Luxury Lite UltraLite Cot

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

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.

Luxury Lite - UltraLite Cot - photo 3 - small.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

Posted by JP - 05/01/2009 09:13 AM

Seriously, if it wasn’t for the price, this would be flying off the shelves. Heck, maybe even AT that price. Smaller than a therm-a-rest and cushier. My back loves the idea!

Posted by Karl D - 05/01/2009 09:15 AM

This looks to be probably the best camping pad alternative on the market. Price will cause a double take, but it’s probably worth it to not have the bulk of a luxury roll mat or something.

Posted by Bruce Warren - 05/01/2009 10:11 AM

I continued to be kinda surprised by outdoor folks who gladly pay $400 for a GPS, $300 for a tent, $200 for an iPod, $170 for the NeoAir, $300 for a down bag, $250 for hiking boots but see $225 as a high price for the best bed you can carry.

Posted by Karl D - 05/01/2009 11:58 AM

I think I may be in the minority then somehow since I’m a minimalist when I camp. No ipod, no GPS (wth?)…

Posted by doc thomas - 05/01/2009 05:14 PM

I love comfort but also love to have my Hether lying beside me.Do they make a double? The price is not outrageous and design seems ingenious.My personal kudos to the inventor…doc

Posted by Chuck W - 05/02/2009 04:52 AM

3 lbs??? My Big Agnes Aircore is very comfy for $69 and about 1.3 lbs. Thanks, but no thanks.

Posted by David Lee - 05/03/2009 09:16 PM

I use one of these while traveling. It fits in my backpack with my laptop and a thin cashmere blanket. It has passed through security in at least a dozen airports and is typically more comfortable than crashing on a short sofa.

Posted by Drake - 05/07/2009 01:20 PM

For anyone who backpacks in anything less then warm weather a cot is not the way to go. They loose far too much heat out the bottom requiring you to bring an extra layer of insolation to line it with.

Posted by Dave Andrews - 08/17/2009 04:10 PM

I went to his barn/factory in Lake Jackson to check it out. I’m tipping the scales at 315 lbs. I didn’t touch the floor. This cot is incredible!

Posted by Marty - 07/19/2010 06:17 AM

This is the BEST think I ever have gotten for camping. it only take 3 to 5 mins to put together and same amount of time to take down. and I have not put it together some nights knowing I will be packing up early and needing to take off. That is the biggist mestake I make on any camping trip. I do have a air mat as well, I always put it on top of it, not that you need it. When it is HOT I only use the Cot, good air flow. I don’t put it up one time on a trip :) one of these time I will remember it from the last, Well, I think I know now to all ways put it up, it is a great night sleep. For the deepness of my sleep when on the cot makes the next day some much better.

Posted by John C - 12/08/2010 11:02 PM

I own an UltraLite Cot and a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core. They are both fantastic and I use them together and separately – depending on trek & temp. After the first setup of the UltraLite, each subsequent setup has been easy and intuitive. I’m an avid outdoorsman and a great bed makes any trek that much more amazing. Well worth the price!

Posted by John S - 05/06/2011 01:07 PM

One thing for those commenting on the price to remember is this: the cot is Made in America using American made components by a very small company. It’s not going to be price competitive with a product made in Asia by a much bigger company. Overseas mass production vs domestic boutique production.

Posted by Alex Shu - 08/19/2011 08:47 PM

does anybody know what the legs are made out of? it looks like plastic but i am not sure…

Posted by Jason Silver - 05/28/2012 11:26 AM

I saw something on Instructables.com on how to make your own for $30. I’m thinking of trying that first.

Posted by Peter - 09/16/2012 07:03 PM

Seems they only make it 183 cm long?? Fail..

Posted by Rich - 01/21/2013 08:18 AM

I’ve used the luxury lite cot about 50 times, with a closed cell pad and fitted cotton sheet. The pad is more for insulation than padding as it gets cold in the mountain west. I get a great night’s sleep which is so important when camping. Cost? Good stuff isn’t cheap and if you have junk gear you’re going to the motel. I developed a tear in the mesh and they replaced it free and fast. This is a very durable piece of equipment.

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