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Gear Guy

Is it better to roll or stuff a tent?

Is it better to roll or stuff a tent? Kye Eugene, Oregon

A: This question comes up surprisingly often, suggesting that the Roll versus Stuff issue ranks up there with Sasquatch, Britney Spears' success, and the content of a Big Mac's special sauce as one of the great mysteries of our time.

The logic behind rolling is this: It's neater. That's it. There is no practical advantage to it. Tent makers roll their tents simply because it's easier to build that process into an assembly line than stuffing them. And, it looks better when the consumer takes the tent out of the box. I suppose a very well rolled tent takes up a little less room, but only when done with great precision. One possible disadvantage of rolling is that you might stress seams—particularly seams sealed with an after-market sealant—in the same place repeatedly, weakening the seal. But, well, so what? Modern tents just don't leak in any meaningful way.

Myself, I'm a stuffer. Because tents are rather large, I might start out roughly folding it like a flag, in part so it doesn't drag on the ground while I'm working into the bag. But then it's strictly a stuff job. And often I'll stuff the thing right from the very start. Does absolutely no damage to the tent to stuff it.

There, the last word on this subject

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