie. There will be a user manual as well as a panel of information for use.
This camping cot buyer’s guide has included as many considerations as possible to enable you to buy a cot easily. Now that you know what to look for, buy the best. Do not skimp on the good features on account of the cost. After all, this is most likely going to be a one-off buy, as you will use the cot for many years of camping.
What do you think?
Are you a camping freak and have tried out dozens of sleeping cots? Or you have your only one for many years and are happy with it. Let us know what is your experience…