This is recommended equipment for all NATO participants.
A cot or stretcher is strongly recommended for all participants. The standard USGI cot in either wood and canvas or Nylon and aluminum form is the ideal. A decent lower cost backup is a USGI stretcher. Cots get you up off of the ground which has immense importance when severe weather floods your tent floor with an inch or two of water. Additionally, cots allow you to better organize your space since gear can be stowed under the cot when not in use.
Selecting your Cot
- We recommend using only quality surplus cots, commercial cots fail at an annoying rate.
- When looking at a USGI nylon and aluminum cot, pay particularly close attention to the studs on the end that the aluminum cross pieces snap into. These are frequently damaged or missing.
- When looking at a USGI wood and canvas cot, pay particular attention to the condition of the canvas. It can be faded and threadbare but make certain it is not dry rotted. If you can push a pen or pencil through it, it's pretty well finished.
- Stretchers are not as ideal as cots simply for the fact that they are longer and as such tend to protrude into the central walkway of the tent a bit more. This tends to become something of a bump/trip hazard much to the annoyance of your tent mates as well as yourself when you keep getting kicked awake. The one saving grace of stretchers however is the fact that they can be mounted to stretcher stands which moves your sleep area up several feet giving you not only tremendous storage space underneath but also getting you up higher in the tent where the warmer air tends to be.
- Whichever you get, be it nylon cot, canvas cot or stretcher set it up at home and leave it set up for a while so that the material stretches a bit before you show up at East Wind. Once they have stretched out a bit, they go together a lot easier and you're a lot less likely to damage things when you set it up.
- When shopping for cots avoid the temptation to get one of the "big man" cots that are over sized. You are only allotted a certain amount of space to set up in at East Wind and if every square inch is taken up by your cot than you're going to end up with a pretty hard to work with space.