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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Tent Packing: Stuff, Roll, Or Fold?

Tackling the age-old question

At the end of every outdoor adventure, you're confronted with an inscrutable dilemma: Do you stuff, roll, or fold your tent into its stuffsack? Poll your fellow hikers and you'll see everyone has a technique and a reason for why theirs is the best. Challenge them, and you might get a tent pole in the eye.

An informal poll of the BACKPACKER office confirms we're 87.5 percent pro-stuffing. But a lot of our reasoning is unscientific (outside of one staffer who claims to divide his choice—70 percent stuff, 25 percent roll, and 5 percent fold—depending on the tent). One staffer admits, "I stuff (even though I’ve been told it’s better to roll)."

Ryan Dionne of Explore It! went to the source, asking tent manufacturers from every major brand both what they recommend and what they do themselves. Most recommend rolling, noting that the tents come from a factory pre-rolled, and that rolling can save space in your pack. When it comes to their personal life, though, even tent manufacturers get lazy and just stuff it:

Big Agnes: When I’m backpacking I’ll stuff the tent. I usually pack the poles and stakes separately from the tent. When I’m car camping I loosely fold then roll.

EMS: Roll for storage, stuff in the field.

Kelty/SD: I roll my personal tent - it packs better in my pack (less bulk) and looks a little better when set up (I am a tent guy, so I want my tent to look good!).

Mountain Hardwear: Roll, religiously.

MSR: I usually roll my tents, but if they are wet or if I am in a hurry, I just stuff them.

Nemo: I always stuff my tents. It’s faster, easier, and most importantly – better for the tent.

The North Face: I stuff while out and stuff depending on weather. I roll once I clean and put the tent away.

How about you? Are you a stuffer, roller, or folder? Tell us in the poll, and tell us why in the comments!
The page you requested has expired. Thank you!

—Ted Alvarez

Explore-It Blog


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Sep 26, 2012

I roll my tent under all but on circumstance. The only time i will stuff a tent is if I am having to pack up under circumstances where poor weather may be heading my way. More or less, i try to expediently stow the tent so that i can avoid it getting wet if rain is on its way. When i do fold my tent, I generally fold it so that it is as short as possible.

Jul 26, 2012

Stuff. A short wide stuffed tent fits in my pack much better than a long skinny rolled tent. Easier, quicker. Poles, stakes and my sleeping pad fit in the long skinny factory tent sack which straps to the outside of my bag.

Jun 25, 2011

i stuff or roll pending on the weather conditions, poles and stakes same bag outside of pack..hang it up for storage: June 25,2011

Feb 17, 2011

What's a tent? I'm a hanger...we stuff our hammocks in snake skins!

Oct 05, 2009

Stuff, stuff, stuff. It's the easiest and quickest way. Trying to fold a tent and get it into the bag it came in can be impossible at times. Never fold a tent, it's like folding a piece of paper over and over. It degrades the seam your folding on.

Oct 05, 2009

Stuff, stuff, stuff. It's the easiest and quickest way. Trying to fold a tent and get it into the bag it came in can be impossible at times. Never fold a tent, it's like folding a piece of paper over and over. It degrades the seam your folding on.

bad foot kupar
Aug 27, 2009

stuffing prevents any creases from forming which in my opinion leads to weaker fabric at that spot

Aug 27, 2009

I roll. The tent won't fit in the tent bag otherwise.

Canyon Man
Aug 26, 2009

I roll it. It seems to consume less space in my tent bag and can be scrunched down tight, plus when it comes time to set up, you just unroll and go.

Aug 26, 2009

Roll. My 20 y/o Eureka Timberline is proof enough for me that rolling does not harm the tent.

Aug 26, 2009

I stuff it in all the leftover spots in my backpack when backpacking. I loosely stuff it in my backpack back home after everything is dry. Its there when I get ready to go the next time.

Aug 26, 2009

I stuff and roll. As a result I can't vote in the poll.

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