How to fold a pop-up tent

best pop-up tent
Tired of wrestling with your pop-up tent to get it back in the bag? Follow our simple guide to folding it away with no fuss for your next camping or backpacking trip (Image credit: Getty)

So you’ve finally got yourself a pop-up tent. Pop-up tents are a great choice for wild camping and festival camping during the warm summer months when serious weather protection isn’t your top concern. Gone are the days of wrestling with tent poles and trying to figure out how to line up the rain fly with the tent body. You just pull your tent out of its storage bag and hey presto! it springs to life, fully formed and ready for you to crawl inside with your sleeping bag and sleeping pad for a good night’s kip in the wild.

But when the morning rolls around and it’s time to hit the trail again, how on earth do you fold it back up and get it into its bag? No matter what you try, the moment you let go, it just explodes back into form. Have you in fact just replaced wrestling to pitch your tent with wrestling to pack it away?

Not with our easy guide to folding your pop up tent, you haven’t. Read on to discover a quick and easy method to folding up your pop-up tent that takes all the sweat and tears out of packing up camp and gets you back on the trail sooner.

Teenager setting up his tent

Help! (Image credit: © Ingetje Tadros)

How to fold a pop-up tent 

Before we get started, remember that you never want to pack your tent away wet. If you’re heading home after a camping trip and your tent got soaked, it’s ok to pack it up for transport, but make sure you set your tent back up in your garage or spare room and allow it to dry out upon your return, then follow these steps again.

  1. Unzip your tent door, pick up your tent and shake out any dirt and grime that’s gathered inside your tent courtesy of your hiking boots. If it’s been a rainy night, brush off any mud from the tent too.
  2. Stand to the side of your tent, grab the two top poles and pull them together.
  3. Hold the top poles together with your right hand and reach down with your left hand to pull the bottom pole up to meet the top poles. Then hold everything with your left hand and reach down for the bottom pole on the right side. Pull it up to meet the top poles too so now the tent makes a half moon shape.
  4. Turn the tent on its side, and keep holding all the poles together with your right hand or you’ll have to start from the beginning. With your left hand, grab the poles that are now at the top and pull it all down and in towards the middle of your half moon. Press it all down on the ground with your right hand and it should form two circles with your right hand still holding the poles together in the middle of the circles.
  5. From here, you can just slide one circle neatly on top of the other and your pop up tent should be ready to slide inside its carry bag all ready for your next camping or backpacking trip.
Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.