A tent mate guide for a perfect trip

sharing a tent
sharing a tent

Whether you and your partner are going backpacking or you and you are with your best friend, sharing a tent will tend to happen.

Sharing a tent is a great way to stay warm and carry less gear. However, it is important to make sure you are being a good tent mate to your hiking buddy.

Follow these steps to make sure you are being as courteous as possible!

No Shoe Rule

This one is simple: take your shoes off before you get in the tent. Some people don’t care and some people do, but it’s an easy way to keep the tent clean. Depending on your relationship with your tent mate, they might feel uncomfortable asking you to take your shoes off. Play it safe and do it anyways.

Zip Her Up!

Never leave the tent door open unless you are entering or exiting. Using the same rule of thumb as our first suggestion, this one is easy and avoids necessarily pushing buttons. Closing the tent door keeps things clean and bug-free for you are your tent mate.

Tent Mate Hygiene

Keeping yourself clean is important when you are sharing a tent with someone. Bad breath and smelly body odor can ruin your tent mate’s sleep pretty quickly. Be cautious and wash your pits before bed. Likewise, be sure to keep up proper dental hygiene while on the trail. Nasty morning breath is a quick way to irritate your partner.


It is important to keep your side of the tent tidy and clean when sharing a tent
It is important to keep your side of the tent tidy and clean when sharing a tent

Manage Your Gear

Keeping your gear and sleeping area organized is important when you are on the trail. Don’t be the tent mate that leaves dirty socks all over the sleeping area and stinks up the tent.

Likewise, be sure to not spread out too much. Although backpacking tents are rather small, it is easy to stay organized. Use the overhead storage and side pockets (share!) to make sure everything has a place and stays in it.

Know Your Body

If you are someone that frequently has to get up to go pee during the night (me!), let your tent mate know and sleep on the door side. Climbing over someone while they are asleep is hard and annoying. Additionally, make sure you are as quiet as possible when getting up to prevent waking them up.

Personal Space

The main thing to think about when you are sharing a tent is respecting personal space. Keep your items on your side and don’t encroach on your partner when you are asleep.

If you are typically a sprawler, you should let them know before they agree to share a tent with you. Although cuddling up with someone will keep you warm, don’t get cozy without clearing the idea first.


Be a pal and help your partner pack up the tent even if they are the one carrying it
Be a pal and help your partner pack up the tent even if they are the one carrying it

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Share all the tent related tasks. When you get to camp, both of you should help set the tent up and loading sleeping gear into it.

Likewise, when the trip is over make sure to help your tent mate clean the tent out and collapse it. Divvying up tasks will prevent issues between you and your partner.

If you are feeling extra friendly, blow up your partners sleeping pad for them! Unless they are a germaphobe…


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rebecca-hext is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival