How To Fold A Tent? 6-Step Guide And Many Helpful Tips

How to fold a tent: Step by Step Guide

You do not know how to fold a tent? Then you have come to the right place. Our experts have deep experience in folding tents, and they can do it even with their eyes closed. We will share tips on how to fold a tent so that it fits back into your bag without spending hours of time and a lot of your nerves on this matter. In this complete review, you will find the answers to the questions you are looking for. Let’s get into it!

how to fold a tent

What is the best way to fold a tent?

Just imagine you had a great time on a hike, finally allowing yourself to relax and take a break from the bustle of the city. You are in a good mood, and it seems that nothing and no one can spoil it for you now, but the «time X» has come – you need to fold the tent back into the bag.

The first thought that comes to mind is: «How did such a huge tent fit into such a tiny bag? That is some magic or a universal conspiracy. It cannot be otherwise.» You are not alone. In fact, for many campers, putting down a tent is a big challenge. Believe us, this is not the end of the world, and this task can be easily dealt with.

We have prepared a guide on how to fold a tent, which will be helpful for anyone who wants to learn how to do it quickly and without stress. Because tents vary, use these guidelines as a starting point and adapt as you see fit. Armed with this knowledge, you can pack tents like a pro.

6 Step Guide to fold a tent

Step 1. Clean the tent well

Do you know what the main rule of camping sounds like? Not? Then here you go: folding the tent does not begin with removing the pegs from the ground but with cleaning it. This may seem like an elementary thing, but many people do not pay due attention to this matter. That is a big mistake.
Before folding the tent, be sure to check the inside pockets. If you are hiking with children, there is a high probability that little pranksters left something edible there. Cookies, crumbs, chips, and the remains of any other food are happiness for insects and your stress in the future.
Never fold your tent when it is damp, as this can lead to mold growth. Keep in mind that no matter how quality the fabric is, mold can quickly destroy it. If you see that the tent is damp due to morning dew, try to dry it in place: brush off the drops so that they do not soak into the fabric, and leave the tent in an open sunny site.

Step 2. Take the poles out of the tent 

The first thing you need to do is get all the tent pegs out of the ground. If you use guy lines to secure your tent or rainfly, bundle them up carefully. It doesn’t matter what knots you make, as long as you can untie them the next time you set up the tent.
Next, loosen all tensioning straps around the bottom of the tent. This will allow you to pop the tent poles out of the pins pretty easily. Once the tent is down on the ground, gently pop the poles out of the sleeves, pushing them forward until they are outside. Then put them folded into the pole bag.

Step 3. Open the tent door

Fully or partially open the zippers on the tent door and windows. Thus, while folding the tent, the air will escape and not linger inside. It may take a few minutes, but following these tips, you can save hours of your time later. Even if your tent is made of lightweight material, do this to make things easier for yourself.
Why is it so important? The air pockets work against you because they create extra volume, making it complicated to fold up the tent. No matter how hard you try to roll up the tent tight, these «air traps» will make it very difficult. With a high probability, a folded tent will not fit in a bag, and you will start all over again. 

Step 4. Fold the tent

Make sure the tent body is laid as flat as possible on the ground and has no air pockets and folds. Does your tent have a front or rear vestibule? In this case, put it down over the tent so that the excess doesn’t get in the way of you packing the tent.
Next, take one end of the tent and fold it in half so that the resulting fold in width matches the size of the bag. Fold the other end of the tent in the same way. While folding, the tent edges must be symmetrical to each other and aligned in straight lines. You can make 4 or more folds following this pattern. Their number depends on the size of your tent and bag.
Finally, cover one side of the tent with another side and press them down well. At this stage, the folded tent must look like a long strip of rectangular shape. Did everything work out for you? Excellent. You are good to go next!

Step 5. Pack a tent fly (rainfly)

Remove the fly from the tent roof by pre-pulling the poles out of the ground. You can easily do it yourself, but if there is someone who can help you, doing it together will be much faster.
Shake the fly well to clean it of dirt, sand, or dew, put it on the ground, and straighten it well. Take one end of the fly and fold it in half, then in half again, based on the size of the bag. As a result, you get a fly folded into a long rectangular shape. That’s what you need!
Start rolling up a tent fly with a small crease just like you would when a sleeping bag. Roll the fly as tight as possible to escape all the air. Next, tie the rolled fly: wrap it with any rope, pull on its two ends and make a simple but tight knot. This way, a fly will hold its shape, and you can easily fit it back into the bag.

Step 6. Pack it all together in a bag

You are almost at the finish line! There is little left to do.
Take a bag with a folded fly and poles and put it on one end of the tent. Make a few turns – they must be flat and do not go beyond the edges of the strip. It is critical to roll the tent as tight as possible. To help yourself, press down on the tent with your knee. Thus, you make additional pressure to air escape, and the rolled tent retains its shape.
Keep a tent bag handy. It will be a real disappointment if you have gone through so many steps to pack the tent, and the bag is left lying on the other side of the campsite, and there is no one around to serve it to you. No matter how you try to save the situation, the tent can spin up and fill with air if you leave it.
Bonus tips: start rolling the tent from its end away from the door. This will save you time the next time you set up your tent, as you will know exactly which side the door is on. Also, tie the rope around the rolled tent and pull it tight to secure it in this condition.

How to fold a pop up tent?

At first glance, it may seem that a pop up tent is the simplest thing in the world, and there should not be any difficulties with its folding. But as experience shows, this is not entirely true. Nobody argues, you can set it up in a couple of minutes, but to fold it back, you will need a lot of patience, knowledge, and blessings from higher powers.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t manage to fold your tent the first time. Packing the pop up tent is a nightmare for many campers. The main issue is the pop up tent permanently strives to slip out of your hands due to its flexible poles while folding. 

If you have read the manufacturer’s instructions in detail and checked all the training videos you could find on Google services, but the tent does not lend itself to you, then you are in the right place. We are here to help you.

Follow our expert guide, and you will succeed:

  1. Clean the tent of dirt. No matter where you set up the tent – on the sand, ground, or park lawn – it is unlikely that dust or dirt has not gotten inside. Therefore, before folding, make it a habit to shake out the tent.
  2. Remove the fly and pull out the poles. If you have used a fly sheet to protect the tent from the sun or rain, remove it, roll it out and put it in the bag. To make it easier for yourself, pull the poles outward from you. If you do it the other way around, they can get stuck in the openings and break.
  3. Open a tent door. As a rule, pop up tents are made of nylon and other breathable fabric. However, we recommend unzipping all zippers to avoid having air traps.
  4. Bring the tent ends together. With one hand, maintain the tent visor, and with the other hand, connect the sides of the tent. Lay the tent on the ground so that it becomes flat. Please note that nylon pieces should not go beyond the tent poles.
  5. Fold the tent in half. Take one side of the tent and pull it up to the opposite side. Do you know what a tortilla looks like? Wonderful. At this stage, this is the shape your tent should look (or in the shape of an inverted «D»).
  6. Pack the tent in a bag. Fold the ends of the tent together, forming two flat circles. Press them together so they are on top of each other. If you do everything right, the tent should take a flat shape. 

A lot of tents come with ties or elastic bands. Use them to secure the tent. That’s all! Put the tent in your bag and enjoy watching other campers see you off with surprise in their eyes and incomprehension how you managed to pack the tent so masterfully. Using our tips, it will only take you 10 minutes to fold the tent into your bag. And no magic is needed this time.

How do you pack down a tent?

If you enter the query «how to fold a tent» in Google or other search engines, you will get hundreds of pieces of advice from travel bloggers, avid campers, and outdoor enthusiasts. If you ask this question to friends who have recently returned from a long hike, they will say that these tips are nonsense and will suggest their options for folding the tent. How to be?

The fact is that everyone has some special tricks that they use when it comes to hiking. Therefore, we decided to collect the most popular tent folding techniques and analyze their advantages and disadvantages to make it easier for you to choose the perfect way.

First of all, remember the main rule: keep the tent, fly, and poles in separate bags. Some campers put the fly in the middle of the tent and rolled them together. But this is a big mistake. The fly protects the tent from moisture and is never dry enough. Therefore, mold can appear if you put a fly inside the tent. To minimize these risks, double-check the condition of your tent before storing it in your garage for six months.

Should you roll or fold a tent?

There is an age-old dispute in the world around the two questions «to be or not to be» and «roll or fold a tent». Many campers have constant verbal battles on travel forums, proving that their method is better. Also, you can also find a million videos on YouTube that refute the effectiveness of one or another method of packing a tent.

But how do you understand which way to pack the tent is the best? We are here to help you! Everything you need to know about the most popular methods you can find below.

Pros of rolling a tent:

  • It will take you no more than 10 minutes to roll up the tent and put it back in your backpack. This is the ideal solution between transitions from one section of the trail to another.
  • The roll takes up little space. This is especially relevant for those who prefer long hikes or mountaineering.
  • A rolled tent keeps a good appearance for a long time.

In addition, most manufacturers in the instructions that come with tents recommend rolling up the tent rather than experimenting with other packing methods. Perhaps, they should be trusted.

How to fold a tent

Pros of folding a tent:

  • It is possible to pack all parts of the tent (tent body, pegs, poles, rain fly) together, making them easier to carry. So you can manage your time because well-organized things are half the battle.
  • The tent takes up little space when transported. You can pack it in the original bag or backpack.
  • The folded tent has a small size, so it can be stored in a closet, garage, or on the balcony.

Some people say that folding the tent, in the same way, every time can cause it to wear out quickly: as if repeated folds in the same place weaken the fibres. This is a big misconception. Backpacking tents are made of higher quality material, designed for long-term use in difficult weather conditions such as rain, wind, or snow.

Let’s face it: it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fold your tent the same way every time. Over time, any tent will develop folds, no matter what folding method you choose. Therefore, the sceptics are losing this battle. In general, no matter which method you choose, the main thing is that it is appropriate for you. Do as you see fit.

A few words about storing a folded tent. When you get home, first of all, take the tent out of your bag right away if it was damp when you folded it. Once it is completely dry, put it in a compression sack and leave it in a dry place. The bag that comes with the tent is designed for carrying and not for long-term storage.

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Is it worth stuffing a tent?

Here we come to the most controversial method. Many hikers prefer to stuff a tent because it is significantly faster and easier than folding. Undoubtedly, this method has the right to life. But there are some points you should be aware of before you decide to do so.

Stuffing a tent into a backpack or bag is not as easy as it might seem. This is not a sleeping bag that you can be stuffing in minutes. Most tents have rough fabric, so it takes effort to compress them well. In addition, if you constantly stuff the tent into a backpack, many wrinkles can appear on its surface. Considering the high cost of the tent, this is not the best strategy.

But there are some cases where stuffing a tent is the best idea. For example, if you are folding a tent in the downpour and you need to do it as soon as possible. Or you have gone on a long hike in the mountains and often move from one site to another and don’t want to waste time folding up a tent. If you stick a damp tent in your bag for a short time, nothing bad will happen. The main thing is to dry the tent thoroughly upon arrival home.

How do you fold a portable tent?

There are a few things you need to know: in fact, all tents are portable. This name refers to shower tents, which are an indispensable addition to the main tent during long hikes. The advantage of these tents is that they have flexible poles. Therefore, when folding them back into the bag, there is no need to waste time removing the poles. A folded portable tent has a round shape, so it is easy to carry – it does not take up much space.

So, here is what you need to do:

  1. Shake out all debris. Since this tent model is small and super light, you can make it yourself. As you have already understood, cleaning is a primary part that should not be skipped if you want your equipment to last for a long time. Otherwise, you will have to deal with mold.
  2. Remove the floor. The shower tent comes with a removable polyethylene cover that must be dried. If you are using the tent on the beach, make sure you clean the inside well.
  3. Make the tent flat. Lay the tent on the ground and straighten it. You may not unzip the doors. This tent is made of breathable material so you won’t have any trouble with it.
  4. Twist the tent in half. Take the lower end of the tent and press it to the opposite end, not reaching 10-15 cm from the top of the tent. So you will get an inverted «D».
  5. Pack the tent. With one hand, press down the middle of the «construction» so that you get 2 circles overlapping each other. Connect these circles with the other hand. That’s all. Doing this is easier than you think. Tighten the tent with an elastic band and put it in a bag.

Before folding the tent, be sure to check the inner mesh pockets. In a hurry, you can forget soap, shampoo, and some small things that have absorbed moisture in them. This is a good gift for mold, but not for you. Perhaps no one wants to buy a new tent because of such an annoying nuisance.

How to fold a tent: helpful life hacks

Every camper wants everything to be perfect going to camp, from the weather to the quality of the trail. No one wants to go home disappointed because of a tent that took half a day to fold. Say nothing more. We know how to save your trip even if something doesn’t go according to plan.

Our experts have spent hours on various trips, studied thousands of tents, and know everything about how to pack them back into a bag. Therefore, we have collected the life hacks that will help you fold your tent without frustration and stress. Below you’ll find the top 4 things we’d like to know about before our first trip. By following them, you can avoid many mistakes.

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Check the instructions for the tent

Yes, you are not mistaken! The primary hack on how to fold a tent is to study the instructions. These are not meaningless pieces of paper that the company puts into the tents. Even if your best friend says instructions are only for fools, don’t believe him. The fact is that there are different models of tents. All of them have certain features.

Therefore, it happens that the general recommendations for folding tents may not be enough for you to do everything right. The instruction comes with your tent containing everything you need: a detailed description of the construction of the tent, its components, and a diagram with images of setting up and folding the tent. Therefore, in any case, do not throw away the instructions, keep them in a bag with a tent.

Pre-folding tent tips

It will be easier for you to shake out all the garbage from the tent while it is unfolded and holds its shape due to the poles. If you can’t raise the tent, then wipe the inside with a slightly damp cloth or a towel and let it dry for 30-40 minutes. Thus, you can protect the tent from mold, moths, dirt, and other troubles.

But what if you do not have time and you need to move on along the planned route? Then there are no options here: fold a tent as it is. As soon as you arrive at your next campsite, pitch your tent and let it dry completely. Such measures will help you keep the tent in good working condition for a long time.

Match the size of the bag and tent

If you’re confused about how many folds your tent needs to make to fit exactly in your bag, then this trick is for you. Take a bag and match its size to the size of the tent. This line will serve as your guide. You can count the number of such segments and, when folding, focus on this number. Yes, it’s that simple!

Please note that the fold of the tent should be slightly smaller than the size of the bag. This way you won’t go wrong with the proportions.

Practice folding the tent

Are you a first-time backpacker and have never folded a tent yourself before? Before hiking, do yourself a favour and practice packing the tent. Why not? Believe us, there is nothing worse than trying to fold a tent in the wilderness when Google hangs up, and you can’t watch a tutorial video, and the only thing you made in 3 hours was pulling the poles and pegs out.

Try folding a tent in your yard, garage, or hall – in a word, wherever there is enough space for it. You can use the instructions, YouTube tutorial videos on how to fold a tent, and any other expert’s personalized content you can search online. Notice: bring everything you see in the video as data to tailor. If you can’t find a review of your tent model, don’t worry. The general principles of folding a tent are the same, use them as a base and adapt to your needs.

Also, the good news is there are stores selling camping equipment that provide complete services: here, managers help clients not just pick up tents but show training workshops on how to fold them. It’s amazing, isn’t it? You can visit such a store and ask questions you are interested in. Be sure this hack helps you avoid a lot of trials and errors.

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Final Thoughts

Now you’re armed with the knowledge you need to win that age-old battle of how to fold a tent. Life is too short to spend it worrying about bad weather. Using our simple tips, you will be able to fold any tent the first time, without the desire to go home and leave it at the campsite forever. Save this article so that it always remains at hand and if something does not go according to plan – you know where you can find the answers.

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