Getting inflatable tents back in their bag can be very difficult. Here's an eight-step process to help get your tent back in its bag.
You can get some fantastic inflatable family tents these days. Some are massive. It's amazing how much the inflatable tubes can hold, whereas, in the past, we would have had to use heavy steel tent poles.
Why inflatable tents can be difficult to put away
getting them back in their bag can be a nightmare!
As much as we've loved many of the inflatable tents we've tested, there is one problem with all of them, especially the larger ones, and that's this: getting them back in their bag can be a nightmare!
When we used to use steel tent poles, we would often store the tent poles separately to the bag holding the tent. This would give a bit more space in the tent bag, and also made the tent bag lighter.
The downside is forgetting to bring the separate bag of tent poles when you go to the campsite!
Of course, air-framed tents don't have many tent poles, apart from maybe a few for porch shelters over the door or canopies, so splitting your tent into separate bags is not possible.
Getting large polyester tents back in their bag has always been a challenge. That's because air gets trapped inside them.
We've covered before the technique of rolling up the tent to get it back in its bag. But with inflatable tents, the problem is a little worse since you now have air in the 'poles' too.
An Eight-Step Process for Getting Your Tent Back in its Bag
Here's a simple eight-step process that helps get an inflatable tent back in its bag.
1. Open all the doors before deflating.
It's incredible how often this simple step can be forgotten in the rush to pack away at the campsite.
Unzip all the doors so there's less chance of air getting trapped in your tent.
2. Open the valves and let your tent deflate.
3. [OPTIONAL] Walk the air tubes WITH CAUTION !!
This is a technique we introduced this year, and if you do this, do so with extreme caution. It could even invalidate any warranty on your tent!
We take our shoes off and carefully walk along the air tubes toward the open valve.
We've found this to help get the air out of the tubes.
4. Start folding the tent
We used to fold and roll the tent lengthways. However, with inflatable tents, it's best to roll them sideways towards the open valves.
Place your tent bag next to your tent, and start folding the ends of the tent inwards until you have a folded tent that's the same width (or a bit less) as your tent bag.
5. Roll the tent
If you have a bag of tent poles, place them on the folded tent at the end opposite the valves, then use them to start rolling up the tent.
The extra weight of the poles will help expel the air.
Roll the tent slowly, stopping at every turn to put some weight on the roll to force the air out.
Continue until you reach the bag.
6. Re-roll, if required
You might be lucky to get the rolled-up tent the perfect size on your first attempt. Chances are, though, there's still too much air left in there.
Do a quick re-roll. Re-rolling won't take very long.
Just unroll the tent, and start again. It will be much easier and faster the second time, and you'll end up with a much tighter tent roll.
7. Tie up the rolled-up tent
When you first opened your tent, chances are there were some straps or ribbons tied around your tent. You did keep these, didn't you?
You'll want to use these to tie your bundle up so it doesn't come unrolled.
8. Get your tent back in its bag
By now, you should have a bundle that will fit into its bag.
For some other tents, you'll need to 'drop' the tent into the bag....though don't do that. Instead, start at one end of the tent bundle, working the bag over the tent. When you are over half the way there, turn the tent the other way up, and you should be able to pull the rest into the bag.
If you follow these simple steps, you will hopefully get your tent back in its bag.
On some days, the tents just don't want to cooperate!
Don't get too frustrated if it doesn't work the first time for you. It doesn't always work for us too.
On some days, the tents don't want to cooperate! 😉