How to Pack a Tent




Getting a tent back into its bag isn't difficult, once you know a few tricks.
The following steps show how to efficiently pack a tent and all its components.

The photos shows what we don't want. In this case the fly separate to the rest of the tent, taking up extra space and everything else stuffed into the bag. This is how it was delivered to me from a friend of mine.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Packing Up the Fly

Straighten out the fly and then fold it lengthwise so that the outside (the bits with the guy ropes) is inside the fold as demonstrated in the second picture.

With a bit of practice and two people it is really easy to sweep the fly off the erected tent (after removing/undoing all supports) and end up with it folded lengthwise.

Step 2: Folding the Fly

Fold each end so that they touch the closest supports and then continue to fold in toward the center. Once the center is reached fold it over once more.

If this step is done correctly, the fly should be the same width as any of the folded poles, as shown in the last picture.

Step 3: Rolling Up the Fly

Starting at the top of the fly (the thinnest part and the bit that is in the center of the roof) roll it up tightly and then tie it up.
The tighter the fly is rolled the easier it will be to get it into the bag at the end.

Step 4: The Main Tent

The main tent has been laid out as if it had been erected. The front door is at the top of the picture, closest to the bins.
Ensure all zips are done up, including the windows.

Step 5: Adjusting the Roof

Using the center roof mounts, being clips or tubes for the support rods, pull the canopy so that it lays flat and isn't too bunched up.
Make sure the front door is flat, with the excess laying over the rear door, as shown in the second photo.

If you have a dome tent without a vestibule, work in a circular direction and pull each side tight before finishing with the front.

It really helps to have the tent still pegged at this stage.

Step 6: Folding the Vestibule

If your tent has a front or rear vestibule, fold them over so that they lay flat over the main body of the tent.
Make sure the front one is on top.

Step 7: Folding the Tent

Fold each side into the middle of the tent and then fold it over so that it is a quarter of its original width.

Step 8: Putting It All Together

Lay everything out at the front of the tent with the fly closest, then poles, pegs and any other part farthest away.
First completely roll in the fly
Add the poles and roll again (a half turn works here to keep it in place)
Add the pegs and roll again
Add anything else and roll up to the end and tie.

It is important to roll the tent tightly, if there is too much air once rolled it wont fit in the bag.

Step 9: Put It in the Bag and Do It Up

'nuff said.

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest

    12 Discussions


    6 months ago on Step 9

    Really fantastic instructions!
    I've rolled up my tent hundreds of times and I've never got it as small as that! Thanks!

    Dream Dragon

    7 years ago on Introduction

    A really useful piece of information, right now with the weather looking good for (what remains) of the British Summer.

    Worth pointing out when packing tents, it's better to "roll" than to "fold". Folding can introduce creases which weaken the fibres of the material and/or damage the waterproofing, (depending on the particular material and waterproofing combination). In general, "Roughly Right is good enough", leave the OCD precision at home and don't forget to unpack air and clean regularly, especially if you've had to pack wet.

    2 replies
    de_jeanDream Dragon

    Reply 3 years ago

    I heard that the best thing for the tent is just stuff it in a bag like you would do with a sleeping bag, no rolling, just stuffing.

    Dream Dragonde_jean

    Reply 3 years ago

    That actually depends on the kind of tent and more importantly the kind of fabric. Some ultralightweight fabrics will respond well to stuffing because you randomise any creases, heavier fabrics should still be rolled, end to centre so that the dirty outside, doesn't touch the clean inside.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Not bad. Suggestions: With the tent laid out, mark with marker where to fold the floor so it will fit in the bag,( the length of it) so one does not have to "guess" at the proportions. Lay the fly on the tent floor before final rolling. place poles and pegs in center of roll. Do it the same way each time. Comes time to set up, the tent will lay out the right way the first time (you KNOW where the door will be). The pegs and poles will be there on top. The fly will unroll OVER the tent/floor, so if it is raining when you set up, you can actually do it UNDER the fly (and under your poncho?) and thereby keep your tent reasonably dry inside. Learn from experience!

    These utterly brilliant instructions turned a task that was rapidly becoming very frustrating into a manageable endeavour! Setting up my new four man tent was the easy part - packing it up...not so much! Thanks to these instructions its now safely packed up in its bag. Your a life saver Instructables!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome instructable and helpful. Although I think people should be informed that a higher quality tent should only be rolled as folding along the same area over and over or folding + storing causes microtears in most fabrics. At the very least it will stress the silicone on nylon (or similar waterproof fabric combo) and cause it to leak. Tents should be dry and loosely rolled only enough to fit into the bag. I dont think this would be a concern on cheaper tents that are used for family camping or car camping type stuff. Although my Hilleberg tent ($500+) that I use for alpine climbing would have much higher consequence if ruined by folding.. both for my wallet and safety/comfort while on expeditions. Not at all trying to bash! Just trying to share knowledge. This instructable definitely has its place for family/car camping tents where consequences are lower :)


    5 years ago

    thank you so much!! I finally figured out how to find it and put it back in the bag :)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Silly Question .....

    Can you not leave the Inner inside the Fly and pack them together?

    I have a Kymar Tunnel tent and, after the first put-up I wire-tied the hooks to the outer and can now pitch the whole shebang as a unit - makes packing easier too - the same as you have shown for the Fly..

    Excellent 'ible though - well done


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome tutorial. I've always had issues with following the instruction that comes with the tent. This will be helpful. Also how do you let the air out when folding? It always does that.