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Collapsible Cots Offer Quick Setup

A collapsible cot does not assemble and disassemble like most camping cots. It expands to set up and collapses together to transport.

This cot style is neither lightweight nor low-profile.

Accordion style cots do not have a frame with rails like other cot styles. The legs serve as the frame, as well as to support the fabric deck.

These cots stand about 15" to 19" high.

Because accordion-style cots are very convenient and set up in a snap, they are also known as quick-set or instant-set cots.

There are two styles of accordion-style cots.

Camping-stand style

The first style of accordion-folding cot has rows of vertical post legs which are interconnected by cross braces. This architecture is common for camping-kitchen stands, too.

A fabric deck is attached to the top of the legs, and forms a sleeping deck at sitting height so the camper can easily get into and out of bed.

To set up the cot, the camper separates the leg posts by length and width. The fabric top expands, becomes taut, and forms a sleeping surface. The inter-braced legs form a foundation underneath.

To pack away, the foundation of this accordion style cot collapses together into a compact mass and stores in a carrying case about the size of a travel suitcase.

Camping-chair style

The other style of collapsible cot has legs that intercross and tension the fabric sling when unfolded. This style folds apart like a camping chair frame. As the cot opens up, the top fabric becomes taught and holds the frame in place.

To pack away, the cot folds together. Lift the corners and the cot collapses and can be stored in a duffle-type carrying case.

Hammock style slings

Accordion-style collapsible cots are also available with a hammock sling that doesn't stretch taut, but instead sags a bit in the middle.

There is no worry about falling out of bed with a hammock sling, and it may well hold a foam pad in place better, but the camper will lie lower in this style of sling.

Usage tips

The leg bracing may create some bulk, so this cot style may be rather heavy (approx 30 lb).

Due to the cross bracing, the space under the cot deck offers storage space for small items only.

Because accordion-style, collapsible cots have many legs, the weight capacity ratings can be quite high (approx 225-600 lb).

Brands include Alps Mountaineering, Cabelas, Celebration, GuideGear, Northwest Territory, and REI.


An accordion-style collapsible cot offers very convenient set up and take down and also provides an elevated sleeping platform for campers.