Camping Cot Vs Air Mattress

Camping Cot Vs Air Mattress – [Which Is Better For Camping?]

You’re out under the starry sky, nature is your only companion, and it’s time to get some shut-eye. But wait, are you going to sleep on a camping cot or an air mattress?

Well, the truth is, both can be great options depending on the situation. For lightweight travel and ease of setup, an air mattress could be your perfect companion. However, for durability, off-ground comfort, and storage advantages, a camping cot could be a game-changer.

In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to delve into the pros and cons of both, helping you make an informed decision for your unique camping needs. Let’s get started!

What is a Camping Cot?

A camping cot, also known as a camp bed, is a portable bed designed for outdoor use. Imagine a smaller, easily transportable version of your bed, with a sturdy metal, wood, or plastic frame and a sleeping surface made from durable material like nylon or polyester.

Elevated from the ground, a camping cot can be a boon for campers in certain situations. But like any other piece of equipment, it has its pros and cons. Let’s explore them!

A Camping Cot

Advantages of a Camping Cot:

Camping cots have long been loved by campers worldwide. Here’s why we think you might fall in love with them, too:

1. Comfort: 

There’s something uniquely comforting about sleeping elevated off the ground. Camping cots offer that luxury. Especially if you’re someone who struggles with getting up from ground level, you’ll appreciate the height a cot provides.

2. Protection from Ground Elements: 

With a camping cot, you’re elevated off the ground. This means you’re safe from any wet or cold that the ground may be holding. And let’s not forget the creepy crawlies that might be wandering around.

3. Storage Space: 

The area underneath the cot isn’t just dead space – it can serve as a great storage spot for your camping gear.

Disadvantages of a Camping Cot:

Camping cots aren’t without their shortcomings. Here are some reasons why a camping cot might not be for you:

1. Size and Weight:

 Unlike air mattresses, camping cots can be quite heavy and bulky. This makes them less ideal for long hiking trips where you need to carry your gear.

2. Setup Time:

 It takes a bit more time and effort to set up a cot compared to inflating an air mattress.

3. Comfort Level:

 Some people find the firm surface of a cot less comfortable than an air mattress. This can particularly be a concern if you suffer from back problems.

What is an Air Mattress?

An air mattress, also known as an air bed, is another popular choice for campers. Made from PVC or similar materials, these mattresses can be deflated when not in use, making them super easy to transport. With the right air pump, an air mattress can be inflated in just a few minutes to provide a comfortable sleeping surface.

Air Mattress

Advantages of an Air Mattress

Air mattresses can be a game-changer for your camping experience. Here’s why you might want to consider them:

1. Comfort: 

With an air mattress, it almost feels like you’ve brought your bed from home to the outdoors. The comfort level it offers is its main attraction. You can adjust the firmness by adding or releasing air, which is a feature not many camping sleep options can boast of.

2. Portability: 

Air mattresses score big on portability. When deflated, they can be rolled up and packed into a small bag. This makes them perfect for backpacking trips where you’re looking to save on space and weight.

3. Quick Setup: 

If you have an efficient air pump, your air mattress can be ready in a jiffy. This can be a real advantage when you arrive at your campsite late and want to set up quickly.

Disadvantages of an Air Mattress

Air mattresses, like camping cots, have their own set of drawbacks:

1. Durability: 

Air mattresses can be prone to punctures and leaks. Nothing ruins a camping trip like waking up flat on the ground in the middle of the night.

2. Cold:

 Air mattresses offer little insulation. This means on cold nights, the air inside the mattress can get cold, making for an uncomfortable sleeping experience.

3. Pump Requirement:

You’ll need to have a functioning pump, and possibly a power source, to inflate your air mattress. This adds to the gear you need to carry.

Camping Cot vs Air Mattress: 

So, you’re still torn between the two? We understand. Both camping cots and air mattresses have their pros and cons. To make your decision easier, let’s put them side by side and see how they compare:

1. Comfort: 

While comfort can be subjective, air mattresses tend to feel more like traditional beds. On the other hand, cots provide firm support that some campers might prefer.

2. Portability: 

Air mattresses take the cake here due to their lighter weight and compact size when deflated.

3. Durability: 

Camping cots are typically more robust and less likely to suffer damage.

4. Setup: 

Air mattresses are usually quicker to set up with the help of an air pump.

5. Insulation: 

Cots keep you off the ground, which can be warmer in cold conditions.

What is Better for Camping, Air Mattress or Cot?

The answer to this question depends on your specific needs and the nature of your camping trip. If you’re backpacking and need to keep your pack light, an air mattress might be your best bet.

However, for car camping or base camps, a cot could provide more comfort and durability. In the end, the best choice is the one that gives you a good night’s sleep in the great outdoors. Happy camping!


Whether you choose a camping cot or an air mattress, remember that the ultimate goal is to enjoy your time in nature. We hope this guide has helped you get a step closer to finding your perfect camping sleep system.

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