Heavy-Duty Army Cot System - The Organized Way to Camp
By: Rafe Nielsen
In all my years of hunting and fishing, I have never slept a night on the ground, but I sure have lain awake through many of them. Nobody can really claim to be an avid outdoorsman without spending his share of nights tossing and turning on a bed of uneven pine cones and using unseen rocks as pillows. Even in my youth, I learned quickly that a day's hunt is always more enjoyable when you have spent a good night's rest on a quality camp cot.
I've tried a variety of camp cots over the years, but when it comes to getting a good night's sleep I always return to the heavy-duty army cots. Whether I'm on top of a mountain at deer camp or along a river on a fishing trip, an army cot brings the comforts of home to wherever you are sleeping.
Built to meet the military specifications outlined by the Department of Defense, Cabela's heavy-duty army cots are built to last. Knowing that these are the same cots used by the military during wartime, I feel confident that they can handle a weeklong elk hunt. Constructed of an aircraft-grade aluminum frame, these cots have a weight capacity of 900 pounds, making them virtually indestructible. The nylon duck cover is one of the most durable fabrics around and stretches tight enough to bounce a quarter off of it, ensuring that your back has the support it needs for an entire night's rest.
Measuring more than two feet wide and over six feet in length, these cots will fit just about any sized camper, and because of their extra-large design you have plenty of room to move around while you sleep without worrying about falling off. At 18" tall, ample space is underneath the cot for storing bags, boots and other items you want to keep out of the way of tent traffic.
Even with all the conveniences that a cot delivers on a camping trip, my outings always end up a disorganized disaster at the end of the week. Flashlights roll to the other end of the tent, lost keys in the bottom of some bag, wet clothes with no place to dry and spilled drinks on the tent floor. No matter how I've tried to organize my gear it never works out.
Explaining my organization problem to Mark Nelsen in Cabela's Promotion department one day, he showed me some cot accessories that he has used to organize his camps.
Mark is responsible for planning Cabela's big game and turkey hunting camps for freelance and staff outdoor writers of the major hunting and fishing magazines. Having spent his fair share of nights at hunting camps, he knows the importance, and difficulties, of keeping several hunters' gear organized. The first thing he showed me was the Cabela's Cot-side Nightstand.
Going alone doesn't create an organizational fiasco, but with several guys sharing a wall tent, space is limited and organization becomes important. Mark's solution was the Nightstand. "I've found the Cot-side Nightstand to be an invaluable addition to my camp. It has a place for every little thing, including a gun." Not only does the Nightstand have a gun sleeve for safe and easy storage, it has a variety of pockets, hooks and compartments that will fit almost anything and keeps them organized and easy to find. Several of the features are gear specific, like the alarm clock shelf and lined eyeglass pocket. "I especially like the eyeglass holder. My glasses are the first thing I grab when I wake up, and having a special glasses pocket protects my precious eyewear and keeps it handy."
Among the other special features, the Nightstand also has a cup holder, pen and flashlight sleeves, key ring hook and multiple storage compartments. Each one of these compartments is designed to keep the things you need most close at hand and stored in one location. "The best thing," according to Mark, "is that all your gear is up off the floor, so you don't have to worry about anything getting wet, dirty or accidentally stepped on during the night."
The next accessory that Mark showed me was the Cot Tree. "Even though I do most of my camping in a wall tent, finding a place to hang up clothes, towels and a light or lantern has always been a problem. When I first saw the Cabela's Cot Tree, I knew I had found the answer." The Cot Tree features five polished aluminum hooks that won't tear or snag your gear, unlike the rusted and bent nails hammered into the A-frame tents that we have used at my deer camp. These hooks are perfect for hanging coats, towels, binoculars or rifles, and will keep them out of the way of your camping partner. The upright poles fit easily between the cot's frame and fabric and are secured with hook-and-loop enclosers.
"I've added a second Cot Tree to my setup, so that I have one at each end of my cot. I can hang a light or lantern from the crossbar nearest the head of the cot - keeping the light handy for late-night reading or when I need a light to get dressed for a hunt." Mark explained that the second Cot Tree doesn't add unnecessary weight or space because the poles compact for easy storage and transportation and are built from lightweight, yet durable aluminum.
Along with all the other accessories for cots, Cabela's also offers a self-inflating cot pad for additional comfort and insulation from the cold. This three-inch pad features a non-slip sleeping surface and side straps to prevent the pad from sliding out from under you during the night. The large valve inflates and deflates the pad quickly and the package includes a storage sack and repair kit.
My hunting partners will be surprised this year when I show up to deer camp with my new system. Keeping all my gear organized will make for a more enjoyable hunt for all of us. Knowing those that I hunt with, it won't take long before everybody in my camp is using both the Nightstand and Cot Tree to keep their things in order as well.