Investing in a couple of tent cots has been a great way of getting my parents involved with our family camping trips. They aren't getting any younger (no offense, guys!) and it is really important that they take good care of their backs.
It’s not just my parents who have benefited from the upgrade, though. After far too many years of stubbornly using a sleeping pad, I have to admit that my camping experience is much more comfortable now that we have the cots.
If you're getting too old for sleeping on a hard floor or you just want to keep your back healthy and pain-free for as long as possible, you should definitely consider getting your hands on a tent cot.
This article gives you 15 brilliant suggestions, so you can spend less time trawling through the internet and more time getting on with your next adventure.
Best Tent Cots Review - My Top 5 Picks
Kamp-Rite Original Tent Cot 1
Taking home gold as the best tent cot in my review, the Kamp-Rite Original Tent Cot 1 is a solid all-around performer in a variety of environments. It boasts a relatively large sleeping area for a single-person shelter, with a total length of 84” (213cm), so it’s great for tall campers.
Furthermore, this tent cot is built with a burly and waterproof 190T nylon fabric rainfly. Its heavy-duty powder-coated aluminum frame is also rugged enough to use in harsh conditions, so you don’t need to worry about it breaking after a few trips.
At the same time, the Tent Cot 1 boasts a quick-set-up design for ease of use. It even packs down into its own carry bag, so loading and unloading the car will be less of a hassle.
Kamp-Rite CTC Standard Tent Cot 1
Budget-friendly, yet lightweight, the Kamp-Rite CTC Standard Tent Cot 1 is a solid option for frequent road-side adventures.
Made using 190T nylon fabric, the CTC Standard is fully waterproof for use in wet conditions. The flexible aluminum poles create a massive overhead canopy for added headroom, so you’ll feel much less cramped than you might in smaller cots.
What I love about this model is that it is so easy to transport. You can pack it down into its standard carry bag, or you can pull it along on wheels. This is perfect for crossing varied terrain to your camping spot.
Desert Walker Cot Tent
One of the more unique options on my list, the Desert Walker Cot Tent is an ultralight solution that’s ideal for backpacking adventures.
Weighing in at 5.7lbs (2.6kg), this model is just a fraction of the weight of most of its competitors. At the same time, it features a classic backpacking tent-like canopy that maximizes headspace for added comfort at night.
Unlike many other cot tents on the market, this one from Desert Walker has a separate rainfly that also creates two vestibules for added gear storage. This makes organizing your kit a lot easier, plus you don’t have to worry about any of your stuff poking out of the tent and getting wet!
The Desert Walker Cot Tent folds down to just 20”x4.7” (50x12cm), making it a super compact option for expeditions to the mountains.
Timber Ridge 2 Quick Cot Tent
If you want a comfort-focused shelter for camping with your partner, the Timber Ridge 2 Quick Cot Tent might be just what you’re looking for.
This spacious tent boasts a maximum weight capacity of 600lbs (272kg) and offers enough space for two adults. It has a steel cot frame for durability as well as a fiberglass pole canopy to maximize your overhead space.
One of the coolest parts about this tent cot is all the integrated gear storage it offers. In addition to the storage under the cot itself, the Quick Cot Tent comes with pocket organizers and an internal gear loft.
Finally, this model features multiple integrated vents to allow for plenty of airflow at night. As a result, it’s a solid choice for camping trips during the warm summer months.
Therm-a-Rest Tent Cot
An innovative option from one of the industry’s leading manufacturers, the Therm-a-Rest Tent Cot is a lightweight selection for remote mountain missions. Therm-a-rest is a much-loved and trusted camping brand all over the world, and for good reason.
The Tent Cot features a two-wall system for maximum weatherproofing. Plus, it comes outfitted with a spacious no-see-um mesh canopy to create a bug-free sanctuary for snoozing during the summer months.
Furthermore, this model has a full-coverage waterproof rainfly to keep you dry. The strong aluminum poles can be snapped together in just a few minutes, giving you more time to relax in the great outdoors.
Oh, and it all packs down into a compact stuff sack, making the Therm-a-Rest Tent Cot an ideal companion in the backcountry.
10 More Tent Cots Worth Considering
I don't think you'll find a better tent cot than the five I mentioned above, but perhaps you disagree. To give you as much choice as possible, here's 10 more camping cot tents worth considering.
Night Cat Cot Tent
A unique take on the traditional cot tent design, this model from Night Cat blends a tunnel tent with a cot for maximum comfort at night.
It’s made from durable 210D polyester fabric, which is fully waterproof for use in wet environments. This cot tent also boasts a full mesh canopy and an awning, which offers plenty of ventilation and bug protection on nice evenings.
Plus, it weighs just 10.5lbs (4.75kg), so it’s a great packable option for activities like motorcycle camping.
Tangkula Tent Cot 1
When camping in style is your priority, the Tangkula Tent Cot 1 is a must-have.
This highly livable tent cot comes with a spacious interior and a half-dome-style ceiling that maximizes your interior headspace. It also includes its own sleeping bag, pillow, and air-mattress for enhanced comfort as you snooze.
As far as breathability on hot days goes, this model doesn’t disappoint. That’s because it has an assortment of large mesh windows and a convertible awning to help you make the most of nice evenings in camp.
If you want a spacious and breathable option perfect for the summer months, I highly recommend this model.
Kamp-Rite Compact Double Tent Cot
A great option for a couple, the Kamp-Rite Compact Double Tent Cot is a wonderful choice for all your car-camping adventures.
Crafted from 190T fabric for weather-resistance, this model also has large panels of no-see-um mesh on all its windows for breathability. This will keep away the biting insects that can ruin a camping trip.
It also comes with taped seams and corrosion-resistant zippers for enhanced waterproofing.
In addition to its spacious interior, which is large enough for two campers, the Compact Double Tent Cot has a set of interior storage pockets. It even has an under-cot storage system to help you stay organized on the go.
Outsunny Extra-Large Tent Cot 2
Designed specifically with durability in mind, the Outsunny Extra-Large Tent Cot 2 is a nice option for frequent camping trips.
Although it’s a bit heavy (45lbs/20kg), this model features a high 350lbs (158kg) weight capacity for a solo cot. It’s also made with extra-tough polyester and canvas fabrics as well as a rugged aluminum frame for enhanced durability.
If that wasn’t enough, Outsunny designed this model to be relatively easy to pitch. It comes with its own air mattress, so you don’t have to worry about getting a sore back or cricked neck.
Kamp-Rite Kid Cot Tent
Camping with kids? No problem! The Kamp-Rite Kid Cot Tent is a purpose-built shelter that’s designed to help you introduce your little ones to the great outdoors.
Built with the same design found on Kamp-Rite’s adult-style tent cots, this model is perfectly sized for children up to about 12 years old. It can also quickly convert into a lounge chair when not in use, making it a multipurpose item for all your adventures.
Additionally, the kids’ version of this cot weighs just 8lbs (3.6kg) and packs down to just 29”x28” (73.7x71.1cm). So, it’s a highly portable option to bring along on family camping trips as your kids become more independent.
Yescom Folding Tent Cot 1
A practical option for campers who prefer a larger sleeping space, the Yescom Folding Tent Cot 1 is a spacious but portable option.
It features an 84” (213cm) long bed area that comes with a padded mattress topper for a better night’s sleep. Meanwhile, the cot’s frame is made from high-grade aluminum and features a set of four sturdy legs for use on rough terrain.
You might want to check out the smaller “solo” model as well. It has large mesh windows throughout for breathability as well as a removable rainfly for when the weather won’t cooperate.
Kamp-Rite CTC XL Tent Cot 1
An extended version of Kamp-Rite’s uber-popular CTC Tent Cot, this model offers ample sleeping space for taller campers.
In addition to its 84” (213cm) long bed, the CTC XL has a high center height with a dome-shaped canopy for extra comfort. This makes it a super choice for camping in rainy conditions when you have to hunker down in your tent at night.
Or, when the sun is shining, the CTC XL makes it possible to take advantage of the nice weather. It has large mesh panels on all sides as well as doors that convert into awnings. You will be able to enjoy the scenery in comfort, with a breeze coming through your cot and a shady place to sit beneath the awnings.
Outsunny All-in-One Cot Tent 1
An all-in-one solution for outdoor adventure, the Outsunny All-in-One Cot Tent 1 is a solid choice for campers who just want to get out and go.
In addition to being both a cot and a tent, this model comes with its own air mattress, pillow, and sleeping pad. Having all of this built-in will save you money and time—a win-win!
It’s also designed to be used as either a tent cot or a stand-alone tent for increased versatility while you camp.
Furthermore, this tent cot is crafted with rugged canvas and polyester to help you stay dry while outside. It also sets up in just a few minutes, so you can crack open a cold drink and start enjoying the weekend as soon as possible.
Tangkula Tent Cot 2
Your home away from home when camping with a partner, the Tangkula Tent Cot 2 is a spacious option for adventurous duos.
It includes everything you need for your outing, from a comfortable double-width cot to an air mattress, sleeping bags, and pillows. Plus, it comes with a foot pump so you can quickly blow up the air mattress when you arrive at camp.
As a bonus, the Tangkula Tent Cot 2 has an extra-high cot height of 18” (46cm). That makes it much easier to come and go without tripping over the cot or banging your head. You don’t have to worry about starting the day on the wrong foot.
Yescom Tent Cot 2
A highly packable model for two-person outdoor adventures, the Yescom Tent Cot 2 is a popular choice when space-savings are a priority.
Thanks to its nifty folding design, this cot can be set up in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, this folding design allows the tent cot to pack up smaller than nearly all other double models on the market today.
Yescom crafted its two-person cot using rugged 190T Oxford and polyester fabric as well as burly aluminum legs for support.
With this in mind, the Yescom Tent Cot 2 is a sure bet if you need a tent cot that folds up small but doesn’t sacrifice durability in the process.
Tent Cot Buying Guide
Tent cots come jam-packed with different features, so you need to know what to look for as you shop.
Here are four key features to keep in mind when buying a tent cot:
Maximum Weight Capacity
All cot tents have a stated maximum weight capacity for the cot itself. Exceeding this weight capacity could damage your gear and cause an injury in the process.
So, as you look for a cot tent, be sure to consider a model’s weight capacity.
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t load a cot beyond about 80% of its stated capacity. For example, folks who weigh 200lb (90kg) should look for a cot with a capacity of at least 250lbs (114kg), just to play it safe.
Sleeping Area Size & Comfort
Your comfort should be a top priority when you camp, so you’ll want to look for a tent cot that’s spacious enough for your needs.
In particular, you’ll want to think about the total sleeping area of the cot itself. Many single cots tend to be less than 80” (200cm) long, so you may need to look for an extended-length model if you’re tall.
Staying warm and dry at night is always a concern while camping. With that in mind, you’ll want to look for something with a decent rainfly, ideally with a minimum 2000mm water resistance. Don’t forget to treat your cot’s rainfly with a waterproof coating, just like you would with any tent that you buy.
A double-layer tent cot would be better than a single layer, as it will resist more rain and also be less prone to condensation.
Although most cot tents are designed for use while car camping or overlanding, it’s still important to consider the packability of your gear before you head outside.
For the most part, you can expect a tent cot to weigh between 20 and 60lb (9 to 27kg). As you can imagine, double cots and those with heavy-duty steel frames tend to be both heavier and bulkier than their solo-sized counterparts.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, and some models weigh under 10lbs (4.5kg). So, if you need a lighter, more packable model for your adventures, this is something to pay close attention to as you shop.
When to Use a Tent Cot
Deciding whether or not a cot tent is a good shelter option for your camping trip depends on your personal adventure style. However, there are a few particularly good times to use a tent cot as opposed to a more traditional freestanding tent.
When deciding whether a tent cot is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I prefer to keep my gear list as small as possible?
- Are most of my camping trips solo adventures?
- Do I camp mostly in campgrounds or at roadside locales?
- Am I willing to sacrifice packability and weight savings for convenience?
If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, a tent cot might be what you’re looking for. That’s because, in general, cot tents are best for use in situations where convenience and ease of use are key.
Furthermore, because the majority of tent cots are designed for just 1 person, they’re ideal for solo camping trips. Of course, you can find 2 person models, but these are less common.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that most tent cots are heavier and bulkier than your standard tent. Because the cot itself tends to weigh quite a bit, the majority of tent cots are not suitable for ultralight camping.
Therefore, while lightweight options are out there, cot tents are best for car camping, motorcycle camping, and overlanding adventures where weight savings isn’t a chief concern.
The Benefits of Camping with a Tent Cot
As compared to a traditional camping tent, cot tents provide a host of benefits for your camping adventures. These include:
Comfort. All campers know that sleeping pads can be really uncomfortable. Cots offer a lot more support for your back and neck, which makes a big difference in the quality of your sleep.
Simplicity. Because cot tents combine a sleeping surface and a shelter into one package, you usually don’t have to worry about packing a sleeping pad for comfort at night.
Easy Entry/Exit. Most cot tents provide you with an elevated sleeping platform. This makes them ideal for folks with limited mobility who can’t or prefer not to sleep on the ground.
Increased Breathability. Due to the elevated platform of a tent cot, they tend to be much more comfortable for summertime camping. That’s because air can flow under the cot itself, providing a bit of natural cooling on muggy summer nights.
Protection from Critters. As an extra benefit of being raised off the ground, tent cots provide a bit of protection from insects and critters at night. While there’s no guarantee of protection, insects are less likely to crawl into your sleeping area if you’re on a raised cot platform than if you were in a more traditional tent.
Drawbacks of Camping with Tent Cot
Like any piece of gear, tent cots have some drawbacks. In particular, cot tents have several drawbacks that are worth considering before you head outside.
Some of the downsides of camping with cot tents include:
Increased Bulk and Weight. Although some lightweight models are out there, the majority of cot tents weigh over 20lbs (9kg). Therefore, they’re not suitable for thru-hiking and ultralight adventuring.
Decreased Wind-Resistance. Because tent cots create an elevated sleeping surface, they’re less than ideal for use in very windy environments.
Varied Waterproofing Abilities. Tents cots don’t tend to handle the weather as well as a conventional tent. As many models don’t have a separate rainfly, they rely solely on a single piece of fabric to keep you dry. In a bad storm, it doesn’t take much for some of these single-wall tent cots to start leaking.
Are Tent Cots Waterproof?
Most tent cots are designed to be water-resistant, but they typically aren’t as waterproof as a conventional tent. Make sure you spray it with a waterproof coating and pitch it nice and taut if you want to prevent leaks.
What’s the Difference Between a Single Tent Cot and a Double Tent Cot?
The only major difference between a single and double tent cot is the number of people whom each model can support. Double tent cots are designed for two campers, while single cot tents are meant for solo adventurers.
Do You Need a Sleeping Pad or an Air Mattress When Sleeping in a Tent Cot?
While using a sleeping pad can make your cot tent more comfortable, it’s not a requirement. For winter camping, using a sleeping pad with a cot tent is ideal. That’s because sleeping pads provide plenty of insulation to protect you from the cold.
My comparison of 15 of the best tent cots on the market revealed that one stood out from the pack: the Kamp-Rite Original Tent Cot 1.
I particularly like the Kamp-Rite Original Tent Cot 1 because it blends comfort, packability, and durability in one complete package. Plus, it’s relatively affordable and long enough for taller campers, so there’s a lot to love with this cot tent.
For folks looking for a more budget-friendly option, it’s hard to go wrong with the Kamp-Rite CTC Standard Tent Cot 1. I love that the CTC Standard is waterproof, durable, and highly packable. It’s a solid all-around choice for cost-conscious campers.
Ultimately, the decision will come down to your budget and camping style. Whether you’re looking for a model for your car camping weekends or for your backcountry adventures, I hope this article helped you find the perfect tent cot.
What do you think is the best tent cot? Leave a comment below and let me know
Gaby is a professional outdoor educator, guide, and wilderness medicine instructor. She holds a master's degree in outdoor education and spends most of her time hanging out with penguins and polar bears in the polar region. When she's not outdoors, you can find her traveling, reading Nietzsche, and drinking copious double espressos.