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Tent Question


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I must be way old school. Or maybe it's the Boy Scout in me. I have a really hard time believing that creases and folds would prematurely weaken the fabric or waterproofing. UV will knock out most synthetic fabrics long before mechanical wear. (Fabric embrittled by UV damage will be more prone to tear at creases, but I would argue that the tent was heading for the exit anyway.)

 

Somehow I picture stuffing a tent into a sack as more likely to pull apart delicate screens and seams. Not sure how a "stuffer" manages poles and stakes without either packing separately or poking holes.

 

Generally I have found the stuff sacks provided by the tent manufacturers to be very marginally sized. By carefully folding and rolling, I ensure that the tent actually fits in the bag. I have seen stuff sacks blown out by improperly packed tents.

 

In addition, a careful roll and fold makes set up easier: you always know where your door is, the guy lines and bungees are less likely to be tangled up, and the tent just lays flatter while you stake things out.

The roll and fold is also a good time to manage dirt and moisture.

 

From a practical standpoint, the tents that I have worked with all seem to have a way about them -- they do seem to prefer being folded and rolled in a particular fashion. And it does become sort of a ritual -- it creates speed and efficiency, which is a good thing when conditions are less than ideal.

 

Until I get a tent that has an owners manual that specifically recommends that the tent be stuffed rather than folded and rolled, I will choose to err on the side of neatness and order.

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Anyone in the Service (at least years ago :D would tell you EVERYTHING gets rolled.

It simply packs better/neater.

Our tents came in the "stuff" sack rolled. It goes back in rolled.

Every sleeping bag we ever bought came in it's "stuff" sack rolled. We return 'em that way.

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I'm not a keen camper.

Mostly because in England you're told where to camp and cannot rough it out in the open. :D

So I envy you guys in the Americas! :rolleyes: (and Scotland) :rolleyes:

But I have used sleeping bags on and off for the last 30 odd years.

How I enjoy the "stuffing" into the bag.

So much more satisfying than kneeling down, trying to keep the "roll" tight to fit into a small space.

Go-Stuffing-Go! :rolleyes:

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...and you don't ROLL your sleeping bag?....I tell ya, kids these days...(lol)

Actually, it is recommended to not roll the sleeping bag but to stuff it into the sack instead.

 

And yes, old school is old school where new materials has new school recommendations. :D

 

If and when I have time, I'll relocate the links and post.

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When I first got my bag I tried and tried to roll it but there was no way I could get it back in the stuff sack. Now my backpack has a seperate sleeping bag compartment so I just cram it in there.

 

After stuffing my new tent I have to believe that's the better way to go. It is much more compact. I may even get a smaller stuff sack for it.

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I am a stuffed man as well, feelings are mixed so I guess do what works for you. I agree with those that say that folding and rolling is damaging and forms creases that weaken the integrity of your gear. Personally I would check with the manufacturer of your tent and see what they say about the issue.

Edited by JIMIP
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When I first got my bag I tried and tried to roll it but there was no way I could get it back in the stuff sack. Now my backpack has a seperate sleeping bag compartment so I just cram it in there.

 

After stuffing my new tent I have to believe that's the better way to go. It is much more compact. I may even get a smaller stuff sack for it.

Now this old crock has seen it ALL! A sleeping bag compartment? You mean you just don't lash it to the pack frame? :o Probably hikes in tennis shoes! (For those on troll alert, this is all meant in good fun)

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Pretty interesting response. It seems obvious to me. Roll your tent up one night and notice the lack of crease when you set it up next. Then stuff it the next time you put it away. When you set it up next you will have thousands of little creases. If creases it what you want to avoid then roll dont stuff.

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Now this old crock has seen it ALL! A sleeping bag compartment? You mean you just don't lash it to the pack frame? :) Probably hikes in tennis shoes! (For those on troll alert, this is all meant in good fun)

 

My pack has a compartment too. I like it because less stuff gets snagged on it. I also get my sleeping pad (tightly rolled) and infateable pillow (again tightly rolled) and my bag (stuffed in a compression sack) in there.

 

My tent gets rolled. I think it packs better and carries better. Plus my tent bag doesn't compress.

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Pretty interesting response. It seems obvious to me. Roll your tent up one night and notice the lack of crease when you set it up next. Then stuff it the next time you put it away. When you set it up next you will have thousands of little creases. If creases it what you want to avoid then roll dont stuff.

I think you kiind of missed the point. It isn't about producing just any crease. It's producing a crease that gets folded all the time at the same spot that weakens the fabric. Thus my direct comment if you're going to fold and roll, try not to hit the same fold each time.

 

Frankly, I do it both ways. Storage is folded and rolled and I do different folds each time when I put it away. Backpacking is stuffed. It takes up the extra space in the backpack keeping the pack nice and streamlined. The poles are stashed to one side and the stakes take up a tiny little corner.

Edited by TotemLake
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Pretty interesting response. It seems obvious to me. Roll your tent up one night and notice the lack of crease when you set it up next. Then stuff it the next time you put it away. When you set it up next you will have thousands of little creases. If creases it what you want to avoid then roll dont stuff.

I think you kiind of missed the point. It isn't about producing just any crease. It's producing a crease that gets folded all the time at the same spot that weakens the fabric. Thus my direct comment if you're going to fold and roll, try not to hit the same fold each time.

 

Frankly, I do it both ways. Storage is folded and rolled and I do different folds each time when I put it away. Backpacking is stuffed. It takes up the extra space in the backpack keeping the pack nice and streamlined. The poles are stashed to one side and the stakes take up a tiny little corner.

 

I dont think you could re-crease a crease by folding or rolling a tent unless a person were extremely anal about accomplishing such a task. Even still it is only the first fold or two that would put a crease in the fabric. Your chances are much higher of creasing and re-creasing if you stuff a tent.

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Pretty interesting response. It seems obvious to me. Roll your tent up one night and notice the lack of crease when you set it up next. Then stuff it the next time you put it away. When you set it up next you will have thousands of little creases. If creases it what you want to avoid then roll dont stuff.

I think you kiind of missed the point. It isn't about producing just any crease. It's producing a crease that gets folded all the time at the same spot that weakens the fabric. Thus my direct comment if you're going to fold and roll, try not to hit the same fold each time.

 

Frankly, I do it both ways. Storage is folded and rolled and I do different folds each time when I put it away. Backpacking is stuffed. It takes up the extra space in the backpack keeping the pack nice and streamlined. The poles are stashed to one side and the stakes take up a tiny little corner.

 

I dont think you could re-crease a crease by folding or rolling a tent unless a person were extremely anal about accomplishing such a task. Even still it is only the first fold or two that would put a crease in the fabric. Your chances are much higher of creasing and re-creasing if you stuff a tent.

It happens. I was that way with my first tent. Fortunately, I was also anal enough to go every square inch of that 12x16' tent before and after each usage.

 

However, the convention is to stuff and not fold. A little light reading with the links I promised...

http://www.backpacking.net/geartent-tips.html#tentcare

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/caring+tent.html

http://www.getoutdoors.com/go/golearn/229

 

Storage by the way, is suggested to be loosely rolled.

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The general rule of thumb is you don't want to produce creases from folding/rolling as this will eventually weaken the fabric at those folds and be more susceptible to leakage. So if you roll, try to set the folds differently each time.

 

Otherwise, either works fine.

great point!

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The general rule of thumb is you don't want to produce creases from folding/rolling as this will eventually weaken the fabric at those folds and be more susceptible to leakage. So if you roll, try to set the folds differently each time.

 

Otherwise, either works fine.

great point!

 

Let's get real -- when has the waterproofing and fabric cracking been a tent problem? Here's my top tent list of real world tent problems (most can be fixed -- in combination they suggest replacement):

 

1) Broken fiberglass/crippled aluminum poles

2) Blown out pole sleeves/clips

3) Torn screening

4) Broken zippers

5) Leaky seams

6) Fabric chafing over poles, toggles, clips, etc.

7) Mold, mildew, rot

8) Broken pole bungees

9) Broken/missing hardware (stakes, clips, toggles, etc)

10) Fabric tears from use/breakdown from UV

 

Stuffing a tent works for some folks -- it's easy enough I suppose. My point is that leaks formed by creases are a pretty remote possibility. Fabric that is brittle enough to crack from a crease probably is having other problems, and probably needs to be replaced anyway.

 

I'd be curious to see a reply from an outfitter -- their gear gets massive use and abuse -- probably as much in a season as the rest of us would lay on in a decade.

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The general rule of thumb is you don't want to produce creases from folding/rolling as this will eventually weaken the fabric at those folds and be more susceptible to leakage. So if you roll, try to set the folds differently each time.

 

Otherwise, either works fine.

great point!

 

Let's get real -- when has the waterproofing and fabric cracking been a tent problem? Here's my top tent list of real world tent problems (most can be fixed -- in combination they suggest replacement):

 

1) Broken fiberglass/crippled aluminum poles

2) Blown out pole sleeves/clips

3) Torn screening

4) Broken zippers

5) Leaky seams

6) Fabric chafing over poles, toggles, clips, etc.

7) Mold, mildew, rot

8) Broken pole bungees

9) Broken/missing hardware (stakes, clips, toggles, etc)

10) Fabric tears from use/breakdown from UV

 

Stuffing a tent works for some folks -- it's easy enough I suppose. My point is that leaks formed by creases are a pretty remote possibility. Fabric that is brittle enough to crack from a crease probably is having other problems, and probably needs to be replaced anyway.

 

I'd be curious to see a reply from an outfitter -- their gear gets massive use and abuse -- probably as much in a season as the rest of us would lay on in a decade.

But not unlikely. I am living proof of that. I speak from experience and pass on personally experienced life lessons. Don't discredit it because you haven't experienced it. It isn't about brittle fabric. It's about weakening it. That's as real as it gets. Not fantasy, not made up and not passing on urban myths.

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But not unlikely. I am living proof of that. I speak from experience and pass on personally experienced life lessons. Don't discredit it because you haven't experienced it. It isn't about brittle fabric. It's about weakening it. That's as real as it gets. Not fantasy, not made up and not passing on urban myths.

 

Not saying it doesn't happen -- just that there are a ton of ways a tent can come to grief.

 

Curious -- what sort of fabric/waterproofing combo was on your failed tent(s)? In all seriousness, I find it appalling that a tent maker (or sleeping bag maker) would use a material that couldn't handle a crease. (Most tents and sleeping bags I have seen have creases incorporated into the seams and hems -- is this potentially a problem?)

 

What is it about my "Dark Age" Timberline that has allowed it to be repeatedly rolled and folded (and stowed in an unheated Upper Midwest garage all 9 months of winter) for over 20 years and still remain useable? I love my tent, but I don't have any illusions that it is any sort of uber-tent.

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But not unlikely. I am living proof of that. I speak from experience and pass on personally experienced life lessons. Don't discredit it because you haven't experienced it. It isn't about brittle fabric. It's about weakening it. That's as real as it gets. Not fantasy, not made up and not passing on urban myths.

 

Not saying it doesn't happen -- just that there are a ton of ways a tent can come to grief.

 

Curious -- what sort of fabric/waterproofing combo was on your failed tent(s)? In all seriousness, I find it appalling that a tent maker (or sleeping bag maker) would use a material that couldn't handle a crease. (Most tents and sleeping bags I have seen have creases incorporated into the seams and hems -- is this potentially a problem?)

 

What is it about my "Dark Age" Timberline that has allowed it to be repeatedly rolled and folded (and stowed in an unheated Upper Midwest garage all 9 months of winter) for over 20 years and still remain useable? I love my tent, but I don't have any illusions that it is any sort of uber-tent.

It was several years worth of usage folding and unfolding at the same creases and the leakage became noticeable during the last 2 or 3 years I had it right along the crease lines. Remember, I said I was anal about my tent. That included the folding in such a manner it was smaller than it was packaged so I could include a tarp in the same bag with it to act as a ground cloth. It served me well, but I think had I known the recommended method, I could have gained a few more years worth of usage. This was a large 12x16 cabin tent that I enjoyed very well. I had to use 4 large tarps with 9' collapsible poles to help shelter it from inclement weather when needed when the leakage started across the folds... not the seams.

 

Don't find it appalling. Understanding fabric isn't going to last under the same creasing stress time in and time out is key to longevity if you're not going to be in the mood to replace it. I make investments in my gear. I can't afford to replace it due to incorrect handling. I finally threw out* that tent because two critical zippers finally failed on me. I've been in the market for a new tent for car camping for the past 3 years now. I haven't quite found the right style yet. Too picky? Maybe. But I know what I want in a family tent and I'm willing to look at 'em all to find it.

 

Oh, and it was some sort of polyester material that had good flexible reiliency and was standard fare at the time I purchased it some 15 years ago. Unfold it to inspect it before the trip. Fold it for the trip. Unfold it at the site. Fold it for the trip home, Unfold it to clean and inspect it, fold it for storage.... per trip. Snow, rain, summer heat... shade and direct sun. Two to three times per year.

 

*Used "threw out" for "replaced" as it was more accurate... the tent isn't replaced yet.

Edited by TotemLake
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i stuff both my tent and my sleeping bag. like others said, with a modern tent it's better not to keep folding over the same creases, but im sure rolling is okay.

 

I just prefer stuffing because it's quicker. As for putting polls and pegs in there, I can usually just squeeze them in.

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I know it has been awhile, but here is what I now do (after having been introduced to it on a recent climb up Mt Shasta). I don't stuff my tent into the sack it came with at all, except for when storing it. I do stuff it into my backpack to help fill the space around it. I now find that I can be more efficient with space if I am not confined to the stuff sack! It is awesome! Not only is my pack more compact, bit it is better balance and I have more control over that balance. The poles and pegs still remain in their sacks, but they are either lashed to the outside or fed down on the inside of the pack depending on the circumstance. I was reluctant to do this at first because I was concerned about the tent, but it worked out better than I imagined. Just my two cents

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I know it has been awhile, but here is what I now do (after having been introduced to it on a recent climb up Mt Shasta). I don't stuff my tent into the sack it came with at all, except for when storing it. I do stuff it into my backpack to help fill the space around it. I now find that I can be more efficient with space if I am not confined to the stuff sack! It is awesome! Not only is my pack more compact, bit it is better balance and I have more control over that balance. The poles and pegs still remain in their sacks, but they are either lashed to the outside or fed down on the inside of the pack depending on the circumstance. I was reluctant to do this at first because I was concerned about the tent, but it worked out better than I imagined. Just my two cents

What happens when your tent gets rained on?

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I know it has been awhile, but here is what I now do (after having been introduced to it on a recent climb up Mt Shasta). I don't stuff my tent into the sack it came with at all, except for when storing it. I do stuff it into my backpack to help fill the space around it. I now find that I can be more efficient with space if I am not confined to the stuff sack! It is awesome! Not only is my pack more compact, bit it is better balance and I have more control over that balance. The poles and pegs still remain in their sacks, but they are either lashed to the outside or fed down on the inside of the pack depending on the circumstance. I was reluctant to do this at first because I was concerned about the tent, but it worked out better than I imagined. Just my two cents

What happens when your tent gets rained on?

ShamWOW! :lol:

 

Seriously, I have a pack towel I use to wipe it down. it's the last thing packed in so I loosely fold damp side inward and then stuff it in. Items get packed according to criticality of keeping dry. I keep super critical items in a dry sack anyway so this isn't a big issue and at the end of the trip it's my practice everything gets aired out.

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When my parents got married, they bought a tent. It was made of canvas and large enough to comfortably sleep all five kids and both parents. It was big, bulky and heavy. Really, really heavy. When we broke camp each time, we carefully folded it on the creases to make it the right size to fit in its appointed space in the van. We camped in all kinds of places and all kinds of weather. When my older siblings had all moved out, my parents gave the tent to my oldest brother for his family and bought a much smaller, lighter weight tent for our use. My brother continued the ritual folding on the creases. After somewhat more than 40 years of heavy use and much folding and refolding, the tent finally began to disintegrate. It didn't give out on the creases, it just kind of got tired all over. What I wouldn't do for another tent like that. Not very good for hiking, I suppose, but...

 

In my experience with nylon tents, they are not "built to last". I have replaced several tents over the years, and none of them had damage at the folds.

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Best of both worlds: I roll it up in no particular manner and stuff it into the bottom of my backpack (zippered compartment). I really think the crease thing is bogus. Tents are not made out of canvas and waterproofed with beeswax anymore. The deciding factor is what will save you space and keep you organized.

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Best of both worlds: I roll it up in no particular manner and stuff it into the bottom of my backpack (zippered compartment). I really think the crease thing is bogus. Tents are not made out of canvas and waterproofed with beeswax anymore. The deciding factor is what will save you space and keep you organized.

I agree -- for the "stuffers" out there, curious how you manage the air trapped in the tent. Seems with rolling you systematically work the air out and get things nice and compact. Just as an experiment, I tried stuffing my Timberline and ended up with a baloon -- actually a bunch of little ballons, look a poodle! ;) Eventually got it in the bag, but it was an ordeal. (Assume not as big an issue with tents with mesh roofs -- the Timberline has a nylon roof that is uncoated).

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Best of both worlds: I roll it up in no particular manner and stuff it into the bottom of my backpack (zippered compartment). I really think the crease thing is bogus. Tents are not made out of canvas and waterproofed with beeswax anymore. The deciding factor is what will save you space and keep you organized.

I agree -- for the "stuffers" out there, curious how you manage the air trapped in the tent. Seems with rolling you systematically work the air out and get things nice and compact. Just as an experiment, I tried stuffing my Timberline and ended up with a baloon -- actually a bunch of little ballons, look a poodle! :signalviolin: Eventually got it in the bag, but it was an ordeal. (Assume not as big an issue with tents with mesh roofs -- the Timberline has a nylon roof that is uncoated).

The air eventually squeezes out. I'm looking at different methods of stuffing. I currently fold the edges inward towards the mesh and load it through the panel. I may try stuffing in from the top to see how well that works.

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I'm not a keen camper.

Mostly because in England you're told where to camp and cannot rough it out in the open. :)

So I envy you guys in the Americas! :) (and Scotland) ;)

But I have used sleeping bags on and off for the last 30 odd years.

How I enjoy the "stuffing" into the bag.

So much more satisfying than kneeling down, trying to keep the "roll" tight to fit into a small space.

Go-Stuffing-Go! ;)

 

Umm, Lakes, Yorkshire dales, Yorkshire moors, Peaks, snowdonia, Beacons, dartmoor, exmoor. Generally Once you get more than 300m above mean sea level onto moorland and rough grazing then generally you can camp anywhere. Generally most landowners don't mind you being there but if they ask you to move on, do so.

 

a general rule of thumb is not to camp within 100m of a house or road.

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I know it has been awhile, but here is what I now do (after having been introduced to it on a recent climb up Mt Shasta). I don't stuff my tent into the sack it came with at all, except for when storing it. I do stuff it into my backpack to help fill the space around it. I now find that I can be more efficient with space if I am not confined to the stuff sack! It is awesome! Not only is my pack more compact, bit it is better balance and I have more control over that balance. The poles and pegs still remain in their sacks, but they are either lashed to the outside or fed down on the inside of the pack depending on the circumstance. I was reluctant to do this at first because I was concerned about the tent, but it worked out better than I imagined. Just my two cents

 

+1. I just pack my tarptent into my pack so it can conform to whatever space is there.

 

I use a homemade down quilt for sleeping. It didn't come with a stuff sack. I just chose a fleece-lined Thermarest pillow stuff sack for it, and I just stuff it in. For storage, it is loosely packed into a cotton bag and put in the closet.

 

My sleeping pad (big agnes insulated air core) gets folded then rolled. It is different from the other items in its construction, however. Its seams are glued, and its air chambers create perfect folding lines. There also isn't really any other way to get it into its stuff sack.

 

As for hammocks...look at the hennessey hammocks snakeskins. Stuffing is quickest.

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My current tent is the North Face Tadpole 23 (http://www.thenorthface.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=10429&storeId=207&langId=-1&catalogId=10201&parent_category_rn=11750) which I use for backpacking. Fits 2 people and is just under 5 pounds. Compression straps (3) are built into the sack so I definitely roll it and throw in other stuff such as shirts, socks, etc. Put it vertically into the backpacking pack and it only takes up 1/2 of the vertical space so I use the other side for packing in the Jetboil, food, and rain gear. Works well, however, thinking of getting an ultralight Bivy for when I am hiking by myself in the Catskills, Adirondacks, etc as 5 lbs is a good deal of weight when bushwhacking to bag peaks.

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For those that gotta stuff, check this out:

 

http://gearflogger.typepad.com/weblog/2009...ssion-sack.html

 

I bet Santa can still pick up a couple by Thursday night!

 

Like Ol' Man River, I will just keep rolling (and folding) along. Happy trails all.

 

I get better space utilization in my pack if the shelter is loosely packed inside it and it can conform to the gaps inside my pack between other items. The ball that those compression sacks make is very hard to pack.

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For those that gotta stuff, check this out:

 

http://gearflogger.typepad.com/weblog/2009...ssion-sack.html

 

I bet Santa can still pick up a couple by Thursday night!

 

Like Ol' Man River, I will just keep rolling (and folding) along. Happy trails all.

 

I get better space utilization in my pack if the shelter is loosely packed inside it and it can conform to the gaps inside my pack between other items. The ball that those compression sacks make is very hard to pack.

 

I think the benefit of this particular stuff sack was that it forms itself into a cube rather than a ball

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I have been stuffing the same Kelty for 13 years (tent body and fly), but I roll the ground tarp up with the poles and stakes inside. Important to dry tent when you get home than stuff or roll as it keeps the tent in good shape. The sleeping bag depends on the type - I stuff the mummies but roll the big Coleman for car camping.

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So I just got my first backpacking tent. (Sierra Designs Lightning 2) My question is do i try to roll it up to put it back in the stuff sack or do i just cram it in there like I do with my sleeping bag?

 

Backpaker Magazine suggests that you stuff it, hence the "stuff sack." They say rolling or folding could form creases that could cause failure in the water proffing system. I have found that stuffing also savs room by pushing all the air out of the tiny spaces left by rolling.

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I have several tents and without exception when I'm on the trail they are rolled. I don't really care what the "experts" say about this that's just the way I've been doing business for many, many years. In my opinion, and I'm certainly not an expert, most damage to tents happens when they are in storage in my house. All of my sleeping bags and all of my tents are hung when they are not in use. One of my tents (North Face VE-24) is 30 years old and just as good today as the day I bought it and it's always been rolled when on trips and hung in storage. My newer tents (Hillebergs) are made out of a material that I think is impervious to the sort of damage the "experts" conclude would happen if I rolled them so roll them I do. One of the Hillebergs (Akto) has stays built in which actually precludes me stuffing it.

 

Look on the bright side; if you wear out a tent by rolling it consider it a good excuse to get a newer and better model!

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