First used in the mid 19th Century, the word “cot” derives from a Hindi word that means hammock, but modern cots bear no resemblance to a hammock. Generally, a cot is a plain, narrow bed that folds up, and can be tucked out of the way when not in use. Folding cots consists of a rectangular metal frame with four to six legs. Most cot’s usually sits approximately 12″ – 18″ above the ground. Folding cots can be fitted with specially made mattresses, sheets, mattress covers, pillows and pillowcases. Some campers prefer camping cots to air mattresses or some other form of sleeping gear. Cots also serve a military purpose, especially in overcrowded situations.
For people living in small economy apartments, a cot with a mattress serves as a comfortable bed at night, but can be neatly tucked away during the day. In a larger household, a cot comes in handy when overnight guests arrive, and it becomes necessary to convert the den or living room into a sleeping area. A cot with wheels moves with ease. And yet, its compact size allows it fit into a small space. Because a quality mattress can be added, it can provide a comfortable nights sleep. When sleeping out of doors, many people prefer a cot to other sleeping platforms.
Campers and backpackers have many choices in sleeping platforms. Self-inflating foam pads have their advantages. Backpackers typically choose them because they pack down small and are lightweight. Air pads weight less than a pound, but require lung power. Pads made of closed-cell foam, an improvement over other types of pads, provide greater comfort on cold or rough ground. Air mattresses, while not appropriate for backpacking, work when camping in a campground. However, they are bulky and heavy, and without a foot pump almost impossible to inflate.
Although not serviceable for backpackers, there are benefits to camping cots in campgrounds. A cot keeps you comfortably off the ground. You can throw a pad on top to boost the cushioning and insulation. If you have a bad back, by far and away a camping cot is your best alternative. An air bed can puncture or the valve can develop a leak. Folding cots are made from metal frames and rugged fabric, making them durability and strong. Whether at home or in the great outdoors, a cot is a practical, convenient and useful item to own.