A bi-fold folding cot is similar a beach chair, which folds in half (bi-fold) or thirds (tri-fold) to stow away. Fold-in-half cots use the same u-shaped (u-bend) hollow tubular legs, which fold into the frame for transport.
A bi-fold cot, is not, however, a chair, but instead, a bed. It lies flat and has a polyester sling cover.
The frame does not disassemble, so the sling fabric is permanently attached and tensioned by the frame.
These cots are also known as fold-out cots or fold-up cots.
If you are unfamiliar with cots, have a look at the Campetent camping cot page.
How it works
This style of cot is one of the easiest to set up. No assembly is required. Just unfold the cot frame and legs, set the cot upright on the ground, and you're ready to lie down.
For this reason, these cots are also known as quick-set cots.
To pack it away, fold the frame in half or thirds, fold the legs into the frame, and put the folded cot in the vehicle.
Transporting the cot
This type of folding cot packs fully assembled, which means that it can be a bit bulky to transport. They do, however, pack quite flat and sit well on the floor or against a wall in the cargo area of the vehicle.
This style of cot often does not include a carrying case, because it does not pack down to a compact size. There are, however, no loose parts that might be forgotten.
This cot ranges from 71" to 80" in length and 24" to 30" in width. This is a smaller size range than a military cot offers.
If a folding cot with u-bend legs needs to be moved inside the tent, there are no leg tips to catch the tent floor.
The u-shaped legs run fairly vertical from the cot frame to the ground. This means that there is less bending force on the leg shaft, so the legs are less likely to bend.
The bottom of the leg spans the entire distance from one side of the cot to the other, and thus the legs support each other against bending.
The 'full-span' legs also make contact with a greater area of tent floor, which distributes the weight of the cot more evenly.
Because they are unlikely to sink into the ground, U-bend (sand bar) legs are suitable for camping on sand or soft ground.
The center, u-shaped leg of these cots usually has a cross brace. The middle of the cot is furthest from the ends of the frame and needs extra bracing to support the frame and keep the fabric tensioned under the weight of the camper.
Cot usage and tips
Folding cots with three u-bend legs usually fold in half. Folding cots with four legs usually fold in thirds.
If your tent is pitched on ground with stones, it is still a good idea to put a folded tarp or old mat under the legs of these cots to keep the stones from puncturing the tent floor.
Check that the legs of these cots fold out and stay in place when you lie on the cot. When the camper shifts on the cot, there have been reports of an end, u-bend leg folding back to a closed position, and one side of the cot collapsing.
Some cots have a locking pin on the leg hinge to hold the leg open. Other cots may have cords that attach from the outer legs to the frame to keep the legs in place. Some cots have outer legs that open a bit beyond 90 degrees in order to stay in place.
The carry (transport) weight on these cots is approximately 6 to 18 lb.
A bi-fold, folding-cot style offers an elevated, uniform sleeping surface, which can be quickly set up to use and broken down for transport.
Because the frame does not break down, this style is the most common one used for deluxe padded cots.
Bi-fold and tri-fold folding cots brands include: Blantex, Coleman, EZ Sales, GigaTent, Ledmark, Rio, Stansport