Over the weekend, I set up our tent and screen room. Today, I went to take them down. The screen room was easy to take down and put away. The problem came when folding and rolling the tent. I was able to get it back into the bag, after unrolling and re-folding it like 3 times.
I always use the tent poles as a guide to tell how small the folds need to be so it will fit into the bag.
Is there an easier way to get this rolled up the first time?
Would it help to buy a couple storage containers and fold the tent up to fit into it?
It would help more not to fold your tent. I tent camped for years and discovered the hard way that folding on the same lines every time will wear a crease in the bottom of the tent and allow water to pool up through it. Get a stuff sack if your current tent bag isn't big enough and stuff it the same way you do your sleeping bags.
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With time, you'll develop a system if you decide to enjoy the process. This component folds into thirds before rolling, this one in quarters or halves. Like eyegore, I have always rolled my tents. I try to slightly vary the crease lines each time, however. To me, this is one of the things that I enjoy about backpacking and camping - just poopin' around and making it better each time and for next time. If you have a deadline (as most of us do), break camp a little earlier and enjoy the process. And break out that Sharpie! Most of us don't camp as often as we like so remembering such things is difficult. I write little reminders on anything that needs them: "This side up", "Fold here", I might mark which hole to use.
When you roll your tent, have someone or some heavy gear on the end. For A-frame tents this would be the door end. For others it may not. Then as you roll, keep the tent very taut, and the roll very tight. It will come out much smaller. Depending on the size of your tent bag, it may be possible to roll your tent without the poles, and then place the poles in the bag along side the tent or keep them in a bag of their own. BEWARE. If you do this, you increase the risk of packing your tent and leaving your poles behind. Yes, I have done this. In any case, I have always rolled my tents. Don't know if it is the best way to do it, but I would never stuff a tent. Sleeping bags, bivy, hammocks, yes but not a tent.
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Personally I fold my tent up and I'm able to return it ti it's original carry bag.. Guess I'm a neat freak.. Anyway, Just got a SlumberJack tent a few months ago.. mind you we were camping in the back yard of a friends house on the eastern shore of Maryalnd.. just to test the tent out.. we had perfect weather and a light dew in the morning.. Just ideal conditions.
Being that it's just my wife and I, she wanted something bigger then normal so she could stand up in.. The Slumberjack is listed at 5'11'' but I was even able to stand up in the middle without hitting my head. Again with this tent being as big as it was/is.. it takes at least two people to set up and take down but not pack or unpack..
However, the morning dew was very light and I wanted a clean, clear area to roll up the tent and at the time it was our friends car.. simply draping the tent over the car and allowing it to dry before rolling up.. this only took about an hour. After which I was able to handle the rest myself as my wife cooked over the fire pit.. One good way to fold the tent is in on itself and have the carry bag handy, checking often for sizing.
About the only issue I had was when I pulled the tent poles out of the sleeves.. the metal connections tend to grab the sleeves and the poles would separate. On the other hand.. what if, we were at a camp ground and there wasn't much room to work. I have been known to fold the tent in the middle of the camp entrance road.. and again.. because of the time we were departing.. I didn't suffer much having to move the tent on and off the road to allow cars/trucks/RV's to pass.
But as a rule, if your unclear or not as perfect at folding or packing up your tent.. I would suggest (as you have already) to purchase a larger carry bag.. cause sometimes the rain will catch us off guard and we will need to leave in a hurry..
* This post was
edited 05/22/12 11:14am by OurJeepLife *
There was once where I was able to roll the tent up and place it and the ground cloth (10x13) tarp in the original tent bag. My thoughts before were to mark the folds so I will know where to fold it each time to roll it back up. You are right, in that it takes lots of practice and the only way to get practice is to go camping often. This is the third time the tent will have been out of its bag.
If you always use a ground cloth (typically a tarp), you'll always have a clean place to fold the tent back up. They're typically vented in the middle, so folding in half from each side and half again pushes all the air out through the vents, meaning you'll need less squeezing out the air. I like to "knee down" the air once the thing is folded into a "burrito" and usually everything (poles too) fits back into the carrier. One other desireable feature of my Sierra Designs Bedouin 6 is the carry bag, which is made like a gym bag with an oversized zipper, so there's no struggling to get it back inside.