How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack in 7 Steps

couple packing their tent in a backpack

We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you when you buy through links on our website. Learn more

It doesn’t matter if you plan to go hiking or camping, a backpack is a must to ensure that you have everything you need as you go through unexpected terrain.

Nothing will make your journey easier than knowing that your camping tent (your home while in the wild) is with you all the time. At least then you know you’ll have a shelter to sleep in at night. But, a poorly packed backpack can defeat your purposes and even lead to back pain and injury.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to pack a tent in a backpack so you can get the most out of your outdoor journey.

How to Pack a Tent and Sleeping Bag in a Backpack

Before you start packing, begin by laying your tent on a flat surface and make sure it’s not damp or wet.

If it does have some extra moisture, be sure to dry it completely as a wet tent will add weight and spoil other items that you’ve packed in there with it.

Over time, packing a damp tent may also cause things like mold and mildew.

1. Pack the Tent Poles

The first thing you need to do is take your tent poles and pack them in their original packaging. Place your tent on the floor and test it for any damp spots.

Once you’ve flattened your tent, place the bag as well as the poles on the bottom of it.

2. Roll the Tent

Roll the instant 12 person tent as well as the poles into a nice little package while making sure they’re nicely aligned. Keep them in a straight line. If you suspect that it’s a bit wonky, undo it and start over again until you’re sure that it’s nice and straight.

The last thing you need is a poorly rolled tent that’ll make your job harder than it already is. The tent poles will keep it in place and make sure that everything in your backpack is nice and balanced and firm.

3. Make Sure It’s Tight

A tightly rolled tent is best and the goal is to ensure that there’s enough space for you to fit other items into the backpack.

You never know, it could get loose and come undone while you’re climbing up somewhere and you wouldn’t even know it until you open your backpack to find it partially damaged.

4. Fit the Tent in Its Own Bag

Your tent should come with its own bag. Make sure to roll the tent into this bag first before you fit it into your backpack and make sure it’s nice and tight.

This will ensure that your backpack is compact enough to help you pack other stuff.

5. Put the Heavy Stuff at the Bottom

Take stock of all the items you’ll be bringing with you on your trip and put aside all the heavier items as they should be placed at the very bottom to ensure even weight distribution.

Packing this way will also protect the top of your hips, your spine, and the area between your shoulders from getting damaged as you hike or climb with the backpack. Distribute up to 30% of your body weight to the backpack.

6. Put the Sleeping Bag First

When packing, you should always start with your sleeping pad bag or top quilt so that it’s at the bottom and make sure it’s completely dry.

Keep in mind that it’s likely to be the last thing you’ll take out when you’re camping, plus the good ones are usually super heavy too.

With that said, you should try and do everything you can to fold it up and reduce its size before you pack it up so that it’s easier to pack other equally essential items into your backpack.

7. Place the Tent Above the Sleeping Bag

Once you’ve packed your sleeping bag and the tarp if you need one, put the tent on top of it in an upright position and right at the corner either horizontally or vertically.

Keep it from wobbling by packing other items around it, like rolled-up clothing items. This helps to ensure equal weight distribution within the backpack.

Well, there you have it! A step-by-step process on how to pack a tent in a backpack. Pretty simply, huh?

Things to Consider During the Process

Now that you know how to do it, here are a few important considerations to make:


Before you choose a particular backpack, it’s important to consider your camping tent size. You’ll need a backpack that can accommodate the specific size of your tent.


You’ll need a backpack that has an internal frame.

External Frame

External frame backpacks are typically designed for campers or hikers that need to carry easily accessible essential items.

But you can pack your tent in this type of backpack. Whatever you do, always make sure that the compression straps on the backpack are in good condition.

Compression Bag

A compression bag is important for its ability to tighten the tent so it’s compact enough to fit nice and snug into your backpack.

Waterproof Bag

Waterproof bags are really great to take with when camping, hiking or climbing through new terrain because you never know when it’s going to rain.

The benefit of carrying this type of bag is that it helps to protect your valuables (including your tent) from the rain and unnecessary moisture.

Final Thoughts

To wrap up our guide on how to pack a tent in a backpack, let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve learned so far.

First of all, we learned all about the different steps you need to go through and then proceeded to take you through the different considerations that you have to make while choosing your backpack and doing the packing.

From now on, you’ll never have to worry about a poorly packed backpack ever again, and can rest assured that you’ll be able to pack all of your camping essentials like a pro.

It doesn’t matter what type of tent or sleeping bag model you have, this guide will really come in handy and help to make sure that you bring your shelter with you wherever you go.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here