How To Use a Cot in Your Tent (Without Ruining the Floor)

When you choose to sleep in a cot, you get the chance to enjoy something that feels like an actual bed, and it keeps you away from your tent floor!

Using a cot in your tent can provide great benefits, like airflow, distance from the ground and comfort. However, it’s also important to make sure you place something between the feet of the cot and the tent floor to avoid damage.

That said, it’s not always clear just how you can best use a cot without ending up with holes in your tent. Read on to learn more about using a cot while keeping your tent safe!

By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.

Why Use a Cot In Your Tent

Not everyone enjoys sleeping close to the floor, especially in a tent.

You never know what kinds of critters might get in and decide to hang out in your bedding. Because of that, you may choose to be especially wary in places where snakes or poisonous spiders are an issue. Using a cot can be a helpful way to avoid some of those critters making it into your sleeping bag.

Cots can also be a useful way to keep yourself cooler in hot weather. The space under the bed allows for air to flow around you and keep you cool. That area can also be a useful place for storing your luggage or other necessities.

One of the top reasons for choosing a cot involves getting away from air mattresses that can deflate rather easily. On a cot, you don’t have to worry about being left sleeping on the ground in the morning.

That said, there are a few downsides to cots worth keeping in mind so that you can plan for them. Insulation can sometimes be an issue in this kind of bed. However, you can resolve that issue by using a sleeping pad or some kind of foam under your body.

Some cots can also be somewhat large or heavy, making them tough to use for backpacking, but they can be fantastic for car camping.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure to be careful with the feet of the cot, as they can risk creating holes in the bottom of your tent.

How To Use a Cot and Stay Warm

Because a cot keeps you away from the ground, the added airflow can get a bit cold when you’re in a moderate or cooler climate.

That said, there are some methods you can use to keep yourself insulated, warm and comfortable. Some cots are even designed to help with this purpose through the addition of a sleeve. In that sleeve, you can slip some foam or a sleeping pad beneath you. As a result, the air flowing under the cot won’t be able to reach you as easily.

Some opt for foam with a closed-cell design in order to get the best benefits. This is typically due to the lightweight design in combination with a high level of durability. Additionally, sleeping pads made from closed-cell foam tend to be much more friendly to your wallet than other options out there.

Some may also choose to keep a portable heater around for dealing with the cold. If you’re dealing with especially cold weather, you may also want to dress warm, even while sleeping! To discover more about staying comfortable in cold weather, take a look at our article on the subject here!

Another option you can try out is to place a thick blanket beneath you or connect it to the bottom of the cot. This might also be a good instance for trying out a mattress topper. To learn more, check out our article on mattress toppers for camping here! Really, anything that helps to limit the airflow can leave you feeling more comfortable.

If you can, it’s a good option to use something that can easily be removed. That way, you can use the cot easily in either cooler or warmer weather without a problem. During the hotter months, you’re going to want the cot to be able to let the air through!

How To Not Damage Your Tent Floor Using a Cot

While cots can be quite the upgrade from sleeping on the tent floor, they can also be rough on that flooring if you aren’t careful.

At the bottom of the cot, the feet can be somewhat sharp. As a result, moving the cot around can really scuff up the tent floor and eventually create holes.

Naturally, you probably don’t want to have to replace your tent every year or two due to holes in the bottom.

To help you with avoiding that issue, you can try out the following tips:

  • Lay down some rubber or foam flooring, like foam tiles.
  • Bring wood planks to place under the cot feet.
  • Attach tennis balls to the feet of the cot.
  • Bring along some outdoor carpet to lay on the tent floor.
  • Bring a space blanket or just a thick blanket to use on the floor.
  • Fold up a tarp to place under the cot.
  • Try out some caster cups designed for furniture.
  • Invest in a floorless tent.

Any of these tips can help to keep you comfortable and your tent safe. Additionally, it’s a good idea to try to avoid moving the cot too much after it has been placed.

Best Cots For Your Tent

If you’re unsure which cot will work best for your tent, you’re in the right spot.

These 4 cots are great options to give you a starting point and help you to get an idea about what you need.

The Coleman ComfortSmart (see price on Amazon)

This is a great option when you essentially want a travel bed in your tent.

It includes a durable frame designed to hold up to 300lbs and offers a foam pad that works as a small mattress.

Furthermore, this cot is an ideal choice for those who are taller, offering space for campers up to 6’6″ in height.

When you’re ready to pack it up, it folds into a nice little package which weighs in at a little over 20lbs.

The TETON XXL (see price on Amazon)

If you’re looking for something on the larger side, the TETON is an ideal choice.

This is a cot that provides plenty of space, and it’s able to handle a maximum of 600lbs without a problem. It’s quite a durable option, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much about any potential damage.

While it can handle a lot of weight, this isn’t a cot that is going to be terribly heavy. After it has been folded up, it only comes in at about 26lbs. It’s definitely not going to be as light as a simple mat or air mattress, but it has a lot to offer in the way of comfort in return.

The frame of this cot is made using quality aluminum and the legs use steel to ensure stability. When you’re ready for rest, it takes just a few minutes to get set up and you’ll be ready for a comfortable night’s sleep.

The KingCamp Ultralight (see price on Amazon)

The KingCamp is a great choice when you need a cot that is lightweight. It weighs in at just under 5lbs, making it an easier choice when you need to be able to move the cot by hand. It’s also a decent addition when you just want to keep your camping gear minimal and compact.

However, keep in mind that the lower weight is a result of less material for frames and legs. As a result, this cot is lower to the ground than many other options out there. If you’re trying to get away from the ground, this is a feature worth keeping in mind.

Aside from that, this cot includes 5 different colors to suit your tastes. It’s also capable of handling up to 265lbs. Assembly is a quick and easy process, so you won’t need to worry about a headache when setting up or tearing down.

The Timber Ridge (see price on Amazon)

The Timber Ridge is another larger cot, but with the added benefit of attachable pockets to keep your important items in. Anything you want nearby while you sleep can be kept in them conveniently.

With the ability to hold a maximum of 300lbs, this is a cot that can work for most campers. It will keep you comfortable, offer more space than standard-sized options and comes with a carrying bag to make packing easy.

When it has been folded up, this cot weighs about 27.5lbs. Because of that, it’s a good choice for car camping but not the most ideal for backpackers.


Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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