How to Get a Tent Back Into a Bag

How to Get a Tent Back Into a BagModern camping tents are a wonder of technology. Some ultra-light models, hardly larger than a roll of paper towels when packed away, expand to allow room for one or more people. While getting a tent back into its compact storage sack may seem daunting, it's actually a very simple process. While a few experts advocate rolling your tent like a burrito before putting it away, most agree that the "stuffing" method is actually better for your tent over the long term. Stuffing a tent is also easier and faster than rolling the tent.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Remove any guy lines, if present, from the tent and coil them for later storage. Zip the door or vestibule on the rain fly closed, unstake it if necessary, and remove the fly from the tent. Open the tent bag and stuff the rain fly into it, starting with one corner. Pack the fly as far down into the bottom of the bag as possible.
Step 2
Lift the tent, if it's a free-standing model that doesn't have to be staked out to maintain its form, and shake any debris out through the open door. Remove the tent poles, any remaining stakes, and any other accessories and put them aside for later storage.
Step 3
Stuff the body of the tent into the tent bag just as you did with the rain fly. Start with one corner, then continue stuffing until the tent is all the way inside the bag. Pack the tent as far down toward the bottom of the tent bag as possible.
Step 4
Pull the tent poles apart into their component segments and fold these together like an accordion; the shock cord will keep them together. Place the poles inside their own stuff sack--if provided with the tent--and then slide the poles into one edge of the tent bag, between the stuffed-in tent and fly and the bag itself. The poles are slender enough, and the tent and bag material flexible enough, that they usually slide in with no problem.
Step 5
Stow the tent stakes and guy lines or cordage in their own stuff sack if provided with the tent. If no stuff sack was provided for these small accessories, consider using a stuff sack of your own, or even a small plastic baggy, to help keep organized. Add these items, and any other tent accessories, into the tent bag and cinch it shut.

Tips & Warnings

Avoid packing a tent away while it's wet if at all possible. If you absolutely must pack a wet tent, stow it as directed above but remove it and lay it out to dry at the earliest possible opportunity. Turn the tent bag inside out to dry, also, and place a few rocks, the tent poles or something else with a bit of weight inside the bag to keep it from blowing away.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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