Carrying a backpack is a must item to keep everything you need on a trip, whether hiking or camping. If it is a mountain or forest, you may want to carry a tent to spend some night in nature. Unfortunately, packing a tent in a backpack will be challenging if you don’t know how to pack a tent properly.

This is because a tent is one of the bulkiest and heaviest items you may want to carry while camping. Even a lightweight tent can add extra weight to your backpack because of the poor packing. Besides, wrongly packing a tent on a backpack can cause feeling uncomfortable while hiking. In that case, packing your tent correctly in the backpack will help lessen your burden.

Why Should You Properly Pack Your Tent In A Backpack?

Planning any camp means the hope of exploring natural beauties, but it also requires carrying different camping gear. But taking a backpack for long distances can be tedious. Besides, a wrongly packed backpack will make your backpack heavier, making your entire trip miserable.

To avoid such situations, you need to fill your backpack properly, especially if you carry a tent. The tent is the heavier item that one may want to carry with them. A correctly packed tent in your backpack will help save a lot of space apart from making the backpack carry comfortable. On the contrary, a poorly packed tent can make your backpack heavy due to incorrect weight distribution.

Besides, the tent can cause damage to other camping gear as well as the tent can also be damaged by other gear. Repairing a tent is quite challenging that resists your enjoying the camping night. To know more details about backpacking tents, you can check out the true wilderness. Here you will find in-depth resources and info about different tents and backpacks.

How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack in 4 Steps

Packing a tent in a backpack isn’t challenging, but it requires some packing techniques. Here, we demonstrated a complete step-by-step guideline for packing a tent inside a backpack.

How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack

1. Prepare the Tent

First, make sure your camping tent is absolutely dry and clean. If you find any dust on the tent’s surface, wipe with a clean cloth. Arrange all the tent poles according to the bag size coming with the tent. Keep the tent bag on the ground to flatten it out. Fold the tent in a way so that it fits in your backpack. Keep in mind that your tent can be positioned vertically in your backpack.

2. Roll the Tent

At this stage, roll the folded tent canvas with the poles tightly. You have to ensure that the edge of the folded tent is aligned while roiling the canvas. You should roll the folded tent canvas as tightly as possible while rolling it to save space in your backpack. This is because loosely rolling a tent will be hard to put inside the tent bag.

3. Pack the Tent  

Once you tightly rolled the tent canvas, put it into the tent bag. If the tent doesn’t come with a dedicated bag, use a stuff sack to put the tent in. The tent bag is necessary because it prevents being snagged by other gear in your backpack.

4. Pack Your Backpack

If you carry a sleeping bag, keep it under your backpack. This will help you put any heaviest items on the sleeping bag keeping the item secure. Then, place the wrapped tent on the upper part of the sleeping bag. You can also stand the tent up against one of the corners. Then, you can fill your backpack with other camping gear. You have to make sure that you pack everything tightly so that the tent doesn’t get enough space for moving.

How to Choose the Best Backpacking Tent?

Not all tents are ideal for packing in a backpack. So, if you are planning to go camping, choose the best tent that will help you save more space in your backpack. Here we have demonstrated some important factors that help you pick the right backpacking tent.


First, you have to decide where and when the tent will be used. Depending on the seasons, most tents on the market come with a 3-season variety. For example, if you camp in a place with high winds and rough weather, you will need a formidable 3-season tent. This tent will remain dry and safe in such conditions. You will also find some suitable tents for camping in the snow area. At the end of the day, 3-season tents are most helpful as these are ideal wind and wet-weather protection.

Casual or Serious Backpacking

Thinking about the types of camping you will be undertaking is another crucial factor when choosing a tent. If your camping needs casual backpacking that involves covering short distances, you should choose a tent with a reasonable price point. Make sure your chosen tent is made from durable materials that offer good livability. On the contrary, you will need an ultra-streamlined tent for extreme and long-distance camping.

Tent Weight

Weight is another crucial factor to consider while looking for a tent. Most budget tents use poor materials to build that weigh around 4 to 5 pounds. On the other hand, lightweight tents weigh about 2 pounds or even lower. Remember, lightweight tents provide less durability with minimum interior space. If you are a weekend backpacker who covers short distances, choosing a regular tent will be perfect. Choosing lightweight tents for frequent camping and covering long distances will be a wise investment. So, the right choice of the tent will completely depend on how you wish to use the tent.

Tent Capacity and Livable Space

The capacity of backpacking tents usually ranges from one to four people. Two-person type tents are widely used for their design to fit two standard-width sleeping pads. Choosing a one-person tent is also an excellent way to save weight, although most campers feel comfortable with some extra space. Three-person tents are ideal for a small family, while four-person tents are suitable for a family or group. Apart from the capacity, you will also ensure the tents’ interior space.

Number of Doors

The tent’s door is also an important concern, especially if you are camping with a partner. Having two doors to the tent will help you make it easier to get in and out at night. Although a single door in the tent may save a little weight, you will get the maximum convenience from double-door tents. Choosing a single-door tent for single backpackers will be a wise choice.

Weather Protection and Ventilation

Weather can change anytime, even in the middle of summer.  The good thing is that backpacking tents are made to hold tight in mild summer storms. Besides, most backpacking tents are designed with waterproof rain flies. It will reduce the likeliness of moisture forming within the tent. Apart from the weather protection, your chosen tent should have proper ventilation systems. Sufficient airflow will help keep you feeling cool in the tent during hot weather.


Durability is the main consideration while choosing a backpacking tent. No one may want to purchase a tent for single use. Although backpacking tents are punctured, ripped, and worn over time, the right level of durability can help you use the tent for several years. So you should pick a high-quality tent that can be used for a minimum of two or three years.

Tent Packing Methods for Backpacks With External Frames

If you have an outer frame backpack, you will still roll and prepare the tent as you were doing with an inner frame backpack. The only difference is packing the tent in your backpack. The outer frame backpacks are specially designed to pack any tent at the bottom. This position ensures less pressure on your back when walking. But, there are potential risks, such as the tent tearing if it is stuck in a tree branch. However, ensure you tie a secured knot from your backpack to your tent to prevent falling and getting stuck.

A Man Packs Tent With Backpack's External Frames


After reading this context, we hope you learned how to pack a tent in a backpack. Packing a tent in a backpack will be a challenging task if you don’t know the proper method. A poorly packed tent makes your backpack less space for packing other camping gear. Properly packing the tent ensures that you will get the maximum space after putting the tent. However, you just have to go through the steps described above to pack your tent in the backpack. If your backpack is designed with additional frames for packing a tent, check out the section above.          

Question & Answers

How do hikers carry tents?

Hikers typically carry tents by packing them in their backpack. Tents are relatively lightweight, but they can be bulky, so they can take up quite a bit of space in a backpack. Here are a few tips for packing a tent while hiking:

  1. Break down the tent and compress it as much as possible. This can be done by rolling or folding the tent and using compression straps or stuff sacks to make it smaller.
  2. Pack the tent in a separate compartment or stuff sack within your backpack. This will help keep the tent separate from other items in your pack and make it easier to find and set up when you reach your campsite.
  3. Consider the size and weight of the tent when selecting one for backpacking. Many backpackers prefer ultralight tents, which are specifically designed to be lightweight and packable for backpacking trips.
  4. If you are traveling with a group, divide the tent’s components between the group members for example, one person can carry the tent body, another the poles and another the stakes. This can help distribute the load more evenly.
  5. Consider the weather and terrain you’ll be hiking in when selecting a tent, be sure to choose one that is suitable for the conditions you’ll be facing.

It’s important to note that the type of hiking or backpacking you are doing and the duration of the trip will also affect the size and weight of the tent you bring along, the longer the trip and the harsher the weather, the more robust the tent needs to be. Always check the weight and packed size of the tent and evaluate if it suits your needs and preferences.

How do you attach a tent to a backpack?

There are a few ways to attach a tent to a backpack, depending on the design of the tent and backpack. Here are a few common methods:

  1. Compression straps: Many backpacks have straps located on the outside of the pack that can be used to compress and secure gear to the pack. These straps can be used to attach a tent by threading the straps through the tent’s loops or buckles and cinching them down.
  2. External pockets: Some backpacks have external pockets or straps designed specifically for carrying a tent. These pockets can be used to hold the tent and secure it to the pack.
  3. Stuff sack: A tent can be placed inside a stuff sack and then attached to the backpack using a carabiner or a strap.
  4. lashing straps: lashing straps which are often made of nylon. These straps can be tied to the backpack’s exterior and the tent can be tied onto the straps, this method is common when you want to carry other gear and the tent on your backpack together and don’t have an option of the above.

It is important to keep in mind that the weight of the tent should be evenly distributed on the backpack and to adjust the straps accordingly.

How do you pack a tent smaller?

There are a few ways to pack a tent smaller, depending on the design of the tent and your packing preferences. Here are a few tips:

  1. Compress the tent poles: Most tent poles can be compressed by pulling on the sections or by twisting them. This will reduce the length of the poles and make them easier to pack.
  2. Roll or stuff the tent body: Rather than folding the tent body, try rolling or stuffing it. This can help to remove air pockets and make the tent more compact.
  3. Use a compression sack: A compression sack is a special kind of stuff sack that has straps or cords on the outside that can be used to compress the contents inside. Using a compression sack can help to reduce the size of a packed tent.
  4. Take off any additional features: If you have any rainfly, gear loft, footprint etc. make sure to remove it and pack it separately, it will also save you space.
  5. Pack it with care: when it comes to tent body, rainfly, poles and stakes, be careful how you pack them. Roll or fold them in a way that they don’t crease or wrinkle. Also, keep in mind that you should pack your tent in a way that it won’t get dirty or wet, so make sure to use a stuff sack or a compression sack for your tent and make sure to keep it in a dry and protected place in your backpack.

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Categories: Camping