Big Agnes Helinox Cot Lite Offers a Good Nights Sleep Outdoors

A Dog enjoying laying in a Big Agnes Helinox Cot

Say what you will about taking a cot camping.  A purist would never; it adds too much extra weight; hassle to set up and break down and so forth. Whatever. After one too many uncomfortable nights under the stars, I gave in and started the hunt.

As it turns out, collapsible backpacking cots are a thing! There are numerous models on the market right now. They range wildly in price and somewhat so on weight, size, and ease of use. I settled on the Helinox Cot Lite from the folks at Big Agnes. After a summer of use in a variety of venues, I can tell you that I don’t plan on camping without it again.

Let’s talk specs. The bed surface is rip-stop polyester with sleeves on either side.  It’s slightly over six feet long and just about two feet wide.

Big Agnes Cot Poles

The side poles are shock-corded aluminum.  The legs are also shock-corded with the attached feet sturdy plastic. The shock-cords keep all your pieces and parts together as they should be.  At just 2 pounds 8 ounces the Helinox Cot Lite is the lightest cot currently on the market.  And it folds up to a diminutive 21” x 5” x 5”.  It is small and light.

It gets better. Setting up and breaking down this cot is EASY. The sturdy shock-cords make the side poles practically self-assembling. The side sleeves are ample enough to make inserting the poles very smooth.  A small pull tab secures the poles into the sleeve. The legs and their feet also open quickly into shape. Once open, snapping a foot onto the side pole, applying some body weight to flex the leg and directing the second foot to the opposite side of the cot takes about 30 seconds a leg. Seriously. The first time I set this up it took a minute to sort out how to flex the legs and direct the foot to the pole at the same time.  A couple of legs later, the system was set. It takes 3-4 minutes to go from packed to set up. Packing it up in the morning- reverse all that.  Just as easy and quick.

Big Agnes Helinox Cot & Sleeping Bag

And the best part.  Sleeping on this cot is dreamy. I have mostly used this for river camping so there have been a variety of surfaces- sand, gravel, grassy dirt, pine needles, and cones, etc. No matter what the ground surface, I am slumbering above it all happily and securely suspended.

I have slept on it with just a bag.  It’s comfortable though slightly slippery between the polyester surface and the polyester bag.  I have also slept on it with a standard Therm-Rest pad and bag.  On a really hot night- Therma-Rest and cotton sheet. This combination produces the best night’s sleep I usually get in the summer.  Of course, it could also be the sound of the river a few feet away.

Big Agnes Helinox Cot Review from the River

It will fit into many tents but it does take up more room than just a pad.  I have a North Face 2 person tent that I use it in solo.  I also have a 3 person Big Agnes that I use it in with my husband and dog. So far, I have not had any problems with the feet tearing the tent floor though I wouldn’t count on that!

Overall impression: Get one. I have checked out a few other models and believe that the Helinox Cot Lite is the best available right now. The Big Agnes Helinox Cot Lite is a bit pricey (retail $249) but absolutely worth it if you can swing it. So- I would give the cot 4.5 out of 5.  The .5 left on the table is simply due to the cost.  A good night sleep is worth a LOT.

Helinox Cot Lite
4.5 / 5 RATING      

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