Home Beginners Camping Guide Camping Cot VS Air Mattress

Camping Cot VS Air Mattress

by Rayhan
Camping Cot Vs Air Mattress

Camping cot vs. air mattress, which one is the right choice for a camping trip? It’s not an easy decision to make. But you must keep in mind that a camping trip isn’t about a long-term investment. All you need is to look for quality and comfort while considering the most important features.

It is tough to know which sleeping pads work perfectly for a beginner. You can have queries like whether a camping cot is the best match or you should opt for an air mattress. Look, anything can suit you. Every sleeping surface has its designated quality offering a comfortable option. It’s just about time until you try them out.

If you are a person of high comfort level, it’s natural to feel picky about camping gear first. And so, we have prepared this comparison article over air mattress vs. cot that might help you figure out the right fit. 

Camping Cot Vs Air Mattress – The Definitions

Most camping enthusiasts prefer going with an air mattress when intended to go on family trips. On the other hand, double camping cots work great for backpacking individuals. But why such discrimination? Let’s have a peek into its depictions,

What Is Camping Cots

Camping Cots

A camping cot portrays a foldable design that folds up into a small carrying case and typically fits into a backpack. These are extremely useful with an available range of sizes. They give campers a place to sleep that is far more comfortable than the cold ground. Soldiers have used them at war, who also needed to transport their sleeping gear easily in their bags.

Cots for camping are the perfect choice for campers and backpackers who want to sleep off the ground. A steel frame or aluminium frame gives it a rigid frame, while a thick piece of canvas or ripstop polyester provides the comfort and durability of a bed.

Camping cots are available in two sizes: double size and single size. Double height and single size. Double-size cots are longer, wider, and more profound than a single-size cots. However, they are also heavier because each side has to support the weight of two people.

If you and your significant other like to camp together, you’ll appreciate a cot designed for double bed storage space. For instance, you can purchase a Coleman camping cot that allows even a king-size camping cot for customers. 

Camping cots provide campers with comfort in the wilderness, whether you’re tent camping or car camping. These beds fold up, making them easy to toss in your trunk.


  • These feature additional storage pockets for storing personal items such as phones, keys, flashlights, and even hiking boots.
  • Camping cots are built to withstand most types of weather conditions. From rainy conditions to intense sun, it can stay dry and provide you with maximum comfort.
  • Cots are built with durable materials that protect you from bugs or other pests.
  • Most of these cots come with a sturdy metal frame but are compact. 
  • You can easily dress up or sit on these cots. 
  • Portable camping cots cover less floor space that is perfect for lounging, sleeping, and storing.
  • You don’t need to invest in foam or pump accessories — assemble the bed and hop right in.


  • These cots come with an expensive price tag, unlike an air mattress. 
  • They are not intended to be used in freezing or hot weather.
  • Ensure that you know the weight and size of the camping cot you are buying.

What Is Air Mattresses

Air Mattress

Air mattresses work best for a bunch of people, especially for home members, heading over to a camping trip. These mattresses feature a designated design of an inflatable mattress that you can fill through an air pump. Hereby, storing them for car camping becomes easier instead of backpacking.

Whether you’re a traveller or an outdoor enthusiast, choosing to invest in such beds will provide you with bed-like comfort. These air beds have adjustable firmness re larger and more comfortable than your traditional mattress pad. But these are also much smaller and lighter than a full-size inflatable mattress. 

Great for family vacations, some large mattresses feature a built-in electric pump that inflates and deflates them in a matter of minutes. It’s as simple as unrolling the mattress and plugging it in. The bed rolls up neatly for easy transport and storage with integrated carrying handles.


  • Air mattresses are inflatable sleeping pads that are easy to deflate and store.
  • It works best for family or car camping trips for its comfort assurance
  • Air mattresses give you the ultimate flexibility when used for a preferred sleeping position.
  • These are super easy to use and firm enough for night comfort yet soft enough for cuddling.
  • You can buy an air mattress on a much less budget than a camping cot


  • You have to inflate them before every use, which can be a significant hassle.
  • Because of their thin material and design, these are prone to punctures, tears, and other damages.
  • These mattresses require more prominent space in a camping tent.
  • Overnight air leakage is an issue that can severely wreak havoc on your air mattress.
  • Some air mattresses are cheap and make dull, metallic creaks when you move on them. 

Camping Cots & Air Mattresses: A Side By Side Comparison

A product’s five-star rating and 1000+ reviews are insufficient. You’ll want to be sure it’s the ideal one for you before you buy it. Be sure to conduct thorough research on your chosen mattress or cot through a comparison list. which we have highlighted in the following section below,

1. Comfort levels

Comfort level is a controversial topic. Everyone has their idea of what constitutes comfortable. But depending on the majority of camper’s opinions, it seems air mattresses are the most reliable sleeping option on a trip. 

Unlike a camping cot, you can easily adjust a sturdy mattress frame that meets your comfort level. These mattresses also come in various sizes to adapt more than one person for a night’s stay. 

Indeed, camping cots are no less than mattresses. They serve the same purpose to meet a consumer’s specific needs. However, some cots don’t fit the maximum comfort level unless you put on an added layer of the sleeping pad over the surface. 

Double cots are a great alternative to air mattresses for adults who want to travel light. They are long and wide enough for two adults to sleep comfortably and fold up into a small portable package that is easy to carry around.

2. Heat Loss/Retention

In colder climates, it’s essential to ensure that you keep warm at night when camping. Air mattresses are poor insulators and not ideal for retaining heat within your sleeping environment. However, an airbed can be too hot in warmer weather, making regular mattresses a better option.

Most camping air mattresses are suited for dry weather but can’t stand too much moisture. This can cause the mattress to lose its insulation properties as well as its durability. A pad with a high R-value will provide thermal insulation and cushioning.

The camping cot gives you the best of both worlds: a bed that’s cozy and warm on cold nights and spacious enough to roll around. It’s perfect for everyone who wants to sleep soundly while camping!

3. Pack Ability and Portability

Air mattresses are suitable for portability. Because you can deflate these inflatable mattresses and roll them up to a relatively compact size. People who have limited space in their backpacks may prefer to carry air mattresses on a trip.

Air mattresses are often more compact than camping cots; they are also less stable. These mattresses are extremely thin and bouncy. So, it makes them awkward to get out of and prone to accidental collapse. There is also the possibility of puncturing the mattress while moving it.

Camping cots are a great alternative to air mattresses with competitive pricing and long-lasting durability. Cots are much lighter than their air mattress counterparts, but they’re still just as durable. They’re also much easier to transport.

4. Durability

Inflatable mattresses are of a rugged fabric to withstand the rough and tumble of outdoor conditions. A puncture-proof mattress is a better choice for casual campers than an inflatable one, as leaks can be very inconvenient when you’re miles away from home.

Alternatively, cots are made with materials like steel and aluminium that are more rigid and completely unforgiving. So, camping cots provide added comfort and durability when you go on trips.

5. Convenience

Camping cots are easy to set up and collapse. These stay ready for campers to use in as little as 15 seconds, taking the hassle out of getting a great night’s sleep at camp. On the other hand, air mattresses take much more time to set up—and they can be a pain to break down.

Luckily, the cots come with a convenient carry bag to ease the carriage system. And for the air mattresses, some have an internal electric pump. So, you can easily inflate or deflate air when necessary. 

Wrap Up

While air mattresses and cots are great options for camping or other trips, they have shortcomings. Air mattresses get punctured easily and can be annoying to blow up, while cots are bulkier to carry around and can be too high to get in and out of.

Some campers go for the bare minimum in terms of accommodations. These are usually people who carry a sleeping bag or not much else. Some even opt for hammocks instead of tents. While this is conceivable, putting yourself in such an uncomfortable circumstance is not a smart idea.

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