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DIY Cots for Lightweight Backpacking

July 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


Written by: The Foam Factory


When you’re out in the wilderness, even the smallest creature comforts are a welcome sight. One great way to make your outdoor trek a bit more comfortable is to create a cot you can use to sleep on. Cots are useful on backpacking trips because they lift you off the ground, which makes it a bit more manageable to sleep without a tent or with only a rain fly.

Begin with the Frame

There are many ways to approach building the frame for a cot, but you can easily pull it off with PVC piping and tent poles. Simply cut a thick piece of PVC pipe, drill holes into it for the tent poles and your support structure is basically built. For something a bit sturdier, you might consider using actual metal pipes but the weight increase might not be the kind of tradeoff you want to make. The final product won’t be sturdy enough to serve as a mattress replacement, but you can use it for an overnight trip.

Final Touches

You’ll need some kind of material that doesn’t stretch and will remain strong even as it is strained. Tarp or canvas work well for this purpose, but rip-stop fabric is also useful. Once you have the fabric over the “legs” you made from the PVC piping, consider adding dryfast foam to try and reduce moisture collection.

Final Thoughts

The finished product should be extremely lightweight, but not something you want to take with you to every trip you go. These cots are perfect for short trips on a budget, and it’s very possible to do the whole project, with foam mattress, for under $50.

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