I slept on a Therm-a-Rest Ultralite Cot over 60 nights in the Pacific Northwest this year … in State and National Parks, in National Forests, in Wilderness Areas, next to cold rocky rivers, in hot dusty deserts, and every place in between.
Sometimes my cot was under the protection of a tent, but more times than not I slept out under the open sky with an unobstructed view of the stars. It’s my favorite way to sleep outdoors and I highly recommend it.
Most of our campsites are on uneven rock gardens close to the river. While the Therm-a-Rest cot is only a few inches above the rocks, it’s an important few inches. My bedroll is elevated just above the ground on the cot and gives me a consistent, flat, firm platform every time … regardless of the rocky terrain beneath me. It’s light and easy to set up and has an ingenious design that takes up very little space in the boat or backpack.
When the weather is harsh, I move the cot inside a vintage canvas tent designed and sewn by my friend David Ellis of Durango, Colorado.
Even though the protection my tent offers is only a thin layer of canvas, it feels like much more. Sometimes it feels like the walls of a house—sturdy and warm blocking out the wind, the cold and the weather as it keeps me dry.
My simple camp beside the White River in Mount Rainier National Park was one of the most memorable. It was a little hazy from the wild fires this summer, but the view was still spectacular.
October on the Rogue River is a month of transition when it comes to the weather. It can be 70 degrees and sunny or sleeting sideways—sometimes in the space of 24 hours. This year the weather was so nice our entire group slept out under the stars most every night.
I like sleeping close to my boat on the river … partly because I’m too tired to haul my camp gear any farther than I have to—but mostly because I just like sleeping next to it.
One of the accessories for these cots is the bug shelter which I set up one night just for kicks. In the fall on the Rogue there are very few bugs—but the net will come in handy in the mosquito filled camps of the high Oregon lakes in the spring.
I gave this Therm-a-Rest cot a thorough “field test” and it exceeded my expectations. It quickly became one of the most essential pieces of camp equipment I own for all types of overnight adventures in all types of weather conditions.
Originally published February 4th, 2016.