Folding a tent

3:17 p.m. on October 12, 2006 (EDT)

I have a 9ft.x8ft. ozark trail sports dome tent, I need to know how to fold it back up so it will fit back in its bag with the poles. Please someone help me asap. I bought it and took it out of the bag to spray scotch guard stuff on it to keep it from leaking now I don't know how to fold it back, it did not come with instructions for the folding.

12:20 p.m. on October 13, 2006 (EDT)
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I always just stuff the tent into it's bag. Much easier than rolling and some suggest that stuffing is better for the tent than rolling.

8:56 p.m. on October 16, 2006 (EDT)
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I'm with Alan: stuff it. It's quicker, easier, more compact, and better for the tent

5:36 p.m. on October 18, 2006 (EDT)
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Stuffing vs folding depends on the tent. One day, I actually read the directions that came with a tent (one of a group we had bought for the Scout troop). Yeah, I know, surprise/shock/gasp - someone actually read the directions. The directions and comments were interesting.

First recommendation was to thoroughly dry and air out the tent after use before storage - "never store a damp tent in its storage sack" was the way they put it. Well, ok, you don't want the tent to mildew, rot, and just smell bad.

1. Recommendation was to stuff the tent. Well, duh, it is a STUFF bag, after all. Guess there is a reason for calling it that. The reason given was that if a tent is folded repeatedly on the same lines, the waterproof plastic coating on the floor and fly will eventually crack. Thinking back, I realized this had actually happened on a couple of tents I had, and a number of the previous generation of the Troop's tents. I checked other tents for which I could get the directions. Most said nothing, but those that did all said "stuff it".

2. Some manufacturers said "stuff or roll", with a caveat about folding repeatedly on the same lines. One of these said specifically that when folding to make the right-size roll, you should vary the fold locations.

3. A couple of manufacturers of "family" tents gave directions and diagrams for folding. These were all very heavy, with very heavy-duty coated floors. Basically, the patterns were fold the long direction in quarters (edge folded over to the middle from each end, then one half flipped over so the dimension is 1/4 the original length). Next folds were the "width" direction, similarly in quarters. This got the tent to a size that fit in the bag. One variation was thirds - pull one end to lie at the 2/3 to 1/3 point, then fold the other end over so that the dimension was now 1/3 of the flat length. Another variation on this was to do the fold, then roll to fit into the bag.

4. Several manufacturers said to unzip all zippers before stuffing, folding, or rolling. Seems that bending a closed zipper too tightly can cause premature failure.

5. Strong recommendation from top quality tent manufacturers for bungeed poles was to start folding them from the middle, working your way symmetrically to the ends. Seems that starting at one end (as most people comonly do) frequently ends up with the bungee completely stretched by the last fold, and ultimately to premature loss of elasticity or even breakage of the bungee. The mass market manufacturers mostly do not use bungeed poles.

I would suggest just trying several variations on folding and rolling, if the tent is too big to conveniently struggle with stuffing into its bag, to get a match to the storage sack size.

But, stuffing into the STUFF sack is the best way to do it.

8:42 a.m. on October 19, 2006 (EDT)
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I have several Eureka family sized tents and I stuff them all, regardless of size. I generally buy a second stuff sack for the fly as I hate to work so hard to cram both into a small stuff sack.

Good tip on separating the poles, I'll have to try to remember to this when in the field.

9:24 a.m. on October 19, 2006 (EDT)
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Uncoupling the pole sections starting in the middle is also faster, since you end up breaking down two joints at a time instead of just one.

11:29 p.m. on October 27, 2006 (EDT)
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Stuff a backpacking tent into its stuff sack. Nicely fold a car-camping tent (so the mama gets into the car. then dry it out and re-fold it nice and neat)

12:32 p.m. on October 31, 2006 (EST)

Thank you very much - I found myself in a similar situation with "Now What" in regards to folding up a tent. I was only too happy to 'stuff' it :0) Thank you all for sharing your experience.

8:50 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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I hafta say:
I never stuff my tents, I always fold and roll them. I feel that stuffing them crinkles the fabric and over time will cause more "wear/decomposition" of the general fabric than folding/rolling. Now perhaps the way that fold and roll them does not create creases. I tend to fold my tent by putting the front two tie out loops together and the rear two loops together with the tent laying it on its side, then I fold it in half lengthwise again and roll the poles in the middle and roll from the back to the front so all the air can get out. Then it slides easily into the stuff sack.
Jim S

September 20, 2017
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