Absolutely hate pitching a tent?
Well, that’s why pop-up tents were invented.
A pop-up tent can be set up within the blink of an eye, so you can focus on other things around the campsite.
However, problems can emerge when you’re packing up and realize that you have no idea how to fold down the tent.
But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this article, I’ll share with you my step-by-step guide to folding a pop-up tent.
Pop Up Tent: Pre Folding Tips
Before you even get to the folding part, there are a few things you should always do, that prolong the life of your popup tent.
Clean the tent
Regardless of where you’re camping, there’s a pretty good chance that your tent is going to get dirty.
Whether it’s grime, sand, leaves, or pine needles, you’ll need to get rid of them before packing up your tent.
While you might be tempted to clean it at home, debris can get stuck in the folds and zippers and cause damage to your tent.
Plus, the dirt can also attract pests, which could also shorten the life of your tent.
So if possible, I strongly advise cleaning your tent prior to folding it.
First, get rid of whatever might have gotten inside by simply tipping the tent on its side so the doors are pointing downwards.
If there’s any debris left after that, brush away anything that remains.
Then, wipe the tent down with a damp towel and a bit of powdered laundry detergent (if you have it). This is especially important if you notice any mud stains.
One thing to keep in mind is that the wind can make cleaning quite difficult, so if you’re camping with someone, that person can help you hold the tent down while cleaning.
But if you’re solo camping, you’ll need rocks or other heavy things to keep the tent in place.
Dry & Air Out The Tent
This is true for any kind of tent, not just the pop-up type: never pack it while it’s wet!
If you do, you’ll end up with mold and mildew on your tent. While you can usually get rid of it, it’s definitely not an easy task.
You ideally want to take down your tent and leave it out in the sun for a while if it got wet. But of course, that’s not always possible with unpredictable weather conditions.
You can’t help rainy camping trips, but if you can, try to air your tent out for a bit in-between downpours before you pack it up.
Just make sure to unpack and dry it out properly when you get home.
Untether The Tent
Before you even start folding down your pop-up tent, make sure it’s properly untethered first. You could accidentally damage it if you don’t.
Start with removing the stakes that keep the tent attached to the ground, then untie any guy ropes.
Don’t forget to clean off your stakes before packing them into the bag with your tent to avoid spreading dirt on the canvas.
Remove The Tarp
If you attached a tarp for additional protection against the elements, it should be taken down before you start folding your tent.
You should also make sure the tarp is dry before it’s packed inside a bag, as it can grow mold and mildew as well.
How to Fold Large Popup Tents
Folding down a large popup tent can seem quite intimidating.
I know, I’ve been there. But that’s only if you don’t know what to do.
In this section, I’ll go over every single step, so that you know what to do next time you’re packing your popup tent.
Step 1: Grab The Two Top Points Of The Tent & Bring Them Together
Before you begin any folding, make sure the doors of the tent are open to let all the air out.
This could prevent you from folding the tent down properly.
Now, see the ridges on top of your pop-up tent to your left and right? Those are the top points of the tent.
Depending on the size of the tent, this part may require a bit of stretching: grab both of those top points and bring them together.
If you do it and it appears to be asymmetrical or it’s resisting your pushing, then you’re not pressing the right spots.
Release those and try again by pressing it down along a different axis using those top-most points.
Step 2: Grab The Bottom Points & Fold Them In
Once you pull the two top points together, you’ll see that the bottom edge of the pop-up tent is now sticking out to the sides in two points.
While holding the top points in one hand, grab one of the bottom points in the other, then bring the bottom point to meet the top points in the middle.
Then, repeat the same thing with the other bottom point. By the end, all four points should be folded together and held by your hand.
Step 3: Bring The Front Arch To Meet The Other Points
Now you’ll notice the top of the arch above the door. Grabbing the top of the arch, fold it inwards towards the middle.
At this point, you should have a folded tent that looks like a taco.
Step 4: Stand Your Tent Upright & Fold It Inwards
The next thing you should do is move the tent so that the open side of the “taco” is standing upright against the ground.
Okay, here’s where it gets tricky: while you’re still holding the four points in one hand, grab the part of the tent-taco and fold it down towards the other.
Remember, the poles on pop-up tents are rather flexible, so you should be able to easily do this without too much pushing.
Step 5: Twist The Tent Into Two Circles
After the last step, your pop-up tent should start closing on itself while the four points that you’re holding in your hand are still on the outside.
Now, slightly twist the tent until you create two circles with the arches. It should look kind of like a figure-eight shape, like an infinity symbol.
Once you achieve that, bring one circle over the other until you’re left with a circle.
Guess what? That’s it for the folding part! But don’t release the tent just yet because if you do, the tent will unfold, and you’ll have to redo everything from scratch.
Step 6: Secure The Tent
Once you’ve gotten the tent folded into a circle, press down on it with your hands and knees to make sure no air is left inside.
It won’t fit back into the carrying bag if it is full of air.
If your tent has straps, now is the perfect time to use them to keep the tent in a folded position.
If you don’t have such a feature on your tent, that’s no problem either. You can always use any type of rope to keep your tent folded properly.
Step 7: Place The Tent Back Into Its Bag
Now that you’ve got your tent folded and secured, it’s time to put it back inside the carrying bag.
If putting it back in the bag is easy, it means you’ve done a great job.
However, if you struggle to fit it back in, then you might not have gotten rid of all the air. Repeat the last step before trying to pack it again.
How to Fold a Beach Popup Tent
Folding a beach pop-up tent should be somewhat easier than folding a regular one because they are smaller and are made with less material.
Plus, since they have one side completely open, you don’t have to push the air out before packing it.
Step 1: Shake Out Debris Before Folding The Tent
There’s no way to avoid getting sand inside your tent when you camp at the beach.
Therefore, shaking out your tent before you start folding it is an absolute must.
As I said with the regular pop-up tents, make sure your beach tent is dry before packing it because there’s a good chance of it having wet spots.
Step 2: Fold The Sides Together
Position yourself so you are facing the front of the tent entrance and grab both the left and right sides with each hand.
Now, pull one of the sides towards the center – it doesn’t matter which one goes first– and push it towards the ground until it is flat.
While holding that side down, repeat that on the other side until it’s right on top of the first side.
At this point, the tent should look like an oval. If you’re having trouble keeping it down, remember that you can always use your knees to hold it down.
Step 3: Turn The Tent On Its Side & Press It Flat
Now, pull one of the sides (doesn’t matter which one goes first) towards the center. Then, push it towards the ground in a flat position.
While holding that side with your one hand, bring the other side right on top of it with your other hand.
At this point, you should get an oval shape.
Remember, you can always use your knees to hold the parts down.
Step 4: Fold The Tent Over On Itself
Alright, now pick one side of the tent and bring it over to the other side.
This will turn the figure-eight into a figure-zero. It should resemble a circle by the end of this step.
Remember not to loosen your grip on the tent at any point. If you do so, it will unfold and pitch back up. Then, you’ll have to do everything again.
Step 5: Pack It Up
Once your tent is folded into that round shape, it’s time to pack it up.
If you have any straps or ropes, use them to tie the tent down to prevent it from opening.
After that, simply pack it into the bag, and you’re good to go!
Do Pop Up Tents Have Pockets?
Yes, but not all of them. Beach pop-up tents don’t always feature pockets, but they’re more commonly found on larger models.
What If The Top Of My Pop Up Tent Breaks?
If this happens, you’ll need something to help your tent hold its shape.
You can put a trekking pole inside to prevent the roof from sagging. Or if your tent features guy poles, use them to create more tension.
Is It Better To Fold Or Stuff A Tent?
As far as regular tents go, there’s really no practical difference between folding a tent or just stuffing it into its bag when packing it.
Rolling a tent seems intuitive, as most tents are packed that way when you first buy them, but rolling requires precision.
Rolling can put more stress on the tent seams than stuffing.
And if it is done improperly, then you might not be able to fit the tent back into its carrying bag.
To Sum Things Up
As you can see, folding down a pop-up tent is not rocket science.
You can easily do it yourself, regardless of the size of your tent. But before you do, make sure to read the instructions carefully.
Also, I’d recommend trying it at least once, when you have more time to practice.