Crud - forgot to hit the Send button last night. Anyway, here's my FR
ready for your edits Mike:
Terrain/ trail type
April 5-6, 2013
Santa Catalina Mountains, Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona
Romero Canyon to Old Camp
Sky island canyon, very rocky trail Sunny, 45-85 F
Therm-a-Rest Prolite 4
May 11-12, 2013
Santa Catalina Mountains near Oracle, Arizona Arizona National Scenic
Trail - Oracle Ridge
(22.5 km) Mountain ridgeline, very rocky trail Sunny, very windy, 48-78 F
(9-26 C) 4500-6500 ft
(1370-1980 m) Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol
Romero Canyon to Old Camp
Old Camp is an historic site in the Santa Catalina Mountains close to
where I work and live. I don't get up there as often as I like, and
the wildflowers were in full bloom so it seemed a great spot to spend
my first night on the LuxuryLite cot.
I arrived at my campsite after dark and set up camp:
It took me 12 minutes to set up the cot in the dark using a headlamp.
Not bad for the first time. I believe I'll get more efficient the
more I go through the motions, and can learn to economize the steps.
One thing I noticed while I was setting up: the bows must be attached
with the cover upside-down, in the dirt. After completing the
assembly, the cover top was very dusty and dirty. Most of the dust
brushed right off, and I put my pad on top of the cover, so my
sleeping bag stayed clean.
As is visible in the above photo, both my pad and my sleeping bag are
slightly longer than the cot. My feet stuck over the end, but I was
very comfortable. I spent most of the night sleeping on my side, due
to the spine hyper-extension issue I pointed out previously. I
considering putting some dirt under a few of the end legs to elevate
them to reduce the hyper-extension, but I was too tired to experiment
in the dark. I spent a *very* comfortable night on the cot, arguably
the most comfortable night I have ever spent on the ground (or close
to it). I had to get up once during the night, and had no problems
getting out of or back into the cot in the dark. It sits very close
to the ground, but I had no difficulty standing up or sitting back
down on it. When I returned to the cot in the middle of the night I
noticed my pad was slightly off-center, but it does not seem to slip
once I lay down. I'm guessing it moved when I was sitting
down/standing up from the cot.
Tear down the next morning was very fast, just a few minutes required
to break down the cot and stuff it back in the sack. I did not pack
the feet carefully, I just threw them in the sack. As a result it was
not quite as compact as before when I carefully repacked the poles
into feet rings, but I had plenty of room in my pack.
Overall I would classify my first experience as a great success! The
cot carried easily, went up and disassembled quickly, and was
exceptionally comfortable (with the pad used). Note that I used the
pad for warmth underneath me, not for comfort. In future trips I will
experiment with other pads, or none at all to arrive at a good balance
of comfort and weight.
Oracle Ridge is a nearby segment of the Arizona National Scenic Trail
that is only 45 minutes from my home, but not heavily used. This was
my first backpack on this segment. The trail follows a very steep
ridgeline, and I saw very few level spots where I could set up the
cot. Right around the time I was getting really tired I encountered
an area near a saddle that was perfect for camping. It took me about
10 minutes to set up the cot this time:
As can be seen from the above photo, the terrain was pretty rocky, not
a great spot to be sleeping directly on the ground. It was *very*
windy while I was setting the cot up, and it is light enough that it
might make a pretty good kite! The only time during setup that the
wind mattered was when I was sliding the poles into the sleeves.
It was a little chilly in the evening as the wind did not die down as
the sun set, so I curled up to read in my sleeping bag on the cot.
This was reasonably comfortable - I laid on my side and leaned on an
elbow. When I got tired I fell asleep on the cot in minutes - it
really is quite comfortable.
The next morning when I awoke my back was a bit sore. I was sleeping
on my back for a while, and I think my spine was slightly
hyper-extended because I really did not try and find a spot that that
made sure the ends were as high or higher than the middle of the cot.
The side poles are very flexible, so the cot will definitely conform
to the ground profile when weighted down. Something to remember for
Overall I am very pleased with the UltraLite cot. It has done exactly
what I hoped it would: give me a comfortable place to sleep up off the
ground for areas that do not have sufficient trees to hang a hammock.
Lightweight and compact enough for my backpacks (I've carried it in
two different packs so far)
Reasonably fast and simple setup
Very fast and simple tear-down
Comfortable, especially with a pad
Areas for possible improvement:
It would be nice to not have to step on the cot in the dirt to set it
up. It cleans off easily, but in the backcountry I do not bring
materials for cleaning the top of the cot. This has not been a
material problem for me so far, as I have always used the cot with a
pad for warmth.
Please check back in a few months for my Long Term report including a
permitted 3-day hike into the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness.
Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Cascade Designs for the opportunity
to contribute to this test.