Best Coleman Cots

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

11 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
203 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best Coleman cots

Last Updated September 2020

If you think cots are just for soldiers, think again. Cots give you flexible, temporary sleeping options both at home and on the road. And no one understands cots better than Coleman, a trusted brand that’s been manufacturing outdoor gear for more than a century.

Cots take portable bedding to a whole new level of comfort. Their elevated frames eliminate the agony of discovering a root under your sleeping bag at midnight. Their cushioned fabric  mattresses banish the squeaks and leaks that accompany air beds. Some models even use springs to give the user just the right about of give and flexibility. And the cots fold down for easy storage, with no worries about springing leaks (like an air mattress) before you need them next.

Coleman makes cots to fit everyone from pint-size cousins to big, tall houseguests. Keep reading to learn more about your options. When you’re ready to buy, be sure to check our recommendations for the best Coleman cots.

Putting away your cot or cot mattress while it’s damp increases the risk of mold or mildew damage.

Key considerations

Cots are all about getting a good night’s sleep, so it’s important to find one that’s a good fit for the person who will be using it.

Size

If you plan to use your Coleman cot indoors, size may not be an issue. But if you want to take your cot on the road, you need to take some extra steps. Small tents might not be long enough to hold a cot, so be sure to measure carefully before you buy. You’ll also need to make sure your folded cot fits inside your vehicle. Backpackers who may be carrying their gear for some distance should make sure the cot they choose is compact and lightweight enough for their purposes.

Length: A visiting child can probably sleep on a cot of any size. An adult, however, needs to be more choosy.

  • 69 inches: The shortest Coleman cots comfortably fit sleepers up to 5’7”.
  • 75 inches: These Coleman cots are well suited for individuals up to 6’2”.
  • 80 inches: The longest Coleman cots are designed for customers up to 6’6”.
     

Weight limit: Customers should also consider their cot’s weight limit. Most basic Coleman cots can support weights of up to 275 pounds. Larger models can hold up to 300 pounds. Some models intended for two users may be able to support a single individual with a higher weight .

Height: Some campers purchase cots because sleeping on the ground is uncomfortable or causes joint pain. If this sounds like you, look for a taller cot that minimizes bending of sensitive knees and hips. If you’re buying a cot for a child, a model that sits lower to the ground may reduce the risk of injury if the child rolls off. Backpackers should also look for lower cots, which are easier to pack.

Military vs. folding

Coleman offers cots in two basic styles: military and folding.

Military: You’ve seen this style of cot in old war movies, and they’re still sold today — with some significant improvements. Coleman’s military cots feature a thick polyester sleeping surface attached to a supportive steel frame. Most have angled legs that lock into place to reduce the risk of collapse. Most no-frills military cots don’t come with a mattress pad, but many are lighter than other styles and fold up relatively flat. 

Folding: Coleman’s folding cots open much like a lounge chair, with a polyester or canvas sleeping surface suspended on a steel frame. Most have three tubular leg supports equally spaced underneath. Folding cots usually come with a mattress pad, and they may be slightly heavier than military cots. They fold up into a compact rectangle that’s a bit bulkier than a military cot, mostly to allow room for the mattress pad.

Materials

Frame: Though most cots used to have wooden frames, today Coleman produces cot frames that are almost exclusively metal. Why the switch? Though wood resists rust, it’s more prone to other types of water damage. It can be very heavy, and it’s vulnerable to chipping or cracking if dropped or bumped.

Most Coleman cots have steel frames, and for good reason. Durable metal frames can hold more weight and take more stress. Though steel can be vulnerable to rust, many cot frames are made of powder-coated steel to resist rust and moisture. If you need a lighter option, look for a cot with an aluminum frame. Aluminum won’t hold as much weight as steel, but it still has a reasonable weight capacity. 

Sleeping surface: Today, even most military-style cots ditch the cotton canvas sleeping surface in favor of synthetics like polyester and nylon. Canvas tends to show dirt easily, and if it gets wet, it dries slowly. Cot surfaces made from synthetics are stronger and dry more quickly.

Sturdy and supportive

It’s like your bed away from home. Coiled springs link the sleeping surface to the cot’s thick steel frame, giving it a flexible, bed-like feel. A padded foam mattress provides even more comfort. This upgraded version of Coleman’s folding cot is long enough for a 6’6” sleeper, and it can support up to 300 pounds. It folds down small enough to carry easily in the trunk of your vehicle.

Features

Once you determine the size, materials, and type of Coleman cot, it’s time to look at the features that will get you your best night’s sleep.

Mattress

If you’re buying a cot for comfort, don’t go halfway. Many Coleman cots include a foam mattress that perfectly fits the size and shape of the sleeping surface. Most are designed to stow and fold along with the cot when it’s not in use. A few Coleman models include an inflatable mattress as well. A mattress may add to the bulk when storing and transporting your cot, but it can also improve your sleep experience.

Legs and feet

You’re buying a cot to put some distance between you and the local wildlife, don’t make a mistake that invites them closer. If you’re going to use a cot in a tent, look for models with tubular legs that won’t damage the tent floor. If you purchase a cot that has individual feet, make sure each foot has a rubber tip to prevent rips and tears. 

Extras

Pockets: Built-in gear pockets are handy for stashing a phone, flashlight, or water bottle for easy nighttime access.

Carrying bag: A bag or handles can help you easily move your cot from car to campsite.

Closure: A hook-and-loop strap or other locking mechanism can keep your cot from accidentally flipping open.

DID YOU KNOW?

A cot makes a great place to sit and lace up your shoes or hiking boots.

DID YOU KNOW?

Cots have been used by the military since ancient Roman times.

DID YOU KNOW?

Unlike an air mattress, a cot won’t deflate in the middle of the night.

Accessories

Sleeping bag: Coleman Big Game Sleeping Bag
Now that you’ve picked out your cot, you need a sleeping bag to go with it. This Coleman sleeping bag keeps big and tall campers (up to 6’5”) warm in temperatures down to 0°. The bag’s flannel liner is key to holding in the heat. The matching flannel pillow is a bonus.

Air bed: Coleman SupportRest Double-High Air Bed
If a cot alone doesn’t quite meet your needs, maybe it’s time to consider an air bed. This Coleman queen air bed mimics a traditional mattress, with a quilted top that cradles you in comfort and comes off for laundering. The included pump has your bed ready to go in minutes.

Tent: Coleman Cabin Tent
If your current tent won’t fit a cot or air bed, maybe it’s time for a new one.  Look no further than this one from Coleman. The tent comes in models for four, six, or ten campers, and it sets up in less than a minute. The model you choose is up to you, but they all can hold at least one queen air bed.

Coleman cot prices

Inexpensive: Coleman’s lowest-priced cots start at around $35. Cots priced this low are mostly military-style models. They don’t include a mattress and probably don’t come with any other accessories.

Mid-range: Coleman cots in this range cost $50 to $60. You’ll find both military and folding cots in this price range. They may have cup holders or other storage elements and may or may not come with an additional mattress.

Expensive: The priciest Coleman cots cost $65 or more, and much more in the case of combination cots/air beds. Cots in this price range include a mattress that provides extra padding, as well as thoughtful value-added accessories.

Camping classic

Coleman has taken the traditional military cot and upgraded it for modern use. Strong steel legs take the place of the classic wooden frame, and they’re capped to prevent damage to your tent floor or carpet. The cot’s polyester sleeping surface can handle users up to 300 pounds. And gear pockets help you keep modern necessities like your phone and flashlight within reach. 

 

Tips

  • Use a cot for houseguests. Stressing about space for extra houseguests? Most average-size suitcases slide perfectly under a cot, maximizing floor space and keeping walkways clear.
  • Add a mattress. If you later wish your military cot had a mattress, you can always buy a foam pad to put on top of it.
  • Add a moisture-proof layer. Consider putting a moisture barrier over the surface of your cot if a young child will be using it.
  • Check the instructions. Some cots are easier to assemble than others, so make sure you put it together well before bedtime. 
Side sleepers might get away with a shorter cot because they tend to tuck their legs up while they snooze.

FAQ

Q. What else do I need for sleeping on a cot?
A.
You can use any linens you would normally use on a bed. If you’re using your cot at home, a pillow, sheets, and a comforter are just fine. The same will also work when camping if the weather is too warm for a sleeping bag. Just remember to pack some kind of barrier, such as a fitted sheet, to place between your body and the cot’s sleeping surface or mattress. That way, you’ll protect your investment from sweat.
 

Q. How do I clean a cot?
A.
It’s best to clean everything by hand unless your cot’s tag states otherwise. Start by vacuuming any loose dirt off the cot’s support and mattress, if it comes with one. Next, add some gentle detergent to warm water and scrub the top of the cot and mattress. Wipe off any suds or dirty water and dry with a towel. Leave the cot to dry in a place that’s warm but not too hot. Never put it away damp.
 

Q. A child had an accident on my cot. How do I remove the odor?
A.
Potty accidents happen, especially in unfamiliar places. You can pour vinegar on the soiled spot, then add a healthy dose of baking soda. Wait for the mixture to dry, and then wipe it off outside. If this method doesn’t work after a couple of tries, consider using an enzymatic cleaner

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