The Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot

The Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot

Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot

Country of manufacture: Ireland
Weight: 1247g
Price: £190
Colour: grey/black/gold
Material: laminated nylon cover; aluminium poles; nylon feet

So you thought a cot was what a baby threw its dummy out of?

Not in the outdoor world. This cot is a lightweight camp bed that packs into a small bag and is just light enough to justify slipping into a rucksack for that extra comfort in your tent.

The LuxuryLite UltraLite comes in a stuffsack that’s about as big as a standard packed Therm-a-Rest mat.

Initially, the task of putting the thing together seems daunting, with lots of shiny aluminium poles and a plethora of feet, but actually, within a couple of practices, the bed goes together very easily.

You need space to assemble the LuxuryLite UltraLite, and if the ground where you’re camping is wet, you’re going to get the cot wet too. The cot is assembled upside down and turned over when fully assembled.

If you have a big tent, that can all be done within it, otherwise you’ll have to be prepared to wipe down the cover before you stretch out on it.

The assembled LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot

The assembled LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot

The first stage of assembly is inserting the long, shock-corded poles down the edge sleeves of the cover. The poles are just like tent poles and it can be a bit fiddly to get them into the sleeve as they keep popping into the open prematurely through the circular holes that accommodate the feet.

However, there is a knack to avoiding this and once learnt, the two poles slide in easily.

The next stage is to assemble the cross members which again look like short tent poles.

In its full-weight version, you make four single bows and two doubled twist bows by inserting a paired female and male pole into two feet.

These are then hooked into the side poles under slight tension through the aforementioned holes.

The two double bows are used with a twist to enhance their strength.

If this all sounds a bit complicated, Therm-a-Rest has produced a video to show how easy it is. I’m still nowhere near the claimed three-minute assembly, sadly.

Anyone weighing 79kg (12½ stones) or less can leave out the two double bows, cutting weight from the pack. I’m borderline so played safe with the full complement.

Once assembled, the cot is flipped over on to its feet and is ready to use.

And here, I encountered my first problem: it wouldn’t fit into the tent.

Make sure the cot will fit in your tent

Make sure the cot will fit in your tent

My small, lightweight, backpacking tent has a side door which simply wasn’t big enough to allow the cot to be put into the tent.

I even tried assembling the cot inside the tent but even then it was too big to flip over on to the right side. It’s quite a big item when assembled – easily long enough to take a six-footer and 2ft wide, and it simply wouldn’t go right side up.

Luckily, I had a tent in reserve (no, I wasn’t backpacking!) and the LuxuryLite UltraLite slipped easily into this one, which this time had its door at the end, enabling the cot to be slid in.

In use, on a fairly mild night, the cot was a dream. Comfortable and not noisy when shuffling around. There are no moving joints to start squeaking and keep you awake at night.

One point to note is that the thin cover has no built-in insulation. This wasn’t a problem on a mild evening but if you’re heading out to use the LuxuryLite UltraLite in cooler climes you might also want to pack a thin sleep mat for insulation.

Also bear in mind that the cot raises you up from the ground by 11cm (4½ inches) so if you have limited headroom at the sloping end of a lightweight tent, you might find your nose touching the inner tent.

It has been pointed out elsewhere that there is a risk of damaging the cover when taking the tensioned bows out of their holes, but we found no problem in this area. The material on the cover of the LuxuryLite UltraLite feels very tough.

One thing to ensure, however, is that the cross poles are pushed fully into the holes in the feet or you risk bending them when they are tensioned.

The central bows are doubled and twisted for extra strenth

The central bows are doubled and twisted for extra strenth

The LuxuryLite UltraLite has the sort of solid build quality we’ve come to expect from Therm-a-Rest and with careful use, your investment in a fairly pricey piece of kit should last years.

The cot would be ideal for anyone camping out of the car who wants to enhance their comfort beyond that of a simple roll mat or inflatable sleeping mat.

It would also suit a backpacker who has the space for its packed stuffsack and who doesn’t mind the extra kilo or so the LuxuryLite UltraLite adds. In its pared-down version for sub 12½-stoners, it weighs a touch less than 1kg.

The Therm-a-Rest cot offers a touch of comfort without the risk of accusations of glamping. Just make sure it fits inside your tent before forking out for the LuxuryLite UltraLite.

Performance 31/35
Comfort 31/35
Design 8/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 5/10
Total score: 83/100

More details on the Therm-a-Rest website.

Footnote: Therm-a-Rest tells us it is planning to introduce a LuxuryLite Cot Warmer, using its ThermaCapture Radiant Heat Technology, as seen in the NeoAir mattresses, next year.

The company said this will add 5 to 8C of warmth, which it said transforms the LuxuryLite cots from one-season to three-season.

“The thermal reflective lining captures your body’s heat and efficient adds warmth with virtually no added weight or bulk,” it said. “The lightweight and packable Cot Warmer easily attaches to the underside of your cot with six elasticised hooks.”

Therm-a-Rest said it will be available in sizes regular, large and extra-large, for the new, extra-large sized cots coming out in 2014.

The Cot Warmer will cost £40.00 when it appears in shops in January 2014.