Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Welcome REI Co-op Members!
We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community,
click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

Tent. Stuff it or roll it?

Me again 🙂

So, I have an REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent.  We're getting ready for a short 2 day trip and have some longer trips planned in the coming months (longest will be about 2 weeks).  I'm trying to figure out the best way to do all of the things and saw a video where the guy just stuffed his tent and rain fly in the tent stuff sack rather than rolling it up.  It looked much faster but he also said it was better for the tent because you aren't creasing the tent over and over every time you pack it.  I've always rolled mine "because reasons" but like the idea of just stuffing it, especially if it's better for the tent.  Any thoughts?  

I don't put the poles or stakes in the tent bag so that I can fit it sideways in my pack.  I put the poles and stakes in the pill bag on the outside of my pack. 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
Labels (2)
13 Replies

@nathanu I stuff mine.  I prefer this because folding creates creases that weaken and wear out the fabric.  However this may depend on the fabric the tent is made from.  Mine is SilNylon.

Also you can stuff the body first and the fly on top which means you can get the fly out first...useful if you have a fly first or fly only tent and also if you need to stuff it slightly wet.

I usually pack the poles and stakes separately but all inside my pack.  I don't like putting stuff on the outside unless it will be used during the day (eg sandals, hiking poles, foam pad).   Stuff on the outside has a tendency to fall off or be scraped off.

@nathanu I'd like to stuff it, if it was  always dry, but since it's usually damp when I get going, I roll it/fold it up and stick it in a bag, but stuffing would be definitely easier and more preferred.

REI Member Since 1979

@nathanu I also stuff mine! The only exception is if I am packing the tent when it is damp/wet, in which case I fold it so that the dampness doesn't transfer to the dry parts of the tent. Short-term, folding it in this scenario won't do extreme damage to your tent.

I also like to keep my tent poles inside my pack, since I don't need to access them during the day. This also makes sure that they don't accidentally fall off my pack without me noticing.

Just a tip as well - If you are staying somewhere damp/where it might rain, one thing I have done in the past is place my tent, footprint, and fly inside a dry sack. That way you don't get anything else in your pack wet!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

This may be a dumb question but, if you're just packing it to move to the next campsite, would it be bad to stuff it?  The case that comes to mind is if you're packing up in the rain to hike to the next campsite.  Would it be bad to stuff it?  

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@nathanu funny, I just realized that although I always stuff my sleeping bag, I also always roll my tents! I totally understand the argument, however, that stuffing might be better over time so the tent doesn't bend/crease in the same places. Hmmm, something to consider for next time!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@nathanu I'm not sure why @bryndsharp folds hers when its wet.    Won't hurt the tent to stuff wet if you going to use it within a day or so.  i you are just moving camp and the weather is changeable its a good use for the large mesh pocket that some packs have.  You can stuff the fly in there so its easy to get out and dry should the rain stop and it is not stored with the dry(er) body) 

It only matters if you put it away wet when you get home and forget about it.  Silnylon tents are better with being stored damp.  Pu coating will grow mold or so I understand.  I always thoroughly dry my tent before storing it so I have never had a problem.

@OldGuyot folding when wet for me is just a personal preference. I do it because I find it easier to manage a wet tent when it has been neatly folded rather than stuffed. But that's just personal preference.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

fair enough.


I also heard about stuffing tents, like I do my sleeping bag. I have always folded my tent with the rain fly on top, and the footprint still “attached” underneath so it rolls up as one unit. This makes it easy to set up because when I find my spot, I just set the head of the tent where I want it and unroll it and the footprint is already under the tent in the right place with the fly on top “protecting” the body from moisture if it’s raining or drizzling. This is helpful in windy conditions so the footprint doesn’t get blown around while I’m grabbing the tent body and the rain fly is already covering (somewhat) the body of the tent. 

However, I can see where stuffing the tent when expecting rain, with the body on the bottom of the bag, the footprint in the middle and the fly on top, would allow one to take the fly out and try to string it up as a tarp (depending on location and what’s around you) so you can then set the rest of the tent up under it. 

I’m curious what the different tent manufacturers would say about the weakening of the material when folding/rolling! 🤔