In 2016 I needed a guest bed for a small room at short notice. I ended up buying a simple camping bed, the Coleman ComfortSmart Cot (which comes with a thin mattress topper and has a metal frame that folds neatly for easy storage). Years later, I can say that this crib is one of the most functional purchases I’ve ever made. Here I share all the ways I use my cot and how I loved it so much.

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A compact guest bed

I originally bought this cot as an extra bed for guests. I was living in a small house at the time, and the closest thing I had to a guest room was a narrow little corner right next to my kitchen. The house had no closets, so a cot that I could fold up and slide behind a couch or under a bed sounded nice. It worked wonderfully. When folded, the cot is about 2½ by 2 feet. The guests slept happily on the cot, and I slept on it even when my father came to my bedroom and stayed there. This cot is much more comfortable than I would have thought. It has just enough cushioning – which I can also adjust by throwing blankets on it – without the nasty mid-night deflation you get with an air mattress. And the height of the cot makes it easier to get in and out than some inflatable mattresses. When I’m not using the cot, I can fold it up and stow it neatly behind a small desk.

Erin’s dog Moon dozes on his favorite bed all day. Photo: Erin Price

An ideal dog bed

It turns out that the crib is also a dog magnet. My dog ​​loves it so much that after moving into a bigger house with a room for a proper guest bed, I made the crib just for him. I put it in the sunniest place in this house and let him sleep all day. He’s a bigger dog and the size of the single bed really makes him stretch out. If you have more than one puppy, the length makes it easy to split too.

A cozy place to take a nap

When I moved (again) into the house I currently live in, I had an office for the first time that was mine and mine alone. To get my dog ​​to hang out with me while I was working, the first thing I did was set up the crib for him. It wasn’t long before the cot asked me to come and lie down too. For months I resisted, thinking it would be counterproductive to lie down for work or, worse, to take a nap. It turns out I was very wrong – having a rest stop in my office is just the best. Sometimes I go to bed to work because I’ve found that changing my position renews my focus. In other cases, when I feel my mental resources burn out, I lie on the bed (or sit around my dog), set a timer for about 15 minutes, and take a nap or rest with my eyes closed. The crib is perfect for this as it’s comfortable enough to sleep in, but also a bit more spartan than my actual bed, so I’m less tempted to sleep past my intended nap time. Just setting up the crib in my office is a nice visual reminder to help plan breaks.

A therapy couch

I’ve always struggled with depression, and in 2020 I finally made a commitment to really making efforts to treat it. This means that I meet with my therapist several times a week. In March, when the coronavirus pandemic made it necessary to switch from face-to-face to telephone appointments, my therapist asked me if there was a place in my house where I could possibly recreate the classic therapy couch setup in her office. I looked over at my cot and suddenly it had a whole new purpose. I told her I was in exactly the right place and settled in my therapy bed for our session.

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