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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > Cascade Designs LuxuryLite Cot > Test Report by Kurt Papke
Cascade Designs LuxuryLite UltraLite
|Height:||6' 4" (193 cm)|
|Weight:||235 lbs (107 kg)|
|Email address:||kwpapke at gmail dot com|
|City, State, Country:||Tucson, Arizona USA|
||LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot
|Year of manufacture:||2013|
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
Measured: 4.5 H x 23.5 W x 72 in L (11 x 60 x 183 cm)
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.
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.
||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
|Mountain ridgeline, very rocky trail||Sunny, very windy, 48-78 F
|Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol
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 considered 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.
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
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:
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.
||Terrain/ trail type
|June 14-16, 2013||Huachuca Mtns near Sierra Vista, Arizona||Carr
|Sky island canyon and ridgelines, very rocky trail||Sunny, 50-80 F
|Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol|
|June 21-22, 2013
||Huachuca Mtns near Sierra Vista, Arizona||AZT
|Sky island canyon and ridgelines||Sunny, 55-85 F
|Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol|
|July 5-7, 2013||Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness north of Mammoth, Arizona||Aravaipa
|Creek running through canyon + slot canyon||Sunny, 70-100 F
|July 26-28, 2013||Huachuca Mtns near Sierra Vista, Arizona||Crest Trail
|Sky island canyons and ridgelines||Sunny/rain mix, 55-80 F
I have had good intentions of backpacking the Huachuca Mountains for some time, and finally made it there for a 3-day/2 night trip. The first night was car-camping at a National Forest campground just a few steps from the trailhead:
It might not be clear from the picture, but this is a different
sleeping bag than I have used before with the cot. It gives
slightly more knee room, which seems to encourage me to sleep on
my side more. The cot is quite narrow, and when sleeping on
my side for extended period the side support poles do put some
pressure on my legs. It is not like sleeping on the ground
on a thin pad where my knees are supported by the ground.
I'll have to experiment in the future with putting some clothing
next to my knees for padding.
Night number two was on top of a ridgeline. This was at
quite a bit more altitude than the night before and the wind blew
pretty well. The good news is I set a new world record for
assembling the cot: just over seven minutes!! Here's the
setup in the back country:
Same mountains as the prior weekend, but starting from the Arizona Trail (AZT) trailhead on the west side of the range. I car-camped near the trailhead on Friday night, a pleasant spot to spend a night on the cot near scenic Parker Canyon Lake.
A little different tarp pitch than I have been using due to the
strong winds out of the west. This was the first night using
the cot that I got a little irritated with the narrow width.
It was hard for me to get really comfortable on my side. The
dirt on the top of the cot is visible in the picture above.
No matter how clean the cot is when I set out on a trip, as soon
as I set it up with the top on the ground it gets pretty dirty.
I carried the cot in my backpack during a very long day of
hiking, fully intending to spend a second night out on the trail,
but for whatever reason I finished what was supposed to be a 2-day
hike in one day and drove home on Saturday night.
It had been four years since I had been to Aravaipa Canyon, and I
wanted to explore more than I did last time so I got a permit for
a 3-day trip. This was a low-altitude hike, so the nighttime
lows were expected to be warm enough that I did not bring a
pad. Indeed, the nights were warm and humid enough that I
either slept directly on the cot, or on top of my sleeping
bag. I was more than warm enough.
The cot did not feel any less comfortable without a pad. I
noticed that the cot fabric did stain a bit from sweat when I lay
directly on it without my sleeping bag. This effect was
My companions tried out the cot for comfort on the first
morning. They had spent a restless night sleeping on a
minimalist pad that was painful when sleeping on their side.
They were so impressed with the comfort of the UltraLite Cot that
one of them asked for an UltraLite Cot as a Christmas present!
Here's a photo of the cot setup on night one of the trip:
I returned the Huachuca Mountains looking for a respite from the
hot and humid Tucson monsoon season, only to run into
rainstorms. I didn't get a lot of mileage in, but I did get
a break from the heat. I was trying to lighten my pack on
this trip, so even though I was going to be at altitudes where
temperatures would be cooler, I left my sleeping pads at home.
The first night I used my fleece pullover as a pillow, and was a
little chilled beneath me wherever my sleeping bag insulation was
compressed by my body weight. The cot does not offer any
insulation underneath, so the cool night air can rob heat if no
pad is used. On the second night I used a bundle of clothes
for a pillow, wore my fleece during the night, and was plenty warm
despite similar temperatures as night one. My bottom line:
below temperatures of about 60 F (15 C), I will either carry a
sleeping pad or make sure I have extra torso insulation.
Both nights were spent on wet ground. It was nice to not
have a muddy sleeping pad or ground cloth to deal with in the
One aspect of assembly that I have been experiencing all along finally became irritating on this trip: when inserting the shock-corded side poles into their slots, they inevitably get caught up in the holes provided for the foot hooks:
Of course it seems to happen the most often with the holes
farthest away from the slot opening, where I am pushing the tube
through. I have to walk down to the other end of the pole,
insert it under the flap, walk back and continue pushing until it
hits the next hole. I have become pretty proficient at
manipulating the side pole as I slide it in to avoid the problem,
but it happens at least once or twice on every assembly. I'm
not sure how the designers could work around this problem, but it
would remove a great deal of aggravation if they could.
The only thing I would update from the Field Report summary was
my feelings about comfort. The UltraLite Cot is narrow,
which is no issue when sleeping on my back or stomach, but can be
a bit of an issue when sleeping on my side in a fetal-type
position with my knees up. The side bars do create some
pressure spots on the side of my legs in this position.
My bottom line on this piece of gear is it sure beats sleeping on
the ground. It kept me away from bugs and other crawly
things (important for me when I camp with a tarp), and is more
comfortable than the typical lightweight backpacking sleeping pad
located on the ground. The comfort piece really comes from
the fact that I do not feel the ground itself, even if it is very
rocky which many of my campsites often are. It also can be
used directly on wet, muddy ground without need for a ground
The Ultralite Cot has also been very reliable for me considering
it is so lightweight. It appears flimsy at first, but for a
person of my size and weight to use it steadily for four months
and have zero breakdowns is pretty darn good in my book. I
neither coddled it nor mistreated it during the test period, just
I have been giving some thought to how I will use the cot in the
future now that the testing is completed. One of my planned
uses is actually for my wife on a future trip to the Grand
Canyon. She sometimes has sore hips and does not relish
sleeping on the ground, so I will likely bring it for her use in
these situations. It weighs a little more than a typical
backpacking sleeping pad, but it is far more comfortable, and
sometimes comfort trumps weight.
Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Cascade Designs for the
opportunity to contribute to this test.
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