How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack: Best Guide

Every time you go on a camping trip, you must bring along your tent. You’ll need a shelter to protect you against rain, snow, and even the sun. Your camping tent is a pretty significant piece of equipment. That is why you must know how to pack a tent in a backpack before hitting the wild outdoor.

How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack Before Hitting the Wild Outdoors

Every backpacker must carefully consider the packing process. Remember, you have limited space to work with since you can only afford to carry just one pack. Your bag’s internal organization is crucial, and this article will give you some key pointers.

How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack: Step By Step Guide

A backpack and camping tent are pretty essential for outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll be hauling everything you need inside the bag, and the tent provides shelter after a long day on the nature trail.

If you don’t store it correctly, the tent will take up way too much space. You’ll either have to forego other gear or carry another pack that’ll probably weigh you down along the hike. Here is the best way to pack a tent inside your camping bag.

1. Select an Appropriate Backpack

There are tons of camping backpacks on the market. Not every one of them is suited for tent packing. Hydration packs, for instance, are too small even for a one-person tent.

You need a sizeable backpack that can fit not just the tent but also your additional gear. Keep in mind that a bigger tent demands an equally big bag. A backpack with an internal frame has a lot more room inside. It will fit your camping tent and still have ample room left over for other camping gear.

An internal frame also steadies your backpack. While hiking, you’ll frequently encounter uneven terrain. That is why you will need all the stability you can get, and a frame will hold your bag upright. So, you can forget about sudden wobbles that will impede your hiking progress.

Some people bought their camping bags before getting a tent. Don’t worry about the tent being too big for your pack. Get yourself a bunch of compression packs that will significantly reduce the size of the packed tent. You can then store this pack inside your bag.

2. Prep the Tent

After getting a suitable backpack with an internal frame, you will need to prep your tent before putting it inside. Follow a straightforward procedure, and you’ll be good to go. Set the tent poles aside as they can go in a separate holding area. You’ll also use them as a guide when rolling the tent.

Spread it

Spread the pack on a flat surface. You’ll want to expel as much air as possible from the canvas to prevent the fabric from bulging. Place the tent poles along the laid-out tent. At this point, they should be secured inside a pack.

Roll it

While rolling, aim to make the tent as tight as possible to ensure that the pole bag matches the laid-out tent. Now roll the tent over the pole bag and eliminate any air pockets along the way.

Stuff it

Get your tent bag, open it and place the rolled-up tent inside. The bag has a cylindrical shape that will snugly fit your tent. Also, the tent poles and peg bags at the center of the rolled tent will give it more central support.

3. Organize Your Backpack

Once you’ve got your tent inside its bag, you can place it on several sites. Generally, hanging your tent on your backpack exposes it to the elements. It can also get caught on thorns and tear. So you’re better off stuffing it inside your bag.

Before throwing it into your pack, arrange the internals. Generally, the heavier items should go on the bottom and lighter ones on top. This arrangement lowers the center of gravity and gives you stability while hiking in the wild.

Organize Your Backpack

Most tents are pretty weighty. However, a proper sleeping bag is quite a significant load and should sit at the bottom. Next, place the rolled-up tent. It should be as close to the middle as possible.

While backpacking, you want to have easy access to the most used item inside your pack. The last thing you need is to dig past your tent to find a compass. This is why it’s a good idea to understand how to pack a tent in a backpack before hitting the wild outdoors!

4. Attaching the Tent to a Backpack

You can also attach the tent to your backpack externally. You’ll need a bag with an external frame that has provisions for securing your tent. Generally, you have to pack your rolled-up tent at the bottom of the backpack. This position will improve your stability when trudging through uneven landscapes.

However, there are risks to attaching your tent externally. The first is that your tent may fall off during the hike. If you don’t tighten the straps, the risk of it falling off increases.

Additionally, there are plenty of bushes and thorns along a nature trail that will eventually make contact with your tent and pull it off your pack. Even if you’ve secured the tent, you will have to contend with a torn canvas, especially if it wasn’t covered.

Furthermore, the weather plays a major role in hiking. So, in poor weather conditions, your tent could get ruined if it’s on the outside.

Tips on How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack Safely

Every time you want to pack your tent, whether before or after you’ve gone camping, make sure it is dry. After a heavy storm, you should hang your tent in the sun to dry before rolling it.

Any tent with a bit of moisture is an excellent breeding ground for mold and other fungi. These microorganisms will ruin your tent fabric. Once compromised, the canvas won’t withstand heavy rain in the future.

Tips on How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack Safely

Some moisture will even seep out of the tent bag and into the backpack. If you’ve got perishables like food and drink, then the water will make them go bad.

Before packing for a camping trip, write out a plan. Think about what you need on the excursion and consider how much luggage you are willing to haul. You certainly don’t need a selfie stick in the wild. If you know what’s necessary and what is not, you’ll easily organize your belongings inside the pack.

How do hikers carry tents?

Your tent should be packed in the center of the rucksack. The tent should be close to your back. Since tents are primarily heavy, this placement gives a better weight distribution and will help keep your balance together. Additionally, you will keep the tent dry by packing it inside the rucksack. 

If there is no room, you can have the poles attached to the outside of the rucksack with straps. 

Do you bring a tent backpacking?

This answer to this question will depend on the location of your backpacking trip, the season, and the level of experience you have in backpacking.

If you have backpacked in the area before and can find a decent emergency shelter if the need arises, then it’s best to have a minimal option. If it’s an unknown trial, it’s best to bring a tent along to save yourself from the harsher and unpredictable weather conditions. 

Do you bring a tent backpacking

Mostly campers need a tent to: 

  • Save themselves from the sun.
  • Get protection from the elements.
  • Keep themselves safe from stray animals.

People also opt for other alternatives to tents that weigh much less.

How do you pack a two-person tent in a backpack?

The process to do this is pretty simple. Follow the instructions below: 

How do you pack a two-person tent in a backpack?

Select the backpack

It’s best to opt for a backpack with an internal frame. These backpacks are spacious and will allow for packing your tent inside with ease. Make sure that the backpack and tent are compatible in size. If your tent is bigger than the backpack, get a compression bag to compact the tent’s size.

Prepare the tent

Make sure the tent is dry. Packing and carrying a tent is very challenging. Spread the tent on a flat surface and put the poles in the bag. Adjust the width of the tent to match it to the tent pole bag. 


Place the tent poles bag inside the tent and roll the tent fabric. Use the poles and keep the rolling firm and ensure everything is aligned. Continue rolling for some time, add the peg bag, and keep rolling. It’s essential to go slow and keep all of it tight. 


Once the tent roll is done, put it inside the bag. The rolls and pegs will keep things in one place and add central support. 

Get your backpack ready

Besides the tent, place the other things you want to carry inside the backpack. It’s best to have the heavier items at the bottom followed by the lighter ones. 

Pack the tent inside

Ideally, the tent should be in the backpack’s center. When you place the tent in the middle, you put less strain on your back. Having your sleeping bag at the bottom of the backpack is best. Your tent should be just over the sleeping bag.

You can choose to have it vertically or horizontally. If you are placing your tent vertically, removing it while unpacking is very easy. But if you are packing horizontally, you can add more things to your tent. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I pack my tent on the outside of my backpack?

It’s best to pack your tent inside the backpack unless your tent is super light. Most often, tents are one of the heaviest gears for your camping/hiking/backpacking trip, and you want to keep the heaviest items inside the backpack to make carrying easier. Having the tent outside can lead to back and shoulder pain

Where do you strap your tent to your backpack?

It’s best to have the tent inside the backpack to avoid back pain. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re going camping, there’s no escaping hauling a bit of gear. Frankly, most outdoor activities are physically demanding. That’s why most solid hiking packs are huge and can hold more than 40L worth of luggage.

Camping tents and sleeping bags are pretty heavy. However, they are also critical to a successful night out in the wild. You wouldn’t want to go without them. That’s why you must know how to pack a tent in a backpack.

Packing most of your gear inside the bag is safer than hanging it outside. While inside, your tent and sleeping blanket will remain dry. They also will not be exposed to bushes and won’t tear along the way to your campsite. We hope these tips on how to pack a tent in a backpack before hitting the wild outdoors will serve you well on your next camping trip. Good luck!

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top