Camping Cots Vs Air Mattresses – Which One Suits You?

If you’ve never camped before, then you might be wondering what type of sleeping arrangements are available. There are two main options: camping cots and air mattresses.

Both offer different benefits and drawbacks, so let’s take a look at how they differ from each other in order to help you decide which is right for your next trip.

Air mattresses are an excellent option if you plan on staying in one place for a long period of time. They are also great for people who like to travel light because they don’t require any extra gear. However, they can be difficult to set up and use properly, especially if you have limited space.

Camping cots are more versatile than air mattresses. They come with all the necessary equipment to make them easy to set up and use anywhere you may need to stay overnight. The downside to this is that they can be heavy and bulky, making them harder to move around.

Camping Cots Vs Air Mattresses – Which One Suits You

Camping Cots

Camping cot sets typically include a mattress, pillow, and some sort of cover. They’re usually made out of foam or canvas and can weigh as much as 50 pounds.

A good rule of thumb is to buy the heaviest model you can find. This will ensure that it won’t roll away when you try to carry it to your campsite.

When purchasing a camping cot, make sure there are no sharp edges or rough spots. These could cause cuts or scrapes. Also, check that the fabric isn’t too thin or thick. It should fit snugly without being too tight or loose.

They also come with a steel frame, which makes them harder to move around but much more durable. Camping cots are perfect for those looking to save money by not buying their own tent or sleeping bag.

These kinds of cots are mainly designed for people camping on their own. You can find some double cots, although these will obviously be more expensive.

If you want something that can be used with someone else, then you’ll probably want to go with an air mattress instead. But even though they’re less expensive, they aren’t always ideal.

These camping cots come with polyester material that can be stretched over your tent. This means that you can easily pack it into your car and just pull it out once you arrive at your destination. Some of these cots are lighter in design, which also makes them easy to store. 

Air Mattress

An air mattress is basically just a large inflatable cushion. They can be found in many shapes and sizes, including twin, full, queen, king, and even California King. Most of these models come with a pump that allows you to inflate them quickly.

The most common types of air mattresses are memory foam and gel-filled. Memory foam is generally considered to be the best choice because it provides support while still feeling soft and comfortable. Gel-filled ones tend to be firmer and provide better insulation.

The only issue with air mattresses is that they can be difficult to inflate. That’s why it’s important to get a pump that works well with the size of the mattress you choose. If you don’t have a pump, then you might consider getting a small air compressor.

There are also some air mattresses that are specifically designed for camping. These models are often smaller and easier to transport. They also offer additional features like waterproof covers and built-in storage areas.

You’ll want to look for one that has a firm base so that it doesn’t sink into the ground. This will help prevent any sagging and allow you to sleep comfortably.

Air mattresses are great if you plan on using them with another person. They can be folded up and stored inside your vehicle until you need them. Once you reach your campsite, you simply unfold them and set them down.

How Are The Two Different In Terms Of Price?

It depends on what type of camping cot you purchase. If you decide to go with a camping cot set, then you’ll likely pay between $50-$100. On the other hand, if you opt for an air mattress, then you’ll spend anywhere from $20-$60.

The price difference comes down to how much time and effort goes into making each product. A camping cot set typically takes longer to assemble than an air mattress. And since they require assembly, this usually results in higher prices.

However, there are some camping cots that are made with cheaper materials. So, if you’re willing to sacrifice quality for a lower cost, then you may be able to find a model that fits your needs perfectly.

How Easy Are They To Set Up?

This really depends on the type of camping cot that you buy. For example, if you’re looking for a camping cot set that includes everything, then you’ll need to make sure that all of the pieces fit together properly.

If you’re purchasing a camping cot set online, then you should always check the reviews first. This way, you can see whether or not people had trouble assembling their products.

If you’re buying an air mattress, then it’s pretty simple to set up. All you need to do is connect your pump to an electricity source in order to fill your mattress with air. However, this can be quite difficult if you are at a campsite where they might not have an electrical power point.

A camping cot will usually have a foldable design that makes it easy to store away when not in use. But, an air mattress is more compact and portable. It can easily fit inside your vehicle or even under your bed.

How Comfortable Are They?

How Comfortable Are They

One of the biggest differences between these two types of camping cots is comfort. Camping cots tend to be more durable than air mattresses. They also provide better support.

While both options are comfortable, you’ll probably feel more relaxed sleeping on a camping cot. This is because they are designed to keep you stable while you rest.

On the other hand, an air mattress tends to be more flexible. So, you’ll get a softer sleep experience and you can adjust the level of comfort in your air mattress by inflating or deflating it when appropriate.

If you are used to sleeping on your stomach or your side, then you’ll want to get as much leverage off the ground as possible. If this is you, then you’ll probably be looking more for an air mattress than a camping cot.

If you are camping by yourself, then the camping cot might be more useful. It allows you to stretch out comfortably without disturbing others around you. Plus, you won’t have to worry about waking anyone else up during the night.

However, if you are sleeping with someone else, then you’ll probably prefer the flexibility of an air mattress. It lets you move around without waking them up.

How Warm Do They Keep You?

Another big factor to consider when choosing between camping cots and air mattresses is temperature control. While most camping cots come equipped with a cover, air mattresses don’t need one.

So, if you like to camp in colder climates, then you’ll want a camping cot that keeps you warm. On the other hand, if you enjoy camping in warmer weather, then you’ll probably want an air mattress that provides maximum ventilation.

An air mattress is also raised off the ground, so if you are camping somewhere cold, then having that distance between yourself and the ground will be very important.

Most of these camping cots come with an R-value that will determine how insulated these camping quilts are. The higher the number, the greater the insulation value.

The best camping cots will have an R-value of 4 or 5. These are great for keeping you warm during winter camping trips.

Because there is a significant amount of space underneath your camping cot, then this will cause a process called convection, which will make things a lot colder underneath.

This is why some people recommend getting a camping cot with a lower R-value. For example, a 3R camping cot will still be able to keep you warm but it will be easier to regulate the temperature underneath.

How Easy Is It To Store?

You should also take into account how easy it is to store your camping cot once you’re done using it. Most camping cots come with a carry bag. However, many air mattresses do not.

If you plan on storing your camping cot for long periods of time, then you’ll want something that’s easy to fold up and put away. If you are planning on taking your camping cot along on an extended trip, then you’ll definitely want to look for something that folds down flat.

Air mattresses tend to be heavier than camping cots. This means that they require more effort to transport.

What About Weight Capacity?

Lastly, you should think about what weight capacity your camping cot has. Some camping cots can hold up to 500 pounds while others can only handle 200 pounds.

While you may not weigh 300 pounds, there could be another person who does. So, if you are going to be sharing your camping cot with someone else, then it’s important that you get a model that can accommodate their size.

In addition, if you are planning on bringing your camping cot along with you on an extended trip, you’ll want to make sure that it can handle whatever you are carrying.

An air mattress will be able to handle a lot heavier weight, however, you might have to pump up your air mattress to get that extra ground clearance. This is especially true if you are camping on a low flooring situation.

How Durable Are They?

Durability is another thing to consider when buying a camping cot. In general, camping cots are much more durable than air mattresses.

They are made from thicker materials and they are designed to withstand rough conditions. Additionally, because they are usually used by one person at a time, they won’t need to be as sturdy as a camping cot would.

However, if you are planning to use your camping cot often, then you’ll want to buy something that will last.

Air mattresses are made from very tough fabrics that are designed not to be pierced or punctured. However, there is always the risk that your air mattress will succumb to a stray branch that will get through your air mattress.

Cots are generally designed to handle more weight and some of them can support weights of up to 500 lbs.

In Conclusion

When deciding whether to buy a camping cot or an air mattress, you should first decide what kind of camping experience you want.

If you are looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, then an air mattress might be best for you. However, if you are looking for something that will allow you to sleep comfortably in any type of weather, then a camping cot might be better suited for you.

About the author

Jesse Blaine

Jesse is the owner of, contributes to a lot of the material, and directs day-to-day operations. He lives in Colorado with his wife and kids and loves the outdoors. He’s an avid skier, hiker, kiteboarder, and adventure sports explorer. Jesse has also traveled the world and lived in five different countries. He speaks several languages and loves communicating with people

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