How To Fold A Tent The Right Way

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Pitching a tent is a tough job, but it’s folding the tent where the true battle lies. It can be immensely frustrating. I’m confident experienced campers can write a book full of colorful words they’ve heard from people trying to put a tent back in the bag. Getting experienced with how to fold a tent can save a ton of trouble. If you are using a pop up tent, check out how to fold a pop up tent. For this article, the focus will be on dome tents and cabin tents.

Basics For When You Take Down A Tent

Here are some pointers to know when you take down a tent. Companies or tents may have different ways to pack a tent. It is better to stay in line with the instructions provided with a tent. That said, it is very likely that the instructions you have will follow this guide. So here they are.

  1. Clean the tent. Getting rid of any dirt and grime on your tent will make it easier to pack up. It’s also better for the maintenance of your tent.
  2. Your tent and rainfly should be completely dry when folded. If you must pack a wet tent, be sure to dry it up as soon as you can.
  3. Unless your tent instructions specifically say otherwise, it is better to fold the components together. These are the tent poles, rainfly, tent/inner body of the tent.
  4. Keep tent doors open when you fold them. An outlet for air will make your job easy.
  5. Stakes/pegs should be packed separately.
  6. Packing The Rainfly. In many cases, you can place the rainfly inside the tent when you start packing. However, if you prefer, keep the rainfly separate. Fold it up, and place it over the tent once the tent is flat on the ground. Then you can start packing the tent.

How To Fold A Dome Tent

Keeping the basics above in mind, this section will offer advice on how to fold a dome tent.

Get The Stakes

Remove any pegs/stakes and place them in their bag. If the guylines are attached to the tent, fold them up and tie them at their base.

Remove The Rainfly

If there are any fly poles, remove them and place them in their bag. Remove the rainfly, and lay it out on the tent floor. Don’t just throw it in there, instead, try to have it cover the tent floor as neatly as you can. Alternatively, you can keep the rainfly away, and place it later (explained further down).

Remove The Tent Poles

Now, remove the tent poles. Fold them where necessary, and bundle them all together in the pole bag. Do this neatly; the pole bag is important to fold the tent.

Lay The Tent Flat

Now that the poles are out, the tent will go down. Intervene if necessary, to make sure the tent is as flat and cleanly placed as possible.

Use The Pole Bag To Measure And Fold

Place the pole bag at the folding end of the tent. Place it in a way that the bag is at an equal distance from each edge. If the pole bag is the same width as the tent, skip to the next step.

In case the tent is substantially wider, hold one edge of the tent and fold it over itself. The edge of the tent should now be in line with the edge of the pole bag. Repeat the process for the other edge of the tent. Now, the tent width will be the same as the pole bag.

If you prefer not to place the rainfly inside the tent, fold it now separately, and place it over the tent.

Fold The Tent

Gently clean out any big creases or irregularities you see on the tent. Place the pole bag at one end of the tent, and start rolling the tent over the pole bag. Use your own weight as leverage to fold the tent right and remove any air pockets as you come across them.

Tie And Pack The Tent

Once you reach the other end of the tent, and it is completely folded, it’s time to tie it up. Do not remove your weight from the tent, but maneuver so you can tie each side of the tent. Now that the tent is secured, simply pick it up, and place it in the tent carry bag.

How To Fold A Cabin Tent

Cabin tents are usually larger and require more effort to fold up. They can be substantial in size, and with several rooms. Folding up a large 12 person tent will take a little more effort than a 4 man pop up tent.

To Start

Follow the instructions for the dome tent above, until you’ve laid the tent flat. This includes taking out the pegs, removing the rainfly, placing the rainfly inside the tent, and packing up the tent poles into a pole bag. When removing the wall poles, start with the corners, and then go to the middle. Remember to keep the doors unzipped!

Use The Pole Bag To Fold

Once the tent is flat on the ground, fold each edge over itself as we did above. If you have a large tent, check instructions with the tent. In some cases, it might be necessary to fold the tent over itself completely and then fold it again.

Now, you should have the tent laid flat on the ground, as a large rectangle that is slightly larger than the pole bag. Fold one-third of the tent along its length. Then place the pole bag and using your body weight, roll the tent along with the pole bag.

Wrap Up And Pack

When you reach the end of the tent, continue placing your weight on it. Use some ties to secure each end of the tent. Once done, pick it up, and carefully place the tent in the tent bag.

Practice Your Skill On How To Fold A Tent

Having the theoretical knowledge of how to fold a tent is one thing, doing it is another. It’s better to practice at home before you go camping. That way, you can take your time to practice, and ward off any possible frustrations when it comes to folding the tent at the campsite.