When talking about bedding in the great outdoors, the words “ultralight” and “cot” rarely come in the same sentence. But that’s exactly what LuxuryLite, a small company in Lake Jackson, Texas, proposes with its UltraLite Cot, a 72-inch bed that weighs less than three pounds.
Made as an alternative to a sleeping pad, the cot can keep a camper “floating above rocks, sticks, roots, water and snow,” according to the company (www.luxurylite.com). The product works by stretching a sheet of three-layer laminated rip-stop fabric taut over four struts. Unroll a sleeping bag, lie down, and the fabric cradles your frame with just a bit of flex.
The Luxury Lite UltraLite Cot weighs less than 3 pounds
Like many products from LuxuryLite, the UltraLite Cot is strange and unconventional. It is a bit of a puzzle to put together, as it comes bundled with more than a dozen small poles, eight nylon feet, and the fabric sheeting in a roll.
My first attempt at setup was a 10-minute ordeal. The main bed is easy to make — just insert the long poles in their sleeves to create the frame. But building the struts was more of a mystery. You start by linking the gold and black anodized aluminum poles — 16 of them in total — and then sliding the mated poles into the cot’s round feet.
The trick to LuxuryLite’s design is then in the twisting of the struts, which adds tension and flex. Flip the bed over, put your foot on the edge to steady, and snap the struts in place. The result is a solid platform that holds a supine frame hovering most of the time just an inch or so off the ground.
The cot hovers a couple inches above the ground
In my test, the cot was comfortable enough. I would not say “cushy,” but sleeping on the rip-stop nylon — which won’t stretch, sag, or rot, according to the company — was akin to a nice pad.
Depending on your weight and the placement of the struts on the frame, your body may have contact with the ground beneath. I weigh 180 pounds, and while laying on my back, my butt slightly brushed the dirt under the cot’s middle. It was in no way uncomfortable. But if your goal is hovering 100 percent above the ground, this cot could disappoint.
Roll it up and pack it away for transport in a backpack
LuxuryLite touts the UltraLite Cot as strong enough for a 325-pound man. The unit is solid. I left it set up inside for days at a time, walking on it, plopping down, and laying for a few minutes to test it on a quick rest. It can take some abuse, I am saying. But 325 pounds of abuse would be interesting to see.
The cot costs $219, which is pricier than the nicest of sleeping pads. But its weight is almost comparable to a plush inflatable mattress. And for picky campers and backpackers who do not want to snooze right on the ground — but also don’t want to lug a traditional cot into the woods — LuxuryLite offers a unique sleeping solution.
—Stephen Regenold writes a daily blog on outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.