Gone Outdoors

How to Fold a Pop-Up Tent

by Paul Rohwer

Believe it or not, knowing how to fold a pop-up tent is the most important skill when it comes to using them. If you can't fold the tent properly, the tent can become damaged by mold, torn and not fit in the storage bag provided. Any experienced camper will tell you that the last is the worst, because if you can't fit the tent back into its storage bag, you can't easily secure it and carry it on your backpack.

Step 1

Sweep out the inside of the tent while it is still up with a small brush, or use a rag to do this. Make sure there is no debris or garbage left inside.

Step 2

Remove the stakes or pins from the edge loops of your tent. Store them in the small bag provided with your tent for this purpose. If you do not have a small bag, tie them together in a small bundle with a piece of twine and set them aside.

Step 3

Pull the pop-up tent poles from their loops and fold them. Most tent poles are made in sections that fit together to form one long pole. If you pull the sections apart, you will be able to fold the pole. Set the folded poles aside.

Step 4

Pick up the tent and shake it like it was a bed sheet to clear the bottom and outsides of any material. Lay the tent back down and pull it flat.

Step 5

Make sure all of the outside of the material is fully dry, especially the bottom side of the tent. If it is not dry, lay the tent in the sun and wait for 1 or 2 hours before continuing. If you are in a hurry, dry the surface with a cloth and let the tent air-dry for 20 minutes.

Step 6

Fold the outside edges of the length of the tent in toward the middle. The fold should line up perfectly with the edges of the width of the tent. Do this for each side.

Step 7

Pat and push on the folded tent, starting at the rear of the tent and working toward the end of the door opening so that any trapped air is pushed out.

Step 8

Fold the tent in half lengthwise. Hold your storage bag along the width of your folded tent and make sure the folded width of the tent is 1 or 2 inches smaller than the length of the bag. Refold the tent if necessary to achieve this.

Step 9

Starting at the rear of the tent, away from the end with the door opening, carefully and slowly roll up the tent. Keep the tent roll as tight and small as possible. When you are a few turns from the door end, lay your folded tent poles on the remaining flat part of the tent and roll them into the tent.

Step 10

Tie three pieces of twine around the roll, one at each end and one in the middle, to hold the rolled tent together. Stuff the tent roll into the storage bag. Use two more pieces of twine to tie your bundle of stakes or pins to the outside of the storage bag.

Items you will need

  • Cloth or small whisk brush
  • Tent storage bag
  • Four pieces of twine, 12 inches each

Tips

  • Spray disinfectant over the exterior of the tent, paying particular attention to the fabric on the bottom. This will deter the growth of mold and mildew.

Warnings

  • Do not fold and store a pop-up tent without some kind of storage bag. Even if all you have is a garbage bag, it will protect the tent while it is stored.