The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

How We Tested Camping Cots

By Marissa Fox ⋅ Review Editor
Monday April 6, 2020

In our quest to find the best camping cot you can get, we spent months rigorously testing these products head-to-head. We looked at how easy they are to set up and break down, how comfortable each one is, and how durable they are, as well as much of a hassle they are to you. We unfolded and folded each cot dozens and dozens of times, as well as had a variety of different people try them out in all sorts of scenarios all to help you choose the perfect one.

Setting up and collapsing some of these cots every day will get old real fast.
Setting up and collapsing some of these cots every day will get old real fast.

Ease of Setup



Ease of Setup is our most important testing metric, accounting for 40% of the score, with the bulk of each cot's score predicated on the amount of effort it took to assemble and disassemble each one. To score this, we unfolded and assembled each cot. And then took them apart. And put them together. And took them apart. And back together again. And apart. Over and over.

The Pack-Away can be a little cumbersome to pack away but isn't a huge hassle.
The Pack-Away can be a little cumbersome to pack away but isn't a huge hassle.

We set up and broke down each cot dozens of times in our tests, looking at how long it took, how many pieces each one is made of, and how much effort it took.

We found it easy to pinch your fingers if you weren't careful on some of the cots.
We found it easy to pinch your fingers if you weren't careful on some of the cots.

We also looked for any points where it was easy to pinch your fingers when unfolding the frame and how much effort it took to get the folded cot back into its carrying bag.

There is quite a difference in the packed size between these products.
There is quite a difference in the packed size between these products.

Portability


Next, we compared how easy each cot is to carry around. This metric accounts for 30% of the final score for each product. Starting off, we measured each cot and measured the amount of volume that each camping cot occupied when it was folded up.

Most of the backpacking cots won't fit back into their case unless carefully packed.
Most of the backpacking cots won't fit back into their case unless carefully packed.

We also looked at how well each cot packed in a car or if you strap it to the outside of the pack, as well as how each one felt to carry.

This cot tends to bottom out unless you have your weight evenly distributed.
This cot tends to bottom out unless you have your weight evenly distributed.

Comfort


Responsible for 20% of the final score for each camping cot, our next metric is based on how comfortable each cot is. We had a wide variety of people with different body shapes and sizes try out each cot and aggregated their results to award points.

The XXL gives you more than enough room.
The XXL gives you more than enough room.

We also checked to see if it was easy to hit your elbows on the side rails or you are prone to hitting your head or feet on the frame.

The construction and design differ greatly cot to cot.
The construction and design differ greatly cot to cot.

Durability


For our final metric, we evaluated and ranked the durability of each cot. We based the majority of our scores on our overall impressions of the design and construction of each cot, as well as if they sustained any damage during our extensive testing period. Additionally, we read through other user reviews to look for any common complaints or issues.

We would be concerned with the fabric ripping or stretching over time since it was so easy to accidentally catch when installing the legs.
We would be concerned with the fabric ripping or stretching over time since it was so easy to accidentally catch when installing the legs.

We also looked at the amount of weight each cot is rated for, awarding more points to models that had a higher weight rating.