Can You Bring a Tent on a Plane as Hand Luggage? – Answered

can you bring a tent on a plane as a hand luggage

Last updated on July 24th, 2023 at 09:18 am

When im packing for a flight, im like…can you bring a tent on a plane? You realize that you will need your tent at your destination. The question that arises is whether tents are allowed on a plane as hand luggage.

Yes, you may carry your tent along with your checked or carry-on bags. If you wish to bring it as hand luggage, you need to check with the airline so you can ensure the bag will fit underneath the seat or the overhead bin. However, the tent stakes are to be packed in checked-in bags.

This is just a preview. Read on for more on camping gear that you can take on a flight and their respective restrictions. 

Can you bring a tent on a plane as hand luggage?

can you bring a tent on a plane as a hand luggage

Some situations may force you to travel with your camping gear and equipment on a plane. The idea may be to pitch a tent outdoors rather than spend the night at a hotel.

For others, it may be because they are attached to their camping gear and would like to use them for outdoor adventures wherever they are traveling to. Either way, you may want to know if it is possible to carry your tent as hand luggage on a plane.

Thankfully, TSA guidelines regarding the same are conveniently accommodating. Therefore, you can choose to take your tent as checked luggage or a carry-on bag inside the plane depending on the restrictions of the airline. 

While you can carry your tent as hand luggage, the pegs, stakes, and poles should be checked in the luggage. This is because such tent parts pose a security threat as they can easily be used as weapons. Another thing to remember is that there is a weight limit on all carry-on luggage.

With that in mind, you need to check to ensure that your tent does not exceed the weight limit. It is advisable to pack the tent under the place if it exceeds the limit. This way, you can also have more space for other important items such as laptops and books. 

What are the rules for bringing tents on a plane? 

Inasmuch as you are allowed to bring in a tent as a carry-on or checked luggage, there are some rules that your luggage should adhere to. For one, if the tent is to be transported as hand luggage, the packaging of the bag should meet the airline’s guidelines on baggage in terms of dimension restriction. 

Another thing is, that some of the tent parts such as poles, pegs, spikes, and stakes are prohibited inside the plane and should be among your checked-in luggage. 

Besides these rules, there are no major restrictions when it comes to flying with an epic camping tent. However, if you are planning on going camping, there are camping gear that you can and cannot carry on a plane. 

Which camping gear is allowed on a plane? 

Sleeping pad or bag 

Many airline policies will allow carrying a sleeping bag on board a plane. The sleeping pads can easily fit in carry-on luggage. Those that come with inbuilt pumps can be taken in as hand luggage while those without should be checked luggage. 

Hiking poles 

As earlier mentioned, hiking poles cannot be taken in as carry-on luggage. They have to be included in the checked-in bags. 

Camping stove 

You can bring your camping stove as carry-on luggage if it is clean and has no fuel vapor or residue. These are not allowed as checked luggage due to their fragile nature and can easily be bent or damaged when mishandled. 


Fire starters such as safety matches and a refillable lighter are allowed in as hand luggage. These cannot be among the checked luggage. However, if the matches are the ‘strike-anywhere’ type, you may not be able to transport them on the plane. 


Flashlights are allowed on board either as checked or as hand luggage. 


Camping knives are permitted on a plane only as checked luggage for safety reasons. Moreover, they are supposed to be securely wrapped so they do not injure inspectors and bag handlers. The type of knife and blade size should be according to the restrictions of the airline and that of the destination. 

Which camping gear is not allowed on a plane?

Stove fuel 

Stove fuel, or any other fuel, is combustible and puts passengers in danger. Therefore, they are neither allowed as hand luggage nor in a checked bag. 

Bear spray 

Bear spray is also flammable so you cannot transport it in a plane at all. Your best option will be to purchase it at your destination and leave it behind on your flight back. 

Fire steel or firelighters 

These are not permitted on a plane unless they are refillable types. You can empty and clean them before transportation. 

Can you take a pop-up tent on a plane? 

It is possible to take your pop-up tent on a plane. Most of them tend to be large, hence may be required as checked-in luggage. However, you can still come with it as hand luggage.

To have an easy time at the airlines, ensure the tent can pack light and compact, preferably tents with fiberglass tubes since they are hollow.

 Tents can be packed into portable and compact luggage that you can bring on board. If the carry bag is of standard size and complies with the TSA guidelines, you are permitted to bring it with you.

However, issues may arise if your tent is larger in size, thus exceeding the set standards. 

If you are planning on bringing your tent on a flight, ensure that you pack lightly and smartly. The luggage should be properly labeled and the case, where the tent is put, should be of good quality.

You can check if the luggage is below the weight limit before going to the airport.  

Can you bring camping gas on a plane? 

The guidelines on camping gas or stoves are that they can only be brought on board if they are clean and empty. It should not have any gas residue or vapor.

Moreover, the cords should be wrapped properly and the items should be layered in bags so inspectors have an easy time. 

If the camping gas is not properly cleaned, some flammable vapors may remain and this is reason enough to warrant confiscation. The clean and dry gas should be stored in a stuff sack and carefully placed in your checked bag. Canister fuels are also not allowed on a plane.  

Is it possible to ship fuel for camping? 

Any type of fuel is not allowed on board. This is because fuel is combustible and puts all passengers in danger. Therefore, you cannot bring in fuel either as checked luggage or carry-on luggage. However, appliances that use fuel such as stoves are allowed on board.

The fuel can ignite and cause a fire in the cargo compartment, a rare occurrence but possible. This could result in a massive explosion. Therefore, leave all fuel canisters at home. 

The only option you have it to buy your camping fuel once you reach the destination. Most fuel types are easy to find. However, you may experience difficulty if camping in remote areas. 

FAQs on bringing a tent on a plane

Whether your tent goes as oversized baggage solely depends on its size. The smaller tents fit on your carry-on bags or checked-in bags with no hassle and hence are not classified as oversized.

However, there are larger tents, such as the multi-room tent, that may be classified as oversized, and demand an additional fee. 

Tent pegs are allowed on a plane. However, they should be stored in checked luggage. If you place them in your carry-on bag, they are likely to be confiscated. 


Tents are conveniently allowed on planes. They should be carefully packed to avoid any damage. However, you need to keep in mind which other camping gear you can or cannot bring on board.

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