Camping is all about exploring, hunting, and enjoying far from the city buzz. But what if you spend your camping nights tossing and turning in an uncomfortable sleeping bag? A nightmare, right?
After a long tiring day, all a camper wants is to sleep comfortably and prepare for the next day’s adventures. Unfortunately, a poor choice of sleeping bed spoils their fun. All they need is to enter the realm of camping cots.
Camping cots can dramatically enhance your sleep. They are the holy grails for campers, and once you try them, you won’t even consider anything else.
If you’re planning for the next adventure and worried about your sleep, we are here to help. In this guide, we will answer all your questions about cots and suggest the best cots for camping. So, let’s get started!
What Is a Cot?
Before choosing the best cot, let’s discover what it actually is. A camping cot serves just like a bed and supports your hips and back. These cots for sleeping allow campers to get in and out easily, which is good for older campers.
Since weather can change anytime, no one can prepare for it entirely. This is when a cot comes in handy. It helps the campers regulate their body temperature.
For instance, in winters, it keeps you off the cold ground. On the other hand, it ensures effective insulation (free airflow from in and out of the cot) to keep you cool.
Not only that, you can set them up in just a few minutes. In addition, their large sizes make them relatively heavier, so you may struggle in carrying them.
Is a Cot Good for Camping?
Yes, it is. The primary benefit of sleeping on a cot is that it keeps you elevated off the ground. Suppose you’re camping in the mountains, and all you’ve got is a rocky surface to sleep on. In such situations, sleeping on a cot with a significant height from the ground will ensure that you get the best sleep.
Moreover, cots for sleeping also support campers with stiff muscles who struggle with getting up and down. Apart from that, cots also help you cope with the outside temperatures by keeping you insulated on hot days and off the cold ground on chilly days. You can also choose to sleep without the tent of the cot if you want to interact with your friends sleeping nearby.
How Do I Choose the Best Cots for Camping?
Choosing the best cot for camping makes all the difference. If you go for the wrong size or insulation capacity, you’ll only regret wasting your money. The most important thing to look for while buying a cot is “size.”
Since you want a cot that covers your body properly, you'll have to look for one that has plenty of sleeping surface. So, if you haven’t measured your height yet, do it and get a cot accordingly.
However, the safest bet is to go for a cot as big as you can afford. Who doesn’t love sleeping on a big bed? The rule of thumb to evaluate the size of a cot is to subtract 3 inches from its length and width. That’s because manufacturers usually include the top of the cot in size as well. So, you don’t want the metal rods touching you, obviously.
What Size Camping Cot Do I Need?
Camping cots come in a wide range of sizes, including widths and lengths, height, and weight capacities. So, how to choose the right cots for camping? Generally, your most suitable cot would be the one that offers you the proper balance between comfort and fit.
So, now it all depends on your needs. If you want a low-profile and ground-level sleeping cot that provides a uniform sleeping surface, you can rely on compact or collapsible cots. On the other hand, high-profile beds like bi-fold, military, or accordion offer you ease to get in and out and more storage space between the legs.
What Size Cots Does RIO Gear Offer?
If you want to have a quick look over the best cots for camping with different sizes in one place, RIO Gear is the best platform to do so. We offer camping cots in 3 different sizes, including Large (L), XL, and XXL. Let’s have a quick look at their measurements and weight capacity:
RIO Gear Smart L Camping Cot
This sleeping cot measures 6 ft. 4 inches with folded dimensions of 38" x 4" x 9".
RIO Gear Smart XL Camping Cot
It is slightly bigger than the large one with a total measurement of 3 ft. x 7 ft. x 2 ft.
RIO Gear Smart XXL Camping Cot
Who doesn’t like to have an inch extra? The RIO XXL camping cot has an additional inch than the large one, making it 7 ft. 1 inch. The good thing is that all of them are super comfortable, easy to set up and fold, and convenient to carry. So, you should just consider the size you need while buying a sleeping cot.
Can You Side Sleep on a Cot?
Being a side sleeper requires some extra effort, especially when you’re outdoors. You need to make special arrangements to relax your entire body, especially your hips and shoulders. However, luckily, a camping cot can be your life-saver.
A camping cot provides substantial support to your shoulders and hips by allowing them to sink into the fabric comfortably. If you pair the cot with an additional mattress pad covering the fabric top, you won't have any pain the next day.
How Do I Make My Cot More Comfortable?
You can tweak some changes here and there to make your cots for camping even cosier. Depending on the weather intensity, you can make necessary adjustments to your standard cot and make the most out of it.
How Do You Keep a Cot Warm?
Cots can be the best choice for winter camping since they support additional insulation and layers. Campers need to ensure proper insulation between the cot and the sleeping bag to achieve their desired warmth. Since you can’t afford to lose any heat, ensure that you choose the right insulating layer.
If you’re just backpacking, you should go for a lightweight layer such as a sleeping pad, woollen blanket, or under-quilt. However, if you’re close to your campsite, you can opt for a bulkier one, such as a foam pad. Doing so will also prevent your cot from getting damaged by the rocky terrain.
Besides, if the weather gets more intense, you can combine different layers to attain the right insulation level. For instance, you can pair a woollen blanket with a sleeping pad to keep your cot warmer.
Alternatively, you can also add hand and foot warmers to your sleeping setup and keep them in pockets and socks. While doing this, one thing to consider is the gap between the cot and the floor, as it can take the heat from your pockets and socks. So, choose a place off the cot’s bottom. Moreover, the “R-value” also matters while choosing winter camping gear. So, look for sleeping bags and pads with an R-value of 4.0 or more to get maximum warmth.
Do You Need a Sleeping Pad on a Cot?
Until now, you probably know that you can add a sleeping pad to your cot for more warmth. But do you actually need it? You do if you’re camping in freezing weather.
You can put the sleeping pad directly on the ground or top it with a wool blanket to cope with the temperature. However, in warm weather, you would be comfortable with just the cot, but you may need insulation to keep yourself cool. So, an insulated pad would be the best for you here.
Whether or not you need a sleeping pad depends on the temperature of your campsite.
Can You Put a Mattress on a Cot?
Yes, you can. Putting a mattress on a cot won’t be a problem if you choose the right weight according to your cot. Of course, you can’t add an 8-inch-thick twin mattress on a 26 inches wide and 16 inches high cot as it will result in almost similar width and height.
Air mattresses are usually thick and take up more space in the cot or tent but require very little trunk space. Before adding some extra layers for maximum comfort, make sure you’re considering the capacity of your cot too. To get cots for camping with sufficient weight capacity, you can browse through RIO gear to find one according to your needs.