Pros: Great alternative to sleeping on the ground when using "solo" size tents.
Cons: Will not fit in saddle bags, difficult to stretch out the first few times.
The Byer Tri Lite Folding Cot is a space saving alternative to sleeping on the cold rough ground or pumping up an air bed. At 25 inches wide, it will fit in most solo tents and still leave room for gear. A great holiday gift for your favorite motorcycle camper.
A Cot, For Motorcycle Camping?
The Byer Tri Lite is built around a trifold aluminum frame with a 450 denier rip stop polyester sleeping surface. The four legs are wide enough for comfort and to not damage tent floors, and have an added bit of spring for comfort. At 74 inches long, by 25 inches wide, by 8 inches high it is big enough for all but the largest campers (at least those who weigh less than 225 pounds) in typical solo size tents, while keeping you a reasonable distance off the ground. Folded down to a 27 inch long, 6 ½ pound package, it can be loaded on the passenger seat of most motorcycles.
A Cold Biker Is Not A Happy Biker
Contrary to what you might have picked up watching "B" movies, motorcyclists do not enjoy being either cold or sleeping on gravel. Being uncomfortable has little to do with being a big dog, and there is not even any image enhancement from a poor night's sleep. Having learned long ago that there is no glory in discomfort, I usually sleep on an air bed in a 2 to 4 person tent. But for quick trips for short weekend camp outs, I do like to carry a smaller "solo" style tent, one that the air bed does not fit well in. For those times I rely on a folding camp cot and sleeping pad. Yes, the package takes up as much space on the motorcycle, but is simpler and quicker to set up.
Packing And Set Up
Do keep in mind that I believe cots are for "solo" campers rather than 2 up couples who like each other a whole lot. In those time there should be a good size hunk of real estate available on the passenger seat for packing. Cots like these and sleeping pads for added comfort, will rarely fit in motorcycle luggage so that is about the only place left to carry them.
Packed in its own carrying bag, it will stretch 27 inches across your seat or luggage rack and add less than seven pounds to your combined load. That should be a little less than the width of most touring bikes and saddle bags, so the whole rig should not be expected to take up any more parking space than riders are used to. The bag's shoulder strap is handy for threading cargo tie down straps or bungee cords through when securing it to the motorcycle. I normally roll it inside a sleeping pad, giving me what I call my night time burrito.
Set up is fairly intuitive. With the hinged frame sewn into the polyester sleeping surface, all you have to do is unfold it and slip the four legs into the frame receptacles. Here is where the potential challenges show up. For the sleeping surface and spring legs to act as a suspension you do have to stretch the polyester while compressing the legs for a secure attachment. If you do not have the legs fully seated they will "pop" out once you stretch out on the cot. The first few time I set mine up it was so frustrating that I almost dumped the whole thing! But it should loosen up with use.
The four legs are wide enough on the bottom that they should not cause any damage to your tent floor, and they will raise you up at least five or six inches above the ground. This should be far high enough that rocks will not stab you in the back and your body heat will not be sapped into the cold ground.
Another good thing is that I have found I can set up my tent in one of the gravel covered RV sites. The gravel on those sites allows for drainage of heavy rain, and there is usually a 110 volt outlet real near.
Sleeping on a cot has never been high on my comfort list. I always feel like I am in a hammock, and wake up with a sore back in the morning. That is why I always augment the cot with a sleeping pad. Yes it does take up more packing space, but is always worth it in the middle of the night. My weighing less than the 225 pound limit helps too.
Adjustable straps are provided to secure your sleeping pad to the cot. I have awakened in the middle of the night searching for my sleeping pad when I used other cots. This is very good thing.
There is 12 inch long pocket that hangs along the frame rails for the flash light and eye glasses you might need in the middle of the night. This does come in handy as a lot of "solo" tents do not have a lot of cargo pockets along the inside.
Draw A Crowd
Setting up a cot among other motorcycle campers will draw interest. If you care to meet your neighbors this is a good way to do it. I am always surprised at the number of motorcycle campers who have never actually seen a cot that sits seven inches off the ground. Prepare yourself, because you will have to talk about it with someone. The Tri Lite cot comes in a dark green color for designer coordination with your other camping gear. And at less than $50 you can compare it to a motel room bed that you get to keep!
There are a few things prices you have to pay for this kind of comfort. First, understand that it likely will not fit in your saddle bags and will be for those sleep alone nights. Then I do suggest you find one in a camping store and see if you will be comfortable sleeping on a cot. Some people are not, and that $50 could be spent on a reasonable cooler for your campfire adult beverages each night. Next, while you are testing it, ask if you can try it with one of their sleeping pads. The comfort will be different, so it is a good idea to find out before you buy. If you can live with those nits you will be a big step closer to real comfort on your next quick camping trip.
The Byer Tri Lite folding cot is a great alternative to a sleeping pad when motorcycle camping in a solo size tent. Difficult to stretch out the first few uses and will not fit in most motorcycle luggage, be sure this fits with your camping style.