Air Mattress or Cot for Camping: A discussion

HextallHextall Senior MemberPosts: 9,520 Senior Member
Many moons ago, I asked about tents, and the Deiter (who's abandoned this place, right?) showed me a picture of his camping setup (I eventually went with the same brand and model tent he had... REI Kingdom). In it, he had a cot.

During the camping trips I did last year, sleeping on a camping mat with a sleeping bag really doesn't agree with me. So I'm debating getting a cot or an inflatable air mattress.

Anybody use both and have a detailed breakdown on pros and cons of each option? I am soliciting opinions... RIGHT NOW!

That is all.
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Replies

  • ricinusricinus Senior Member Posts: 6,214 Senior Member
    Buy a trailer...that is all...

    Mike
    My new goal in life is to become an Alter Kaker...
  • Don NewtonDon Newton Senior Member Posts: 431 Senior Member
    Get a motel room or VRBO.com
  • NZ IndicatorNZ Indicator Senior Member Posts: 9,366 Senior Member
    Last summer while camping, I used one of those air mattresses that have a frame underneath like a cot. Seemed to work real nice. But like all air mattresses I have used, they somehow develop a pin hole and deflate after so many uses. Usually right when you need to use it.

    I have also slept on some padded cots and found them to be comfortable.

    I say go with the padded cot then you don't have to worry about deflation issues.

    With that said...As I get older, I find myself renting cabins or moteling it more than camping.
  • HextallHextall Senior Member Posts: 9,520 Senior Member
    Padded cots like this one?

    http://www.rei.com/product/765277/rei-comfort-cot

    This is kind of what I was thinking of when debating cots.
  • NZ IndicatorNZ Indicator Senior Member Posts: 9,366 Senior Member
    Hextall wrote: »
    Padded cots like this one?

    http://www.rei.com/product/765277/rei-comfort-cot

    This is kind of what I was thinking of when debating cots.

    Exactly!!! The plain old canvas cots I find uncomfortable.
  • If your "backpack" is the back of a vehicle. . . cot. No question.
  • yataheyyatahey Senior Member Posts: 5,605 Senior Member
    Air mattresses hold the night time chill and transfer it to your body. They also tend to deflate some during the night as the air cools. When car camping I do use an air mattress but with a high density foam pad to keep the chill from transferring to my body.
    Most of the time though I just tow my trailer, wake refreshed and, if chilled, turn on the furnace and put on a pot of coffee, crank up the stereo, and do the bear dance.
    "When the goin gets weird, the weird turn pro." Hunter S. Thompson
  • GoldenladleGoldenladle Super Moderator Posts: 3,795 Senior Member
    yatahey wrote: »
    Most of the time though I just tow my trailer, wake refreshed and, if chilled, turn on the furnace and put on a pot of coffee, crank up the stereo, and do the bear dance.

    While that very well may be comfy, I don't think it's technically camping... :)

    Moved to Montana, gonna be a dental floss tycoon.

  • Are you space limited? For me I go with the air mattress just so I have room for all my other stuff. This is really only a problem when the whole family comes, but 4 air mattresses take up a lot less room in the Higlander than 4 cots (unfortuantely we can't take my pick up because it can't fit all four of us)
  • HextallHextall Senior Member Posts: 9,520 Senior Member
    jbilly wrote: »
    Are you space limited? For me I go with the air mattress just so I have room for all my other stuff. This is really only a problem when the whole family comes, but 4 air mattresses take up a lot less room in the Higlander than 4 cots (unfortuantely we can't take my pick up because it can't fit all four of us)

    Not really. I have an outback so I can jam a lot of stuff in it. I usually either put all my camping gear in a thule cargo box, or jam it into the car and put a pontoon boat on the roof. I would imagine the cots like the one I linked above fold up like a beach chair... but not sure.
  • yataheyyatahey Senior Member Posts: 5,605 Senior Member
    Hextall wrote: »
    Not really. I have an outback so I can jam a lot of stuff in it. I usually either put all my camping gear in a thule cargo box, or jam it into the car and put a pontoon boat on the roof. I would imagine the cots like the one I linked above fold up like a beach chair... but not sure.

    That cot does look comfy and the padding will keep the night air from getting to your back. When you compress your sleeping bag sleeping on an unpadded cot you get the same problem as an unpadded air mattress. The cold night air goes right into your back.
    "When the goin gets weird, the weird turn pro." Hunter S. Thompson
  • I had an air mattress the only time it was nice was on a hot night. I'm switching to a closed cell foam roll up mattress. Not what you might want to backpack with but freezing **** on an air matt sucks b
  • Brian D.Brian D. Senior Member Posts: 4,011 Senior Member
    Just camp with a fat girl. All the padding you need, warm in the winter, and shady in the summertime.

    Sent from my SPH-M580 using Tapatalk 2
  • HextallHextall Senior Member Posts: 9,520 Senior Member
    greenman wrote: »
    I'm switching to a closed cell foam roll up mattress.

    This is what I use now. It's a pretty thick one too (not for backpacking)... I got it from EMS. But sleeping on it a couple of nights really wrecks my back for some reason.

    That reason is I'm a delicate flower.
  • ricinusricinus Senior Member Posts: 6,214 Senior Member
    That's cause you drive a Subaru...

    Mike
    My new goal in life is to become an Alter Kaker...
  • swizzswizz Senior Member Posts: 2,550 Senior Member
    Yat is correct about heat loss with a typical air bed.
    Cots are too restrictive for me, I need to flounder around in my sleep.
    I spend extended periods at my mine claim and pitch tent in one of the dilapidated cabins that has no roof. Cold nights sometimes.
    I also have a giant REI tent (Hobitat) and bed space isn't a concern.
    I love the comfort and size of air mattresses but the cold factor is significant.
    I use a large Thermarest pad for now but will eventually upgrade to this... best of both worlds -- air+foam -- but expensive: http://www.rei.com/product/812005/exped-exped-sim-comfort-megamat-10-sleeping-pad
    All of your Trout are belong to me.
  • Brian D. wrote: »
    Just camp with a fat girl. All the padding you need, warm in the winter, and shady in the summertime.

    Sent from my SPH-M580 using Tapatalk 2

    and with enough tattoos moving pictures.
  • dryfliedryflie Senior Member Posts: 1,442 Senior Member
    While that very well may be comfy, I don't think it's technically camping... :)

    If it involves a camp fire and drinking then of course it's camping.
    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” - John Kenneth Galbraith
  • I tend to camp in my Honda Odyssey. I have a large tent but it really takes two to put it up correctly. The van is nice cause it has a light right above my head for reading. I have a tent that conforms to the rear hatch turning the back of the van into a camper with a nice net window. When I went out to visit with Goldie I camped in it in !00F in ND. I got a campsite with elec connection and put the fan next to my head to pull air in. By 3 am it got cold enough to pull a sheet up. That was the only time is was nice to sleep on top of an air matt. The large tent is nice for places in Yellowstone. It's large enough to stand up in. I cut a hole in a gallon milk jug and turn it into a **** pot. No way I'm going outside the tent at night about half awake and run into Mr. Griz.
  • ricinusricinus Senior Member Posts: 6,214 Senior Member
    I endorse this opinion...

    Mike
    dryflie wrote: »
    If it involves a camp fire and drinking then of course it's camping.
    My new goal in life is to become an Alter Kaker...
  • swizz wrote: »
    Yat is correct about heat loss with a typical air bed.
    Cots are too restrictive for me, I need to flounder around in my sleep.
    I spend extended periods at my mine claim and pitch tent in one of the dilapidated cabins that has no roof. Cold nights sometimes.
    I also have a giant REI tent (Hobitat) and bed space isn't a concern.
    I love the comfort and size of air mattresses but the cold factor is significant.
    I use a large Thermarest pad for now but will eventually upgrade to this... best of both worlds -- air+foam -- but expensive: http://www.rei.com/product/812005/exped-exped-sim-comfort-megamat-10-sleeping-pad

    I live in a van down by the river
    Comments about Exped Exped SIM Comfort MegaMat 10 Sleeping Pad:

    I live in a '73 VW Bus full-time, and have for the last three years.
  • I bet he smokes pot.
  • greenman wrote: »

    Please do this the next time you are in Yellowstone and then drag that pad into your tent
    Cabelas wrote:
    Its insulation qualities also make it a portable cooler. Frozen game or fish rolled inside will not thaw out for many long hours
  • ricinusricinus Senior Member Posts: 6,214 Senior Member
    Pictures of this event would be a necessity...

    Mike
    My new goal in life is to become an Alter Kaker...
  • monkeydoes wrote: »
    Please do this the next time you are in Yellowstone and then drag that pad into your tent

    It would make me smell better overall.
  • video with the girl like screaming all the more betterer
  • magallowaymagalloway Senior Member Posts: 900 Senior Member
    I've used a queen-sized (yeah, I know, but I roll around a lot) air mattress in my tent for years without heat loss. The stupid-simple answer is to put a space blanket under/around it.

    Jim
  • JLTJLT Senior Member Posts: 484 Senior Member
    When we tented we bought two oversized cots that worked great. But now here's my idea of an "air mattress.

    26_c2_2.jpg
  • GoldenladleGoldenladle Super Moderator Posts: 3,795 Senior Member
    JLT wrote: »
    When we tented we bought two oversized cots that worked great. But now here's my idea of an "air mattress.

    26_c2_2.jpg

    Indeed!

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2

    Moved to Montana, gonna be a dental floss tycoon.

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