How to Fold Up a Pop Up Tent

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Many people use pop up tents as quick, easy shelters but find folding up the tent to be an unexpected hassle. Storing the tent involves folding the poles together and then over each other. This collapses the tent into a circle that you can seal in a bag until you need it again. With a little knowledge of folding techniques, you can pack away your tent until the next time you need it.


EditFolding Large Tents

  1. Clean the tent before you begin folding. Most of the time, all you’ll need to do is shake out dirt, sand, and pine needles. While you can attempt this later, the debris can get stuck in the tent folds. Tip the tent to pour out the debris. Wipe down the tent with a little bit of powdered laundry detergent and a moist rag when you have time.[1]
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 1.jpg
    • Never pack away a damp tent, or else you’ll end up with mold!
  2. Fold the top two poles together. Stand beside the tent. The poles are the ridges on top of the tent to your left and right. Stretch out to grasp both sides and pull them together.[2]
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 2.jpg
  3. Fold the bottom two poles together. The bottom poles form the outer edges of the tent, which now stick out to your left and right. You’ll need to reach both of them. Fold one of the bottom poles up and over to the top poles. Do the same with the other bottom pole so you’re holding all four poles together.[3]
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 3.jpg
    • Leave the tent’s door open to let out the air.
  4. Stand the tent up on its side. The folded tent resembles a big taco. Continue holding onto the four poles as you flip the tent onto its side. Move it so the open side of the taco shape rests against the ground.
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 4.jpg
  5. Fold the top poles to your back hand. You’ll need to stretch out your hands again. As you hold the four poles together, reach out over the uppermost part of the tent. Grab the back of the taco shape and bring it down to your other hand. Wrestle the tent to the ground to flatten it.[4]
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 5.jpg
    • The poles are lightweight, so you won’t need more than a minimal amount of force to bring down the tent. The poles are also flexible, so they’re unlikely to break.
  6. Slide the tent halves together. If you folded the tent correctly, it’ll look like two side-by-side circles of fabric. Bring one over the other to make your tent easy to pack.
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 6.jpg
  7. Press and seal the tent in a bag. Pop ups are designed to spring back into the shape of a tent, so maintain a firm grip on the poles. You can press down on it with your hands and knees to remove any leftover air preventing it from laying flat. Then, slip the tent into its bag to pack it away for your next trip.
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 7.jpg

EditFolding a Beach Tent

  1. Shake out debris before folding the tent. Clean out the tent before you put it away. Tip it over and shake loose any trapped dirt or sand. You can then clean the tent with a little water and a hose or rag. If you don’t have time to tackle tough stains now, you can pack away the tent and do it at home.
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 8.jpg
    • A little bit of a powdered detergent helps when scrubbing off tough stains.
  2. Grab the sides of the tent. Stand facing the entrance of the tent. The closest tent pole is the one that goes from side to side over the entrance. Reach out and grab both sides of the tent. Leave the door open if it has a cover on it.[5]
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 9.jpg
    • Beach tents are typically smaller than regular tents and don’t have poles running across the tent’s width. You can also try this if you’re still having trouble folding any other tent.
  3. Fold the sides of the tent together. Pull one side of the tent towards the center, then push it flat against the ground. As you hold it down, bring the other side over on top of it. It should now be in an oval shape.[6]
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 10.jpg
  4. Turn the tent on its side and press it flat. Flip the tent over so it’s on its edge. Push down on the center of this edge. The tent change into a figure-8 shape as you flatten it. You can put one hand on the side of the tent to help guide it to the ground.[7]
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 11.jpg
  5. Fold the tent over on itself. Hold onto the tent! It’ll spring into shape if you let go. Pick up one side of the tent, then bring it over onto the other side. This collapses the tent into a circle. You can rest a knee on the tent as you do this to ensure you don’t lose your grip.[8]
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 12.jpg
    • The poles are very flexible, so don’t worry about them breaking.
  6. Pack up the tent. If the tent came with an elastic band, wrap that around it to hold it in place. Put the tent in its bag. Tuck in any poles sticking out, then zip up the bag until you’re ready to use the tent again.
    Fold Up a Pop Up Tent Step 13.jpg


  • Every tent folds a little differently. Consult the instructions that came with the tent for more folding guidance
  • If you don’t have the instructions that came with the tent, search online for folding videos. All pop up tents use similar basic folds, so you can manage to fold up any tent with a little experimentation.

EditSources and Citations

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