Camping is one of America’s favorite pastimes.
The allure of escaping a man-made cityscape, exploring the wilderness, and taking in nature’s beauty is one that appeals to the masses.
In fact, more than 10% of Americans go on one or more camping trips annually. And why shouldn’t they? With over 13,000 vehicle-accessible campsites available in the United States and Canada alone, it’s easy to explore the natural world.
One of the major hesitations people have when planning a camping trip is comfort. Leaving your queen-sized cushy bed behind is not easy for most. No matter which way you slice it, sleeping on the hard, cold ground is not appealing. Luckily modern camping gear companies are hearing your woes and coming up with solutions.
Enter the Tent Cot.
What is a Tent Cot?
Half tent, Half cot. The best of both worlds. Hitting the market in 1999, the tent cot was an instant success in the camping world. It solves the “I want to go camping but don’t want to sleep on the ground” problem.
Essentially the tent cot is an elevated, comfortable sleeping surface, surrounded by a durable tent. It shelters you from the elements while also eliminating the cold-hard-ground sleeping that most campers dread. We think the tent cot is the perfect accessory for both experienced and non-experienced campers alike.
Don’t believe us? Keep reading!
Benefits of a Tent Cot
Still wondering if a tent cot is right for you? We’ve come up with our top four reasons why tent cots are great for all campers.
Comfort & Elevation
Imagine that after a long day of hiking in the pacific northwest you’re now unrolling your sleeping bag in a tent. You lay down on the barely-padded rocky ground and fall asleep only to wake up shivering a mere four hours later. It has started to rain, the ground around you is soggy, and you are cold. You have a backache and stiff-neck from trying to snuggle up and get comfortable in your sleeping bag.
Now insert the tent cot. You just got done hiking. You set up your tent cot. It starts to rain. You don’t mind because you’re resting almost a foot above the ground – above the insects and puddles – and still sound asleep. You wake up well-rested with no cramps or aches, ready to take on the trail.
In a world of memory foam and mattress pads, no one enjoys sleeping mere inches above the ground. The modern-day sleeping bag was invented in the 1940s and it’s time to upgrade! The tent cot provides you bed-like comfort almost a foot off the ground, away from the damp, hard, insect-ridden earth you are accustomed to dealing with.
The tent cot is also perfect for campers with health conditions, providing the best solution for those with back problems or those who can no longer crawl on the ground to get in and out of a tent.
The tent cot is now manufactured by several different outdoor gear companies and comes in a variety of sizes and heights, so you can find the one best suited to your needs.
Need a tent cot that is light-weight for easy traveling? A single tent cot? A tent cot to fit you and your partner? To fit your entire family?
Do you have back problems and want one that is more elevated off the ground? Do you want one closer to the ground so it feels like the traditional-style camping you are familiar with?
No matter your desires, there is a tent cot out there for you! Our goal is to help you find the perfect one.
When purchasing camping equipment, durability should be at the forefront of your mind. How will this item I’m purchasing stand up to the elements? To nature?
It may surprise you to find out that tent cots have actually proven to be more durable and longer-lasting than regular tents! How can this be? The cover is made with the same materials as most tents (nylon, polyester, & polyurethane coated Oxford ), allowing the tent cot to stand up to rain, wind, and other elements just as well as a normal camping tent. It’s also tear-resistant and can easily be cleaned when needed.
However, unlike a regular tent, the tent cot has a support system of aluminum or steel bars (depending on the tent cot) that elevates the structure, making it less likely to be punctured by sticks, rocks, or other objects on the ground. Most manufacturers also offer warranties (which we recommend you purchase), but we doubt you’ll be sending in your tent cot for repairs anytime soon.
Best Tent Costs Reviewed
We’ve come together to find the best tent cot for camping. We guarantee one of these will be perfect for your wants & needs – whether it’s just you, or your whole family!
Kamp-Rite Oversized Tent Cot
- Bed Size: 90″L x 32″W
- Carry Dimensions: 36″L x 34″W x 7″H
- Height Above Ground: 11”
- Weight: 32 lbs
- Price: $$
Best Tent Cot For: Taller Campers Who Need Extra Leg Room
Kamp-Rite – a reliable name in the tent cot industry – once again produces a quality product with the Kamp-Rite Oversized Tent Cot. This tent cot is the perfect piece of camping equipment for larger campers or just anyone looking to stretch out while they sleep.
Kamp-Rite has taken their original one-person tent cot and added 6 inches in length and 4 inches in width to the bed area, in total amounting to the addition of over 3.5 square feet to this cot. They have also vaulted the roof, which is not only great for rain run-off but also comes as much welcome extra headroom.
Sitting up, reading books, and changing clothes are now a struggle of the past. There are also two additional support beams on this model, helping bring the maximum capacity to 350lb, which is 50lb more than most other single-person tent cots. Dare we say this cot could almost fit two smaller people – if you weren’t afraid to snuggle!
The Kamp-Rite Oversized Tent Cot is made from durable materials. The tent itself is made of heavy-duty 190T Nylon with corrosion-resistant zippers, and the frame is made of steel. There is No-See-Um Mesh on all windows and doors, ensuring your experience will be pest-free! There are also interior pouches for storing any accessories you might bring along.
Perhaps the top feature of this tent cot, however, is its convertibility. Similar to most Kamp-Rite tent cots, this Oversized Model can convert into a cot, lounge chair, or tent cot. This allows for versatility on nice days or nights, giving you the option to lounge around in the sunlight or sleep under the stars.
Winterial Double Tent Cot
- Bed Size: 85”L x 46”W
- Carry Dimensions: 48.5″L x 33.5″W x 8″H
- Height Above Ground: ~12”
- Weight: 44 lbs
- Price: $$
Best For: Summer Couple’s Camping
Perhaps one of our favorite features of the Winterial Double Tent Cot is the one that also makes it so unique. This tent cot features an awning, perfect for keeping the inside of your tent cool or posting up underneath on a hot summer day. We love this addition and wish it were offered on all tent cots!
Weighing in at a mere 44 lbs, the Winterial Double Tent Cot is one of the lightest double tent cots on the market. Made from heavy-duty nylon with an aluminum frame, this cot can support almost your whole family with its 500 lb capacity. Perhaps the 7 pound lighter advantage the Winterial has on its Kamp-Rite competitor is due to its loss in width, which is 7” smaller.
Either way, if it is just you and a fellow camper, we think the Winterial Double Tent Cot is a great option. Not to mention that we hear the frame- which lacks an uncomfortable middle support beam- offers a comfortable, refreshing night’s sleep.
Outsunny Portable Tent Cot
- Bed Size: 76″L x 30″W
- Carry Dimensions: 39.5”L x 10”W x 10”H
- Height Above Ground: 16.5”
- Weight: 29 lbs
- Price: $
Best For: Campers on a Budget
There is no question; if money is your top concern, the Outsunny Portable Tent Cot cannot be beaten in price. Including the tent, cot, an air mattress, sleeping bag, pillow, foot pump, and carrying bag, this tent cot still comes in at a significantly lower price than the others on our list.
The top portion of the tent cot can also be detached for those nice nights when you want to be one with nature and not look at a Nylon ceiling while falling asleep. Worried about those small animals and critters at night? The Outsunny Portable Tent Cot is the most elevated cot on our list, sitting almost 1.5 feet off the ground!
The Outsunny Portable Tent Cot is also exactly that – Portable! With the most compact carry dimensions and packaging similar to a pop-up tent, this tent is easy to tote around and less bulky to carry than other alternatives.
So by now, you might be wondering, what’s wrong with this tent cot? Like all products that have a low price tag but sound amazing, there is a catch. To cut costs, Outsunny used a slightly lesser quality of materials than the competitors. Therefore, the Outsunny Portable Tent Cot is not water or rainproof. It cannot withstand snow, hail, or even strong winds.
If you are looking for that durable, all-weather tent that will last you decades, this is not it. However, for those who are looking strictly to camp in sunny, warm weather where you want lightweight materials and insect protection: this tent cot is perfect!
Kamp-Rite 2 Person Tent Cot
- Bed Size: 84″L x 53″W
- Carry Dimensions: 56″L x 34″W x 8″H
- Height Above Ground: 11”
- Weight: 51 lbs
- Price: $$$$
Best For: Camping Duos With Lots of Accessories
Once again Kamp-Rite makes our list with their Double Tent Cot. Offering one of the largest sleeping surfaces on the tent cot market, this product features everything you need for a perfect camping weekend with your friend or the whole family!
The Kamp-Rite 2 Person Double Tent Cot features the same durable, heavy-duty nylon and aluminum frame as their other popular products. The Double Tent Cot has four No-See-Um pest-free mesh windows, sturdy zippers, and a rain fly – just in case! It also has multiple interior storage pouches, meaning that you can find a place to stow all of your accessories at night.
Once again, our favorite feature of this Kamp-Rite Tent Cot is its convertibility. Even in Double Size, you can transform this tent into a cot or lounge chair – or lounge couch given its larger size.
Unfortunately with all these amazing properties, the Double Tent Cot weighs in at over 50 pounds! This is definitely not something you want to be dragging along with you for miles. However, for a comfortable camping weekend where you are driving to the campsite, this Double Tent is perfect!
Tangkula Tent Cot
- Bed Size: 84″L x 32″W
- Carry Dimensions: 33”L x 33”W x 7”H
- Height Above Ground: 12”
- Weight: 26 lbs
- Price: $$
Best For: Single Campers Who Want More Space
With a few extra inches in width and a domed tent top, the Tangkula Tent Cot offers campers more space without the extra legroom or weight of the Kamp-Rite Oversized Tent Cot.
The Tangkula Tent Cot is made of durable polyurethane and waterproof coated oxford material, helping it stand up to all weather conditions. And just in case you don’t trust the tent alone, Tangkula includes a rain fly to make sure you stay dry.
One surprise feature that we find useful is that the rain cover can actually be used to make an awning on sunny or rainy days, helping you stay shady or dry depending on the atmospheric conditions.
Our favorite aspect of this tent cot, however, is it’s small ventilation windows built into the larger doors. We think these are perfect for regulating night-time airflow, without having to worry about giant flapping pieces of fabric from the larger windows or doors!
The two downsides to the Tangkula Tent Cot are that it has a shorter cot length than the Kamp-Rite Oversized version (tall campers beware!), and weighs a few pounds more than the Kamp-Rite Original. However, for average-sized campers who can deal with moving a few extra pounds, we think the added space in Tangkula Tent Cot is well worth it. Making it a great option for single campers!
- Bed Size: 84″L x 28″W
- Carry Dimensions: 35″L x 31″W x 6″H
- Height Above Ground: 11’
- Weight: 24 lbs
- Price: $$
Best For: Lightweight Comfortable Travel
Kamp-Rite makes our list a third time with their Kamp-Rite Original Tent Cot. This tent cot, weighing in at only 24 pounds, tops our list as the lightest weight option. When you want on-the-go comfort, the Original Tent Cot – in our opinion – is the best option.
The Kamp-Rite Original offers the same heavy-duty nylon, No-See-Um insect-free mesh windows, and strong aluminum frame as the other Kamp-Rite products – just in condensed form. Sporting a flat tent top, the Kamp-Rite Original is the smallest tent cot in terms of tent area, bed size, and weight, making it the “sporty” version of tent cot camping.
This compact design, however, does not take away from its convertibility. In fact, this Kamp-Rite tent cot can not only double as a cot or lounge chair, but regular chair as well! If you’re looking for a lightweight, all-weather, versatile tent cot, the Kamp-Rite Original has your name on it!
How to Pick the Best Tent Cot for Camping?
So now you have our top picks, but you might still be fluctuating on which tent cot is right for you. We’ve come up with some key features you should consider to help narrow down your options to that one, perfect tent cot.
Size & Portability
Are you traveling solo? With a friend? With your family? Are you going to be hiking a long distance before setting up camp or parking close to the campsite? These are important questions to ask yourself in determining which size tent cot is right for you.
From reading our reviews you can see that tent cots vary widely in size and weight – there is over a 25 lb difference from our lightest model to the heaviest double tent! Most tent cots do come with a carry-bag, but that will only get you so far. Driving to a campsite will seriously open up your tent cot options, but if you have any sort of distance to cover on foot, the size and portability of your tent cot should be a huge consideration.
Check out the National Parks Services recommendations for Finding and Setting Up a Campsite. Are you going to be limited by your campground size? Knowing where you might set up camp could affect what size and type of tent cot you purchase. They also have some good general tips on how to pick a great spot to set up your tent cot.
Height Off the Ground
Are you okay with crawling into your tent cot? Do you need an elevated tent cot to help alleviate pain from your back or knees?
All of our recommended tent cots are 11 or more inches off the ground. This cannot be said for all tent cots. Make sure you check the height of your cot and find one suitable to any particular needs or preferences you may have.
Are the materials of your tent cot durable enough for the environments you are going to be traveling through? Do you need a steel frame or is durable aluminum enough?
Looking at the materials your tent cot is made from is important. Durability and quality are important when making a purchase for something that is going to be your shelter in the wilderness. Is your tent made out of nylon, polyester, or oxford cloth? Are there plastic feet on your frame that could break easily?
Not only do you need quality materials for durability but you also need to consider the climates you will be using your tent cot in. The chances of encountering rain, wind, or snow could drastically change which tent cot is right for you. Do you need a rain fly? Are you camping somewhere sticky humid and full of mosquitos? How reliable is the mesh netting?
Even with the highest quality and best materials out there, most tent cots do come with, or offer, some sort of product warranty. We highly recommend purchasing these options as you never know what will happen in the wild!
Will you be camping mainly in the summer or winter? Do you need the versatility to camp during all seasons? Do you need venting windows or can you use larger windows to regulate airflow at night? Are you camping in cold temperatures and want to retain as much heat inside the tent as you can?
Ventilation and the amount of airflow circulating in your tent can be the difference between a good camping trip and an awful one. We recommend taking into account the materials, features, and even looking at customer reviews to see what actual buyers are saying about the tent cot you are leaning towards.
Starting at over $100 (and quickly going up from there), tent cots are not a cheap piece of camping equipment. Making a big purchase can be difficult and, as with any big investment, you want to make sure you make the right decision.
We recommend doing your research, setting a reasonable budget, saving up for your purchase, and ultimately choosing the tent cot that is not only right for you, but right for your wallet.
The recreational activity of camping is over 100 years old, which means it’s due for an upgrade. Stop using the same gear your grandparents used. Ditch your old tent and sleeping bag. Say no to backaches and sleeping on the cold, hard earth. The tent cot is revolutionizing the way we camp, making our experience (and our sleep) more enjoyable than ever.
The only question left is, where will you go next? With thousands of campgrounds in the US alone, the decision can be hard. Luckily, Travel and Leisure has come up with a list of the 24 most scenic campsites to visit, and we think they are beautiful. What are you waiting for? Choose a destination and try your new tent cot next time you go out for a weekend in the wilderness – we guarantee you’ll be glad you did!