IR: Cascades Designs - Cot - Kurt Papke
- Dear mystery monitor - my IR is ready for your edits here:
Cascade Designs LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot
Test Series by Kurt Papke
Initial Report - March 26, 2013
Field Report - June 2013
Long Term Report - August 2013
Name: Kurt Papke
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 235 lbs (107 kg)
Email address: kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA
My backpacking experience is a combination of Minnesota where I have
lived most of my adult life, and Arizona where I moved to take a new
job about three years ago. I have always been a "comfort-weight"
backpacker, never counting grams, but still keeping my pack as light
as easily attained. I have been an ardent hammock camper for a number
of years, but the Arizona desert limits the places I can hang, so I
have been looking for comfortable alternative sleeping gear that does
not require trees.
Manufacturer: Cascade Designs
LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot
Year of manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer website: http://cascadedesigns.com
Gray. This is the only available color listed on the website.
Laminated nylon cover; anodized aluminum poles and nylon feet
Listed: 4.5 H x 24 W x 72 in L (11 x 61 x 183 cm)
Measured: 4.5 H x 23.5 W x 72 in L (11 x 60 x 183 cm)
Listed: 2 lb 12 oz (1247 g) packed weight
Measured: 2 lb 13.8 oz (1298 g) with stuff sack
325 lbs (147 kg) maximum in standard setup
175 lbs (79 kg) maximum in lightweight setup
Note that I will not be testing the lightweight setup in any way, as I
far exceed the maximum load for that configuration.
All the measured dimensions were reasonably close to the
manufacturer's specifications: 1/2 in (1 cm) narrower than spec, 1.8
oz (51 g) weight over spec.
The features listed by the manufacturer include:
BowFrame™ Technology: patented technology eliminates painful
crossbars, squeaky joints and broken hardware.
Ultra Lightweight: so light even backpackers carry it.
Super Packable: compact design fits easily in a pannier, portage bag
Durable Construction: laminated nylon cover is waterproof and
stretch-free; anodized aluminum poles and durable nylon feet stand up
to heavy use.
Three-Minute Set Up: assembles quickly and easily – no tools required.
The cot came nicely packaged in a stuff sack with a spec sheet (photo
at left). The first thing I did was pick it up to check the heft of
the package - it feels heavy, but the scale does not lie, it really is
Removing the contents from the stuff sack revealed the components
compactly stowed along with the setup instructions (photo at right).
The side poles are very sturdy, and are designed to be easily
assembled with their integral shock cords. The lateral poles are a
smaller diameter. The fabric bed is reinforced nylon - it reminded me
of the type of fabric I see frequently used for backpacks.
Trying It Out
I followed the instructions as shown at left to set up the cot. I
found it quite straightforward, with the exception of a little bit of
confusion with the "Standard Setup" section which called for a single
bow in the "slots three places from the ends". It took me a few
minutes to realize there was an extra set of slots for the lightweight
setup. Once that made sense to me I was able to complete the setup
without issues with the result as shown below.
I sat down gingerly on the cot, not wanting to break it in my first
use, but it really is quite sturdy. The fabric feels really tough,
and though it is very taut on the frame, it has just the right amount
When I lay down I immediately noticed that I was on a quite narrow
platform off the ground. It feels very different than laying on a
similarly-sized sleeping mat on the ground, where I can hang a foot,
arm or leg off the side and have it supported by the earth.
On the other hand the cot felt surprisingly long. I was concerned
when I took on this test that it was going to be too short for me, as
in theory I am four inches (ten centimeters) longer than the cot. My
feet hang off the end a bit, but not bad at all.
The next thing I noticed is I will need some sort of a pillow with the
cot, even if it is a rolled-up fleece. The surface is very flat, not
like the hammocks I have become accustomed to that support the head
ever so slightly.
While lying on my back I noticed a slight hyper-extension of my spine.
The twist bows are located near the center of the cot, where strength
is needed to support the weight of the torso. I believe what is
happening is the twist bows are slightly more rigid, and do not "give"
as much under my weight as the single bows causing the center of the
cot to be slightly higher. I am thinking I will have to mostly sleep
on my sides, which is my preferred position.
Rolling onto my side was a very low effort exercise (its a little
tougher in a hammock). Comfort was good, the bare cot with no pad is
much more forgiving than the hard ground, even with a lightweight
I am really excited to get the cot out into the field and spend a
night in it. One of the things I have become accustomed to as a
hammock camper is having insulation underneath me to prevent a chill,
as the open air can very quickly rob me of heat. I am guessing the
cot will have similar thermal characteristics, so I will have to play
with various pads to see how much insulation I need to keep warm.
Things I Like So Far:
Lightweight, compact package.
Quick and easy setup.
Things That Concern Me Upfront:
There are a lot of pieces in the package. The feet are black, and
might be easy to lose sight of in the dirt. I'll have to be careful I
don't leave anything behind in the campsite.
Thanks to BGT and Cascade Designs for the opportunity to contribute to
- Hi Kurt - I am the mystery monitor for this test series. I see that my name
was left off the Admin site for this item. If you save my email address
you'll have it for the subsequent reports.
Here are your edits in the usual format
EDIT - must change
edit - my recommended change if you agree
comment - just that
comments - Good HTML/ photos. I like that your image of the instruction
sheet is easily read too.
Like you, I was also concerned by the length of this cot as I am taller than
it is long so I'll be interested to see how you like yours throughout this
EDIT - You should give credit to your use of the manufacturer's photo which
was taken from their website....
"Rolling onto my side was a very low effort exercise (its a little tougher
in a hammock)."
EDIT - "it's" is the contraction for "it is".
"Comfort was good, the bare cot with no pad is much more forgiving than the
hard ground, even with a lightweight sleeping pad."
EDIT - Comfort was good; the bare cot...." (swap the comma for a semi-colon
"Thanks to BGT and Cascade Designs for the opportunity to contribute to this
EDIT - please list BGT as "BackpackGearTest.org"
So that's it - Please remember to delete the test file copy and upload when
See you in two months!
mosack at earthlink dot net