Ask the Gear Guy

Inexpensive cot or sleeping pad for camping

thermarest-200x148Q. Hey Gear Guy! I need something to keep me off of the ground at campouts, a cot or just a simple ground pad. However I don’t have much money. What’s something cheap that works well?
– Sleepless Tanner, Winnemucca, Nev.

A. Good question, Sleepless. If you’re looking to save money, skip the cot and go with a foam sleeping pad. They are lightweight, maintenance-free and cheap. They also provide just enough insulation from the ground and enough comfort for sleeping on the ground. Here are two good options:

Self-inflating air mattresses are more comfortable, but they can pop and are much more expensive.

Comments about “Inexpensive cot or sleeping pad for camping”

  1. Gear Boss says:

    Therma- Ridge- Rest is the best just foam mat I’ve slept on. really comfortable

  2. scouter says:

    My local army surplus business has used U.S. Army issued sleeping pads for $5.00. These are the real deal with straps on them, and if they are good enough for the U.S. Army, they are good enough for me or any other scout.

    • Wildman says:

      I hope you’re as big and strong as a soldier, there’s nothing military that’s made light. Add a military bag, ruck sack, 2-man tent & mess kit and you should be around 23 pounds for just these 5 things; Ouch! Military stuff is tough alright …. tough to carry.

  3. harrypotter says:

    I have the ridgeRest. its a great value.

  4. Off-trail Monkey says:

    Cardboard works well: free.
    Blue closed-cell foam pad; get at K-Mart for about $4.00.
    Swimming air mattress; get at K-Mart for about $4.00-$6.00.
    Borrow one: again free.

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