How to “Un-Pop” Your Pop-Up Tent

We heard a story about a woman who went camping with a pop up tent, but did not know how to fold it back up. After trying to fold the tent for an hour, she stuffed it in the back of her car and drove off in frustration. She described driving home with an open tent filling half her car as similar to driving a car filled with thirty helium balloons. All of the fun family camping memories were crowded out because she didn’t know the trick to re-packing her tent.


The pop-up tent may be difficult to fold up if you have never seen it done. There is a trick to it, however, and once you learn that trick, you will find collapsing your pop-up tent to be much easier than taking down and repacking a traditional tent.


To keep your next camping trip from devolving into a similar Griswold-like catastrophe, we’ve provided these six easy steps to refold or take down and re-pack your pop-up tent:

Step One: Pinch the top.

Step One

This part is pretty easy. You can feel the rings of the framing inside the nylon and you want to pull the middle two rings together evenly.



Step Two: Bring up the sides.

Step Two

Hold the middle two rings together with one hand while you use your other hand to pull both the sides up to meet the middle.


Step Three: The “taco flip.”

Step Three

While holding the ends together, flip the tent vertically so the top of the tent is facing you, the bottom is pointing away, and one of the ends is resting on the ground.

Step Four: The fold-over.

Step Four

This is the tricky part. Keep holding the top of the tent together and using the ground as leverage against the bottom, rotate the top down and inwards. You can see Joe’s right hand is guiding the frame down and up inside the fold of the tent.

Step Five: The layering twist.

Step Five

As you push the tent into itself rotate one ring above the other so that they are moving to line up on top of each other.

Step Six: Line up the rings.

Step Six

After twisting the rings in place, push the tent down to line up all the framing rings and slide the closing band over the edges.


The pop-up tent is a great piece of gear, especially for families with young kids because it sets up in seconds, folds nicely, and stores in a super compact case. Now that you know how to fold your pop-up tent, you can take the stress out of campsite set-up and tear-down and spend this summer building happy memories with your kids.