A tent cot is a cot and shelter combination suitable for leisure camping as a separate shelter for a child or guest that wants or should have their own sleeping space. This cot style is basically a small truss tent on a tri-fold cot.
There is plenty of screen mesh for pleasant weather and to allow a breeze to pass through on warm evenings.
These cots are also known as shelter cots and cot tents, and are also popular with the young, active, outdoor and sporting crowd, who are looking for a quick and easy place to crash while they enjoy outdoor activities
There are mesh panels on both ends and on both sides in the middle. One of the side and end mesh panels zips open as a door. The other end and side mesh panels are windows.
Solid, outer fabric panels zip over the mesh to keep out light and rain, or for privacy. There is a separate, fitted, rain fly that covers the cot tent for heavy rain.
Cot tents are also manufactured in an oversize style, which has a raised roof center (approximately 30" inside tent height), which will allow many adult campers to sit up inside.
Tent cots are available in single (28" to 32") and double/full (52" to 54") widths. If your child brings a guest camping, and the two of them want their own sleeping space, they can chat into the night in their own sleeping chamber.
These cots can also be used as a flat cot, by not hanging the tent fabric, and some units can be converted into a lounge chair.
This piece of tent camping equipment is available in both steel and aluminum frames.
Usage & tips
Campers who want sitting space can look for a cot tent with more inner height.
Cot tents sit about 12" off of the ground and are approximately 24" high inside, which is not sitting height for an adult. Since they are low profile, campers will crawl into and out of them.
Entering a shelter cot through the side entrance involves opening the door panel, crouching, sitting or rolling onto the cot, and swinging your legs inside the tent fabric. You can also crawl into the cot tent via the end door.
Boots and other equipment can be stored under the cot.
If you are camping in the rain and expect to have mud around the cot tent, it may be wise to pitch a tarp or camping canopy over the unit. This will give you a dry place to put on and remove boots and other rain clothing.
Due to the small size of the unit, look for vents on the cot tent fly, to help prevent moisture buildup inside the unit.
Unless it is occupied, a shelter tent can be blown around by wind. If you are leaving it in a windy area, be sure to stake it down.
Setting up the cot
The cot frame has four sets of attached, u-shaped, tubular legs that fold down to support the frame, and u-shaped supports that pivot up to support the tent fabric, which is attached to the fabric sling of the cot.
To set up, just unfold the cot, fold down the legs and attach the tent fabric to the upper, u-shaped supports.
If necessary, the rain fly sits on top of the tent support bars.
There is also a compact, collapsible version of this cot that disassembles, folds together and stores in a duffle-type carrying case.
These are bulky items and are often transported on the roof racks of smaller vehicles
Double tent cots
This double cot tent has more floor space than most two-man backpacking tents, and the entire tent and tent floor are elevated on u-bend legs.
These cots offer doors on both sides and ends to accommodate two campers.
The heights range from 24" to 30" depending on manufacturer.
This cot style can be converted into a double flat cot by not hanging the tent fabric. The double cot could be used inside a standard camping tent by a couple.
A double tent cot has a bar lengthwise down the middle of the tent-cot deck to keep it from sagging and the two campers from rolling together. If you are a large camper looking for a large cot tent, you may be happier with an oversize, single cot tent
Since cot tents fold up, but do not break down (disassemble), they will add a fair bit of bulk to your camping gear, especially the double-size unit. However, you get a tent and cot for two people that can be set up in less than one minute.
Cabelas and Kamp-Rite.
Tent cots offer leisure campers a convenient, separate, sleeping space for older children or guests. They set up very quickly and offer an elevated, uniform, sleeping platform.
They can, however, be bulky to transport, but they do pack flat and can sit on the roof of a car.