The Helinox Cot One is a lightweight, packable sleep system that is designed to provide exceptional comfort while camping, or even backpacking, with it’s fully collapsible yet easy to assemble design.
The Cot One is constructed primarily from heavy duty, lightweight TH72m DAC aluminum poles for the primary structure bars and the legs. The bed of the cot is made of reinforced polyester. The Snap-Fit legs of the cot attach via small cups that slide that slide against the main poles, and attach firmly by pressing against the textured tensioning levers, locking the legs in place. The cot comes in at 72.8″ x 23.6″ x 5.1″ when assembled, or roughly 21″ x 5″ x 5″ when folded up within the handy carry case. The cot holds 320 lbs, weighs just 4 lbs 11 oz, and retails for $299.95.
What I liked
The first thing that really stood out about the Cot One was how easy it is to set up. The two primary poles snap together just like abnormally burly tent poles, complete with shock cord to keep them arranged. From there, they slide effortlessly into sleeves of the polyester sheet that makes up the sleeping surface. There are even helpful thumb tabs that help pull them into their final position. The legs attach by simply placing the plastic end cups against the main poles and pressing against the tensioning pedals to engage them. Repeat the leg attachment process two more times and it’s set up and ready to go. Small metal buttons located at the end of the legs release the tension for disassembly, and the poles slide out and fold up with minimal effort. Once taken apart, the handy carry case keeps everything organized and safe. It’s by far the easiest lightweight cot I’ve ever assembled, and is hugely appreciated when working in the limited confines of a tent or with cold tired hands. It’s simple enough that the instructions really aren’t needed as I was able to assemble it by just applying a little logic. It’s quite intuitive, fast, and leaves little room for error.
Sleeping on the cot was a real treat. It’s wide, taut, and provides and exceptionally flat sleeping surface. It sleeps so flat that I was actually able to stomach sleep on the thing, without feeling like I was being folded in half. It’s wide enough that I can lay my arms where I want them, be that above my head or to my side without them hanging off, and it’s long enough that my head and feet both have ample room to wiggle about without dangling. Sleep came quite easily as the cot eliminates any contact with the ground at all, and it provides a nice amount of “cushion” by way of the natural stretch of the fabric. It’s high enough off the ground that I never even came close to contacting the earth. It’s well ventilated for hot weather as the fabric breathes great, and also handles stacking a pad on top of it for a little extra squish or insulation, extending it’s usability into the winter months.
The polyester bed does a good job of distributing weight and and relieving any pressure points without slumping in or rolling the shoulder forward. It has just a bit of stretch, enough to absorb most of the shape of a shoulder, hip or elbow, but it still provides plenty of support for a tired back, easily keeping the vertebrae aligned while side or back sleeping.
The One Cot is also built exceptionally well, for the most part. The aluminum poles both in the frame and the legs are of exceptional strength and have no problem supporting my 170 lb weight without flexing or even creaking when I move around. The polyester is impressively durable, resisting stretching or fraying under weight, and the frame is happy to accommodate my flipping and flopping through the night without me having to worry about it snapping in half or giving out. I’m not particularly sold on the relatively thin plastic connectors that place the legs to the frame, but so far they’ve held up well. It’s the only lightweight cot that I’ve ever tried that didn’t feel like it was at risk while sitting up on it or getting on and off, largely due to the intensely stout and sturdy frame. Where other cots flex and wobble, groaning under the weight while getting situated, this one always holds it position and maintains a solid, stable feel. I’m quite impressed overall.
What I didn’t like
Despite the sleeping surface being exceptionally flat, I did have a little trouble with my arms falling asleep when stomach sleeping on the cot. A quick roll over and I’m good to go, but it’s still an issue I kept running into. I’m not exactly sure if it’s the cot or pillow I was pairing with it, so I’ll continue to test and update when appropriate. I do find that placing a foam mat or self-inflating sleeping pad on top helps a lot, however. I didn’t have any issues with back or side sleeping.
I found that packing the cot back into it’s deviously narrow case to be a real challenge. It can be done, but it takes more effort than I prefer. When I did eventually stuff it back it, it always seems to pack up with a decent amount of tension along the fabric and especially the zipper, requiring some force to pull the zipper closed. Luckily, case is built great so it’s not been a problem (water resistant coated polyester), but it takes some practice to get it packed away just right. With some extra time and thought, it can be worked in and packed properly, but I’d rather just see a slightly (half inch or so) wider storage sack to make life that much easier.
The very end of the cot, just under the feet doesn’t have much support and flexes a bit under the weight of my feet. It feels a bit bouncy, like a small springboard and can be a little distracting. It’s a minor complaint and doesn’t hamper my sleep in any way, but it’s something I kept noticing as my feet bobbed up and down a bit and generally just felt a bit floaty.
If the legs don’t seem to reach the side bars when assembling the cot, you likely slid the legs into their connected crossbars incorrectly. Check that the blue bar is bending in towards the polyester bedding and not towards the ground and you’ll be good to go (as above).
The Cot One from Helinox is and exceptional lightweight cot. It provides the best sleeping surface I’ve ever tested in the category, with a wide, flat sleep surface that largely accommodates any sleep style. When paired with a nice self-inflating pad, it’s even better as it provides a little extra cushion and insulation, making it a viable 4-season camping setup. It’s quite sturdy, sets up wonderfully easy, and has provided me with an overall great experience, aside from trying to shove it back into it’s stingily small storage sack. It’s light enough that a very determined backpacker could carry it on short trips, and easily justifiable on any car camping trip where weight isn’t a concern. It’s not quite perfect, but it’s easily the best lightweight cot I’ve tested, making it easy to recommend.
For more information on Big Agnes and and their wide range of gear, check out their website, http://www.helinox.com/
For information on our rating system and our testing procedures, check out our About us/ Contact us page.
I want to extend a huge thanks to Helinox for providing this product for review. We couldn’t do it without their help. Our full disclosure can be found here.
Thanks as always for reading! Don’t forget to follow our blog for future updates and reviews. If you have any questions, comment below, send us an email, or find us on Twitter or Facebook (links on the right).