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Camping Cots Vs Air Mattressess : Comparison & Guide [2023]

The selection between camping cots vs air mattresses is a matter of sheer desire. But how will it be revealed? Which one is better for you? You can only make a confirmed decision if you try both. After experiencing both, I have thoroughly considered these two to help you make an appropriate decision before purchasing any of them.

If you are an experienced camper or just an amateur going out for the first time for a camping expedition, your right choice to purchase an air mattress or a camping cot can help you enjoy a sound sleep. In this way, you will be able to make your camping expedition more exciting.

As I have an experience with both of these, I will explain in this article whether you should use a camping cot or air mattress for this purpose. l will compare the two by explaining the cons and pros of each over the other.

After reading this article, you will find yourself confident enough to buy your sleeping system, having adequate knowledge about what you are purchasing. As you will know, these cots and air mattresses will outrank other outdoor sleeping features such as sleeping bags, pads, and hammocks.

What are camping cots?

Camping cots are moveable, lightweight beds covered with canvas, linen, or nylon fabric. Its body comprises an aluminium or steel frame with a bending capability and is generally used in urgent needs, tents, and army campsites.

Camping cots are known as camping beds in the UK. You can use a camping foam mattress and a camping pillow with a camping cot for additional cosiness if you plan long-term camping. The fabric of the perfect camping cot is launderable and restful such as nylon fabric. Canvas fabric is long-lasting.

On the other hand, it isn’t easy to wash. These cots have a U and X shape frame and are long-lasting, easy to fold, rust-free, and unheavy. It looks like a beach chair. It helps in reducing the space for your gear. These are the only ones above the ground surface among the other camping gear.

Read More: Best Queen Size camping Cot

Pros of camping cots over air mattresses 

  • Step up from the land makes it somewhat relaxed and long-lasting.
  • Easily manageable with foldable styles
  • You can keep your luggage under the cot or in pockets existing inside the cot.
  • It Offers enough area below the cot for keeping the goods.
  • It has proper space for you to sit in and dress up.
  • It is usable in all types of seasons.
  • It makes it easy for you to sleep on the hard floor.
  • Cots are beneficial enough to enjoy sound sleep, which is impossible on hard floors. It is remarkable for those who don’t take it easy to go out at bedtime.
  • Nowadays, the making of camping cots is excellent, compressed, and easily moveable.
  • Primarily the camping cots are designed in such a way that these are adjustable according to the space.
  • If you are using a camping cot, no extraordinary thing is required for sleeping, like pumps, other than a sleeping pillow or blanket.
  • In the cot, you do not need any electricity.

Cons of camping cot over air mattresses

  • There are some cons of camping cots like these are weighty and massive 99% can be used only for car camping.
  • Cots have a capacity of two persons, which is very limited.
  • Cots are weighty and massive, a big hurdle in transportation and storage.
  • Cots are costly enough that an ordinary man is too poor to afford them.
  • Cots cannot provide adequate heat if you don’t protect these yourself.
  • Although some cots are solid and massive, some are made for backpacking purposes. The most important drawback of camping cots is that they are easily breakable.
  • A camping cot is vast enough to damage the tent floor if you need to place it without proper care.

Read More: Best camping cots for bad backs

What are air mattresses?

There is a very unclear difference between air mattresses and sleeping pads. Most of the sleeping pads are filled with air. This article will reference outdated airbeds, usually blown up with a pump, when discussing air mattresses.

There lies a difference between daily use airbeds and others that are appropriate for camping purposes. According to the measurement of bedroom-sized airbeds, which are approximately 19,22 inches high, this height will take enough area in the tent.

Most air mattresses need electrical things to be blown up, restricting your options for choosing campgrounds and campsites. I can interpret air mattresses and air beds as blown-up mattresses usually made of polyvinyl chloride PVC. They are also rubber-made.

Airbeds are famous and available at a reasonable price, and these are of different styles to use in RVs indoors and outdoors.

An air mattress, also known as a blow-up bed or an airbed, is an inflatable mattress mainly made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Some are made of rubber. Air mattresses are top-rated and affordable and come in many designs for use in RVs, at home, or in tents.

An airbed can be filled with an easily moveable hand pump when required. Air mattresses are easy to convert into a small size after flattening them. Another type of air bed requires equipment like a repair kit, air pump and an optional chair sling.

On the contrary, the air mattress is a blown-up mattress without any structure filled up by a hand-held and foot-held pump operated by battery and electrical devices. On the other hand, some are pumpless and can be filled up automatically.

The capacity of the best air mattresses is for one to two people. Its thickness varies from three to nine inches.

You might also like: Best Tents for Queen Size Air Mattresses

Pros of air mattresses over camping cot

  • If we talk about the advantages of an air mattress over a camping cot, we will come to know that an air mattress gives ease, just like a bed at home.
  • These are available in different sizes for customers’ convenience.
  • It is easy to keep and move it from one place to another, which a cot can not.
  • It has an inflexibility in its adjustment.
  • If you are using an air mattress, then you have a perfect grip on how solid and cosy your sleeping place should be
  • As far as car camping is concerned, selecting an air mattress would be very costly.

Cons of air mattresses over camping cot

  • An air mattress can be punctured or have some holes for leakage.
  • The tightness of the mattress may lose during night time.
  • Some mattresses are not suitable for insulation.
  • Intricately designed mattresses require a pump.
  • Massive mattresses cover a lot of areas in the tent.
  • Air Mattresses should be thoroughly protected before use.
  • Here lies a risk of destruction due to some rapture and blubbing.
  • You must use a pump to blow up the mattress; for this, you must keep a pump as an extra thing during the trip.
  • Some air mattresses could be of better quality. That’s why the mattresses lose air then you have to pump up your mattress often before bedtime.
  • Most mattresses are made of plastic and low in price; because of their poor quality, they create disturbing sounds when you move on them.
  • Many people have complained that it is not easy to sleep on the surface of the mattress without placing a sheet under you because it becomes scorching without a sheet. Everything will be alright if you are experiencing your trip in cold weather.
  • If you are used to blowing up your mattress without an electric pump, but unfortunately, you forget it, then blowing up the mattress at night will disturb everyone.

Read More: Best camping mattresses for bad back

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Camping cot vs. air mattresses: Which is best?

The camping expedition is concerned with more than just the experience of sleeping on the freezing, pinching surface. If you hesitate to ponder the idea of sleeping on a thin sleeping pad, you are punished by a traditional torturing weapon and packed down to the size of a Nalgene.

The great news is that the world of camping is not limited to you people. If you are on a car camping expedition there, you will find a lot of rooms where you can keep large camping beds, like camping cots and air mattresses.

But what should be your choice? I know very well that a sound sleep in the camp at night is significant for you. For your convenience, I have evaluated the difference between the camping cot and air mattresses which will help you to choose which one is better for you. This way, you will get up in a good mood and ready to grasp the day.

Camping cot vs. air mattresses: What is the difference?

A camping cot is light in weight and has a narrow bed, which is for single-person use only. It is made of sturdy fabric like nylon or canvas with a folding frame body made of aluminium or steel. It is known as a camp bed in the UK. On looking at it, you will find that you are lying on a sun bed.

Furthermore, an air mattress is a blow-up mattress without any frame that is filled with the help of a pump handled by hands, and electricity, whereas some are without pumps and self-inflating. The best mattresses vary from 3 to 9 inches in width and are suitable for 1 to 2 persons.

Camping cot vs. air mattresses: Comfort

As a person, everyone’s priority is comfort. You are sleeping on an air mattress feels like home as it feels like your home mattress. You can build coils in your mattress to boost the level of comfort. Camping cots take you away from the ground.

The discussion is about the comfort level of both the cot and mattress. The fabric of a camping cot is stiffer and rugged, making it difficult to roll your body over it and uneasy to sleep. It is not suitable for those who sleep with their front half body. Most campers use an air mattress or camping pad on top of a camping cot to comfort themselves.

Now, this is your turn to decide how you make your sleep comfortable. Still, people notice air mattress is more comfortable.

Camping cot vs. air mattresses: Weight

It is easy to find out the weight of a camping cot and an air mattress as it clearly shows air mattresses weigh less than camping cots because camping cots consist of steel or aluminium body. The weight of the pump is also the component of an air mattress. Both are suitable for car camping but could not be better for backpacking.

Camping cot vs. air mattresses: Packability

You can go in the car or a bus with air mattresses or camping cots. But backpacking is more critical than packability, but you still have to decide if your vehicle is small or has a lot of equipment. Flatten camping mattresses can easily fold into smaller packages than camping cots, but a pump is also an air mattress component, even though camping cots fold into large boxes. You can easily place them in the front seat of the car and the trunk of a car.

Camping cot vs. air mattresses: Ease of use

Camping stuff may be difficult to use, from setting up camp to thinking about how to use a portable camping stove; therefore, you need a sleep system that you can easily set up as simply as possible. Camping cots are pretty easy to use; you need to straighten them, have your sleep sack on them, and it’s ready for sleep.

On the contrary, air mattresses are more straightforward; they only require a pump to fill the air. Sometimes, it becomes frustrating and complicated because of its damaged faucet, run-down battery, or electricity failure, making your sleep problematic and terrifying. In short, camping cots are easier to use than air mattresses.

Camping cot vs. air mattresses: Durability

Durability means the quality of a product and how you use that product. I believe that camping cots are durable. Fabric-like canvas and aluminium are strong, and their steel body is generally corrosion-proof. Some joints and spirals can break down gradually only if you are not taking care of them.

It is essential to consider that the durability of the sleeping system is the central aspect. Preferably you need one that will stay sturdy, moveable, and easy to pack apart for lifelong.

Usually, air mattresses are short-lasting. They get flat quickly from a twig or sharp objects; moreover, they become airless instantly because of defective on and off the device.

Air mattresses with a heavy PVC layer can evade rip-up, crease, and air discharge. It is noticeable that some companies of air mattresses use coils inside the mattress to stabilize it, improve back brace and avoid drooping. It will help in prolonging the life of an air mattress.

Camping cots are more long-lasting and strong. Their frames are made from aluminium protected with sharp fabric intended to run longer and more powerfully. A camping cot is also available in a steel body for more heaviness and permanency. Use oil or grease on the frame’s joints to avoid a scraping sound.

Meantime, there is always a fear of puncture in air mattresses, which is less long-lasting than cots. Remember to check your air mattress before going camping, and take the air mattress repair kit with you.

Camping cot vs air mattresses: Cost

Camping cots and air mattresses differ in cost; therefore, it is another good thing for campers because they will not make a significant decision based only on price.

Final Thoughts: Camping Cots Vs Air Mattresses

As discussed above, the comparison of camping cots and air mattresses according to their weight, portability, and price. But which one is best for you is still a question. You have to search for the comfiest sleeping system for yourself.

There are other significant aspects, such as ease of use and durability. You can decrease the risk of damage by packing your air mattress accurately. There are other good options to consider for a sleeping system, such as sleeping pads and sleeping bag hammocks, but they also have limitations, like camping cots and air mattresses.

If I talk about other sleeping systems, the one I will discuss first is hammocks.

Hammock: The hammock is a bed with canvas or rope mesh fabric, and its ends are connected with ropes. It is set up quickly, requires a tiny space, and will take you up from the ground. It will not protect you from cold, and it is necessary to use a rainfly to save yourself from rain.

Sleeping on a hammock can cause back pain. These are suitable for daytime and are usable for moderate temperatures. The campers who choose this for sleeping will get confined after a short period.

Sleeping pads: The second one is sleeping pads. Sleeping pads are generally easy to carry and slighter. Though, it may need more protection in cold weather. Sleeping pads with PVC layer and water resistance are dangerous for your body heat. On the other hand, sleeping pads with open-cell foam provide cosiness and increased protection.

Pad foam has a firm and smooth surface, whereas cell foam can pin down the air for extra softness. Thermal resistance sleeping is also known as the R-Value with a number 5 or more, so it is perfect for winter. Pad provides extra insulation if the R-value is higher.

None of these substitutes can beat the air mattress or camping cot, as these are the best sleeping options. Its argument led to the conflict between the camping cot and the air mattress. It is an ancient warfare between campers, which can be restricted by views rather than truth.

It is hard to choose between these two as they have specific benefits and drawbacks. It is suggested to enjoy both by using a camping cot with an air mattress only if you have sufficient space.

Read More: Best Camping Cot for Two Persons

Frequently Asked Questions Camping Cots Vs Air Mattresses: Camping Cots Vs Air Mattresses

Following are the frequently asked questions related to camping cots vs ar mattresses.

1. Is a camping cot more comfortable than an air mattress?

Answer: For back sleepers camping cots might be suitable. But for most campers, an air mattress is ideal as these are easy to adjust and cushion.

2. Is a cot or air mattress better for your back?

Answer: Camping cots are better for your back than air mattresses, as air mattresses are better for those who are side sleepers. On the other hand, you can sleep on both of them with any sleeping posture.

3. Can I put an air mattress on a camping cot?

Answer: You can place an air mattress on a camping cot, but remember not to put a thick or wide mattress on a thin camping cot, as it will make your cot’s balance uneven and make it giant.