How to Attach Tent to Backpack in 3 Easy Steps

Are you thinking about hitting the wild outdoors? You’ll need to pack a bunch of things like hydration bottles, a compass, and maybe a change of clothes if you’re going to spend the night. A tent is another essential item that you wouldn’t want to forget. That is why you have to figure out how to attach a tent to a backpack.

How to Attach Tent to Backpack in 3 Steps
How to Attach Tent to Backpack in 3 Steps

Your backpack is an important element for your outdoor trip. If it’s well made, you’ll safely store all your items away from the elements. On the other hand, if you don’t pack it right, it will wear you down all throughout the hike.

Why Should You Attach a Tent to a Backpack?

Your camping tent is pretty much the heaviest piece of equipment you’ll need for camping. It is also the most important if you consider how unpredictable the weather can get.

Why Should You Attach a Tent to a Backpack?

A camper’s backpack can only hold so much. So, the best place to store your camping tent is on the outside. Once you attach the tent externally, you’ll have freed some space inside for other essential gear. Before you head out, secure your tent tightly onto the backpack so that you don’t drop and lose it somewhere on a mountain trail.

Here’s a go-to guide on how to attach a tent to your backpack:

1. Prepping the Tent for Storage

Now you’re not just going to take down your tent and jam it in your backpack. Outdoor life demands a bit of order. And since you can only carry so much gear, you should prep the tent to fit seamlessly onto your backpack.

Lay it Out

Spread out the tent. Collect the tent poles and heap them to one side. These will serve as a useful support structure for your tent when you attach it to your backpack.

Roll it

You don’t need fancy folds for your tent. Once you’ve spread it on a flat surface, proceed to roll it up. Canvas, which is quite bulky, is the standard material for many tents. You are better off using the latest camping tents. Updated versions are functional, and you won’t get tired of hauling them around on your backpack.

Prepping the Tent for Storage
Prepping the Tent for Storage

Tent Bag

Now that you have a nicely rolled tent, grab the tent bag. Its shape will fit a rolled canvas before you secure it on your backpack.


Your tent should not get wet at any point during the packing process. For starters, do not try storing a wet camping shelter. Even if the material will keep rainwater out in the wild, mould grows faster on damp canvas. You should ensure the fabric is completely dry before rolling.

You can use a waterproof tent bag as one way to ensure your tent remains bone dry. Also, don’t forget the backpack’s rain cover for additional protection. You can also waterproof the tent yourself with the right products and info.

2. Attaching the Tent Bag to a Backpack

After securing your tent inside a waterproof bag, you can then attach it to your pack. There are various positions on the backpack which you can use to attach it.

Most modern backpacks have plenty of straps perfect for securing a tent. You can use them along with other support structures if you are looking for how to attach tent to a backpack.

 Attaching the Tent Bag to a Backpack
 Attaching the Tent Bag to a Backpack

Closed-Loop Ties

There are a couple of backpacks with hanging loops. Campers use them to secure various camping gear, and you won’t break a sweat tying the loops.

Make sure your tent bag has straps on its face to go on the backpack loops. Now cross and tie the straps onto the pack’s loops. Ensure there is a tight fit to avoid the smaller bag from slipping off on a nature trail.

This method will only work if your tent’s carry bag comes with external straps and your backpack has loops. If your tent bag does not have straps, you can still use the compression straps on the backpack.

Compression Straps

Compression straps are an ingenious means of attaching extra equipment to your outdoor pack. Where possible, easily squeeze your stuff close to your body for a stable load. Moreover, you can adjust the fit for large items.

Take your round tent bag, place it on your backpack side. Run the compression straps over the mini bag and secure them onto the buckles on your backpack.

If the tent carrier has external straps, you can use them to squeeze the tent to prevent excessive swinging. You’ll eventually end up with a stiff backpack that won’t tire you during the hike.

External Frame Backpacks

Many backpacks designed for the great outdoors have an external frame. This structure affords your bag more rigidity and stability while you wear it on your back.

They are more comfortable because you can efficiently distribute your backpack’s weight across your back. Also, the frame allows you to carry heavier loads for longer without getting tired. Additionally, an external frame is an excellent way to attach a tent to a backpack.

You can make connections between your tent and this frame. The structure has points of attachment for straps and extra loops.

You’ll need a tent pack with external straps. Then connect with the frame on designated tie points. Tighten the connection to prevent the tent from swinging during the hike.

3. What Is the Best Backpack Position for Your Tent?

What Is the Best Backpack Position for Your Tent?
What Is the Best Backpack Position for Your Tent?

Attaching a tent to a backpack is pretty easy. However, where to secure the tent draws a pair of strong opinions depending on the type of camper you are.

There are two predominant locations to attach your tent to your backpack – the top and bottom. Each site has benefits against some drawbacks, which you can frankly work around for the ultimate outdoor experience.

Attaching the Tent to the Top of Your Backpack

For regular hikers, the top part of a backpack is an ideal place to attach a tent. But pack in such a way that the lightest equipment sits at the bottom. The heaviest gear should lie on the upper deck as close to your spine as possible.

This position has a raised center of gravity. Given how rough outdoor terrain can get, you might want to question the stability of such a load.

Nevertheless, the heavier stuff is supported further by the upper body muscles on your back and shoulders. There is a robust support structure that’s going to keep the pack upright while on a hike.

Nevertheless, you cannot discount the effect of a taller backpack. If you place too many things on your pack, it will eventually lose stability. You will need to compensate for this loss by correcting your posture while trekking. For an activity that demands significant effort, you’ll be at a loss whether to maintain a stable posture or keep walking.

Attaching the Tent at The Bottom

The bottom is the safest option, especially if you don’t go on hiking trips very frequently. Also, you can exploit the attachment points on your backpack’s external frame. The resulting formation is more stable with a lowered center of gravity.

After rolling your tent into the tent carrier, horizontally attach it to the bottom of your backpack. Secure the straps, and you’ll be ready to hit the nature trail.

Outdoor terrains are notoriously uneven. If you’ve placed your tent high up on your camping bag, you’ll have to keep stabilizing the backpack because it will wobble.  So pack most of your heavy equipment lower in your bag for a stable hike.

Attaching a Tent on the Sides

Wondering how to attach a tent to the side of your backpack? First, you have to roll your tent into its carrier. Tent bags are tube-shaped and can be easily secured by the MOLLE strap system on most backpacks. You can also use the straps on the sides of your outdoor bag.

Many backpackers usually combine the tent and tent poles into one package. You might save precious storage space, but this singular pack is going to be heavy. You’ll have to deal with asymmetrical weight distribution.

Try to divide the tent components into equally weighted packages. After that, attach them to either side of your backpack.

Limitations of Attaching a Tent on Your Backpack

There are plenty of advantages to storing your tent outside your backpack. Mostly, you’ll be freeing up precious storage space inside the pack. You can carry more food, drink, and gear in the empty compartment.

However, packing your tent outside means exposing the canvas to damage. Nature trails are not like paved roads. They have bushes, thorns, and rocks, which can hook onto your tent carrier and even rip the fabric apart.

If you don’t pack your belongings properly, you can lose some of the equipment hanging from your backpack. You don’t risk dropping anything if you’ve stored everything inside the pack. But if it’s outside, contact with overgrown branches will likely pull off even a metallic cup or two.

Tips for Attaching a Tent on Your Backpack

Attaching your tent externally to your camping pack exposes the equipment to a lot of risks. Mother Nature is quite unpredictable, and you can expect a range of weather shifts along the hike. Your tent is also at risk of getting wet from rainfall. The best way to protect your equipment is to get a solid rain cover to go along with your backpack.

Limitations of Attaching a Tent on Your Backpack
Limitations of Attaching a Tent on Your Backpack

Outdoor-focused backpacks come with in-built rain protection. However, even if your tent is waterproof, it will become an excellent breeding ground for mould if it gets wet while packed. Molud eats into the fabric, compromising the strength and water resistance of the canvas.

If you are going hiking with another person, you can split the load. Divide the tent paraphernalia into two parts for each member to haul.

Typically, 2-person tents are pretty small. You can easily stuff them inside your camper bag. And attaching the canvas to your backpack is a walk in the park.

However, larger family-sized tents are a lot heftier. The fabric is thicker, and even the tent poles are significantly heavier. Consider ultra-light camping tents that use aluminum poles if you don’t want to haul around too much weight.

How do you attach a pop-up tent to a backpack?

Pop-up tents are much lighter and easier to use than regular tents, making it easy to get them erected wherever you make a stop. But packing the pop-tents back into their bags needs a high level of discipline and shouldn’t be done clumsily.

The best thing to fold back is to match the edges to their corners and then fold or roll them back properly to their original shape. Always remember to unzip the sections before folding/rolling them back.

How do you attach a pop-up tent to a backpack?
How do you attach a pop-up tent to a backpack?

Once you fold/roll up your pop-up tent correctly, you can stuff it in the tent’s bag and cover it with another waterproof cover made specifically for the tent bag. Let’s find out some methods on how you can attach your tent to your backpack:

Stuffing the tent bag into your backpack

This is one of the simplest and cleanest methods to pack your tent back into your backpack, provided your tent has foldable poles. Ensure you follow the ideal method of weight distribution while arranging the luggage in the backpack.

The ideal weight distribution ensures the weight gets distributed uniformly on your entire body and not only on your back. Else it may lead to severe back pain leading to disastrous after-effects in the long run.

Using loops to attach

Ensure to have external straps to your tent bag, and the backpack has closed loops. Thread the straps into the backpack loops and tie them firmly so the tent bag doesn’t loosen out or swing while you travel. This is very important as while hiking, you may have to cross some critical spots; therefore, your remaining luggage firm is paramount.

Using the external or internal frame of the backpack

If your backpack features this option, you can simply make use of this by attaching your tent bag to the base of your backpack horizontally. Then you can tighten the tent to the backpack by using the two end straps and closing on the buckles.

Recently, backpacks are also equipped with internal frames. This can help you to stuff your tent in the spacious middle compartment of the backpack. By attaching the clips to each of the 4 corners of the tent bag, you can further insert those clips into the backpack loops and ensure they are tightly bound.

Attaching tent to a frameless backpack

If you have a backpack without a frame, you can just dismantle the tent and stuff all the fabric and other soft materials of the tent in your backpack along with the other luggage. You can strap the poles and stakes to either side of your backpack.

How do you attach a pop-up tent to a backpack?
How do you attach a pop-up tent to a backpack?

Using Compressions Straps

Put your tent between the two straps on either side vertically. Then using the clips connected to the first two belts, tighten them to the backpack. With the remaining two, you can tighten it further to ensure it remains firm while you hike.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I fit a tent in a backpack?

Fitting a tent in a backpack depends on the size of your tent.
The tent will fit in a big backpack only if it is around 4 to 5 pounds. If it is more than that, you will need to dismantle the tent material like rainfly, stakes, poles, etc., and arrange them accordingly.

2. Can you put a tent in a stuff sack?

Yes, provided your tent has foldable poles. It’s advisable to store your tent in the stuff sack meant for it, as it will help the tent be in good shape with good longevity.

Final Thoughts

Proper planning for a camping trip involves correctly packing your gear. Your backpack is pretty important because it safely stores everything you’ll need while in the wild. So you must know how to attach a tent to a backpack if you are thinking of spending the night outdoors.

Your tent is a significant load, so you have to be careful where you will place it. There are plenty of positions to consider for attaching your tent. It all depends on your preference. However, you should also consider the terrain, distance, and elevation of the hiking trail.

Lastly, attaching your tent frees up crucial storage space inside your backpack. It is the best place to pack the most critical items in your itinerary, especially after taking steps to secure it.

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