How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack?

Isn’t packing and keeping a tent along a challenge? When going hiking or camping, the heaviest item to pack is perhaps the tent. If you do not pack it in the correct way, your backpack will feel wobbly and may even cause back strain. Obviously, you need your backpack to be light and secure for those long treks. This is why you need to know how to pack a tent in a backpack.

Before you can do that, though, you first have to learn about choosing the right backpack to store your tent in. In this article, you will find tips and tricks about all that and more, so keep reading!

First Things First! Choose the Right Backpack

Before we proceed to the proper method of packing a tent into a backpack, let’s talk about the backpack first. Obviously, you will need a big hiking backpack if you are going to pack a big tent. Smaller tents may be able to fit in smaller backpacks.

Now, for this, you have two choices: a backpack with an internal frame and one with an external frame. A backpack with an internal frame has more room in comparison with an external frame. As for the external frame, you can pack the tent outside using compression straps.

What if you already own a smaller bag or one with an external frame? In that case, you should consider getting a compression bag to pack the tent in. It will take much less room and will allow the tent to be easily packed in. Lastly, you should invest in a quality backpack that can withstand the weight and evenly distribute it when you wear it.

How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack: A Step-by-Step Guide

Packing a tent is not an easy task especially for first-timers or newbies in the hiking and camping world. To make sure you are doing it right, follow the steps below precisely:

Rolling the Tent

  • Lay the tent flat on the ground and put the poles in their bag. Place them along the tent where you will start rolling. The poles will act as the support so they should not be placed in the center, but rather, they should be rolled along from the start.
  • Now, start rolling, making sure that the bag is parallel with the tent’s side. Make sure to roll the tent as straight as possible.
  • After you have rolled it a few times or are halfway through the tent, put the pegs bag in the same way that you put the poles bag. Now continue rolling until you have completely rolled it. Do so tightly so that it takes as little space as possible.
  • Once rolled, open up the tent’s bag and put the tent in, making sure the pole bag lies straight up in the middle.
  • Lastly, pull the strings of the bag and close it tightly.

Packing the Bag (Inside)

Next is to place the tent bag inside the backpack, as you don’t want to carry two separate bags during your travel, do you? The tent bag is also one of the heaviest items that most travelers carry. Here’s how to do it:

  • The general rule of packing a hiking bag is that the heavy and infrequently used stuff goes at the bottom. The heaviest is the sleeping bag, which should always go in the bottom compartment.
  • You can place the tent bag directly over the sleeping bag or precisely in the middle. This will help put minimum strain on your back when you lift up the backpack.
  • You can keep the tent horizontally if your backpack has enough width. This way you can put more stuff on top that you will need frequently.
  • Putting the bag vertically, however, will make it easier to take it out when you need to camp since you will not need to move a lot of stuff around.

Packing the Bag (Outside)

As mentioned, you can also choose to pack your tent by attaching it to your backpack instead of stuffing it inside. For that, here is the step-by-step guide:

  • After rolling and putting the tent in the bag, you can attach it to the backpack on the outside. External frame backpacks have designated position for packing stuff like tents or sleeping bags on the outside. Even those with internal frames have compression straps that can be used to pack the tent bag outside.
  • The tent bag should be attached at the bottom. There are two reasons for this. The first reason, which has already been mentioned, is that it is a heavy item. Second, you want to protect it.
  • When packing outside using straps, make sure to tie it with closed loop ties.

Some More Tips and Tricks to Keep in Mind

Putting the tent inside the backpack is better even though it might take considerable space inside. You can easily pack it outside, but there are risks packing it this way. After all, you are going to be hiking among trees and branches, so there is always the threat of your tent snagging. With the hefty price of tents, you do not want that to happen especially when you are in the woods with a chance of rain.

The other risk that comes with packing it outside is the tent getting wet. If it rains, your tent will definitely get wet, which increases its weight and makes it difficult to carry.

Speaking of wet tents, never pack the tent into its bag when it is wet whether you are packing it inside or outside. Walking with the extra weight will be difficult. Plus, everything else might get damp and start smelling.

Lastly, packing outside is also risky because your bag might fall if not packed securely. When it is inside, you do not have to worry about losing your tent. Also, if you tie it outside you have to go through the hassle of untying every knot and strap to get the tent bag out. If you have ample space, it is always better to pack it inside.

Packing the backpack is a skill that you will learn after a few hikes. You will make mistakes and learn from them eventually. When you do, you should be able to smartly pack all your essentials inside the backpack without it being overweight or unbalanced.

Last Words

Packing the tent is an easy task and would only take a minute or two. However, you need to do it correctly for it to be secure and take less space in your backpack. When going hiking, your tent is one of the most important things inside your backpack. It protects you and your stuff from rain and cold. Now that you know how to pack a tent in a backpack, you can plan your next hike and test out what you have learned. Good luck!

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