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Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot Review

The LuxuryLite Ultralite Cot in Use
The Therm-a Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot in Use

The Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot is designed for campers, backpackers, fisherman, or kayakers who need more back support than they can get from a foam or inflatable sleeping pad, prefer to sleep up off the ground, or want a cooler sleeping system for camping in hot weather. The UltraLite version of the LuxuryLite Cot reviewed here is significantly lighter weight (depending on the configuration) than the original version of the LuxuryLite Mesh Cot, making it a more portable camping cot for campers who need to carry one under their own power to a remote campsite in a backpack or a boat.

Sleeping Comfort

Sleeping on a LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot is a very different experience than sleeping on an inflatable or foam sleeping pad. While the surface of the cot has a little give to it, it’s quite a lot firmer than any sleeping pad I’ve ever used. If spending an extended period of times on an inflatable sleeping pad makes your lower back ache (as it does mine), sleeping on a firm LuxuryLite cot can provide you with welcome relief.

If your back is cold, you can cover the cot with a very thin piece of foam too prvent heat loss
If your back is cold, you can cover the cot with a very thin piece of foam to prevent heat loss

Keep in mind that LuxuryLite cots do not provide you with any back insulation like a sleeping pad. While this can translate to great comfort in hot climates, you may want to cover the cot with a thin 1/8″ pad of foam, as shown above, in cooler weather to prevent heat loss.

Ease of Assembly

The LuxuryLite Ultralite Cot includes two shock-corded aluminum poles that form the sides of the cot, a long rectangular piece of polyester ripstop fabric that you lie on, and eight two-piece bowframe bars with two plastic feet,  that lock the bowframe bars in place and raise you up off the ground. The cot is very easy to set up once you do it a few times. Here’s a short video from Therm-a-Rest that illustrates the process.

Watch the LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot Setup Video

Weight Reduction

Out of the box, the LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot weighs 2 pounds, 12 ounces and includes 12 plastic feet and 8 two-piece bowframe bars, a configuration which can hold up to a 300 pound person. However, if you weigh less and don’t need all of that support, you can reduce the weight of the UltraLite cot by leaving a few of the feet and bowframe bars at home to lighten its weight.

For example, Therm-a-Rest recommends using a configuration with 4 of the two-piece bowframe bars and 8 plastic feet for a person or child weighing up to 175 pounds. This results in a weight savings of 11.2 ounces bringing the weight of the UltraLite Cot down to 2 pounds and 0.8 ounces, which isn’t bad, considering the added comfort that the cot provides.

Note: the UltraLite Cot reviewed here is the size regular which is 24 inches wide and 72 inches long. A wider 26 inch wide UltraLite Cot is also available. See Therm-a-Rest for full details. 

I asked around and a lot of people wouldn’t hesitate to bring a 2 pound cot on a backpacking trip if it provided them with a better nights sleep than a 12 ounce Therm-a-Rest Xlite inflatable sleeping pad. The extra 1 pound 4 ounces wasn’t that significant a weight penalty in their eyes.

LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot configured with 6 bowframe bars
LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot configured with 6 bowframe bars

Backpacking Tent Compatibility

But focusing too much on the weight difference between the LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot and the LuxuryLite Mesh Cot misses the core benefit that both of these cots provide to backpackers. Both of LuxuryLite Cots are low enough to the ground that they can fit into just about any backpacking tent, something you can’t do with most of the other camping cots available today. That coupled with its light weight is what differentiates the LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot from other camping cots, and makes it such an attractive alternative to a sleeping pad for people who need better back support or hate sleeping on the ground.

Disclosure: Philip Werner received a free sample LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot from Therm-a-Rest for this review. 
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  1. Philip, I was interested to hear that Therm-a-rest had purchased the LuxuryLite company. One configuration you do not mention is that the cot will go *under* most tent floors. LuxuryLite also makes three sizes, not two, but I am not sure why Therm-a-rest doesn’t offer the XL size. Check out the LuxuryLite web site.
    They also make the modular pack. A frame with several modules that make up a 2#8 pack, a bit heavy, but certainly usable.

    • Ah, I just assumed that therm-a-rest had completely integrated them after the acquisition and didn’t know that they still sold their products independently. That would be very unusual. Have to check it out.

      My best friend has the luxurylite pack. The thing is a relic. He hates the hook belt because the pack keeps jumping off of it. He’s upgrading to a Gossamer Gear Mariposa.

    • We make three sizes in the Mesh Cot and only two sizes in the UltraLite Cot.
      The cots that are sold on are all manufactured by Therm-a-Rest, although there are several other products that Bruce, the inventor of the cot, makes and sells on the website as well.

  2. thanks for a great review, I too worry about my back aching. It was pure bliss when foam pads and then lightweight inflatables came on the market and I no longer had to dig a hip pit under my ground cloth.. I too had backaches until I figured out how to inflate the pad correctly for my back I have a deep arch there and some have almost no arch so yo back shape dictates comfort. I’ve come home for 24 hours to resupply and will head out again within the hour. For the past week I have been sleeping on a REI self inflating pad I bought some or at least ten years ago and no backache. In the upcoming week I will be using that pad on a Cot in a much larger tent which I think I would still do with this reviewed piece of equipment. Those cross members are what worry me especailly after using similar type models and designs over the years. I’d like to hear from someone who has slept a full week on one.

  3. This might be the ticket to actually getting some sleep while in a tent! I usually hammock, but I’ve been tent “camping” in the backyard with my 3 year old & it’s been miserable with the pads I’ve used. My daughter still thinks the hammock is a playground, so this could be a viable option until she’s old enough for her own.

    I’d be interested to hear what larger folks think of the comfort on these.

  4. I’m a little confused. An overinflated mattress will be as firm as you could want–and extremely uncomfortable. If a firm cot means no sagging under the midsection, you already have that by sleeping on the ground and/or overinflating.

    For years, I didn’t understand that my mattress was overinflated. My back ached and my shoulder hurt. Now I know that the ideal setup is a mattress that is only partially inflated, allowing the hips/buttock to sink down far enough so the spine stays straight (also relieving pressure points). Of course, the thicker the inflatable, the better.

    It is true that when you sit upright on an inflatable, the air moves to the ends and you are stuck in a bowl, which is awkward, but that’s not the same as sleeping on it. The XLite alleviates this somewhat with crosswise baffles.

    I share Eddie’s question: do the bowframe bars press against your back? That would seem to be very uncomfortable. I presume they flex sufficiently? I’d have to sleep on one of these cots to decide if they are better or worse than an inflatable. But since there are few warm nights in Colorado’s mountains, it would take more than an eight-inch of insulation to keep warm, I’m sure!

  5. They didn’t flex against my back and I’m sufficiently heavy to put them to the test.

  6. I had a Byers cot with similar features though not as light. It was very comfortable and I used it on scout outings. The added benefit is that the support design minimized damage to the ten floor. Even under a thick pad a cot can add additional comfort.

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