Backpacking tent cots is an increasingly popular way to enjoy the outdoors while still having the comfort and convenience of sleeping in the same bed every night. They are lightweight and easy to transport, so they can be taken on any backpacking trip.

However, before you purchase a backpacking tent cot, there are several things to consider. From the size and weight to features and price, there is a lot to think about.

Knowing what to look for and what to avoid can help you find the perfect backpacking tent cot for your next outdoor adventure. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 things to consider before purchasing a backpacking tent cot and how to determine the best one for your needs.

What is a backpacking cot tent?

A backpacking tent cot is a hybrid of a sleeping bag and a traditional cot. They feature a sleeping pad that rests on top of a sturdy frame. Also, they’re typically lower to the ground than a cot, making them easy to get in and out of. As a result, this camping sleep system, allows you to be more comfortable while being light enough to be used with a backpacking tent.

Designed for solo travelers, it elevates the user off the ground, providing a comfortable sleep while protecting from the elements and ground-dwelling insects and pests. These tents are lightweight and compact, making them suitable for backpacking trips.

A camper is seen unfolding a sleeping pad inside a yellow cot tent situated in a forest
Photo: Chaewul Kim
Setting Up for a Night in Nature: Unfolding Comfort in a Yellow Forest Cot Tent.

At its most basic, a backpacking tent cot is a lightweight cot that can be folded into a backpack when not in use. Backpacking tent cots are ideal for use in the wilderness where you need to carry your own sleeping gear. However, they are also a good choice for backyard camping, especially if your campsite doesn’t have level or soft enough ground to pitch a tent.

The cot part of the tent is usually elevated off the ground, which makes it more comfortable to sleep in than a traditional ground tent.

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Why do you need a tent cot?

When backpacking, you need a cot tent for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost, a cot keeps you off the ground and away from any creepy crawlies that might be lurking. 

Secondly, it provides a comfortable place to sleep, which is crucial when you’re spending long days hiking. 

Finally, since it’s elevated off the ground, it will help to keep warm and insulate you from the cold ground at night

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10 things to look for in tent cot combo

When you are looking at several best tent cots, there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind:

1. Size and weight of the backpacking tent cot

One of the most important things to consider before purchasing a backpacking tent cot is its size and weight. Backpacking tent cots come in a variety of sizes and weights. It’s important to find one that is appropriate for your needs, whether you are planning a solo trip or sharing a tent with a partner or friend.

If you are backpacking, then find a smaller and ultralight cot. However, it’s also important to make sure it’s big enough for your needs. If you are sharing a sleeping space, then check out a double tent cot that is wide enough for two people to avoid cramped quarters.

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Camping cot tent: Kamp Rite Double Tent Cot and Kamp Rite 2 Person Tent Cot for both durability and ease of set-up

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Ultralight portable camping cot: Helinox Lite backpacking cot: 2.8 lbs

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2. Weather

When you’re backpacking, you need gear that can withstand all types of weather. Your cot tent should be no exception! Look for a waterproof coating, rainfly and that is made with water-repellant and breathable fabric. What’s more, the seams should be taped to prevent water from seeping in.

The floor of the cot tent should be made of durable, high wear resistance, water-repellent material, as well as, the poles should be made of aluminum or another sturdy material that can withstand high winds.

In addition, check for the mesh walls. They should be lightweight and breathable, to allow for plenty of airflow while still keeping bugs and other critters out.

3. Features to look for in a backpacking tent cot

There are a variety of features to look for in a cot tent combo. Knowing what they are can help you find the best one for your needs and give you an idea of how much you should expect to pay for a high-quality product.

Height – Tent cots come in a variety of heights from low to high. The higher models may not be as ideal for backpacking, but they can make them easier to get in and out of.

Width – You’ll want to make sure the backpacking tent cot is wide enough for your needs. If you are backpacking with a partner or friend, you want to make sure there is enough room for two people to sleep comfortably.

Weight – The weight of the backpacking tent cot is another important thing to consider when purchasing one. The lighter the tent cot, the easier it will be to transport.

Construction – The construction of the tent cot is something else to look for when shopping for one. You want a tent cot that is sturdy and made with quality materials.

Insect Resistance- Make sure that the material of the tent repels insects or can be treated with bug repellent. Inspect the seams to check they are tightly sealed so that no insects can enter through the gaps. Look for an integrated mosquito net or No-see-um, and if the fabric can be treated with insect repellent, to provide an extra level of protection.

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4. Price of the Camping Cot Tent

The price of the tent cot is something else to consider before purchasing one. The price varies depending on the size, construction, and features of the tent cot. You can find cot tent combo for as little as $150 and as much as $700.

However, the more expensive cots are made with higher quality materials and feature more useful features. If you have a limited budget, then it may be best to purchase a lower-end tent cot. You can find cheaper tents on sale or used. You can also find discounted camping tent cot online through retailers like Amazon.

Make sure to check the return policy before buying to ensure you can return it if it’s not right for you.

Instant cot tent
Ozark Trail Instant Cot Tent | Walmart Price: $129.97 (Dec 2022)
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5. Durability of the backpacking tent cot

When you are looking for a backpacking cot tent, you want to make sure that it is durable. You want something that is going to last you a long time and that you can use for many different trips. There are a few things that you can look for when you are trying to determine the durability of a backpacking cot tent.

Check how the construction of the frame. The frame of the tent is what supports the entire structure, so it needs to be very strong and durable. Look for tents that have an aluminum or steel frame. These materials are very strong and will not break easily.

If you are planning on using your backpacking cot tent in extreme weather conditions, then consider a heavier model. This will ensure that your tent can withstand high winds and heavy rain.

The best way to determine the durability of a tent camping cot is by reading reviews. Reading reviews from other customers who have purchased and used the tent cot can help you determine whether or not it’s durable enough for your needs.

6. Ease of setup of the backpacking tent cot

You’ll want to make sure the tent cot is easy to set up. Some tent cots can be tricky to set up, especially if you are trying to set it up alone. You don’t want to have to waste time, effort, and energy on set up.

A folding tent cot is the perfect choice for campers who want to be able to set up camp quickly and easily. Not only will it provide a comfortable place to sleep, but it will also be easy to set up in no time. No more struggling with poles and tent pegs – just unfold the cot and you’re ready to go!

7. Comfort of the backpacking tent cot

Sleeping comfort should be a top factor to consider before purchasing one. For extra comfort, look for a tent cot with a padded mattress or pad, adjustable legs, and a large interior. If you plan on camping in colder climates, then make sure the tent is also insulated.

That said, look for a tent cot with plenty of pockets and compartments to store your gear.

Can’t decide? The best way to determine comfort is by reading customer reviews. You can find reviews on websites like Amazon or the product page of most online retailers. Lastly, look for features that add comfort and convenience, like a built-in mattress for extra cushioning and a fly for extra protection from the elements.

Some cot tents don’t fit well with other pie

8. Compatibility with other equipment

Certain equipment pieces vary in design and functionality. For instance, certain cots are specifically tailored to fit snugly under a tent, while others are tailored to be placed underneath a sleeping pad. Consequently, this feature may pose a challenge when it comes to storing the cot during periods of non-use.

Therefore, it is advisable to verify the compatibility of a backpack cot tent with other equipment prior to making a purchase. By doing so, it ensures a seamless integration with existing gear, facilitating a more convenient user experience.

9. Convenience of use and storage

You also want to consider how convenient the backpacking tent cot is to carry and store. A tent cot that can be quickly and easily set up and taken down is ideal, especially when you’re on the move. You also want a single cot tent that is easy to store. You don’t want to have to make a ton of space in your car or storage to keep the tent cot.

If you are backpacking, then make sure it’s portable, compact, and lightweight. Some camping tent cots can be rolled up and carried in a bag, making them easy to transport. Most tent cots come with their own carrying bags which make them easy to transport from one location to another.

You should also consider how much space the tent will take up in your backpack since this will affect how much other gear you can carry.

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10. Warranties and return policies

Finally, you’ll want to make sure the tent cot you purchase comes with a warranty that protects you against defects in the construction or materials. It’s also a good idea to research the return policy of the retailer. This can help you determine if it’s worth purchasing or if you should keep looking for a different model.

That said, if you are purchasing it online, make sure the retailer offers a good return policy. This will certainly, give you peace of mind and help you find the best backpacking tent cot for your needs.

How to Pack Your Backpacking Cot Tent

Assuming you have already purchased it, here are a few tips on how to pack it for your next hike or camping trip.

First, make sure that all of the poles are in good condition and securely attached to the cot. Prepare your tent for storage, by following these tips.

Next, fold up the cot and place it inside the carrying bag. If possible, try to fit the carrying bag inside your backpack so that it doesn’t add too much bulk.

Before you pack up, make sure to double-check that you have closed all the zippers and there are no loose items that may fall out during transit.. And that’s it! With a little bit of practice, packing up your backpacking gear will be a breeze.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Backpacking Cot Tent?

Backpacking cot tents offer several benefits:

  1. Elevated Comfort: The cot provides a comfortable sleeping surface, keeping you off the hard, cold ground.
  2. Protection: They offer protection from ground moisture, insects, and small animals.
  3. The tents are designed to be lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry on backpacking trips, despite their comfort.


I hope this article has given you some things to consider. There are many factors to take into account, such as weight, size, and price. However, if you keep these 10 things in mind, you’ll be sure to find the perfect backpacking cot tent for your next backpacking trip.

Thanks for reading! Comment below if we missed any key features to look for.  Happy Backpacking!


1. What Is a Backpacking Cot Tent and How Does It Differ From Traditional Tents?

Answer: A backpacking cot tent is an innovative outdoor gear that combines the elevated comfort of a cot with the protection of a tent. Unlike traditional tents that sit directly on the ground, cot tents are raised off the ground, providing a barrier from cold, uneven, or wet surfaces. This design enhances sleep quality and comfort, making it an excellent choice for backpackers seeking a restful night’s sleep in the wilderness. The key difference lies in its unique structure that offers improved airflow, insulation, and protection from ground elements, setting a new standard for camping convenience and comfort.

2. Can Backpacking Cot Tents Be Used in All Seasons?

Answer: Yes, many backpacking cot tents are designed with versatility in mind, suitable for use across all seasons. The elevated design helps in maintaining insulation from the cold ground during winter, while the breathable materials and ventilation systems offer comfort during warmer months. However, it’s crucial to choose a cot tent that matches your specific seasonal needs. Look for features such as waterproofing for rainy seasons, sturdy construction to withstand snow or strong winds, and UV protection for summer use. By selecting a cot tent designed for all-season use, adventurers can enjoy comfortable and protected outdoor sleeping year-round.

3. How to Setup and Maintain Your Backpacking Cot Tent for Longevity?

Setting up your backpacking cot tent correctly and maintaining it can significantly extend its lifespan. Start by choosing a level and clear site to assemble your cot tent, avoiding sharp objects that could damage the fabric. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for setup to ensure stability and prevent damage. Maintenance-wise, always clean and dry your cot tent thoroughly after each use to prevent mold and mildew growth. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Regularly inspect for any signs of wear or damage and make necessary repairs promptly. Proper care and maintenance not only prolong the life of your backpacking cot tent but also ensure it remains a reliable companion on many adventures.

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Last update on 2024-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API