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Heavy Duty Camping Cot

Many large campers seek a heavy-duty cot that they feel confident will support them and give good performance for many years.

Many tent campers seeking strong cots have had their first cot fail and are looking for a better-performing cot.

These cots have frames of either tempered (hardened), heavy-gauge aluminum, medium-gauge steel, or some combination of aluminum and steel.These offer a strong frame, are easy to transport, and stand up to outdoor use.

If you're unfamiliar with cot and weight capacity, have a look at the information and charts on the main camp cot page.

Heavy-duty, camping cots are strong, but they do not necessarily have to be king size. Many tent campers are looking for a strong cot that will fit comfortably in a family tent and leave room for other family members.

Camping Cot Styles

Bi-fold cots

Cots with vertical u-shaped legs, such as bi-fold folding cots, can take substantial weight without bending or buckling. The bottom bar connects both legs and allows them to support each other.

The legs are near vertical, which means that there is little bending force on the leg shaft.

Army cots

Army-style cots are the most widely manufactured, heavy-duty cots.

This cot style disassembles, packs smaller and more easily transports than bi-fold folding cots.

These cots, however, with unsupported legs at a 45-degree angle to the ground, have the greatest bending forces in the legs.

Heavy-duty army cots offer reinforced legs to support heavier campers. Features of reinforced military-cot legs include:

  • heavy-gauge steel
  • aluminum legs with steel inserts
  • heavy-gauge tempered aluminum

If an army cot leg does buckle, it can be bad news for the tent floor fabric as well.

Accordion cots

Heavy-duty accordion-style cots do not have frame rails, but instead the fabric attaches only to the top of the legs. If you intend to use this style to support a lot of weight, make sure that the fabric is securely attached to the legs.

Accordion-style cots usually have several sets of legs, which can distribute more weight.

Straight-leg, heavy-duty cots

Some cot manufacturers offer sturdy cots in bi-fold style with straight, almost vertical legs with a cross brace near the foot of the legs.

Straight legs eliminate any bends in manufacturing the cot legs. Vertical legs keep the legs closer to a 90 degree angle to the floor, reducing bending forces on the leg.

This style of cot may offer the best compromise of more strength and moderate size for leisure tent camping.

Cot and weight issues

The main, weight-related issues with cot failure are:

  • the frame, connectors or legs might bend under the camper's weight
  • the fabric sling might stretch or sag to the point that the middle of the camper makes contact with the legs or bracing below
  • poor-quality stitching may come apart

Heavy campers should choose their cot carefully and test it early, so they can return it if it fails to perform satisfactorily.


A heavy-duty cot offers large campers a secure, elevated and uniform sleeping surface.

There are heavy-duty, aluminum cots available that combine strength and light-weight features. Be sure to look for a heavy-gauge and tempered aluminum frame.

Brands include Alps, Browning, Byer, Cabelas, Earth, Kamp-Rite, Nebo, Premier and Roll-A-Cot.