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crankbait2009

Camping accessory opinions, please

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I am tossing around the thought of going camping this year.  I haven't gone in many years, but might give it a shot again.

Right now I am trying to determine if a cot vs a sleeping pad is best for tent camping.

 

With the cot, the only advantage I see is having you raised off the ground, which also allows you to store things underneath if need be.  Being off the ground eliminates the chance of dampness/water getting in/on your sleeping bag. But if you're tent is waterproof, you shouldn't have a problem, unless their is a hole or tear.  With the pad, you have the barrier between your sleeping bag and the ground.  But you are on the ground

 

Many like the cot option, especially thew older folk.  I'm alright either way.  I see that the cot vs a good pad, pretty much run the same price, roughly.  So the price certainly isn't a deal breaker.

 

Remove the thought of using one over the other while backpacking, or carrying around to get where you need to go.  I'm specifically asking about the sleeping advantage between the two.

 

Has anyone used both of these options, and like one over the other?  Care to share opinions?

 

 

cot.JPG

pad.JPG

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A friend of mine has the cot you pictured, or something very similar (Teton Sports). We brought it camping a couple times and I tried it out; it's great. Very light weight, comfortable, gets you off the ground. If you're hiking a long way or on tough terrain before getting to camp, the tent option might be easier to carry, but the cot does fold up small. Personally I'd prefer to be off the ground.

 

 

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I can’t get comfortable on just a pad. As long as you aren’t doing primitive camping, I prefer an air mattress. 

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I put a pad on a cot, when possible.  Otherwise a good pad is fine.  I attached a checklist you can use for packing.  Most of this is for site camping, but you can modify for wilderness camping if needed.

 

Camping Checklist.xlsx

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I prefer a cot. I have a Coleman one that doubles as a lounge chair. I can raise the top portion so I can sleep with my head in an elevated position.

 

I have tried foam and inflatable pads and neither worked for me. It still felt to much like sleeping on the ground. As I am getting older the thought of voluntarily sleeping on the ground is losing it's appeal.

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My camping is in a 9' dome tent with a queen size air-bed. Not those cheap air matresses, high-quality one with a battery powered inflator/deflator. Regular sheets, blankets, pillows...I love my comforts.

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Cot would be more comfy but if it's below 35 or so degrees I like to lay on the ground. Mother Earth is warm

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Queen sized air mattress here with the accessories. 

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Waterproof or not, my experience with a tent is that things are going to get wet. The harder the rain, the more wet it’s going to be. I’d prefer the cot. 

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I can't seem to sleep well on a cot.  Maybe it is because i am just used to using a pad on the ground and did it for years.  So my vote is for a good quality sleeping pad or an air mattress should you want to go that route. 

As far as sleeping in the cold, a pad will do better on the ground than a cot up i the air.  A quality sleeping pad will have closed cell foam which will be a much better insulator than the air underneath the cot.  Also, if yo are getting wet inside your tent then you need a new tent.  I have the same tent i have been using for going on 20 years and it doesn't leak a bit.  It is a higher end Marmot and i haven't even had to seam seal it.  I have slept probably over 1000 nights in that thing to in anything from sunny skies to torrential rains to waking up with 12"+ snow on the ground.  Always been dry and warm.  Camping is about a system and everything comes in to play to keep you warm and dry.

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All I can suggest is something to keep the bears and Bigfoot away.

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I'm certainly leaning towards a cot, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.

I'll never be camping in cold weather.  Rain, maybe.  But this will primarily be used in spring/summer/fall months. I am not sure how often I'd use it, but I'd certainly like the first outing to set a positive tone for me.  If all goes well the first time out, then maybe I'd be more apt to do it again.

 

I will be flying solo, never done that before.  So we'll see. 

Thanks for the input thus far.

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If you're going solo, consider a hammock.  Far easier to take down and put up, comfy, and it keeps you off of the cold ground.  Spray a layer of tent dry on there followed by a coating of permethrin.  It'll keep you dry and the bugs away.  My wife and I as well as the people we usually hike the back country with put away the tents long ago.  We have done winter hikes in hammocks no problem.  Something like this https://www.amazon.com/Winner-Outfitters-Double-Camping-Hammock/dp/B01GCKATD4/

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I kicked that option around for awhile too (hammock).

But I went with a tent.  I will try that and see how it goes.

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Air mattress for me. Camping is no fun when I can't walk the next morning. I'd go with cot of your 2 options but I usually spend all night tossing and turning on a cot. 

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On 3/13/2019 at 6:43 AM, NYWayfarer said:

I have tried foam and inflatable pads and neither worked for me. It still felt to much like sleeping on the ground.

^^ Same ^^

 

16 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

Air mattress for me.

That's what I went with.  Works well. You need an electric inflator though.  Also, works well for truck camping too.

 

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On 3/15/2019 at 5:54 AM, Sam said:

All I can suggest is something to keep the bears and Bigfoot away.

   Oh .... you've met my mother-in-law?

 

   Seriously, I take a cot any night. I do not like sleeping on the ground .... and I've done a lot of it. I do not nor have I ever used the kind of tent that doesn't leak under the skirt in the rain and wind. I've even taken pallets to put inside the tent, so I don't get up and step in the mud. The cot legs rest on (4) 2x10 blocks, whether there's rain in the forecast or not. And yes, this is "primitive" camping. Less noise, fewer drunks, better sleeping. If it's cold, I use a self-inflating foam air mattress on the cot. If it's so cold that that doesn't work well, I stay home.     jj

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My preference is the inflatable thin pad. The cot and inflatable mattress are too soft for me. Gives me a sore back. Tried a cot and the next morning I felt like Frankenstein. Could barely bend at all. If I was younger it wouldn't matter but as I get older so does my back. 

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I'm still kicking my options around.  I have seen some people place the air pads inside their sleeping back so they don't drift off if it in the middle of the night.  Never thought of that. 

 

For as often as I go camping, I'm hesitant about putting a lot of money in to a cot.  BUT, on the flip side, one bad/uncomfortable night, could kill the whole experience, as well as a possibility of another camp trip.  But it's not like I can't fix the sleeping arrangement till I find what works.  So I could start cheaper (pad) and go from there if needed.

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