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Which cot mattresses are best? 

Cots aren’t always the most comfortable things. However, what your uncomfortable grandfather’s cot didn’t have was a cot mattress. If you put a mattress on your cot, you can take any camping experience from one of tossing and turning to one of restful sleep. If you want a little extra cushion when you sleep under the stars, check out the Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D Self-Inflating Mattress

What to know before you buy a cot mattress

Do you have a sleeping pad?

If you want to get the most out of your cot, try putting your sleeping pad on it and see how you like it. If that doesn’t do it for you, it’s time to consider upgrading to a mattress, especially if you like to use your cot in colder weather.

Do you have a built-in mattress already?

That may seem like a silly question, but some cots come with attached mattresses. Maybe that mattress isn’t very comfortable. There’s no reason to get rid of that one just yet though; consider putting your new mattress on top of the old one if you really want to maximize comfort.

What size is your cot?

The concern here mostly is width. Cots are generally the same length (although not all) but can vary in width. You may have a 20-inch single cot or a 35-inch double. Either way, make sure your mattress is as close to the width of your cot as possible. Too narrow and you miss out on usable space. Too wide and your mattress won’t fit well or stay on properly.

What to look for in a quality cot mattress


Maybe you’ll be fine with an inch of memory foam that you’d find in a mattress topper. Maybe you want a 3-inch-plus mattress. Just make sure your mattress is thick enough for your preferences or your upgrade won’t seem like much of an improvement.

Foldable vs. rollable

Generally, you can get your mattress rolled or in a trifold. It may not make a difference for most people. However, if you have a certain space you want to store it in or are worried about putting it on your car’s floor, make sure you have the right style.


You probably aren’t lugging this into the woods. Most likely, it will just go from the car to the cot. However, if you plan to take it with you, make sure you don’t pack more weight than you absolutely have to.

How much you can expect to spend on a cot mattress

Just like the mattress on your bed, there’s a wide variety of prices. Depending on your preferences, you can pay $50-$400.

Cot mattress FAQ

Is a foldable mattress better than a rollable one?

A. This depends on your preference. A rollable one might be easier to lash to a backpack. A foldable one may have a smaller footprint but may not be as easy to carry. It comes down to what you want it to do. In general, just looking at the packed size dimensions will give you the answer you need.

Can you use an inflatable sleeping pad as a cot mattress?

A. Yes, you could. If you want something for your cot that can stand alone while backpacking, it’s a best-of-both-worlds option. That said, it’s likely an actual mattress will perform better for what you want when cot camping. If you’re set on a sleeping pad, a self-inflating one instead of a blow-up one is the way to go.

What are the best cot mattresses to buy?

Top cot mattress

Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D Self-inflating Mattress

Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D Self-inflating Mattress

What you need to know: Therm-a-Rest truly is king in the outdoor sleeping space and this plush mattress lives up to that legacy.

What you’ll love: At 4.5 inches thick, this mattress is as extra as self-inflating mats come. Being that it’s self-inflating, it packs down more nicely than a traditional cot mattress. Putting two of these together is easy and will fit a double cot well. An R-value of 8 means you’ll always be toasty on this mattress.

What you should consider: This is only 25 inches wide. While that may not bother everyone, users who move around a lot during the night may appreciate more space.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cot mattress for the money

Olee Sleep Tri-Folding Memory Foam Topper

Olee Sleep Tri-Folding Memory Foam Topper

What you need to know: While not strictly a mattress, this 4-inch memory foam topper will do the job for most campers on a budget.

What you’ll love: The trifold style is convenient and allows you to set it up as more of a chair during the day if you like. This topper is quite supportive for what it is and at 75 inches long will fit most users.

What you should consider: This is only 25 inches wide.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Milliard Tri-Folding Mattress With Washable Cover

Milliard Tri-Folding Mattress With Washable Cover

What you need to know: This easy-care mattress comes in multiple sizes and is 4 inches thick.

What you’ll love: With widths ranging from 25 to 58 inches, you’re sure to find something to fit your single or double cot. This mattress is comfortable enough for use on its own as a backup daybed for guests or for car camping. The removable cover makes for easy cleaning.

What you should consider: You’ll likely want a fitted sheet for it, which is sold separately. If you’re in a rush, this mattress takes the better part of a day to expand to full size after being shipped.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Joe Coleman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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