Cheap as dirt cot?


Literally looking for the cheapest cot that won't fall apart, or isn't somehow horrendously uncomfortable. Any recommendations?

Poor and in college.


How important is weight? I've found the army cots to be much too heavy - even for car camping. They seem to come in at around 25 lbs or more. And my army cots started to shed fasteners after a couple of years - so I gave them away. At least for me - they didn't hold up very well. I purchased them from Cabelas.

I've never tried the ones that Joelbert has recommended, but they are relatively inexpensive, and reasonably light in weight (about 8 lbs). They also appear to be about 8" off the floor, so you might be able to store small items underneath them too. I'd definitely put them on my short list if cheap was of utmost importance.

I own a Helinox Cot One as well as 6 Camp-time Roll-A-Cots (four 32" wide versions and two 28" wide ones). I take a wide Roll-A-Cot with me on my small displacement motorcycle trips by placing it across the back of the bike. My favourite so far? The Camp-time Roll-A-Cots. Without a doubt. Why?

1. I've owned the Roll-A-Cots for several years. They have held up extremely well and still function like new. They are VERY durable in my experience. And made in the U.S.A.

2. I can set them up very quickly (faster than my Helinox Cot One) and easily - but I've had lots of practice over the years setting these up - so I'm quite sure that counts for a lot. Once I've adjusted the tension of the cot material with the wingnuts (these could be designed better) I leave them alone. This makes it quicker and easier to set up the cots each time. I timed myself setting one up in the living room recently and it took me 2 minutes, 4 seconds.

3. I like to sleep on my stomach and sides - and prefer the extra width (32") to stretch out, and lift a knee, with the wider version. Not all cots come in wider versions. And this allows me to fit a wider 30" insulated air bed on the cot too.

4. I use a wide (30") version Nemo Cosmo Insulated air bed (as well as an Exped Synmat 12 LXW more recently) on top of the Roll-A-Cot when motorcycle touring. The Nemo is reasonably quick to inflate with its built in foot pump, and I find the insulation vital for the colder overnight camping I do in Canada. I've slept on the Roll-A-Cot without the air mattress and the quality of sleep was still "acceptable" - but the extra comfort of the mattress and insulating warmth is better for me.

5. The Roll-A-Cot is relatively light in weight (about 10lbs). Some will complain that this is too heavy. Still - my sense is that the weight really isn't too bad. It would be hard to convince me to backpack with it - but on the motorcycle I think it's acceptable.

6. I like that it is 15" off the floor. This makes it an ideal height to change clothes from in the morning inside the tent. You could even use it as a seating bench on your campsite during the day. And the height also allows me to save tons of room inside the tent by storing gear underneath it. This is exceptionally convenient and what I see as a HUGE advantage (you could even opt for a smaller tent as a result) - that many cots lack. Others may not see the need, however and I realize that.

7. I also really like that these cots only have 4 legs. Two on each end. Why? This allows me to place the cot over a much wider variety of uneven terrain and still sleep level and above any obstructions. I see this as a huge advantage. And I only have to set up two legs (less is MORE in this case) which is quicker. Cots that have multiple legs or legs in the middle of the cot can upset the flatness of the cot lay on uneven terrain.

8. I like that the sleeping surface is made of a sturdy, nylon mesh. If it gets wet (e.g., It's no issue carrying it attached to the back of my motorcycle in the rain for instance) I can just quickly wipe it down - and it's dry and ready to be used. The canvas cots don't dry very quickly when they get wet.

9. The Roll-A-Cot is relatively affordable at about $120 on sale. Essentially - for the cost of a nice hotel in Canada - I can buy a sturdy cot that allows me to sleep great in a much more satisfying environment - the outdoors!

10. I use the Roll-A-Cots when I host adventure riders at my house too. I've had three set up in my living room at one time to accommodate inmates. They don't take up much storage space either, and the riders typically find them very comfortable as portable beds. I even take them in my car when travelling because they are often more comfortable than the beds on offer at friends' places along the way.

Any drawbacks to the Roll-A-Cots?

Yes - a few. I wish they were portable enough that I could place one inside my Givi E55 Maxia hard case on my bike like the Cot One. It would just make packing it quicker and easier - as well as tidier. As it stands - I have to carry the Roll-A-Cot on the outside and secure it to the back of my motorcycle. Granted - I've never had an issue doing this. Still - I've contacted the owner of the company about the possibility of designing a more portable version. I haven't heard anything from them - and am not holding my breath....... I also think the wing-nuts used for adjusting the tension on them could be re-designed - they're cumbersome to fiddle with and leaves your thumbs aching afterwards. I believe Placidwaters on this forum has expressed the same grief. As mentioned, now that I have them at a comfortable setting - I don't touch them though. Also - I wish the feet that attach to the legs were larger so there was less pressure placed on the floor of my tents. While I've never had the feet puncture the tent floor - it still leaves me uneasy. I've purchased some furniture coasters to support the feet for this reason. However, the legs sometimes slide off them. Also - the Velcro straps that hold the legs through the cot rails are a simple solution - and work well - but can get in the way when trying to assemble and disassemble the cot. Just a small annoyance.

What about the Helinox Cot One? I think that the design is extremely clever. So straightforward to set up. So light in weight. And so portable. Such high quality too in materials. Very impressed from a design point of view. But it is expensive ($300 - when I bought mine). And I just don't find it as comfortable as the Roll-A-Cot. Why? For one thing - I just find 25" too narrow to sleep on. Helinox now makes a Cot Max (wider version) that I would've purchased if it had been available when I sprung for the Cot One. I've also found that the cot is It's very tight and firm when laying on it. I tried sleeping on it in the living room without an air mattress and there were just too many pressure points and aches and pains that kept me awake. I like that its supports are likely to be much more "tent floor friendly". However, the three sets of supports are more likely to result in an uneven lay of the cot on uneven (non-level) ground. That - and the fact that I can't store much underneath it, and it is considerably less convenient to change clothes from - relegates it to 2nd place for me.


Robert Bills

In my experience, cheap cots won't last and you will spend more time and money fixing and replacing than you would have expended if you purchased reasonably priced quality gear in the first place.

I have been using Allagash cots from Byer of Maine for the past 20 years. They are great for car camping and overlanding, but too long when folded for backpacking. They are very well made.

One of the frame struts broke from teenager abuse two years ago after 18 years of use and the company was able to ship replacement parts quickly for a reasonable price. How many companies would be able to do that so long after the original purchase, or at all?

At $59.95 I think the Byer of Maine "Allagash Plus" cot is a very good buy.


I have one from walmart that I use for my cot tent . Its been a good cot for 25$
Lol. Basically this is what I am looking for - if those dirt cheap ones aren't so bad that they disintegrate immediately or something like that.

60 bucks isn't bad at all for something that's lasted 18 years, I may look into that.

Part of my problem is I need to get it within a couple of days, so ordering isn't going to work for me.


Tossing ewoks on Titan
If you need it within a couple of days, why not forget about getting one, and simply sleep on an inflatable sleeping mat?

Or perhaps talk friends and ask them if they have an extra they're willing to either lend you or sell you?


We're all poor, he said he'd get a cot if I get one. If anything, it's going to end up in the lab where we both are working so that we can nap to extend our work hours.


ive had mine for over 10 years never had a issue with 2 i have there made out of steel not alum. ive spent week in the woods with them