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  • tent storage question - whats the best way?

    i was reading about the best way to store a tent we use for campouts. i had always cleaned it up - rolled it up - and stuffed it in the bag.

    reading through the website for eureka, they mentioned the best way would be to have it loosely stuffed into a bag large enough to hold it and that would help to preserve the waterproofing and by not folding it you dont build creases.

    any thoughts on this?

  • #2
    btw - this tent is one we use for family campouts so i am not as worried about having it in the smallest possible container. so the larger duffel i have that can be used isnt as much of a concern


    • #3
      Great question.
      I've always folded and rolled.
      As a competitive sailor, we always folded or rolled our sails, never stuffed them, even spinnakers. Theory was rolling sails helped keep their shape. A stuffed sail never looked right until a big wind blew out all the wrinkles.

      Now, at Canoe Base this summer, we were told to stuff the supplied tents. Didn't seem right but we followed their directions. Later this summer, I bought a high end backpacking tent from a really cute salesperson at a respected climbing/camping shop. She said never fold and roll, always stuff. Same reason you heard. Now I'm a stuffer, at least for tents, despite no information from the manufacturer as to which way is best.
      Far be it from me to question the advise from an attractive sales clerk.


      • #4
        and from the eureka site -


        * Make sure the tent is completely dry, then store loosely rolled, in a dry, cool place. To prevent dust from collecting on the tent, cover it with a cloth. This allows the nylon/polyester fabric to breathe.Color Transfer

        * Ideally, the tent poles should be stored in their fully assembled state. This reduces the tension on the shock cord, prolonging its life. We recommend that the tent bag be used only as a carry sack and not for storage.

        hmmm - loosely rolled - close enough to stuffed?


        • #5
          I've recently tranformed from a roller/folder to stuffer. I received the advice from several outdoorsmen that I hold in high regard. It's primarily for the reasons mentioned - waterproofing, creases, etc. It's also easier to teach to your young scouts, but that's another issue.


          • #6
            I proudly fold and roll my personal tent which started life as my tiger cub's and my tent some years ago it is a cheapie walmart model just perfect for me and a child be it my son or daughter. It still fits into its original bag and has not been destroyed by mildew or sticks. Much to the dismay of the boy scout troop who cannot fit their much more expensive tents back into the bag from whence they came. Artificial fabrics typically do not mind being folded and rolled as long as they are taken out and exercised regularly. That is the way a large awning company I worked for for many years stored large awnings. Now natural fibers lend themselves to stuffing my now star scout son stuffs his down sleeping bag into its sack. Now the sack did come up missing after last years summer camp but I graciously provided him another from one of my cheapie bags which must be you guessed it folded and rolled.
            Thus my conclusion if you are flush and can afford the best in equipment you may stuff it and it suffers no harm. If you pinch every penny and have only the bare minimum you must take the time and trouble to carefully stow your equipment.


            • #7
              i agree with your comments about taking care of the gear scottteng - i just found it weird as i called eureka after posting this and they told me that stuffing into a larger bag is what they are now instructing their customers to do. and to only use the included bag as a carry item.

              maybe my answer from them will vary based on who i get on the phone

              i think it comes down to this. if your gear is clean and you take car of it - it should last you quite a long time - regardless of what methods you use. the only tru way to tell might be to pack and unpack it daily to see which ones fail first. (even then you might argue that you need a larger sample of tents to detrmine if your problem is a fluke - but thats left to my old statistics professor)


              • #8
                I have a NorthFace VE-24 four season mountaineering tent I've had for 24 years. Used it quite a bit in the 80s, then put it away for 10 years while my raising my kids. Now my son has commandeered that tent. Still in pretty good condition and he still demands it on cold winter snow camping leaving me in my bivvy sack. BTW, that tent was always folded and rolled. Now we stuff it. dry it out, store it properly, and it will serve you well.


                • #9
                  Long term storage? Short term storage?

                  Long term (such as over winter) I hang my tents in a clean, dry closet. I don't do this to prevent mildew (because my tents are dry before I stuff them into any sack - if it's raining when I take down my tent, I gather it and place it at the very rear of my pick-up truck bed - becomes the last thing in the truck - then it becomes the first thing out of the truck and is either set up to dry or hung in a room - then set up to "finish" dry when the rain stops (a wet tent never seems to dry completely when hung up)). I hang them up because it keeps critters from moving in during the winter.

                  Short term? The only tent that even resembles being folded is my canvas rendezvous tent - and thats only to make it easier to fit into the rubbermaid container I carry it in. The rest of my tents (I have three of them - one backpacking tent, one 1/2 dome tent, and one 9x9 dome) are stuffed loosely into their sacks. Why? Partly for air exchange - nylon comes from Organic Chemistry processes - and can give off Volatile Organic Compounds (those fumes you smell when you take off the cap from a Sharpie). Unroll a nylon tent that's been tightly rolled for a while and you'll smell them - and not want to sleep in your tent until it's been aired out. Stuffing the tent into a sack leaves plenty of air pockets allowing the outgassed VOC's space to get out. It's not dangerous to most people, but is plenty annoying. The main reason, though, is to increase the lifespan of the tent. Artficial fibers tend to be short, so if they are constantly folded and bent in one place, the fibers weaken and eventually rip. Stuffing the tent doesn't prevent the fibers from being bent, BUT it helps prevent the same fibers from being bent in the same way multiple times.

                  Sleeping bags should be stuffed into sacks too - not rolled. Properly cared for down bags were never rolled tightly and jammed into a bag - they were rolled or folded very loosely, enough to barely be considered a roll or fold, or were stuffed into a large sack. Kept the down from compressing too much. Today's polyfill bags work on the same basic principle as down. Stuff, not fold. There is a reason they call the sack a Stuff Sack and it's not because it holds stuff.



                  • #10
                    I keep my tents in large, loose cotton sacks. The same sort that you use to store high-end down bags.

                    Then, when it's time to go camping, I stuff them in the original stuff sacks.

                    Upon return, they all get hung up to dry thoroughly before going into the cotton storage sacks.


                    • #11
                      To answer your question: DRY, DRY, and DRY!!!!

                      The troop that I serve has rolled and stored Eureka tents for over 15 years. The tents usually die a natural scout death of just wearing out. Have had no issues with the shock cords, the poles usually get replaced due to high winds or a scout falling into them. Oldest ones still in use are 14 yrs old.

                      My bivy tent and sack are stuffed but all other tents (one from philmont) are rolled and have shown no leaking or other issues for the last 8 yrs or so.

                      Many companies are saying store loose because so many people do not store their tents as they should. So to limit the return of tents for "damage" they have gone to the knucklehead school of 'how to store'.



                      • #12
                        Besides the rolling vs folding, un-zip all zippers before folding and rolling to prevent crimping or kinking.


                        • #13
                          Besides the rolling vs folding, un-zip all zippers before folding and rolling to prevent crimping or kinking.

                          Yah, really there Gonzo? I'd always heard (and done) the opposite, eh? Zipped em up. Also made it easier to ensure the tent stayed a "black fly free zone" durin' setup.

                          Can yeh explain the benefits of unzipped a bit more?


                          • #14

                            Before I strike a tent, I open all the zippers on the nylon tents with plastic zippers, like my Eureka.

                            Then as I collapse the tent and fold and roll it. The chance of damaging a zipper is much less. After I dry the tent, I fold it for storage and re-roll and put it in the sack.

                            To keep da bugs out when pitching the tent, I lay it out and zip the door BEFORE raising any poles. Now Beavah, you will be Black Fly free and have zippers intact.

                            I'm not saying to do it my way, I know what works for me.

                            I hope this helps,



                            • #15
                              For me and the troop, it doesn't matter how you fold it ... as long as it goes into the bag dry! We use the tents every month so these tents get a regular work out! As for my personal tents (especially the Taj Mahal ... 3 rooms and then some), I threw away the bag because no matter how hard I tried, I can't get it back in there. I ended up buying an extra-large duffle to put it loosely in. From time to time (4-5 times a year in addition to the 2-3 Pack campouts), I'd assemble the poles and leave them for a week at a time to preserve the shock cords. Most people make the mistake of leaving the poles disassembled for long periods of time (months to years). The shock cords become brittle and they would wonder why the cords break on them! Once a year, I would reseal the seams! To date, none of my tents leak nor break. I have a 10-person, a 6-person, a 2-person, and (2) 1-person.

                              Bottom line ... a dry tent is a happy tent!