How to Pack A Tent in A Backpack?

When on a backpacking trip or camping on the trail, your tent will be among the heavy backpack items you need to carry.

Since it’s among the heaviest items, it can make your backpack comfortable or uncomfortable to carry.

You can quickly discover a particular way to pack your backpack with your tent when on an extended camping trip.

two campers

Luckily, you can use this guide and learn how to pack a tent for backpacking and make sure you have enough space for all your other gear.

By the end, you’ll know how to pack a tent in various backpacks for long-distance hiking so you face less strain and can still have a great camping experience. (Read About the Different Types of Tents)

Where Do You Pack Tent Poles for Backpacking?

You must learn how to pack one of the heaviest things you’ll bring on your camping trip: the tent. That’s because a poorly packed tent in your backpack can cause not only harm to your tent but also strain and even serious injury to the person carrying it.

For this reason, when you come to pack away your tent, you have your tent poles to think about. With these, there are a couple of places where you can pack them.

Take your tent poles and pack them in their original tent pole bag. You would then roll them up inside your tent before you put this away. However, some don’t do this and strap their tent poles onto the outside of their backpack without them being in any bag.

While convenient, it means they can snag on branches or rocks, and you can even lose them without knowing. (Read Backpacking vs Hiking)

tent bottom of backpack

How Do You Pack A Backpack for Camping?

You can follow a good rule to pack your backpack for camping and hiking as if it was three separate portions. Here, you pack the bottom, middle and top.

Once you are on your hiking trip, you would have an evenly balanced backpack as you would pack the bottom first and have the heavier items in the middle with essentials on the top.

Bottom of Your Backpack

Sleeping Bag and sleeping pad or anything bulky but soft. If backpacking in the rain, line your pack with a large trash bag to keep all your items inside to stay dry.

Middle of Your Backpacking Pack

Stove, fuel, food along with your camp mug, camp shoes, and more that you want to keep safe.

Top of the Backpack

If you may face rain, keep your rain gear accessible, as well as your first aid kit, snacks, water filter, and toilet kit, as these could all be required at a moment’s notice.

Lid of your Backpack

In this small space, pack your travel-sized bug spray and sunscreen, GPS, or map, and a flashlamp. You can also use it to stash any fire-starting equipment or electronics you may require. (Learn What to Wear When Hiking)

Compression Straps

You’ll find a backpack that comes with compression straps on the exterior. You can use these to stabilize your backpack and keep everything tight; you need to make sure these are loose as you back your bag.

Some people may use these to secure their tent pegs for their tent externally, although they can be lost easily. Often, sleeping bags are secure with these before tightening them to secure the contents of your backpack.

No matter, make sure you have a secure knot to stop your tents or other gear from falling, as your careful packing comes undone.

While offering easy access, it can place too much strain on your back when unnecessary weight is loaded toward the bottom.

In addition, you can spread the weight using a hip belt or side pockets with easy access for water bottles or things to grab with no stopping and removing your backpack too often in the great outdoors.

What Do You Do with A Wet Tent When Backpacking?

If your tent is wet as you want to pack it, you need to shake it as much as possible to help dry it. You would need to roll it the same way until you get to your next camp.

However, once there, you can set up your tent and rain fly where it should dry overnight. A couple of days being wet isn’t an issue long as you don’t leave it packed over 48 hours.

As your tent dries, you can use a tarp and hammock if the weather is suitable.

Here is the step-by-step process on how to pack a tent in a backpack before heading off to your next campsite. (Read Most Comfortable Way To Sleep In A Tent)

tent poles

Pack the Tent Poles

Roll the Tent: Roll your tent and poles into a little package. Please keep them in a straight line, so carrying them packed is easy, and no sharp objects are sticking out.

Make Sure It’s Tight

Put the Tent in its Bag: Your tent should have its own bag. Ensure it fits inside this bag before you put it into your backpack.

Put Heavy Stuff on the Bottom: Heavier items should be placed on the very bottom for even weight distribution. Packing a tent in a backpack this way helps protect your hips, spine, and areas between your shoulders. You should not carry more than 30% of your bodyweight inside your backpack.

Start with Your Sleeping Bag

When packing, start packing with your sleeping pad and sleeping bag at the bottom, and be sure it’s completely dry. These will be the final thing to remove from your backpack and are heavier than most items. Reduce their size before you pack it to fit more other items into your backpack.

Place Tent Above Sleeping Bag

Once you’ve packed your sleeping bag and a tarp, put the rolled tent on top in an upright position and at the corner either horizontally or vertically. Pack other items and other stuff around it to help keep equal weight distribution within the backpack and stop it from wobbling.

How Do You Pack an External Frame Backpack?

The first method is to pack your tent inside your backpack’s interior compartment. Remember, an internal frame backpack has a lot more space than backpacks with an external frame pack. Thus, it’s easier to pack your tent using this extra space in the pack’s interior.

Before making your final decision on an internal frame backpack, consider the size of your tent. It is, of course, obvious, you buy a larger backpack if you have a big tent.

If you already have a backpack and don’t want another, pack your tent in a compression bag before setting off. One way to get your tent packed small is to use a compression bag.

Spread the tent flat on the floor after picking your internal frame backpack. Make sure you put the tent poles in their designated pole bag. Place this along the tent’s edge so as you roll, they give your tent more support when rolling.

Make sure the tent is properly matched to the tent pole bag, and with the tent poles inside, roll your tent as straight as possible.

You can add the tent peg bag in a similar position and carry on rolling your tent.

When your tent is dry, is the best way to pack it and is easier to pack than when wet. A wet tent weighs and can make your backpack harder to carry, and you can get your other gear wet.

Pack a Tent Outside Your Backpack

Here you can see the exterior packing method and how to attach a tent to a backpack with external frames.

In this method, all your tent would be on the exterior of your backpack, where you secure it in position. The first method has you packing your tent inside the bag, using a lot of space. However, this method gives you more room inside your backpack, even if an external frame backpack is smaller.

Of course, you do need a backpack design with an external frame. Nowadays, they are not as popular as the inside frame models, yet you can still find them.

When using an external method of packing a tent, start by rolling your tent in the same way as with the internal packing method.

After you have rolled it tight, you would use cords or straps to tie the tent. With the tent tied, use the closed-loop ties to secure your tent to the backpack frame.

Such a fastener uses closed loops on either end, so you get extra security as it stops your tent from slipping from the frame.

On this kind of backpack, your tent is typically placed on the bottom portion of the external frame, and by doing so reduces the strain on your back to reduce the risk of injury. On a long hike, there is more chance you can catch your tent on something sharp, so be wary where you hike.

Besides this, there is one thing many individuals often overlook. This method requires your tent to be on the outside of your backpack; it faces the full force of the weather, meaning you may need to pitch a wet tent.

While tents are often waterproof, carrying a wet tent adds weight to your pack. To offset this, it is advisable to invest in a waterproof zipper bag for extra protection as you carry your tent on the external frame hiking backpack.

How to Pack A Tent in A Backpack (2)