IR--THERM-A-REST LUXURYLITE ULTRALITE COT -- STEVE KIDD
- Dear Mysery Monitor...following is my IR on the cot! Ready to get out there and get it going!!! Let me know how to make it better!!!
THERM-A-REST LUXURYLITE ULTRALITE COT
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M KIDD
March 21, 2013
NAME: Steven M Kidd
LOCATION: Franklin, Tennessee
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 173 lb (78.50 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 25 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "IMAGE COURTESY OF CASCADE DESIGNS">>
Manufacturer: Cascade Designs
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://cascadedesigns.com">>
MSRP: US $229.95
Listed Weight: Standard Setup -- 2 lb 12 oz (1.24 kg)
Listed Weight: Lightweight Setup -- 2 lbs (0.9 kg)
Measured Weight: Standard Setup -- 2 lb 12.6 oz (1.29 kg)
Measured Weight: Lightweight Setup -- 2 lb 2.5 oz (0.98 kg)
Listed Load Capacity: 325 lb (147.5 kg) in Standard Setup; 175 lb (79.4 kg) in Lightweight Setup
Listed & Measured Dimensions: 24 x 72 x 4.5 in (61 x 183 x 11 cm)
The manufacturer states on their website that the Cascade Designs, Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot is the lightest and smallest packing cot currently on the market. For support they use a patented technology they call BowFrame which eliminates the use of spreader bars. They state this removes squeaky joints and breakable hardware.
The bed of the cot itself is made with a laminated nylon cover that is waterproof and stretch-free. The poles are anodized aluminum with nylon feet that are designed to be "durable" and "stand up to heavy use". Assembly is tool-free and the company suggests this may be done in three minutes.
The first thing I noticed when the cot arrived was how truly light and compact it appeared! The package was actually comparable in size to a self inflating sleep pad I used from the same manufacturer around a decade and a half ago.
I opened the stuff sack to find neatly packaged product. Upon further inspection of the cot, it includes the nylon bed sheet, which quite thin and certainly only has minimal to no R insulating value. In cooler temperatures I will certainly need to use a sleep pad in conjunction with the cot. There are two shock corded aluminum poles that insert into sleeves along the outer edged of the bed sheet. The cot is provided with 12 nylon feet and 16 aluminum poles (8 male & 8 female) that create the bow frames. The feet and the male/female pole combinations make up 4 single bows and 2 twisted bows to support the cot.
All six bows are used for the standard setup whereas only the four single bows are used in the lightweight setup. The sewn channels in which the shock corded poles are inserted have 8 oval shaped insert holes along each side to insert the nylon feet. In the six bow configuration the, second slot from each end of the cot is unused and in the four bow configuration the first and third slot on either end is not used.
Notice varying setup configurations images below. Also notice the twisted bows on the inner two supports of the image on the left.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "6 BOW TWISTED FRAME STANDARD SETUP">> <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3" IMAGE CAPTION = "4 BOW LIGHTWEIGHT SETUP">>
As shown in the above images the standard setup uses the twisted bows. Four aluminum poles (2 male & 2 female) are inserted into the nylon feet and twisted 180 degrees before the feet are inserted into the slot. This gives additional support as the twisted bows are placed in the inner most slots where the core weight of the torso is supported during rest.
When I was selected for this test series I watched a short setup video on the Cascade Designs website. The item actually arrived a few weeks later, and I briefly glanced at the directions, but attempted to set it up without instruction. I did so the first time in around eight minutes. The second time I attempted setup; it took me just under six minutes, but my wife called me and I continued doing so with a phone on my ear. In my final test I was able to accomplish it in 3 minutes 18 seconds. Therefore, I'd say the three minute setup the manufacturer states is certainly something that can be done with a little more practice.
The standard setup was quite comfortable in my opinion, but the lightweight appeared to sag somewhat in both the center and the bed sheet appeared to sag at both the head and the foot. The lightweight option suggests a maximum weight of 175 lb (79 kg). I'm right at the maximum load limit, so that could be cause for the lack of comfort. I'm a bit of a UL (ultralight) freak when it comes to backpacking, so I'm sure I'll have to at least give this setup a shot.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4" IMAGE CAPTION = "LUXURYLITE ULTRALITE COT W/ SLEEP PAD">>
I decided to put a self inflating pad on the cot for a comfort test. With the pad on the cot it made both options more comfortable, but I could still notice a difference with the additional bows inserted. Interestingly, with the 6 bow standard setup I feel I could sleep comfortably without a pad. I plan a sleep test in both setup scenarios with and without pads. I will most likely have to beta test without pads indoors as evenings still get pretty cool this time of year in Tennessee.
On the final time I was disassembling the cot I broke one of the nylon feet. It was the semi-circular groove that fits into the aluminum side poles. I'm not what caused the chip, but it immediately concerned me as the advertising mentions strength and durability under "heavy use". It is possible I wasn't bowing the poles enough and was putting too much pressure on the foot as I was removing it. The poles are made to flex, but I feared bending one of them, so I may have put more pressure on the foot. Again, I'm not sure if this was pilot error, a faulty foot or a design flaw. I will report more in depth throughout the test series.
What I can report is the excellent customer service Cascade Designs provides. I immediately called the company and chose the consumer option. I did not identify myself as a tester, simply telling the service representative named, Chuck, that I received a cot and broke a foot during a beta setup at home. He apologized, took my information and stated that a replacement would be in the mail no later than the morning. I give the company an A+ on customer service!
I'm excited to start testing the LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot! In fact, even with the chipped foot it is still operational in both setup modes.
I like the lightweight nature and the comfort the cot offers me. I find the standard setup quite comfortable both with and without a sleep pad. The jury is still out on how comfortable I'll find the featherweight setup, but please check back in approximately two months for an update on both methods.
The immediate malfunction of a key part does give me some concern about the product, but the great customer service Cascade Designs offered helped some of those fears subside. I look forward to testing the cot in the ensuing months and reporting on the durability. In the future I will certainly be more cautious during both assembly and particularly breakdown.
I'd like to thank both Cascade Designs and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this product.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.