I first heard about the Luxury Lite cot several years ago on www.bentrideronline.com
forums, where it made a splash. I looked at the website, & was intrigued, but then there is the price of $220, so I held off. Fast forward a year & I went on the Alabama’s Magnificent Bicycling Adventure (AMBA) cycletour for a week around Auburn Alabama & had trouble getting to sleep in the ultralight tent on the ground even assisted by my one inch thick Thermarest mattress-old age I guess. The ground was uneven, lumpy and I just had trouble dropping off.
Fast forward another year & I was preparing to go back to AMBA, and recalling last year’s experience, I ordered the cot as a birthday present to myself. When it arrived, I was impressed by the construction & materials used-high quality all around. I set it up several times at home using the step by step instructions, then took it to work to show some mates who are ultralight campers. They too were impressed. By then I no longer needed the instructions to set it up, or put it away.Construction & assembly:
The cot has a stout laminated fabric sleeping surface with fiber reinforcement built sort of like a “blue tarp”, plus shock corded aluminum side rails which are slipped into a sleeve on the sides of the sleeping surface. The side rail ends could use a “bullet shaped” plastic tip insert to ease the slide through nearly six feet of sleeve. Then one mates the cot feet & tension poles (gold & black anodized color-coded) into six assemblies, four single pole & two double pole. The double pole assemblies are placed under the torso where the greatest load is, and are a bit unusual in that you put a 180-degree twist into them as you mate them to the sleeping surface. The sleeping surface is quite taunt, and the first few times you engage the foot assemblies, you will be concerned that you might kink the gold & black aluminum foot poles-but don’t worry the construction is stout, and the instructions detailed.
One thing that seemed unusual was that both the website & instructions suggested placing the cot under the tent. That might work OK for a multi-person tent, but not for a near coffin ultralight (& quite small) tent. Upon reflection, I realized what they were getting at but not saying. I believe the problem they were trying to solve is that the 12 hard plastic feet of the cot were point or concentrated loads on the tent floor, and had likely been responsible for abrading or wearing through the tent floor! By placing the cot under the tent, they avoided that problem.
My solution, which has worked so far with no noticeable abrasion on the tent floor (7 nights), was to cut some 4” x 4” squares off of the end of my yoga mat (OK, my secret cycling weapon is out now) and place the mat pieces between the plastic feet & the tent floor. I was worried that as I moved around in the tent, rolled over, & got on & off the cot over the week that the mat squares might work their way out from under the cot feet, but they stayed just where I placed them. After seeing my concern, another buddy suggested I cover the bottom of the feet with some foam pipe insulation from the Home Center, but I’m satisfied with yoga mat. So for now, the stack of mat squares (roughly a 4” x 4” x 4” cube) stay in the cot storage bag, and will be used each time the cot is used.Field Test:
I took the Thermarest mattress just in case the cot did not work out, but left it in the car for the first two nights. During those nights I was comfortable, but noticed that I had a sore hip (I’m a side sleeper) in the morning. The hip was not touching the ground, as the cot keeps you up about 4” off the tent floor. After the second night of a sore hip (greater trochanter), I decided that perhaps the tension (like a drumhead!) of the cot fabric was great enough that I had a pressure point on the hip. For the rest of the cycletour, I put the Thermarest on top of the cot-hip pain problem solved & good sleeping!
Another thing I noticed was that the plastic feet to cot interface makes a hard bump along the side rail of the cot, and that was just where a bony part of my arm wanted to rest. Sure I could move the arm toward my head or feet & avoid the hard plastic bump, but when I’d wake up, the arm was right on top of a hard bump. The Thermarest raised me up just enough to make the hard bump annoyance go away. So while I had hoped that the cot would replace the Thermarest (from a mass & volume standpoint), for me at least, they are a better team together, than either by itself.
As an aside, another advantage of the cot is that if your tent floor leaks & you have water on the floor, you will not get wet as you are up 4” off the floor. I tested this theory one morning about 1:30 AM, as it rained quite hard for several hours. Fortunately the tent floor was dry.Summary:Pros:
Good design, materials, instructions & construction leading to better sleeping. Made in USA, & keeps you up off the ground & tent floor. Now a part of my regular kit!Cons:
Cost, plus another bit of kit to carry if you camp unsupported. The need to add cushions under cot feet to avoid tent floor abrasion; and I still use the Thermarest on top of it. The manufacturer should consider adding “bullet ends” to cot side rails.