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Yah, in da parent thread E61 made a comment about needing to stuff tents. That's contrary to my experience, which mirrors SR540's. Yeh should roll a tent to prevent damage and maintain its health the longest (though sometimes when backpacking it's easier and faster to stuff).


This is of course a Great Debate. Most of da manufacturers say roll, but not all. Check out:




So what do you do personally and what do yeh teach the boys?


I personally roll to store or car camp, but stuff to backpack, and that's what I teach when asked.



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Roll. Unless I have a serious need to 'vacate the premises' quickly in which case stuffing happens with rolling to take place later when there's time to do it right.

To me this is a non-issue. The real issue is that I just can't seem to give up on old equipment that might still have a prayer of giving me one more good trip. So over the years I have a lot of it. That second point - Loyal. It was loyal to me....

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Fold and Roll Tents, Stuff Sleeping bags, store both loosely or hung.


UNLESS the manufacturer states they expect it to be stuffed but it still get stored loose if it's mine.


In my own case it's part of my overall need to have some order over things I can control and gives me inventory points as I pack the tent to ensure I have all of the stakes, poles, and accessories.

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Having a fold / crease in the same location repetitively weakens the material. That's why the "stuff" instruction is given. For those who "roll", there usually is some folding ot begin with.


For myself, why do 98% of tent manufacturers always a proverbial 5 lb tent in a 4 lb bag?

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I think the thing that bothers me with stuffing is that you have so many more creases in the fabric than you do with folding. Yes, folding theoretically puts creases in the same place every time. Yes, stuffing makes random creases each time, but it's sstill a lot more creases. I don't know, perhaps it is that a stuffed tent when set up looks like a shirt you wadded up, threw in the hamper and dug back out to wear again......well, at least when you were in college and unmarried. I just figured it out. It's the women. The women have beaten us into submission on folding and rolling at home and it has carried over to our gear. ;)

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Simplest solution? If your tent was sold to you folded and rolled - then fold and roll it. If it was sold to you stuffed, then stuff it.


Beyond that, it's a personal preference and there are pros and cons with either method, depending on the tent itself. Many of the newer techno-whiz-bang tents have vent systems and windows - stuffing can damage these components so it's best to roll/fold these tents.


Sometimes stuffed tents look pretty wrinkled (and it usually means the tent was used once last year, stuffed and stored, then pulled out for the annual trip to the woods - tents that are used often rarely get that wrinkled appearance).


Tents that are folded and rolled are often folded along the same lines which leads to weakened material and waterproofing in the creases. Chances of stuffing a tent the same way twice? Not very likely at all.


(Yeah - about the shirts - shirts are generally made of cotton or wool - long-fibered natural materials - long fibers are more forgiving, more flexible, stronger. Synthetic tent materials have shorter fibers, much easier to damage).


All things being equal, both methods are pretty much equal when it comes to pros and cons, which just leads us back to personal preference.


My Coleman gets folded and rolled (Coleman provided nice nylon ties to truss up the rolled tent - seems to me that means the tent should be folded and rolled - plus it's a bit too large to stuff anyway - hmm - size makes a difference too).


My REI half dome gets a rolling/stuffed combo treatment. I don't fold it, but I don't just start stuffing it into the sack either - I just gather it up in my hands unti I've created a loosely rolled package which gets stuffed into the sack. The fly gets a fold/roll/stuff treatment - by this I mean I find the vents and windows and bring these together (a loose fold) then gather the rest of the tarp around this base into a loosely rolled package which gets stuffed on top of the tent body. The bag of stakes are put on top of the fly. The footprint gets folded and put into the bag it came in which is put on top of the stakes, and the poles are slid down the side of all.

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  • 2 months later...

I used to stuff my tent because of the argument that folding and rolling caused damage at the fold lines. Also, when the tent was folded and rolled it was a tight squeeze to get it into the tent bag. Almost 20 years stuffing it didn't appear to damage my Moss Olympic tent.


I recently bought an REI Quarter Dome T3 Plus with a compression bag. It came nicely folded and rolled and I noticed that it fit easily into the bag then the straps cinched it all up tight.


I think it was Backpacker that interviewed the head of each of the major tent manufacturers and every one of them concurred with folding and rolling. They mentioned what some here have said about the new tents having venting features that can be damaged if stuffed and that stuffing creates numerous micro-creases that can damage the waterproofing. Regarding the argument that repeatedly folding will cause a crease and weaken the fabric, the reply was that it would be nearly impossible to always fold the tent on exactly the same line every time whereas there is a good likelihood that some of the micro-creases that occur when it is stuffed will form in the same place frequently that could weaken that small area and allow it to leak.


Frankly, I agree with some others here that say it probably doesn't really matter so just do whatever works better for you.


So now when I break camp using the Quarterdome tent I leave the foot print under the tent, lay the fly on top of the tent, fold it in thirds (the width of the folded poles), lay the poles and stake bags on the end of the tent and roll it up. That slides into the tent bag and then I cinch up the compression straps. When I get home I hang the tent and when it's dry I loosely stuff it into a large cloth laundry bag like I do my sleeping bag.


On the rare occasions that I use my Moss Olympic I put the stakes in their bag and put them in the tent bag first, then put in the poles and finally just stuff the tent and then the fly into the tent bag. Again, when I get home I hang it to dry and loosely stuff it into a cloth laundry bag.

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