Whoever used a camping cot for a while already knows how much the sleeping quality improves compared to sleeping on the tent’s floor.
If back in the days the tent and the cot were two separate items that one had to carry on a camping trip, nowadays things are much simpler.
Tent cots are a combination of the two, that keeps the structural design and benefits of a cot but adds the tent as a built-in feature right on top of it. They are much more structurally stable than usual tents as they usually don’t require poles and guy ropes, and their trusses-like structure performs much better during strong winds.
Since they have a frame structure that can’t be dismantled, but instead has to be folded, tent cots are only available as an alternative for 1 person tents (single tent cot) and the much more spacious variant, a double tent cot, which can replace any 2-4 person tents.
Since the available sleeping space inside the double tent cot is much greater than inside a 2 person tent, it means that a couple with 1-2 kids should be able to fit together inside one.
Best tent cots recommended for camping
1. Kamp Rite Double Tent Cot – Quality and innovation for 2 person camping
It had to be the first choice on this top. Kamp Rite has become a big player in the tent cots market. And they quickly responded to the needs of couples with the release of this fantastic raised shelter. They already had huge success with the single variant, and this meant that all they had to do is extend that version.
A quality product with exceptionally good reviews, and all these for a fair price.
Take a look at the reviews and check the price to convince yourself. (Amazon link)
But let’s not judge a product just by the reviews it gets; let’s see how it scores on other important factors.
Portability and set up speed
There is a reason why people are into these shelters. And that’s the headache-free process of pitching them up, fast dismantle process, and convenience when carrying them to the campsite.
For pitching speed, I would score this with a 9 out of 10. The reason behind this is simple: it’s a foldable double tent cot – that means it’s a no-brainer to set it up. Plus, there is explicit instruction on how to do it properly.
For portability, a fair score would be 7.5. Yes, it is double folding, but this happens only lengthwise, and although the single version scores a 9 for this, the double version is quite wide to carry it comfortably.
The dismantling process is straightforward, and it gets a 9.5 out of 10 for the speed of the process.
Waterproofing and how does it cope with severe weather
The fabric, which is a 190T Nylon, it’s not waterproof on its own. This material needs to be coated with a waterproof solution to achieve better standards. But this shouldn’t really be a disappointment, as most conventional tents are made out of the same materials, and the result is quite good. Therefore, for waterproofing, it gets an 8 out of 10.
But rain is not the only danger in the wild. Strong winds can easily put down a tent. But here’s where Kamp Rite shines: the exceptionally great structure reinforcements will score this double tent cot with 10 out of 10 for high wind resistance.
Quality of sleep and comfort
This should really be the most important criteria when deciding what tent cot you should buy. As in most tent cots, the mattress is not so where only judging the frame stiffness and space. For these factors, it gets a 9 out of 10.
There’s no way it can score less than 10 for comfort. You don’t sleep on the ground anymore, you’ve got plenty of space, and it’s really a double bed which is very stable when one turns around.
2. Winterial Double Camping Tent Cot – amazing sleep off the ground
I’m not really sure if this product should be in second place. It was so hard to separate it from the winner. But it all came down to price and small specific features that this tent cot is missing.
But let’s have a look at what it can offer and how it can change your camping experience and give you the most desired comfortable night’s sleep.
By the way, you can always check for the best deal, as most of the time it goes on sale (Amazon link).
Portability and set up speed
I can’t find a difference between this and the Kamp Rite product. They both behave the same for both setting up and dismantling. I would probably score it higher for packing up and storing it, where it appears to be much easier to do it.
Waterproofing and how does it cope with severe weather
When it comes to the fabric and water resistance, the Winterial is the clear winner here. They didn’t go for cheap fabric, but instead choose to manufacture it using the 420-Denier Nylon Fabric, which by itself is a very powerful water repellent.
The strong aluminum frame can easily cope with severe winds giving it an overall rating of 9 out of 10 for strength and waterproofing.
Quality of sleep and comfort
Although I couldn’t find any major flaws with the quality of this product, the comfort it provides can be a little bit disappointing for many of you.
You can feel the frame bars when sleeping but it’s a problem that can always be solved by using a quality sleeping mat or a couple of camping blankets.
3. Kamp-Rite Original Single Tent Cot
This incredible tent cot is the ideal choice for you who’s looking for a compact and portable cot and bed combination. It is spacious enough for one person. The Kamp Rite Original is made of a lightweight aluminum structure that easily folds into a compact package. Additionally, it is easy for one person to move, set it up, and collapse with ease.
This tent cot is made of solid Nylon; therefore, you do not need to worry that it will rip. Besides, it is water-resistant but not entirely waterproof. Another thing to love about it is that it can be utilized as a tent, cot, and lounge chair. Setting up the roof is optional, which is why it functions as a tent, cot, or lounge chair.
What’s more, the base keeps you 11 inches from the ground, which is impressive if you want to keep dry and warm. For additional comfort, it features no-see-um mesh windows and doors to avert those pesky bugs.
- Inner storage pouches
- Robust 190T Nylon
- It easily converts to a cot or lounge chair
- Recommended weight 300 lbs
- No-See-um mesh on doors and windows
- Corrosion-resistant zippers
- It`s has a fascinating build with high-quality material; the Nylon keeps the tent cot weather-resistant
- It is positioned 11 inches above the ground, which is enough distance to keep the tent away from the ground and bugs
- It is lightweight, making it easy to carry and set up
- It easily converts into a chair if you want to sit down and enjoy the view
- It can only hold one person comfortably
- It is relatively hard to set up, especially if you’re a beginner
4. Tangkula Single Camping Tent Cot
The TANGKULA tent cot is the way to go if you`re going camping alone or even with a few friends. It is one of the best tent cots you can purchase. Most tents are made using packable and lightweight materials, which is excellent unless you decide to camp in the harsh weather and require a tent that is remarkably durable and rough.
The TANGKULA is made using sturdy oxford canvas, and it is ideal for even the worst weather conditions. It is a 1-person tent made using 420D and 600D oxford canvas for distinctive waterproof capabilities and robustness. The windows are made of micromesh and a lightweight aluminum structure.
It is a full-size cot tent that collapses down easily into its carry bag. With this excellent tent cot, you will be 12 inches above the ground, and it measures 32 by 81.5 inches. It is fast and convenient to set up and collapse.
- 420D and 600D oxford canvas
- Weighs 30 lbs
- Dimensions: 193 by 86 by 163 cm
- The frame is made of aluminum and steel
- The poles are made using fiberglass and steel
- The base rises 12 inches above the ground
- It’s made using sturdy material, and it is entirely waterproof and performs well even under heavy rain
- It’s a highly portable tent cot, and it can easily be set up within ten minutes, and it’s ideal for any solo camping adventure
- Simple construction with high-quality materials
- It anchors decently, and it might not fall over even under full wind
- Not quite spacious
- It comes with fewer options for window opening and viewing outside, meaning the interior might feel somewhat tight
5. Kamp-Rite Oversized Tent Cot
This double tent will comfortably fit two individuals, considering it measures 53 by 84 by 40 inches. This space is supposed to be more than enough space for two people. The soft bed it comes with is an appreciated bonus since it means you don’t require an air mattress or floor mat.
The bed is soft enough to sleep comfortably on and also resilient enough to last a long time. Furthermore, it is moisture-resistant; therefore, it won’t get wet even under high humidity. It is made from quality Nylon which is water and tear-resistant. However, it is not entirely waterproof, though it performs well under light rain.
Something else to love about this tent is the elevated base that features legs to keep you above ground, thus stopping moisture from accessing the interior through the bottom. Additionally, it is fast and easy to set up, and it collapses easily as well. It features a huge door opening and a few mesh windows to get air and light without allowing bugs inside.
- Corrosion-resistant construction
- No-see-um mesh on doors and windows
- It is made of durable 190T Nylon
- 500 lbs recommended weight
- Powder-coated aluminum structure
- Easily converts to cot or lounge chair
- Compact and easily collapsible
- Huge windows and doors with mesh screen
- Off the ground, thanks to its elevated base
- Sturdy design
- Not entirely waterproof
6. Yescom Portable and Folding Tent Cot
The Yescom tent cot is made using robust and durable fabric for protection. It has a flysheet with a 210D Oxford fabric, and the floor features a 300D Oxford canvas. This material is well-known to be waterproof and lightweight. Additionally, the materials are precisely designed for outdoor adventures and can provide decent protection against snow and rain.
Moreover, the fabric has PU coating for additional protection. This polyurethane coating makes it capable of resisting abrasion since it is among the most reliable kinds of coating.
The Yescom tent cot is also foldable, and it is among the easiest to set up. For convenient transportation, it features a 600D oxford bag for carrying it. This makes it highly portable and easy to carry.
The storage pockets in the interior are helpful storage areas for your items. They are handy if you have items such as your phone and a book. They are conveniently positioned for easy accessibility. They are also handy in helping to organize your items better.
- The floor has a 300D oxford canvas
- Flysheet has a 210D oxford material
- Weight capacity is 150 kgs
- 600D oxford bag with 2000 mm PU coating
- 14 inches elevation
- It comes in green color
- 14 inches elevation for a comfortable sleep
- Quick to set up, collapse, and store
- Snow and light rain resistant
- Multiple inner storage pockets
- Not ideal for backpacking
- Zippers fail when utilized in increased-dust regions
This great tent has been in the market for a long time. It is highly durable considering the steel build, with four legs free-standing on any surface. It offers complete protection from bugs and other elements. Also, it is simple to set up in all kinds of surroundings. The body is made of 70D Nylon with a 600D Polyester floor. The structure, on the other hand, is made of durable powder-coated steel.
The flysheet is made using 190T polyester featuring a 1500 mm water-resistant coating. The taped seams together with the patent-pending flysheet develop a rain-gutter mechanism that moves water off the zippers. The doors and windows feature no-see-um mesh, which ensures your safety from pests and bugs. The side doors are purposely engineered to change into awnings by utilizing the guy rope and poles.
- Made of 190T Nylon
- Four windows and doors featuring mesh screening
- One of the doors has a double-pull zip
- The floor is made from 600D polyester
- The frame is made of steel
- It comes in green color
- Simple to set up
- Made of durable materials
- Easily collapsible
- Quite expensive
8. Outsunny elevated pop-up cot
This compact portable tent cot has an air mattress that fits ideally inside it, a sleeping bag, and a pillow for extra comfort. When it comes to seasons, this is a tent cot perfect for the summer only. It is not entirely waterproof, and it has no feature that prevents bugs and small insects from accessing the interior. It has no mesh that would leave the interior fully closed.
It is a one-layer structure, and it does not have a floor. Thus, it’s simply a shade to utilize on a few occasions. It is relatively free-standing, but it is not impressive enough to be utilized as an independent tent. In the long run, this is a highly versatile tent cot if you can overlook a few of its flaws.
Furthermore, it is affordable compared to most of the tent cots in this review, though it comes with a few more features that are handy in your camping adventure. Surprisingly it has an air mattress and an in-built sleeping bag. Therefore, if you’re on a budget and want to get a versatile tent cot, this is the way to go.
- 150 Kg weight capacity
- Tent dimensions 193 by 136 by 136 cm
- Holds two people
- It comes with an in-built sleeping bag, pillow, and air mattress
- Dome-shaped roof
- Includes a pillow, sleeping bag, and air mattress
- Highly versatile
- Spacious enough for two individuals
- Not visually appealing
- Has no floor
9. Desert Walker Cot Tent
This cot tent is free-standing equipment that can support itself on all kinds of terrain. The cot and the tent are attached via an elongated peripheral zipper. This blended with one major pole develops tension in the tent material, and it is entirely self-supporting and impressively stable.
Additionally, it is a fully collapsible tent cot. Therefore it collapses to an incredibly compact size of 22.4 by 6 inches. On the other hand, this also means that it requires assembly every time you utilize it. Concerning the weight, the Desert camp tent is a highly portable backpack tent cot. Considering it only weighs 5 lbs, this is among the lightest tent cots in the market for the whole mechanism.
When it comes to size, the bed`s measurements stand at 78.7 by 26 inches, ideal even for tall people. However, the width is not quite incredible. The lightweight design makes the Desert tent cot highly versatile and easy to carry with you on any camping adventure.
The Desert tent cot is lightweight enough for backpacking, making it ideal for outdoor use, perfect for motor-bikers, hikers, cyclists, mountaineers, kayakers, and climbers, among others. There are two pairs of leg bars; therefore, the tent`s weight is distributed correctly, and you can place it on different terrain.
- The gauze is made of 20D Nylon
- Elevated 15 cm from the ground
- The interior is made using 15D Nylon
- It weighs 2.6 Kgs
- Opening size: 200 by 66 by 105 cm
- Lightweight, making it easy to carry around and set up
- It features numerous configurations considering its 3-in1 mechanism
- Impressive height makes it ideal for taller individuals
- Compact packed size
- Width is minimal
10. Outdoor Camping 1 Person Cot
This tent cot has impressively robust and stable construction. It is made using strong iron, and the foot is sturdy, which warrants better stability and holds a significant amount of strength. The canopy is made using polyester and oxford fabrics which are water and scratch-proof and wear-resistant.
This tent cot is also perfect for outdoor use. With the canopy being waterproof and the fiberglass support rod being heat-resistant, this excellent pop-up tent cot is ideal for outdoor utilization. Additionally, it is ideal for all-weather camping.
It is easy to store and carry this great cot tent. It has an air mattress and pillow, and these twofold automatically for convenient storage and carrying purposes. Besides this, when you store it, it won’t take up a lot of space when you’re not using it. The entire canopy and the aluminum pipe are relatively light.
Additionally, it has a lightweight build with translucent windows on every side. It is very convenient if you want to see outside. What’s more important, is that the windows are easily closeable by utilizing the zipper.
Additionally, it has an easy and convenient setup. The pillow and the air mattress are swift to set up, considering the included foot air pump. It will only take up to a few minutes to set up properly. Besides, the tent cot is simple to assemble and collapse without taking much of your time, according to the manual it comes with.
- 300 lbs weight capacity
- Made using oxford and polyester fabric
- Windows are closed using a zipper
- A heat-resistant fiberglass support rod
- The structure is made of sturdy iron
- Ideal for all weathers
- Easy to set up and fold
- It comes with an air mattress and pillow
- Durable construction
Tents cots vs classic camping tents – which are the best?
To put it simply, tent cots outperform classical camping tents in almost every scenario.
Although just a few of us are ready to admit this, sleeping quality is not that great inside a camping tent. You can probably make it better, with top-quality sleeping pads and air mattresses, but all these take up space and cost money.
So how are we dealing with this? Most of us are willing to forget about this problem if the camping trip rewards us with an amazing experience. But if it doesn’t, sleeping quality suddenly becomes a big problem and we need to find a solution.
The sleeping quality in a tent cot is much better than in a tent. Here are the main reasons why:
- Off the ground sleeping – Having to sleep on bare ground with just a thin sleeping pad in between is not something that many enjoy. By elevating the sleeping area well above the ground, tent cots don’t have this problem. You won’t feel the rough ground anymore and additional sleeping accessories (pads, mattresses, blankets) are no longer required.
- Sleep anxiety – when first asked to sleep on the ground, beginners or first-time doers are usually worried about this. By elevating the sleeping area, the fear disappears and the overnight sleeping quality improves by a lot.
Unless you’re ready to spend thousands on an expedition tent, almost every camping tent has its issues with the way it handles strong winds and bad weather.
Tent cots outperform classical tents as their structure is much more solid than the flimsy tent poles. Furthermore, they don’t usually require anchoring (except on very difficult terrain) as the framework is strong enough to hold it in place even during strong winds.
Although they both share almost the same waterproofing characteristics (fabric and extra coatings), tent cots don’t have any issues with the floor getting damp. Their design doesn’t allow any water to puddle anywhere, meaning less hydrostatic pressure therefore much greater water protection.
Rectangular-shaped tent cots however don’t behave the same as rounded ones. If the fabric is not stretched properly, this could cause serious leaks if there is enough pressure on a specific spot.
Portability and packing
Although they are relatively easy to dismantle, they are not exactly space-efficient when it comes to portability.
If a tent can easily be stuffed inside a small bag, the same can’t be said about tent cots. You can only fold the metal frame at certain spots, and the packed-up version can be slightly bigger than you would expect it to be.
Since most tent cots are built on an aluminum frame, the extra weight should not scare anybody, as the frame doesn’t really add any serious extra weight.
Pitch up speed
Being foldable, they are relatively fast to pitch up. Unless you screw up something when you’re packing them, most models should be up and ready in less than 4 minutes. That includes the time it takes to make the bedding.
Some models however come with hard-to-use insect mesh, that can be very difficult to attach to the frame. This can slow you down quite a lot and become very frustrating.
Camping tents come with different season ratings (you can read the full guide on this). People usually have separate tents for summer and winter camping.
Although they should use the same ratings, tent cots manufacturers don’t usually say what season rating they have. Looking at the build spec, however, you could probably guess that all of them are 2-3 season ratings. Winter tent cots and expedition-style are hard to get for the everyday consumer.
Hopefully, you’ve decided by now that a tent cot is worth buying and this short should help you choose the one that fits your needs.
Here’s what you need to look for when choosing the best tent cot.
There are not many options here, it’s either a single or a double shelter. However, for most models, the usable space is bigger than you would find on classic tents.
This feature allows most single tent cots to accommodate 2 people without any problems. The same can be said about the double tent cot, where a family with 2 kids should fit in nicely inside an oversized unit.
Before purchasing, have a look at the dimensions that the manufacturers are specifying and see if that fits your needs.
Materials and components
The fewer components a tent cot has, the longer it will “live”. Having too many seams and zippers means that the possibility for one to fail is increased. A compact unit will not only last for longer, but it will be much easier to set up, dismantle and store.
Secondly, looking at the materials, most models follow the classic trend: it’s either Nylon with a high enough denier (170+) or some other sort of polymer that can be easily waterproofed/fireproofed.
In general, the higher the denier is (density), the stronger the material will be. As a result, you’ll get better waterproofing capacity, durability, but the compromise is that this adds up weight – a lot of weight.
So for portability purposes, it’s better to stick with low to medium fabric density, as it will be much easier to carry the cot tent around. However, in scenarios where durability is required (rough terrain camping, extreme weather, etc.), choose a higher denier count.
Finally, looking at the built quality of the frame itself, most are made using aluminum or aluminum alloys. Unless you go over the weight limit imposed by the manufacturer, this should be sufficiently strong to hold up in any scenario.
Similarly, for sturdy iron frames, they are much stronger but you need to pay extra attention and check that the paint is still intact after every use. In the eventuality that you see it flaking off, clean it and repaint it, as rust can set in very quickly and damage the frame beyond the point of repair.
Raising the sleeping area off the ground doesn’t mean that you solve the condensation problems. Tent cots are no different than any other thin shelter. If there is no constant ventilation, you’ll see condensation building up rapidly. These will definitely lead to mold growth and all other problems that come with it.
Choosing a model with crossed windows is the way to go, as this will help change the inside air very quickly, eliminating all the water vapors.
Be sure to add an insect mesh as well, as fresh air is not going to be the only thing that will quickly get inside. Mosquitoes on a campsite are one of the worst nightmares and once inside, they’re not leaving without your blood.
We all know by now that shopping for camping gear doesn’t end with buying the tent. This is true for tent cots as well. The sleeping gear has to be purchased separately and it can be difficult to find a precise match (speaking of size), especially if you want a mattress.
But the good news is that you don’t need anything else. No rain flies, no footprints, guy lines, and all other parts that you’ll need with a classic tent.
Frequently asked questions
Can a tent cot be used on the beach?
Granted that your tent cot model has enough windows to allow for sufficient ventilation, there shouldn’t be any reasons why a tent cot can’t be used when beach camping. They don’t require any anchoring as their legs are stable enough to hold on their own.
However, depending on what type of folding mechanism the cot has, you might want to reconsider this. Sand will find its way in no matter what, potentially causing the folding mechanism to fail.
Cheap beach camping tents are a much useful solution here, as they have little to no parts that can be damaged by the sand.
Are there any tent cots for winter camping?
Expedition tent cots and 4 season rated shelters are not widely available for the everyday consumer. This doesn’t mean that you can’t adapt your tent cot for winter camping purposes. Adding some extra insulation is usually cheap and relatively easy to do.
Their dynamics make them a great choice to camp off the frozen ground, and the floor can easily be insulated without squashing the insulation which drastically increases the thermal conductivity values.
Do tent cots come with built in mattresses?
Some models ship with a camping mattress, however, this is not built-in, but a separate piece of kit that you will need to attach.
In general, however, most products ship without any kind of sleeping gear (pads, mattresses, bags, etc.). This shouldn’t scare you, as any cheap sleeping pad will work just fine, due to the fact that you’ll be off the ground and this feels much more comfortable.
Are tent cots waterproof?
Tent cots are built exactly the same as camping tents are. Therefore, they generally receive the same waterproofing treatment as their counterpart, meaning that all tent cots have some waterproofing protection.
In order to decide on the waterproofing performance, you would need to also look at the fabric type and its density (usually called a denier).
Can you backpack with a tent cot?
It depends on how much weight you’re comfortable carrying with you. More specifically, it depends on the way you pack. Not all tent cots fold in a way that will allow for portability during hiking or backpacking. The Tangula seems to be the most portable tent cot, but the final packed dimensions can still be too cumbersome for many of us.
Double tent cots on the other hand are much bigger and there’s no solution to pack them in a way that you can easily carry them with you.
Are tent cots safe during thunderstorms?
Like their counterpart, the classical tents, they don’t offer any protection from lightning. In theory, the metal frame should act as a Faraday cage, but the amount of metal and it’s distribution may not be enough for this to happen. This has not been tested and you should not rely solely on this.
Choosing the correct campsite is one of the best ways to protect yourself from lightning, but the safest way is to never venture out when thunderstorms are forecasted.
Tent cots are a much more comfortable alternative for 2-3 person classical camping tents. They provide a much more improved sleeping experience, a feature that most of us are looking for.
Specifically, they solve all the problems that come with sleeping on the ground: rough soil, water infiltrations, bugs and critters getting in and so on.
On top of that, their sturdy frame structure is much stronger than what a tent pole has to offer, no matter what type of poles we’re looking at. This characteristic turns the tent cot into a shelter you should not be afraid to use during strong winds and heavy rain.
It’s true that there are not too many alternatives like you would find for camping tents, but rest assured that top manufacturers like Kamprite and Winterial raised the bar so high that others need to follow, otherwise they won’t survive in this market.
Looking at the prices, they are surprisingly cheap for such a complex structure. Some classic tents cost double of what you would pay for the best tent cot, but don’t give you the perfect camping experience that we’re all after.
With this in mind, and given the low price entry point, it’s worth trying a tent cot if you’ve never used one before. You’ll be surprised to see how a raised tent can dramatically change your perspective when it comes to camping.