How to Fold a Tent…

There are a thousand right answers for a thousand different tent models but there is only one right method.

I am a scouter who has been with Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers in Canada and I have been avidly trying to make myself better and better at everything I do for both myself and the youth that I am mentoring.

I spent last week in the bush at “scout school”.  It was a family training event where I took my Beaver, Cub and Scout camping for 8 days.  While they played games, did crafts and learned new age-appropriate skills, I acquired my Woodbadge 2 certification with the Scout section… but that is another blog post…

This looks like a great way to start rolling a tent that you care about

This looks like a great way to start rolling a tent that you care about

This one deals with the continuing question as to packing a tent… do you stuff, roll or fold?  At this recent camp I met experienced campers who still stuff their tents.

I am here to tell you that folding is a pain in the butt and does not work good enough to fill most original bags.  Stuffing just destroys the life of your tent.  “Rolling” which is actually a combination of folding and rolling is the way to go.  That is why manufacturers suggest it.

I know, there are already people out there saying that I don’t know what I am talking about but listen up bucko because either you have never heard these words or you simply don’t like listening to people smarter than you… stuffing wrecks tents.  Period.

I am at odds with our scout group’s quartermaster as he seems to think stuffing works just fine.

Let us look at the Pros and Cons why don’t we?

Folding and Rolling

I keep hearing that if you fold your tent the creases will get weak where the material gets folded over and over.

First off, if you can fold a tent twice on the same crease lines you are a better scout than I have ever dreamt of being.  Second, holy crap dude… you are never going to fold the tent the exact same way twice… EVER.

Now the pros include…

  • you will never damage your fly with pegs or poles
  • you will never damage your tent with pegs or poles
  • you will never damage your bag with pegs or poles
  • fly is protected from everything in and out of the bag by the entire tent as padding
  • setup is faster
  • setup is designed to get tent up while staying drier in the rain

Stuffing your tent has no advantages except maybe a little quicker to stuff it in the bag (if you can get it to fit) but the cons include destroying your tent, fly and bag.  I really don’t understand how anyone could stuff after watching a couple youtube videos, checking out a great how-to online, or watching someone fold and roll a tent properly.

You can go online and find an infinite number of people for both arguments but lets read a couple of stuffing fans…

Here is a great little paragraph about stuffing and why we do it, oh yes, we are lazy.

Here are a bunch of stuffed people… I mean stuffers…

Here is a Russian guy who seems to know an lot about the outdoors.  Maybe he is homeless?  Let’s listen to his advice

…So you will need a bigger bag anyway. Taking this into acount, I see noo reasons to stick to folding when you can stuff;)

So he thinks I will need a bigger bag for my tent as I use it so buy one right away.  I have never needed a bigger bag for a tent in my life.  I have actually never heard of this.

He goes on to say he has been stuffing tents his whole life and the claim that stuffing can make them less dependable is crazy.  Then he finishes with this gem…

From practice, I’ve got a 10 years old Vaude tent, which was heavily used and stuffed for all its life, and it still almost isn’t leaking.

Did you hear that?  Is still ALMOST isn’t leaking.  Damn man.  Do you even hear yourself when you are typing?  I mean besides the incessant clicking.

Hey, I was just thinking that I need one of those quiet keyboards.  But then how would I know that I was getting lots done if I didn’t hear the keys clicking?  Most the clicks are backspace anyhow so would it really matter?  SQUIRREL!

I am going to end by showing you one of the best how-tos I have found on packing a tent… enjoy.

the fly is protected, the tent opens under it for rainy setups, the doors are ready to be used

the fly is protected, the tent opens under it for rainy setups, the doors are ready to be used

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