How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack

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Hiking and tent camping go hand-in-hand, and so does the frustration of neatly packing that tent into your backpack.

It took a while to learn how to pack a tent in a backpack efficiently, and I’m here to share my helpful tricks with you.

So, if you’re one of the over 47 million hikers who hit the trails each year and you’re still struggling with packing up that tent, this article can be a game-changer!

Reasons For Packing Tent in Backpack Carefully

When you cram your tent into your backpack or strap it to the outside, and you don’t do it in an orderly manner, you’re certain to experience:

  • Uncomfortable pressure on your back from lumps
  • Tears or damage to tent fabric
  • Wasting time digging to find items hidden under the tent
  • A floppy tent snagging on branches or falling off
  • Fatigue from an unbalanced load

Avoid these issues by taking a few careful minutes to pack your tent correctly.

Where do you put a tent on a backpack?

How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack_Camping High Life

If you have a soft-side or internal-frame backpack, it’s best to place your tent on the inside.

Many external-frame backpacks have a dedicated location to clip a tent to the outside, so you have more room on the interior for food and supplies.

Factors to Consider on Packing a Tent in a Backpack

  • Type and size of backpack
  • Size of tent
  • Use of compression bag

The type and size of your backpack will determine if your tent will fit and travel better inside or outside. Compression bags are ideal to reduce even large tents into a compact package.

How to pack a tent for backpacking

  • Step 1. Lay tent flat, and fold until it’s in a thin rectangle
  • Step 2. Bag tent poles/stakes and lay them across one end
  • Step 3. Grab the pole bag and edge of the tent and roll tightly
  • Step 4. Slip package into tent bag

Packing a Tent inside Your Backpack: The Interior Method

Always pack your tent vertically inside your backpack. This method makes it easy to pull out the tent without having to remove all the contents when it’s time to set up camp again.

Packing a Tent Outside Your Backpack: The Exterior Method

Find a location across the bottom of the backpack to secure the tent. Most packs will have compression straps where you can connect the tent.

You can also tightly strap the tent roll and clip it to D-rings on the backpack or to the pack’s framing.

Can you put a tent in a stuff sack?

Yes, putting the tent into a stuff sack will quickly reduce the bulk. But, the tent won’t be as compact as it could, so it’ll take up more room inside the backpack.

Should you fold or stuff a tent?

Folding a tent is the best way to create the smallest package. Use a compression bag if you prefer to tent stuff to aid in reducing the overall size.

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