Best Backpacking Cot 2019

camping cot in the woods

When you’re going on a backpacking adventure, sleep health should be one of your top priorities. You need to eat well, drink lots of water, and also make sure that you’re resting well.

Sleeping bags are a tried-and-true resource, but they don’t provide the kind of body support and comfort that you need. People often ignore the practicalities of cots because of their weight or packed size.

But there are light cots designed specifically for backpackers to carry over large distances and multiple types of terrain.

We’ve put together the main aspects of a cot that you should consider when making your purchase, along with a list of our top 5 cots for backpackers.

Quick Comparison: Best cot for backpacking

Product Weight Carrying capacity
#1. Helinox Cot Lite
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2.6 pounds Up to 210 pounds
#2. Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite Mesh Cot

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3.9 pounds Up to 300 pounds
#3. KingCamp Ultralight Camping Tent Cot

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4.4 pounds Up to 265 pounds
#4. ALPS Mountaineering Ready Lite Cot

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4.8 pounds Up to 300 pounds
#5. Big Agnes Cot One Convertible

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4.83 pounds Up to 320 pounds

Features to Look For in a Backpacking Cot

Durability

An ideal cot should be made from durable materials. One of the best materials for the frame is aluminum, as this is lightweight but holds its shape well. You’ll also want to make sure the fabric is rip-resistant.

Portability

The best cot is one that’s highly portable. It should fold down to a carrying size that you can bring with you. You shouldn’t need to worry about how to make it fit in or around your backpack. Also, ideal cots include their own carrying cases.

Lightweight Design

When you’re backpacking, you already need to carry a great deal of weight in your other supplies. You want to make sure your cot doesn’t add too much to the overall heftiness of your pack. An ideal cot will add only a few pounds to your load. All the ones on our list should add less than 5 pounds to your backpack.

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Included Accessories

Do you want a cot that comes with a pillow or blankets? Some cots come with comprehensive packages for comfortable sleep. Keep in mind that your pillow and blankets, if added to the cot, will create more bulk and weight.

Sizing

Pay attention to the size of the cot. You want to make sure that it can accommodate you. If you’re a particularly tall or hefty person, you might want to look into large-sized cots that can accommodate larger heights and weights.

Support

Most ideal cots will have at least four durable legs, ensuring you don’t sacrifice your comfort while you sleep. You should also pay attention to how high the cot rises above the ground. Heavier people will probably experience discomfort in any height lower than about 5 inches.

Budget

Consider your budget, along with what features are included in the cot. What are you getting for your money? Will you need to buy anything else to supplement the cot? How will that affect the purchase price?

You should have a general idea of how much you want to spend, along with what features are most important to you. Expect to spend at least one hundred dollars on a durable cot, even if it’s on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

#1. Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite Mesh Cot

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The LuxuryLite cot comes in three sizes, with the regular being 24 x 72 inches. It includes a patented bow frame design to eliminate squeaky joints and painful crossbars.

The extremely light, compact design will fit easily into your backpack or portable bag. It also includes shock-corded poles and pre-assembled feet to help make both setup and breakdown easier.

The construction includes stretch-free breathable mesh fabric, durable nylon feet, and anodized aluminum poles that stand up to heavy usage. The breathable fabric has the added bonus of providing ideal ventilation when you’re in hot weather.

Pros

  • Well-ventilated fabric makes it good for use in hot weather
  • Durable nylon feet are pre-assembled for easier setup and breakdown
  • Stretch-free fabric provides a comfortable night’s sleep
  • Easily able to fit in a backpack or other portable bag

Cons

  • Storage bag isn’t big enough to store other items
  • Only available in one color
  • Doesn’t include pillow or other accessories
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#2. Helinox Cot Lite

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The Helinox cot is 5 inches high and 8 inches wide. Unlike the previous entry, it’s only available in one size.

The folding camp cot has a lighter weight than their other top cot, the Cot One. The simple and strong design is easy to set up, with durable construction.

There are handles that create tension when the cot is closed. The cot includes a storage bag with grab handles and a zipper closure.

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable design make it great for backpacking
  • Includes storage bag with grab handles and zipper closure
  • Folding design can easily be set up
  • Polyester fabric is tear-resistant

Cons

  • Only available in one size
  • Only available in one color
  • Doesn’t include pillow or other accessories

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#3. KingCamp Ultralight Camping Tent Cot

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This ultralight cot from KingCamp is available in 5 distinct colors, so you can choose whatever best fits your personal style.

The lightweight construction is only 4.4 pounds and will support up to 265 pounds. Also included are two elastic straps that keep the mat from slipping.

A storage bag is included with this cot. When packed, the cot measures 14 x 5.1 x 5.1 inches. It can accommodate most people up to 6’2″, with a height of 4.7 inches from the ground.

The polyester fabric is rip-resistant, and the durable aluminum alloy rods ensure it retains its shape over heavy use. The cot also includes a pillow.

Pros

  • Available in multiple colors
  • Suits most people up to 6’2 inches
  • Durable construction and easily-assembled design
  • Included storage bag and pillow

Cons

  • Only available in one size
  • Cannot support more than 265 pounds
  • Not as comfortable as some other choices

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#4. ALPS Mountaineering Ready Lite Cot

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The ALPS Mountaineering cot is constructed from sturdy fabric to ensure long-term durability with minimum carrying weight.

The aluminum frame is lightweight and durable, while the compact and foldable design includes a shoulder bag for easy storage and transportation.

One ideal aspect of this cot is the dual-layer honeycomb fabric, which provides a more comfortable night’s sleep than single-layer fabric cots.

The provided carrying case can easily bring your cot with you, and the total weight is only 4.8 pounds. For additional security, ALPS provides you with a limited lifetime warranty for the cot.

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Pros

  • Comfortably supports up to 300 pounds
  • Includes a limited lifetime warranty
  • Includes a shoulder bag
  • Portable and convenient design with durable construction

Cons

  • Does not include pillows or other accessories
  • Only available in one size
  • Only available in one color

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#5. Big Agnes Cot One Convertible

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This cot is the only one on the list to offer exclusive convertibility. If you purchase an additional leg converter kit for the cot, you can turn it into a high cot rather than a low one.

The trail weight is just 2.6 pounds, while the packed weight is 4.9 pounds.

The handles create tension when the bed is closed, allowing for a durable and folding design that’s easy to carry. There’s also an included storage bag with a zipper closure and helpful grab handles.

Pros

  • Includes storage bag with grab handles
  • Can convert to a high cot with purchase of cot legs
  • Lightweight, durable, and portable construction

Cons

  • Only available in one size
  • Only available in one color
  • No pillow or other accessories included

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The Winner

The best cot for you will vary depending on your priorities. Different people are looking for different qualities in their ideal cot. All the cots on the list are good for backpacking adventures, but we’ve broken down the winners by a few select categories.

For comprehensive accessories:

If you’re looking for accessories, we recommend the KingCamp Ultralight cot. It comes with a pillow, pillow bag, and bag for the cot. You can also slip your cot bag into the pillow bag for maximum portability.

For size options:

The Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite cot is your best bet for sizing options. The standard size should fit most average people, but if you’re particularly tall or hefty, you’ll want to get the large or x-large option.

For aesthetic options:

The KingCamp Ultralight is available in five colors: orange, purple, green, blue, and black.

For a budget:

The KingCamp and Therm-a-Rest cots are the most economical cots on the list.

For lightness:

The Helinox Cot Lite is the lightest cot on the list, clocking in at just 2.6 pounds.

For convertibility:

The Big Agnes cot is the only one on our list that can convert into a high cot.

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