In our minds, the Coleman Pack-Away Cot is the quintessential camping cot. This product might not be the lightest or the most heavy-duty, but it's a breeze to set up and break down. The Pack-Away Cot is very comfortable, providing ample support, and the design of its frame minimizes chances for you to smack your head or foot on a metal bar. It's not overly heavy or cumbersome to carry and seems to have a sturdy enough construction that it should last you for quite a while. If you are looking for the best when searching for a new cot, then we think it's hard to go wrong with the Pack-Away.
Coleman Pack-Away Cot Review
Cons: Can occasionally pinch your hands unfolding it
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Our Analysis and Test Results
However, the frame of the Pack-Away doesn't lock rigidly in place, so it can start to collapse if you don't have the legs locked all the way out or if you are dragging it around the campsite. This isn't a huge deal, but it's something to keep an eye out for.
Ease of Setup
The most important of our rating metrics, the group of evaluations that make up our Ease of Setup metric are responsible for 40% of the Coleman Pack-Away's final score. We awarded points based on the time and effort it took to set up and break down this cot, if we found it easy to accidentally pinch your finger in the frame while doing this, and the number of pieces each cot is made up of, as well as the amount of work it took to get each cot back into its carrying bag once folded. The Pack-Away is one of the easier cots to assemble or disassemble, earning it a 7 out of 10 in this metric.
The Coleman Pack-Away has a mainly unibody construction, which makes it one of the easier cots to get ready or to break apart. All you need to do is unfold the cot and wrap the legs at the head and foot of the cot around to the bottom, then spread out the cot width wise.
You can then unfold the bedside table and cup holder attachment and then slot it into either the left or right side, depending on your preference.
Breaking it down is equally easy, usually taking less than five minutes once you have the hang of it. The Coleman Pack-Away also easily can fit back into its carrying bag, which does have a shoulder strap for easy transport.
However, we did find in our experience that it is fairly easy to get a finger pinched in the legs at the head or the foot of the cot when you are wrapping them around if you aren't paying attention. The main body of this cot also doesn't lock into position when there isn't weight on it, so it does have a tendency to collapse if you drag it around. This also means that it's worth double-checking that the legs are spread to their full extent before tucking in for the night.
Next, we rated and compared how cumbersome it is to carry each of these cots around, which is responsible for 30% of their final score. We awarded points to each cot depending on their weight, packed size, ease of carrying, and ease of packing. The Coleman Pack-Away Cot isn't the lightest or easiest to carry, but it isn't the worst.
The Pack-Away Cot tips the scales at just under 25 pounds, which puts it approximately in the middle of the group. While it isn't the heaviest cot we have seen, it's not a trivial amount of weight by any means and we wouldn't recommend choosing this cot if you have to personally carry the weight for any substantial distance.
We did like that the Coleman Pack-Away Cot takes up a rather small footprint when collapsed, occupying an area roughly 6" x 6" x 40". This cot is fairly rectangular when packed, which does make it a bit easier to pack around in a car or RV, as you can stack things on top of it without too much difficulty.
You could possibly strap this cot to the outside of a very large backpack, but it would pretty much be awful. You are better off using the integrated shoulder strap and making sure you don't have to carry much else if you plan on walking around with this product.
Our third metric focused on how it actually felt to lie down in each cot once you have carried it around and set it up. This constitutes 20% of the final score for each camping cot, with results based on the opinions of our diverse panel of cot judges and if users were prone to hitting their heads, elbows, or feet on parts of the frame. The Coleman Pack-Away received a universally good response from our judges, earning it a 7 out of 10.
The Coleman Pack-Away is an exceptionally comfortable cot, offering plenty of support along the length of your body. The bed has enough give that you feel extra cozy in your sleeping bag. It is more than comfortable enough to forgo any additional cushioning — though some extra padding would certainly make it even more comfortable.
The lack of a bar across the head or foot of the bed ensures that you won't ever smack your head or ankles in the middle of the night but you can feel a slight droop under your head — especially if you are on the taller side. However, this is easily mitigated with most camp pillows.
We did like that this cot is wide enough that you can shift around in the night without hitting the frame or feeling too claustrophobic. However, the Pack-Away Cot is narrow enough that you can hit your elbows if you move your folded arms to the side, or your knees if you try to curl your legs while sleeping on your side. We never found this to be too much of an issue during our tests though.
Our last metric focused on how durable each cot is, which is responsible for the remaining 10% of the total score for each cot. We looked at any common issues in user reviews, the rated weight of each product, and any damage sustained during our testing period to determine scores, with the Coleman Pack-Away Cot earning another 7 out of 10.
This cot has a rated weight capacity of 300 pounds with what seems to be a heavy-duty steel frame. It didn't show any significant signs of wear and tear after our testing period - aside from a few scrapes and scratches — giving us no reason to question the construction and design of the cot based on the unit we tested.
However, there are a handful of user reviews online stating that the canvas would rip over time, depending on use. Some reviewers noted it wearing out within a year or two with almost daily use, while others mentioned it lasting for years and years. We would just suggest paying close attention to keeping the canvas away from sharp objects or anything that could prematurely degrade its structural entirety.
The Coleman Pack-Away Cot is actually a pretty good value, offering top-notch performance at what we think is a fairly reasonable price.
If you are looking for a top-tier camping cot, then our first recommendation would be the Coleman Pack-Away Cot. This cot is very easy to set up and break down, makes sleeping outdoors super comfortable, and is relatively easy to move around for these products. For those that want the best of the best when it comes to cots, it's hard to beat the Pack-Away.
— Marissa Fox