Okay so the Thermarest LuxuryLite UltraLite cot isn’t exactly new on the market. So you may be wondering why I have took the time to write a review. However whenever I have used the cot, it has generated a lot of interest. One particular time during a bothy night in the Cairngorms I had intrigued strangers wanting to try it out for themselves.
So why the cot?
The cot is a potential alternative to inflatable light weight sleeping mats, particularly for those like myself who suffer from back pain. It has it’s pros and cons and may not suit everybody, so in this review I’ll hopefully help you decide if you need one.
What to expect:
The cot weighs in at 1.35kg, which is heavy when compared against lightweight mats. That said, no other camp bed/cot will come near that weight. So if you’re prepared to take approximately a one kilogram weight penalty then this cot could be used for backpacking.
The cot requires to be assembled each time you use it, and with a bit of practice you should be able to do this in 3-5 minutes. The cot comes with:
- 1x Fabric cover
- 2x Shock-corded poles (connect like tent poles)
- 8x male poles
- 8x female poles
- 12x feet (legs).
Dimensions: 183 x 61 x 11cm / Packed Size: 41 x 13cm
I wont go into detail on how to assemble because comprehensive instructions are included with the cot and there are two useful videos you can watch on YouTube:
Even if you forget how to assemble the cot when out and about, the stuff bag has further instructions sown inside the bag.
If you sleep on your back then you’ll most likely find this incredibly comfortable. However I sleep on my side and tend to have my knees bent and the shock-cord poles that run down the sides made it uncomfortable with my legs resting on top. To get around this problem, I discovered I could position myself diagonally, so my knees avoided the shock-cord poles. This meant I could sleep comfortably on my side without difficulty.
When staying at a campsite, I put a foam mat over the top of the cot and this takes the cot to the next level for comfort and this is now my preferred sleeping set up. An insulated foam mat could also be added, so the cot can be used in the colder months, as this is rated as one season only. Thermarest also sell an insulated cover for around £40 that will upgrade the cot to a three season sleeping cot.
When assembling the cot you have to turn it upside down. If the ground is wet then the surface you sleep on will be wet too. I did manage to assemble this inside my Hilleberg Akto, but I then had to bring it outside, flip it around and put it back in the tent. Also it is easier to click the feet of the cot into place with your weight on top.
In the morning when packing up, I noticed that the feet of the cot left indents in my tent groundsheet. This concerned me as prolonged use in the same tent could cause excessive wear and tear on your groundsheet.
Also the feet could sink into soft or boggy ground rendering the cot useless.
One bonus is that you wont ever have to worry about punctures or waking up during the night to re-inflate your mat. Also you don’t end up rolling off during the night.
If you weigh less than 79kg, then you can use less poles to assemble saving some vital grams by bringing the overall weight just under 1kg.
The cot is an excellent piece of kit and is light enough for backpacking if you’re not a gram counter and sleep on your back. I personally would find it a bit too fiddly for longer backpacking trips and I wouldn’t want to assemble it in harsh weather conditions. The cot would be better suited for shorter wild camping trips where the user knows the weather is to be decent and the terrain is firm enough for the cot to rest on for the night.
I personally will only use the cot on bothy trips to make sleeping on a hard floor easier on my back and when staying at campsites where I can had a foam mat over the top for that extra comfort.
The price tag of around £140-£185 may be the deal breaker for most. But they are deals out there if you shop around. Also check the measurements and make sure it will fit in your tent. (the cot is available in 3 sizes and the cot tested is regular).
Pros: Comfortable and no puncture issues to worry about.
Cons: Expensive and fiddly for backpacking.