Everything You Need to Know About Bunk Beds for Camping (2022)

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    Portable bunk beds, or camping cots, offer an innovative solution to the problem of limited space on group camping trips. Taking the kids camping is a very popular way to spend your summer vacation, and it’s important to make sure everyone sleeps comfortably. Portable bunk cots are one way to optimize your camping setup, by making better use of floor space inside your tent or trailer.

    Another way to make your camping trips is by using solar panels to power your expedition. Using this green energy is better for the environment, and it’ll save you money too! To find out more, read our article on the best solar panels for camping

    Bunk beds have been around for a long time, finding their place at children’s sleepovers, in hostels all over the world, in ships and apartments. But portable camping bunk beds are new technology, offering revolutionized sleeping systems for kids and grown-ups alike. Sturdy, durable, and portable bunk cots could provide the answer you’re looking for; they’re comfortable, convenient, and easy to transport.

    Throughout this article, we will explain everything you need to know about bunk beds, and how they can be used for camping trips. This includes information on bunk beds, their uses for adults, and our product recommendation for the best camping bunk bed. 


    A bunk bed in a room.

    Bunk beds have been used to save space for years in hostels and on ships.


    What is a bunk bed?

    The term “bunk bed” refers to a type of bed where two single bed frames are stacked on top of one another, making two berths occupy the floor space of one. Usually, the bed units are supported by a pillar at each corner, with a ladder affixed to both beds for the occupant of the top bunk to use. Railings are sometimes added to the top bunk to prevent a fall from the height of the bed, usually to bunk beds designed for children. 


    Can adults use portable bunk beds?

    Portable camping cots are available in children’s sizes, but reinforced bunk cots are available for adults too, in larger sizes and weight capacities. They’re more common for use for kids, but they can be incredibly useful for adults too. The materials, size, and build may differ, but the countless benefits remain the same. A larger group of adults could use camping bunk cots to save so much space, instead of buying a huge tent to accommodate lots of people at great expense. 

    Portable camping bunk beds make excellent use of vertical space, something that is seldom seen in camping equipment. This saves massively on floor space, which makes camping in a tent a lot easier for everyone. There’s more room for gear storage, moving around, even for more people, without ever decreasing your comfort level. Many campers actually think that portable bunk cots are more comfortable than air mattresses, just another benefit to using bunk beds for camping. 

    Adults can definitely use portable bunk beds, there’s no reason to miss out just because you’re over a certain age. Even camping bunk cots made for kids could hold a few adults, but of course, we don’t recommend exceeding the stated weight capacity. Camping bunk beds stop being so fun if the bunk breaks and someone gets squashed in the night, sandwiched between two bunks. There’s little concern for this, however, as long as you follow your product instructions, so don’t worry about this minute possibility. 


    A girl laying in the grass.

    A good camping bunk bed is perfect for group outings or a long day being outdoors.


    The benefits of using portable bunk cots for camping

    The benefits of using a portable bunk bed for camping are numerous, we’ve mentioned a few already, but let’s go into more detail about why you might want to give bunk beds a try on your next camping trip. 


    1. Camping bunk cots are huge space savers: Because of the vertical space they take up and the person-sized dimensions of camping cots, they can look bulky and space-hogging, like they’re taking up the whole tent. However, by creating a space to accommodate two sleepers in a space that would usually fit one, camping bunk beds become a highly efficient space-saving piece of gear. Floor space is usually the most valuable commodity inside a tent, so as long as your tent has enough vertical height to fit in the portable bunk beds, then this is the perfect way to maximize the floor space on your next camping trip.


    2. Portable bunk beds are more comfortable than you’d think: Most people are used to sleeping on an air mattress or sleeping mat when camping, but portable camping cots are actually much more comfortable for many campers. They offer a much closer sleeping experience to what you have at home, camping cots are the closest thing to a real bed that you can get out in the backcountry. Because you’re elevated from the floor, there’s no worrying about the hard or lumpy ground, or getting wet if it rains in the middle of the night. The insulating layer of air between the bunk and the ground is great in winter, very important in making sure you stay warm at night and sleep peacefully. Portable bunk cots have all the same benefits comfort-wise, they just offer them in a two-stacked package. 


    3. Cots are more durable and long-lasting: Air mattresses and inflatable sleeping mats can be easily punctured by sharp objects on the ground and can be damaged in transit in the same way. Portable camping bunk cots are much more durable than air beds, as they are made using strong steel frames. It’ll take much more than a sharp stick to render a camping bunk useless, even if the fabric sustains holes, the bed will still be perfectly usable and comfortable to sleep on. The steel frames and durable materials of camping bunk beds give them a much longer life, so you know it would be a good investment. 


    4. Camping bunk beds are much better for storage: Storage space is another highly valuable commodity when camping, just like floor space. Usually, your bed for camping would take away from available storage space, but camping bunk cots actually produce more. They’re elevated above the ground, so the space underneath where you sleep is prime real estate for storage. Normally this space would be lost, wasted, but now there’s a huge space created by the camping bunk cots, perfect for stashing your gear. Not only this, most portable bunk beds have zipped storage pockets and other additional special features built-in, so even more storage space becomes available to you. 


    The Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Bunk

    Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower with Foot Pump, Periwinkle
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    Now you know all there is to know about camping bunk beds, we’d like to tell you about one very special product which we love. Disc-O-Bed is the only company currently producing portable bunk beds for camping, and we are seriously impressed. This bunkable cot system fits two people and is compatible with a range of tents, perfect for sleeping two adults in a smaller tent space. 

    This large-sized camping bunk cot offers simple and easy assembly, using it’s patented tool-free disc system, so the bunk bed sets no challenges during setup. The steel rails which make up the frame are optimized for stability and flexibility, providing a level and comfortable sleeping surface where you can sleep soundly without worry.

    Stored in its own compact carry case, the Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Bunk disassembles quickly and easily, so leaving the campsite on early mornings is less of a chore. Assembly of the Disc-O-Bed may take a little longer the first time you put it up, but after a little practice, the portable camping bunk beds can be constructed in less than 10 minutes. 

    The rails are fed through sleeves on either side of the fabric sleeping platform, where they connect to the special end disc brackets. The system uses a simple button press system to click each piece into place, making it easy to take down the bed at the end of your trip too. Leg extensions and straps secure the second cot on top of the bottom bunk, and then your camping bunk beds are ready to go. 

    The steel frame of this portable camping bunk is adjustable, meaning you can sleep in a level cot even when camping on uneven ground. This is one element that makes these bunk cots so comfortable, another is the lack of support bar. Most of the time, camping cots have a central support bar that runs down the length of the bed in the middle. This can be uncomfortable, as you can feel it through the bed. However, the Disc-O-Bed design means there’s no support bar, so these portable cots are much more comfortable than non-bunk alternatives. 

    The weight limit of these camping beds is a surprising 500lbs per bunk, so even on the top bed, you don’t have to worry about the strength of the frame. Even the children’s version, the Disc-O-Bed Kid-O-Bunk, supports a huge 200lbs per bunk, meaning it’s strong enough to hold most adults too. 

    The Dico-O-Bed Cam-O-Bunk offers a raised platform to sleep on, 11 inches off the ground. The 21-inch distance between the bunks means it’s the perfect size for use by adults, with plenty of room to move around and sleep comfortably. The super strong and durable frame is made from powder coated and anti-rust steel, this robust bunk will last you a long time. The sleeping deck is 28 inches wide, and those who have slept in narrower camping cots before will know what a difference this makes.

    With plenty of room to move around and sleep in whatever position you like, this space-saving portable camping cot might seem too good to be true. For some campers, especially taller or larger people, 21 inches might be a bit tight between the two bunks. This could cause a problem for some users, but on Amazon, you can purchase a leg extension set, which adds an extra 7 inches of clearance.

    Comfort is a big deal for frequent campers, as we want to take camping trips as often as possible, but alternatives such as air mattresses don’t offer such a sure and sound night’s sleep. Another thing which can cause a poor night’s sleep when camping is the heat, stale and stuffy air can make a tent feel terrible in hot weather. It this has ever happened to you, read our buying guide for the best camping fan, so you’ll sleep soundly no matter what in your portable camping bunk. 


    A koala bear sleeping in a forest.

    With the right camping bunk bed you’ll be sleeping like a little koala bear.


    The sleeping deck is made from high-grade PVC coated 600D polyester and is removable for easy cleaning. This heavy-duty material is made to last and is resistant to rips and tears. The Cam-O-Bunk cot comes in two colors, lime green or teal blue, so pick your favorite or match it to your tent! 

    The dimensions of the Camo-O-Bunk are 81.5 inches in length, 32.25 inches in width, and 36.5 inches of height when stacked. The length of 81 inches means this bunk would comfortably sleep a person of 5 feet and 9 inches in height, and probably taller so long as the person can sleep comfortably with their legs bent. For taller campers, an x-large model of the Disc-O-Bed is available, here on Amazon it comes in a handy bundle with the leg extensions. 

    Storage solutions are endless with the Disc-O-Bed, which innovative storage pockets included on the top and bottom bunk. These storage pouches are attached using a simple loop system, and offer lots of places to stash your gear. Zipped and unzipped pockets, some made from mesh, means you have the perfect place to store personal items. The side organizers can hold your phone, keys, and any other important belongings, there’s even a cup holder for your drink. Underneath the bed even more storage space is available, it’s the perfect spot to store your backpack while at the campsite. 

    If you have the floor space, then the Cam-O-Bunk can be set up as two individual cots. This means as well as at the campsite, these portable bunks are perfect for overnight guests. The whole system packs away into two convenient storage and carry bags, so if you only need one cot then you don’t need to carry the whole thing. Anti-slip rubber foot pads can be used on both bunks, which also protect your floor from any scratches or damage from the steel frame. 

    Another amazing feature of the Disc-O-Bed is that it can be set up as a couch! That’s right, during the day when no one is asleep, the bunk can be reconfigured into a simple camping couch. It’s not the most comfortable couch, but if you use sleeping bags and pillows for padding, then this portable camping bunk cot becomes a handy multi-use item. 

    This useful camping bed is heavy-duty and durable, it’ll last you and put up with a surprising amount of weight. The strong steel frame and durable polyester canvas make a rugged piece of outdoor kit, which will most likely last you years. 

    There are a few negatives that we can’t ignore when discussing the Disc-O-Bed. For one, this camping cot isn’t cheap. With the base model listed at over $300 on Amazon, this camping bed can’t be an impulse buy. However, because of the efficiency and quality of this item, we believe it’s well worth the investment. The ability to make much better use of camping space is so valuable, and these beds are so strong and durable that it’s sure to last you.

    One other problem with the Cam-O-Bunk cots is weight. Coming in at 62 pounds, this is certainly not a lightweight option. The weight is divided between two carry bags, making it much more convenient, but still, this is a hefty sleeping option. The weight means this bunk is only really suitable for car campers, and of course for home use. Unfortunately, lightweight backpackers won’t be able to appreciate the comfort and convenience of these bunks, as a much lighter alternative will be needed. 


    A Range Rover driving down a gravel road.

    Now that you’ve found the best camping bunk bed out there, it’s time to hit the road.


    Final Verdict:

    There are a lot of benefits to using bunk beds for camping, their convenience, practicality, and comfort is hard to beat. The Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Bunk offers a unique solution to camping space limits, allowing two adults to sleep in a space that would normally house just one. In places where floor space is a commodity, these bunks allow for a comfortable amount of sleeping space in a highly convenient way. 

    The leg extension kit means that even the largest campers can use these portable bunk cots, and the combines 1000lb weight limit is hard to argue with. Any sleeping solution which offers comfort, as well as convenience, is one we have to admire. The only thing you need on top of this camping bunk bed is the perfect camping pillow, to maximize your chances of a sound night’s sleep. Disc-O-Bed’s camping bunk beds are one of the best sleeping setups we’ve ever seen, so if you need a camping solution like this one, check them out. We promise you won’t be disappointed.


    Bonus tip: Watch this video to find out more about the assembly process for Disc-O-beds!



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    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.