Camping Cots 101 – Advantages and Disadvantages

To camping cot or to not camping cot? That is the question. What is the answer? As with many things the answer is… it depends! Here we will weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the camping cot to see if it is for you.I have been an avid camper for the past 30 years and have done all types of camping. Sometimes I want a cot, and sometimes I do not. Here is why!AdvantagesThere are a lot of advantages to having a cot. The most beneficial is that it gets you off the ground and adds some comfort. We were taught this as one of our first Boy Scout lessons. It is very important to have something between you and the ground when you are sleeping. Not only for dirt and bugs, but mainly for the temperature. When you are sleeping your temperature will drop and so does the cool night air. It is vital to have something between you and the ground when camping. Now, if you are seeking warmth, then a blanket/pad is the best thing to have between you and the ground. Believe it or not, you body actually warms the pad and blanket up and helps keep you warm at night. However, if you are not camping in freezing temperatures then a cot will do.Cots also add a ton of comfort. In my 20’s I could sleep anywhere. Now that I am a little older sleeping on a hard surface sucks. So a cot makes my sleep so much better comfort wise.These days cots are made very strong, lightweight and compact. They are not like the cots of the old days where they were extremely bulky and many times heavy. Nowadays with camping technology you can pack a cot that weights only 8 lbs and take it anywhere.DisadvantagesAs mentioned today many cots are lightweight and compact, however not all of them are. Some are still bulky or heavy. Over the years I have learned that bringing too much stuff when camping is just a hassle and necessary. Camping is better enjoyed with less stuff that is very effective. I apply the 80/20 rule when camping. It says that 20% of the camping equipment will be used 80% of the time when camping. If it doesn’t fit in the 20% then it is unnecessary. If you are backpacking then bringing a camping cot can also be a hassle. Also when backpacking more is less.In the end it really depends on the person, the type of camping they are doing and what they want their experience to be. I am willing to add 8 lbs. for a cot on any camping that I do because sleeping on a hard surface is just not comfortable for me anymore. I toss and turn all night.