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5/04/2017 9:05 am  #1

Stuff or Roll?

Hello AA!

Help me out here - please!

When you break camp (or pack at home for your trip) how do you pack your tent? Do you stuff, or roll? Any reason why you do it that way? Have you ever had something go wrong with your tent-packing style that made you change?

I ask because I always fold & roll my tent for packing. I do change the fold pattern each time as to not create weak spots, but I've been told this isn't really the way to go.

I picked up a Volt 4 LT last year and it had to be exchanged due to a manufacturing defect (I actually found the defect and reported it to MEC, they fixed it on the next production run of Volt 4 LT's and offered me an exchange) - so now that I have a fresh, new, defect-free tent, I want to ensure it lasts a long, long time (it was expensive for a tent, so I don't want to screw it up).

So what do you guys do? Roll, or stuff? Do you pack poles separately? If you stuff (or roll) what do you do when the fly is soaked?

Let's have a poll, shall we?

Thanks for the help everyone!


Last edited by Peek (5/04/2017 9:06 am)

Packing your tent - Stuff or Roll?


5/04/2017 9:18 am  #2

Re: Stuff or Roll?

Depends on the size of the stuff sack. If I could stuff it in and have it fit I would do that as rolling is a bit of a pain. Poles go in their sleeve bag then get rolled up with tent. Wet fly goes right in with everything then dried and cleaned at home before putting away.



5/04/2017 9:22 am  #3

Re: Stuff or Roll?


During the trip, I always stuff.
If I have to put the tent away wet, I always attempt to stuff in a way that the wet side of the fly doesn't come in contact with the dry inside of the fly.
I have separate dry bags one for the fly and one for the body which I use to keep the 2 parts separate. I find it easier to pack this way and when going with friends the load is easily shared.

For long term storage I always roll it and as you mentioned it is encouraged to roll it slightly different each time as to discourage weaking of the fabric at fold points.

I worked at a small outfitter some 13 years ago now and this is how I was taught to do it.

Last edited by breed85 (5/04/2017 9:23 am)


5/04/2017 9:40 am  #4

Re: Stuff or Roll?

Fly gets stuffed into a waterproof compression sack.  I try to stuff it so the wet side doesn't come in contact with the dry side too.  The tent body gets stuffed into a regular compression sack.   Both pack down nice and small.
Poles go into their sleeve. 

Fly and tent body go into my canoe pack with sleeping bags, clothes etc. The poles usually go into my barrel so no chance of them getting damaged. more peace of mind then anything I guess.

I also bring a small piece of plastic (vapour barrier) about 2' X 3' that I use as a door mat...that gets stuffed in with the fly.   I find it helps keep some of the forest debris out of the tent. 

This has evolved over time and has worked for me.




5/04/2017 9:50 am  #5

Re: Stuff or Roll?

I have always rolled.

After reading thus thread though I may change up my routine...


5/04/2017 11:51 am  #6

Re: Stuff or Roll?



5/04/2017 11:57 am  #7

Re: Stuff or Roll?


Tripping in Algonquin Park is not about seeking shelter from a storm, tripping in Algonquin Park is about dancing in the rain!

5/04/2017 12:32 pm  #8

Re: Stuff or Roll?

Roll with the poles and pegs in the middle and groundsheet on the outside. Inside of the tent is folded to the inside to minimize how much moisture gets added to the inside. 

I would NEVER separate the poles and pegs from the rest of the tent. SwiftPaddler isn't the first person I have heard doing that, but it has always sounded like a recipe for disaster to me, especially when I hear folks splitting the parts of the tent between different folks in the group. I get flashbacks to a trip when someone asked where their canoe pack was as we were loading vehicles. Said pack was sitting by a garage out of the rain. The location was acknowledge with an OK. 3 or 4 hours later as we were loading the canoes at the put in the question was repeated ... Any guesses where the pack was? Now imagine that happening to your tent poles half way through a trip? . 

I could possibly see stuffing if the poles are put in first, but that has never worked well for a tent. On the other hand sleeping bags are normally stuffed in compression sacks. 


5/04/2017 12:42 pm  #9

Re: Stuff or Roll?

I have a cheap, old tent (and normally use hammocks but occasionally use the tent) so I'm not as concerned with folding different ways since I have gotten more than the expected lifespan of the tent.

I remove the fly and set it aside to be added back later...

Fold the tent in thirds WITH the plastic ground cloth folded on exterior (so the dry side of the ground cloth is always in contact with the protected tent...

Then place the fly (also folded in thirds) on top...

Place the tent poles inside and roll the whole burrito up as one and place into carrying sack.

If setting up in the rain, when I unroll it everything is covered by the ground cloth and I will often hang a tarp to act as an umbrella for setup until the fly is on.

Only drawback of stuffing would be that when I would pull it out I don't know which side/corner I grab first.  When rolled, I know it well enough to set it up in the pitch dark by feel just by rolling it out and knowing which side is up.


5/04/2017 1:41 pm  #10

Re: Stuff or Roll?

I tend to roll it the way it was packed by the manufacturer.

What was the defect with the Volt LT? I have the 2 person model and it'd be nice to keep an eye out for it.


5/04/2017 1:48 pm  #11

Re: Stuff or Roll?

I have always stuffed.even my higher end tents and always into compression sacks. Everything I bring that can, goes in a compression sack.. (not the poles of course) 

At home I store all my shelters loose in large mess laundry bags. they will dry easily in these bags as well hanging in the basement.. easy and  never had any issues.

Last edited by ShawnD (5/04/2017 4:35 pm)


5/04/2017 2:22 pm  #12

Re: Stuff or Roll?

I canoe trip almost exclusively with my family (4 kids).  When it is just two or three of us that go, the tent is in the same canoe pack as the sleeping bags etc..  The poles are in the barrel.  I guess it started because I was trying to distribute the weight and now it's just what I do cause it makes sense in my mind.  
Forgetting a canoe pack etc. at any stage of the journey never crossed my mind and has never happened.  Other then a very small backpack containing fishing gear/map/camera/bug spray that is all we bring.   When I trip with all 4 kids, we take 2 canoe packs and two barrels...same setup just doubled.    If a canoe pack and/or barrel is forgotten then we have a bigger problem then just missing tent poles. 

I understand this setup might change with a different group dynamic but that is what has come to work for us over time.   I can see how a forgotten item could change this strategy though.   



5/04/2017 9:57 pm  #13

Re: Stuff or Roll?

Stuff everything into separate compression sacks. (Water proof)      Tent and fly separate (footprint with fly) and poles down the centre of my pack.    Even my food gets stuffed into a dry sack with a one way valve...


5/05/2017 6:18 am  #14

Re: Stuff or Roll?

Stuff body and fly into sack. Fold groundsheet into it own sack. Poles in their sleeve. Pegs in their sack.


5/05/2017 11:28 am  #15

Re: Stuff or Roll?

You know, I voted Stuff... Because I do.  But in order to get all of the air out a bit more efficiently I roll.  Then I stuff.
If I'm on the trail, I stuff the body first, then make sure the 'bath tub' bottom is on the top, then put on the fly if it's wet.



5/05/2017 8:20 pm  #16

Re: Stuff or Roll?

For me, it depends on what I'm doing. I'll fold my tent when backpacking so it fits into my pack nicely. The poles will be carried in the sleeves on the backpack designed for tent and hiking poles. When canoeing, however, I'll roll it as it is usually attached to the outside of a smaller (30L) pack. In this instance, the poles are rolled in with the tent.

I don't have any concern in regarding to the folding of a tent. I think this is a carry-over from the days of canvas and not a concern with today's modern fabrics.

I just stuff my MEC silicone Scout tarp. It's too much of a problem to do anything else with and it's relatively compact any which way you look at it.   

Here is an interesting poll of tent manufacturers done by Backpacker Magazine on the issue.



Last edited by Algonquintripper (5/05/2017 10:19 pm)


5/06/2017 12:51 am  #17

Re: Stuff or Roll?

Stuff. The tent and fly go in the sack then stuffed into the pack. The poles and pegs get packed separately in the same pack, normally stuck in the back corner of the pack. For me it jus tv seems easier to pack this way


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