There are a few different ways of attaching your tent to your backpack. The first attachment method is through compression straps. Alternatively, you could use the closed-loop ties on your backpack.
And finally, you can attach it to your backpack’s external frame. I prefer this method when I’ve a heavy load in my backpack.
But the big question is, why is an attachment so important? I mean, you could just stuff your tent in your willy-nilly, right?
Far from it.
See, when I was a beginner and had just started hiking, I could casually stuff my tent in my bag, which spelt big trouble.
Want to know why?
The wrongly stuffed tent was a cause of discomfort and fatigue during hikes. The improper distribution of weight resulted in back pain and spoilt my overall camping experience.
Sometimes, I would even find it hard to complete my hike.
But that changed the moment I understood where and how to attach my tent to my backpack.
See, a properly packed tent allows better distribution of weight, protecting your back from undue strain. But more importantly, a properly packed tent will also keep the tent from damage and everything.
Simply put, knowing the right way to attach your tent to your backpacks will ensure a more enjoyable backpacking trip.
And in the guide below, I’ll share the exact different methods I use to attach my tent to my backpack.
Importance of Attaching your Tent to your Backpack
Before I share the tips of attaching a tent to a backpack, let’s first see the importance of attaching a tent outside your bag.
The biggest benefit of attaching your tents outside, at least in my opinion, is saving on the precious space in your backpack.
Attachment on the external hiking bag frees pretty much of the interior space, which you can use to stash other items.
The other benefit of this method is it gives you quick access to your tent. You don’t have to rummage through your backpack’s content to access the tent.
But this method also has a share of drawbacks. The biggest one is it results in imbalance, especially if not attached properly, and when things get a little windy, you’re likely to lose stability.
There’s also the risk of snagging your tent because it’s exposed to the elements. With the tent outside, there’s a high chance of it getting ripped by sharp objects, branches and other items.
Preparing your Tent for Backpack Attachment
Regardless of what technique you’ll choose to attach your tents to your backpacks, the first critical step is preparing your tent.
It’s an essential step, ensuring most tents contents are shielded from external inclement and dangers.
While at it, I’d suggest that you only proceed with this step if your tent has quality construction. Otherwise, just any old and cheaply-made tent won’t cut it.
Here are the tent prep steps;
Lay your tent flat, preferably on flat ground, flat-placing the tent’s poles in a straight line on one of the edges of the tent. They should be preferably still in their pole bag to prevent them from ripping the tent fabric.
You can place stakes in a tent peg bag alongside the poles if you also have stakes.
The poles and tent stakes support your tent when you roll it.
Start to roll the tent from the edge of the poles and stakes.
Perform a complete roll of the tent until it achieves and maintains a roll-up shape. A few rolls should do it.
Gently pick the rolled-up tent and place the tent securely in a waterproof tent bag.
By now, you should be ready to attach it to your carry bag in any of the methods we’ll list below.
Attaching a Tent to a Backpack
Assuming you’ve correctly prepared your tent, the next step should be the attachment.
There’re a couple of ways to attach a tent to a backpack.
Depending on the method you choose, you’ll experience a different feel on your back, so it makes perfect sense to try the different methods. Some may work for you better than others.
As I had previously hinted in the introduction, the three main methods to attach a tent to backpacks are;
1) Closed-loop ties
2) Compression straps/Daisy chains
3) External frame backpacks
This is one of my favorite ways to attach a tent.
But to use the close-loop ties, there’re several prerequisites.
Your backpack should have closed loops.
Backpack loops are fondly known as gear loops and are the external load-bearing sections for attaching gear outside your backpacks.
The second condition is your tent should have cords or end straps outwards.
To attach your tent using close-tie loops, you simply need to secure your tent using the drawcords on the backpack’s loop.
The biggest benefit of the close-tie method is your tent is properly secured from falling and swaying. The loops hold the tent tightly, so if you stumble or the drawcords loosen, it still attaches to your backpack.
Simply put, you hardly lose your tent using this method.
While the close-tie method is one of the easiest ways of connecting your tent to backpacks, it may not be suitable if your bag lacks loops or the tent bag lacks drawcords.
So, you need to use the next method.
Using Compression Straps
Compression straps are yet another efficient method of attaching your tent to your backpack.
Compression straps are simply straps laying sideways on your hiking bag and are used to secure your extra gear and other equipment.
Many campers love the compression strap method because it doesn’t limit them to tents alone but can also be used with other camping gear. I occasionally use mine to secure my sleeping pad.
As their name suggests, the compression straps will “compress” your tent, bringing it a lot closer to your core.
The only thing I would need you to double-check when using these straps is you’ve a proper balance of your load on both sides. Proper balance is necessary for a stable ride, and this is particularly handy in windy conditions.
These shoulder straps hardly slip from your shoulders.
Also, I would suggest you double-check the strength of the straps. Check to see they’re sturdy enough to accommodate the weight of your tent.
When closing in on your tent, ensure you tighten it properly and securely to save you from swaying or loosening.
A properly secured tent hardly sways and is unlikely to cause balance issues.
The compression strap method doesn’t require tent bags or tent bag drawcords.
External Backpack Frame
The external backpack frames are a step-up to the two options we’ve discussed above.
My first attraction to these attachment points was how eye-catching they look. They’re quite impressive to look at and will improve overall aesthetics.
But beauty aside, an external frame backpack is also ultra-sturdy and quite rigid. It’s probably one of the reasons why they are so popular, especially with campers carrying heavy items.
I love using the external frames when I’ve a massive load to carry because of how well and evenly they distribute the load across my back.
So, even when I go for long distances, I hardly get fatigued or develop backaches and strains.
In addition, using the backpack metal frame is super easy, convenient and secure. The frame provides a reliable way to secure my tent, sleeping pad, or other gear.
The tie points at the end of the frame ensure my tent doesn’t feel loose and hardly swings or sways around. It’s a practical benefit for preventing backaches and strains on my spinal cord.
Packing your Tent Inside
I must emphasize that backpacking tents are generally more vulnerable when packed outside rather than inside.
Weather inclement, branches, rocks and other pointed objects are likely to rip and tear your tent.
But there’s another alternative that will save you from all that. It’s packing your tent inside or using an internal frame.
The benefit of packing your tent inside is that it saves you from rolling your tent or preparing your tent.
Secondly, it shields your tent against all external threats.
But it’s not care-free as you think. There’re several critical measures to consider you pack your tent inside.
One of the major ones is packing your items in an order, from the lightest to the heaviest items.
I usually start with simple and light items such as extra clothing, a sleeping bag, and finally, top it off with the tent.
A big benefit of packing your hiking gear items is maintaining balance. Additionally, it keeps the lower soft parts protected, especially from contact with sharpies.
Packing your tent inside is also quite beneficial because it can accommodate a range of items, including the tent poles (pole bag) and stakes. But it only accommodates the foldable options.
Otherwise, a traditional pole can be attached to the exterior of the waterproof bag.
What to Consider When Attaching Tent to your Backpack
There’re several important elements to consider you need to consider if you’re planning to carry your tent to your backpack.
The first one is size. Ensure that the size of your backpack can comfortably accommodate the weight and size of your tent.
Simply put, the sizes should be at least proportionate.
The amount of space is also critical, especially if you’ll be stashing your backpack gear inside. Consider the volume, and go with a bag that will fit your tent’s size.
Handy Tips of Attaching a Tent to a Backpack/ Key Takeaways
- It’s a good idea to disassemble your tent and the rain fly when packing it inside your backpack. It saves on a lot of your weight and extra space.
- Unless you’ve an ultra-light tent, I’d highly suggest you pack your tent inside a backpack rather than attach it outside. It’ll save you from balance problems and back pain.
- It’s a good idea to always have your tent or rather luggage close to your core. It also helps with back pain problems.
- Consider packing the tent vertically or horizontally. Vertical positioning allows easier access, while horizontal positioning creates more space.
- Keep tent poles and trekking poles inside their bag when you pack or attach them to your backpack. At the same time, pack everything in a durable bag to shield it from other sharp objects.
- If you happen to carry your tent outside, ensure you do it securely. Otherwise, you risk getting the tent lost.
- Use the smaller pockets for packing smaller items and accessories, including keys and water bottles, while the main compartment for the bulky items and heavy loads.
- Never pack a wet tent. A wet tent will only increase the overall weight of your luggage. Also, consider packing a dry tent in a durable waterproof bag.
- If you happen to attach your tent to a backpack, it’s a good idea to attach it at the bottom rather than the top. Otherwise, you’ll screw your center of gravity.
- The best way to carry your tent, at least in my opinion, is through an internal frame backpack. An internal frame backpack works like the external backpack frame we just discussed. Only that it offers more central support, extra protection, better spread of the weight and more importantly, shields your backpack from tears and rips.
How to Attach Tent to Backpack Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What’s the best position for attaching my tent?
A: It depends on the methods you’re using to attach your tent.
But generally, for most tent attachment methods, I’d highly suggest placing your tent at the bottom of the backpack.
Having your tent on the back is helpful with maintaining balance while avoiding the risk of backaches.
Plus, laying the tent on the back is more convenient and easier than at the top.
Q: What’s the easiest way of packing a tent?
A: Generally, packing a tent entails packing all your items in an order, starting from the lightest to the heaviest items.
The heaviest gear, including the sleeping bag and tent, should be at the top.
We’re through with the guide, and it’s possible everything you need to know about how to attach tent to backpack.
It’s a comprehensive guide outlining the different techniques I’ve used to carry my tents.
Every technique is unique and may yield different results in your next hike. So, it’s all about trying them and seeing what works for you.
The aim should be an effortless, easy and pain-free hiking experience.
Remember packing your tent in the wrong way can result in fatigue and pain.