When it’s time to go camping, there are a range of bedding options. On one end, there are camping mats, which are light, slim, and right on the ground. For those wanting more padding, air mattresses (provided they don’t have holes) provide a more bed-like feel.
But cots are something else altogether. Single-person portable beds, cots fold into a full frame with tightly pulled fabric on top, providing more comfort than a mat and more durability than a mattress.
My first experience with a cot was from a military surplus store. It was light, but it was also a bear to assemble, and on at least one occasion the braces fell out of the cot’s pegs. Modern camping cots, by contrast, use a pre-installed frame that can’t do that. Aldi sells a modern camping cot like that each spring as part of its camping lineup.
The Adventuridge Camping Cot, which retails for $24.99, is a single-person sleeping product. The package comes with the cot, a storage bag, a manual, and a warranty card. (The warranty is good for 2 years.) Fully collapsed, the cot measures 37 inches long, 7.9 inches wide, and 5.9 inches high. Once set up, those numbers expand to 6.2 feet long, 2.4 feet wide, and 1.41 feet high.
The cot is not terribly compact when folded, and when you add in the not-insignificant nearly 18 pounds of weight, I found this to be a bit of a load to carry. The cot’s bag does come with a carry strap, but the weight is such that I’m not entirely confident the strap will survive a long time carrying this thing. The flip side, though, is that the cot feels sturdy. Accordingly, it’s rated for up to 265 pounds.
Setup is a little awkward the first time thanks to the weight and bulk of it, although that’s true of many cots like this one. It’s helpful if two people unfold it from either end, but if you’re solo you can get by with just one person with some practice. Be careful, though, as the joints can pinch your fingers if you’re not cautious, and make sure to leave plenty of space around you for initial setup. (The manual does give some advice, but it’s text rather than any graphics, so if you’re not one who can imagine things in your head, you may have some difficulties interpreting those.)
Once set up — the process finishes up with two crossbars that slip into notches on each end — the bed is tight and firm. One big positive is that I am very confident this cot will support me. The aluminum frame feels sturdy, and while there is a little bit of movement, it’s pretty minor.
We took it camping for a few nights, and our kids liked them. They set up easily enough and provide some space both in the side pocket and below the cot for storage. The cot was stable on the tent surface. The cot’s sleeping surface is firm but you can soften it a bit by putting a sleeping bag on top of it. In cooler weather, you might want to consider a sleeping bag; it ventilates nicely from below but that can make it a rather cool sleeping surface when temperatures drop.
One downside is that both the bag and the bag handle showed some wear after packing them back up. The weight and the metal edges on the cot joints both take a toll on the bag, and, as we mentioned earlier, it makes us wonder how much punishment these bags can take.
It’s a bit heavy and a little awkward to set up the first time, but the Adventuridge Camping Cot feels sturdy. It’s a firm surface that should do what it claims to do, and at a price lower than most other cots. We’re not sure the bag will hold up in the long haul, though. A two-year warranty is a nice perk.