Like everyone else, I too had that problem with my big, dome tent (branded as Winnebago). I bought a big black duffle bag from The Sportsman's Guide and stuff everything inside of that, inluding extra stakes, some rope and a cheap rubber mallet.
My tent is over fifteen years old and when using it the other week, I just noticed that the sealed seams on the rain cover are starting to deteriorate. Anyone know how to re-seal/fix that? I wonder if I could use some sort of adhesive, or maybe even smear hot glue on there?
This is a problem that has also plagued me for years, and it is not limited to tents. I recently bought a car cover for my new Camaro convertible. It came out of the "storage bag" about the same way your tent did. This thing is almost 20' long and 6' wide. There is no way that I can fold this cover up to even get it half-way into the bag. So, I put the half in that I can and cover the other half with a large ziplock baggie. Other items that I have had this trouble with include tarps, tonneau covers, etc. The monkeys have the advantage of elaborate equipment to fold, compress, and insert the items into their storage bags, a luxury to which the consumer does not have access to. It's a fact of life and we just have to learn to love with I guess. Good luck, and be assured that you are not alone and it will happen again and again to you and thousands of other unsuspecting consumers.
I bought a $50 five person tent several years back when we joined a YMCA group. Before we went camping with it for the first time, I set it up in the back yard. I noted how it folded and was able to pack it tighter than it came with room to spare in the included bag. Sometimes my kid would leave something inside the tent (shirt, socks, sunglasses) and it would still fit in the bag. When I lent it to a friend he brought it back half stuffed in the bag complaining that it wouldn't fit. It's good to bring it home, set it up and clean it out anyway. Unfortunately, that's how I got a bunch of invasive plant species introduced to my yard.
I had an Ozark Wal-Mart tent that served me very well for many years and many scout outings. It even served through a few episodes of "heavy dew" on campouts without soaking me or my stuff. That little dome tent was a fine single person tent and had more headroom than any other 2 person tent I have seen since. I think I paid about $15 for it.
I ultimately replaced it with a 10x more expensive tent from REI... the use of hooks instead of pockets for the poles makes setup easier/faster and it packs smaller/lighter for backpacking.
Getting any tent back in its bag requires some attention to detail and technique. Folding into the right size is critical as is getting all the air out. Hint: the folded tent should be the same size as the collapsed tent poles. Many tents require folding in thirds and not fourths like many people try to do.
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