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NYX – an ultralight, collapsible cot and chair for camping and backpacking


April 10, 2012

Cuben fiber keeps the weight down

Cuben fiber keeps the weight down

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The Terra Strenua Outfitters NYX is an ultralight multifunctional cot for the outdoors. It is designed to roll up into a small, portable package, assembles in minutes, and uses some of the lightest materials available.

When you go car camping, you can bring all kinds of comforts – air mattresses, furniture, campers, etc. – from home. Heck, if you have a large enough camper, you can pack your king mattress and favorite recliner. Lighter versions of camping like backpacking entail shedding a lot of the extra bulk and weight. By extension, you also lose a lot of comforts and conveniences.

One of the main comforts that you usually lose when backpacking is the chair. While camping chairs do fold up, they're not really small or light enough to pull their own weight. Backpacking "chairs" are basically just glorified cushions, and don't offer the same support or comfort of an actual chair.

The NYX, on the other hand, is ultralight, packs small enough to put in your backpack and has an actual framed structure. We can't be sure how comfortable it is without sitting in it, but it does look better than the backpacking chairs we're familiar with.

Not only does the NYX give you a place to sit, it doubles as a cot for when it's time to retire to the tent. It stands 5 inches (12.7 cm) off the ground, stretches just over 6 feet (185 cm) in length and holds weights up to 325 lbs (147.4 kg).

In order to keep its weight down to backpacking standards, the NYX uses cuben fiber, an ultralight but durable fabric that's used in sailcloth and some of the market's lightest tents and backpacks. The frame consists of aluminum side rails and carbon fiber supports. It weighs 2.3 lbs (1.1 kg) in its prototype form, and the designers hope to get it down to around 2 lbs (907 g) before it hits the market.

By serving two purposes, the NYX helps you save weight even further by turning two pieces of gear – a sleeping pad and backpacking chair – into one. It's designed to be assembled within minutes, so you can sit by the fire one minute and quickly convert it to sleeping configuration the next. It's a new name in multifunctional backpacking cots.

The NYX packs down into a sack that measures about 25.5 in (64.8 cm) – small enough to be placed inside or lashed to the outside of a backpack. The sack doubles as a stuff sack or pillowcase at camp.

Terra Strenua is hoping to get the NYX to market within the next few months. Company founder and owner Kristen Alvarez said that the retail price will fall between US$250 and $300, depending on the finalized manufacturing costs. It will be manufactured in the USA.

We love the dual-function nature of the NYX, and it's certainly a slick, stylish design. However, after seeing the price we were a little skeptical as to its market. That price rivals the cost of some ultralight tents and is well over what you'd pay for a backpacking chair and a sleeping pad. Plus, the type of ultralight backpacker that lives for terms like "carbon" and "cuben fiber" tends to cut his toothbrush and spoon in half to save a few ounces, so we're skeptical he'll pay $300 for the comfort of a chair.

When we voiced these concerns, Alvarez told us she believes that the NYX offers a mix of comfort, multifunction, light weight and value that will appeal to everyone from military/special forces to "comfort conscious campers" to aging backpackers to motorcycle campers. She said that the NYX provides an alternative for those that don't want to use a sleeping pad, and is competitive with other ultralight cot systems, price and weight wise.

"When you talk about functionality and features there just isn't any competition," Alvarez said. "The self-leveling supports cradle you in key areas and eliminates any pressure points. The seat and back are ~25 in (63.5 cm) wide and just as supportive as the cot. By using one of the supports on the back you get great lumbar support and no pressure points on your back or shoulders. The back angle is also infinitely adjustable."

Terra Strenua is currently looking to secure needed funds via Kickstarter. It hopes to start taking dealer orders this summer.

Source: Terra Strenua

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

This should not be called ultralight. I clicked on this article expecting something weighing a 1/2 pound tops. Crazy Creek chairs weigh much less than this and would still never be carried by an ultralighter. The common threshold for ultralight backpacking is a base pack weight (weight of pack with all gear minus food, water, and fuel) of ten pounds.

Aside from that, this is not going to be a good product. Cuben fiber is excellent in sails in it is also found in the top of the line ultralight tarp shelters. However, even though this fabric might have a tremendously strong tensile strength, all it is is a thin sheet of plastic (UHMWPE to be specific), which will abrade very quickly; thick canvas is what will last. Thus, this product is useless for all types of outdoor activities and its only use is as an article topic for a website that sometimes writes about gimmicky products alluding to them as 'innovative.'

Michael Chapiro

I'd rather give an endorsement of this, after say 12 months of continuous use, hiking around the country side.

Mr Stiffy

Cuban fiber. Must be a new export of Fidel.

I have a 30 year old aluminum one lighter.


2 lbs is still too heavy to be considered ultra light for most backpackers. Something around 5-6 ounces is what we are looking for. I love the concept! Keep working on it.

Pam Boyle Roth
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