Before we bought our travel trailer we did a lot more tent camping. Getting a good night sleep always seemed to be an issue so we decided to purchase some cots. We chose the Field & Stream Folding Cot.
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What You Get
These are green army style cots, each about 79" long and 31" wide. The cot folds in a Z pattern so the cot fits in a small handled duffle bag about 3 1/2 feet long and 9" in diameter. Assembly simply requires unfolding the cot and slipping the head and foot cross bars through the canvas cot cover and snapping them onto the frame. All of the frame pieces are made of lightweight aluminum but each cot still weighs close to 15lbs. These cots are rated for sleepers up to 325 lbs.
I think we only used these cots twice for camping before we purchased the trailer. But for those camping trips, it was certainly nicer to sleep on a canvas sling than the ground. However, a sleeping mat onto top of the cot greatly increases the comfort for adults; our kids don't really seem to care. There really isn't anything very comfortable about sleeping on a taught piece of fabric, but it generally beats the alternative. One issue in a tent is that these cots, when set up, take up a lot more space than sleeping bags.
Despite the fact that we rarely tent camp anymore we still get a lot of use out of these cots. We take them with us wherever we travel. Although we have discovered that most hotels will allow us to have three kids in a room we have run into circumstances where the hotel was out of cots and we needed to use ours. Even if there are enough beds, my kids would actually prefer to sleep on a cot than share a bed. We have become pretty good at rearranging hotel rooms to fit these cots. These cots are easy to pack for taking with us wherever we go, fitting easily in our car top carrier.
While the cots themselves are durable and easy to use some of the "extras" have not really held up over two years of light use. To help keep the folded cot together a strap wraps around the cot and threads through a plastic buckle. On two of the three cots we own the plastic buckle cracked so we can no longer keep the cot tight when collapsed. This does make it a little harder to get the cots into the carrying bag since there isn't much extra space in there. On one storage bag the zipper pull broke off which was an issue since it was in the middle of a vacation. A large safety pin keeps the bag closed in the middle which prevents the cot from falling out of the bag. When the cots were new we had some issues with burrs left on the aluminum frame on our first trip, but a little work with some steel wool took care of them when we got home.
While our Field and Stream Cots certainly aren't my first choice of a place to sleep, they are better than sleeping on the ground or floor. Our children actually prefer them to sharing a bed. We have had some durability issues with some of the extras but the cots themselves are holding up great.
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