Ultralight Backpacking Cots Reviews – Below 3 Pounds

Ultralight Backpacking Cots presented here are all with the weight of up to 3 pounds (1.36 kg). So these are truly portable tools suitable for backpackers, hikers, mountaineers, and for any other outdoor activity. 

My list of ultra-lightweight backpacking cots

I give them here ordered by weight from lighter to heavier, all up to 3 lb (1.36 kg) of the declared weight:


Two main types

It is easy to get lost when you have plenty of options. To make the choice easier, you should know that all models belong to two very different groups:

a) The models with shock-corded bar-legs. All models in this group have legs with bars so it is easy to recognize it. The bars and the legs are interconnected so you cannot lose them, and setting the cot up and collapsing it is incredibly simple.

b) The models with bow frame design. The BowFrame is patented design launched by Therm-a-Rest some 5 years ago, and you can see it used in their cots here in the list. This is a tension spring system with the cot’s bow poles designed to flex until the middle of the pole contacts the ground. The setup procedure for all cots of this type is the same.

Who are they for

These are all collapsible and portable models so they are incredibly versatile. Here are just a few ideas about their best use:

  • They are ideal for outdoor and indoor use.
  • Can be used as leisure beds.
  • Can be used under the tent and have a so-called tent-cot tool.
  • Can be used as ambulance stretchers.
  • As emergency tools at home or anywhere.
  • For sudden overnight guests.
  • At any camping place.
  • On seaside vacation places and on beaches.
  • For fishing and kayaking.
  • These are great backpacking and hiking tools.
  • Great tools for motorbikers.
  • Great tools for summer festivals and summer camps.
  • These are great gifts for anybody and in particular for those who enjoy going outdoors.

The cots add weight so why using them

This is an addition because of reactions after adding the link to Facebook. So yes, a cot adds weight but you get the following:

  • Comfort. This is a matter of choice. A camping cot offers much more comfort than the ground. It is always more comfortable than sleeping on the floor.
  • As already mentioned elsewhere in the site, you lose 50 times body warmth to the ground than to the air. So by sleeping on the cot, you have air under you and you need far less insulation from below, if any. Hence, you save money on pads.
  • You can put the tent on the cot, this is the basic idea about tent-cots. So with this, you save the tent from the ground, no issues with groundwater, and you do not need a footprint.

What else to bear in mind when you choose such a cot


Because this is about carrying a cot in the pack, they build them as compact as possible to shed the weight. So there are differences in the length and width. The good thing in the models presented here is that there are no bars on the two ends. So the whole length is a useful length.

But there are side bars of course, and they take a few centimeters. So even if you sleep on your back, there may be not enough space for your hands. Sleeping in a fetal position is not an option unless you add a pad to protect you from the side bars and to avoid pressure spots on your legs.

Packed size

Typically, they all pack well and they come in nice carry bags. So you can always attach such a cot to the pack. I would not think of carrying it inside the pack.

Ease of use

I already mentioned the main two types. So the cots with the bow frame design are far more complicated when you make them ready.

Good and less good features

As you will see, the length is not so great, so bear this in mind if you are a tall person; you might want also to check my another text where you can see some longer models but slightly heavier.

All models are without head and foot bars, this makes a lot of difference as you surely know if you have ever used such a cot, so these tools are really comfortable.

The prices are truly reasonable for most of them, but there are some exceptions in the list. So here they are, please have a look:

1. New Therm-a-Rest UltraLite Cot

New Therm-a-Rest UltraLite Cot.
New Therm-a-Rest UltraLite Cot.

This is one of those cots with the bow frame design. The new version which you have here is with redesigned legs.

In one of its variants, this is currently the lightest camping bed on the market. The standard weight is 1.19 kg (2.625 lb) but you can also use it in the lightweight variant (with a different number of bows) and in this case it weighs only 2 lb (907 g).

It is best that you see how it looks and how it is set up in this short video:

They build it in two different sizes. Note that you also have a thermal reflective coating. Please follow the link to see more in my full review.

Read my review.

2. Desert Walker backpacking and camping cot

All cots presented here are ultra-lightweight, and this Desert Walker’s Cot is one of the champions with its 2.6 pounds (1.18 kg). It is with a truly remarkable capacity of 440 pounds (200 kg).

Desert Walker Camping Cot.
Desert Walker Camping Cot.

This is a very stable construction with for leg bars, so you have 8 points on the ground. The setup is extremely easy, in a couple of minutes literally, in particular after you practice a bit with it, and you need no tool for this. The bars prevent the bed from sinking into the soft ground, a good feature.

You essentially slide the poles in the sleeves and attach the feet, all is self-evident.

The cot is good enough regardless if you are a side sleeper or a back sleeper. The length is typical, but bear in mind it is 185 cm, if you are a very tall person.

Desert Walker camping cot's 440 pounds (200 kg) capacity.
Desert Walker camping cot’s 440 pounds (200 kg) capacity.

This is an excellent tool by all means, far easier to set up than some other tools presented here. It is nicely collapsible and packable and it comes with a nice carry bag.

The Amazon price at the moment if writing this text is $135, I would say quite reasonable for such a tool.

  • Weight: 2.6 lb (1.18 kg).
  • Capacity: 440 lb (200 kg).
  • Dimensions: 73 x 23.5 x 6 in (185 x 60 x 15 cm).
  • 7001 aerospace aluminum alloy poles and frame.
  • Bed fabric: composite fabric, waterproof, tear-proof, and excellent ventilation.

Read my review.

3. Helinox Lite Cot

Helinox Lite Cot
Helinox Lite Cot.

The is a great product from a very reliable brand. Its features can be summarized as follows:

• It is very easy to set up.
• This is a sturdy and stable construction.
• Bed size is 73 x 23.5 inches (185 x 60 cm).
• The packed size very good 21 x 5 inches (53 x 13 cm).
• This is a versatile item.
• Ultra-lightweight with its 2.82 lb (1.28 kg).

Read my Helinox Lite review.

4. Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot

This cot is presented in detail in my another text as a part of a tent-cot combination. So please follow the link to see more. It weighs 3 lb (1.36 kg), and the bed size is 72 x 24 inches (183 x 60 cm). The capacity of this cot is 325 lb (147 kg).

Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot.
Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot.

The cot comes in two sizes, R and L. It has been on the market for some time already (at least 5 years or so) and it has received a huge number of customers’ reports so all is known about it. Here is the video which shows the setup:


So to conclude these Ultralight Backpacking Cots Reviews, all the models belong to two distinct groups and this should be the first thing to know if you are undecided. The weight difference is practically negligible.

The setup of those from the group a) is considerably faster and easier, this is yet another fact to bear in mind.

If you need standard camping beds for heavy people please visit this page. Note that there are double cots available as well, so have a look in my another text.

So good luck in your search, I hope this text has been useful. Please let me know if you have any question or comment, there is a comment box below. Here below are links to all these models and a few more.

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2 thoughts on “Ultralight Backpacking Cots Reviews – Below 3 Pounds”

  1. What I’d really like to know – having tried out a Thermarest ultralight cot in a hiking store (it took two of us to construct and when being dismantled, one of the hooks broke and a pole sprung up putting a hole in the ceiling) is this: What cots will actually fit inside a small backpacking tent (say the Zephros 1 – mine?) because there’s little point buying any of the above unless (1) they can be easily constructed inside a tent, in case it’s pouring with rain – as it mostly is in the UK and (2) you don’t touch your head on the inner tent once constructed because the cot is too high off the ground. Been looking for reviews everywhere and can’t find one that’s actually practical…

    1. Hi Erica. Zephyros 1 is 220 x 64 cm, and 92 cm peak height. So I do not think it would be easy to use such cots inside although some can fit. But you will surely have to prepare the cot outside.

      But you might want to consider using a tent-cot instead, this is a cot with the tent attached to it. The weight of such a sleeping system is below the combined weight of your tent and a cot. Please check this list with backpacking cot tents.

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