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Carrying a tent through airport control

Albert_Hadacek

Young Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues - 2015
Norte - 2016, 2020
Frances - 2018
Hello guys, me and my girlfriend we are planning to walk the Camino Portugues in early July and due to all the restrictions and potentially less open albergues, we are planning to carry a tent. Do you have any experience carrying a tent in hand luggage? Is it possible? I have read some discussions online and checked some guidelines, yet most of the information is not really clear.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Hello guys, me and my girlfriend we are planning to walk the Camino Portugues in early July and due to all the restrictions and potentially less open albergues, we are planning to carry a tent. Do you have any experience carrying a tent in hand luggage? Is it possible? I have read some discussions online and checked some guidelines, yet most of the information is not really clear.

Have a look at the many ‘can I take my walking poles as hand luggage’ threads. I suspect that tent poles and associated hardware would be regarded similarly and my (highly contested) opinion would be ‘don’t even think about it’.

Someone will be along shortly to describe how they never board a plane without their tent, including poles and pegs. Just start counting slowly backwards from ten ...
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Agree with @henrythedog like carrying poles in hand luggage the answer is maybe - some airports/some days no problem other airports/days no way. Prob depends a bit on your tent and how big the poles are. I doubt you'll make it through with metal tent pegs. I've only flown with my tent as checked luggage and I am fairly sure the TSA opened my case to see what it was went I flew to the US with it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I also agree with @henrythedog . In addition to tent poles, tent pegs (if you are using) would definitely be considered a potential weapon. My suggestion bring the tent in a bag that can be sent as checked baggage and ask about it when you check in, so don't go through self check in. Talk to a human, ask questions. Is camping allowed in Portugal?? Cheers
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Only ever flew with my tent as checked luggage, sorry, I don’t know. My guess is that it won’t be allowed but then I don’t even know where you’re flying from.
 

Lindsay53

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
Hi Albert. I used to work at an airport and I can say with some certainty that poles and pegs will be a problem. Best to check the tent if you want to take it with you. It may be examined by quarantine inspectors so make sure it is clean, along with the pegs and poles.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I can't imagine having a pack small enough for carry-on, that included a tent as well as everything else. A tent also implies a sleeping mat and a sleeping bag. If you can do it, I'm impressed!
 

Dromengro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
Is camping allowed in Portugal??
I don't know of any countries where camping is not allowed. Plenty of campsites in Portugal.

I can't imagine having a pack small enough for carry-on, that included a tent as well as everything else. A tent also implies a sleeping mat and a sleeping bag. If you can do it, I'm impressed!
I took a tent and sleeping bag to the Canaries and New Zealand as carry-on. Customs in N.Z questioned why I was traveling with so little and took my tent and boots away to disinfect. That was before the restrictions though.

I don't think it's worth taking the risk even if some have done it. Cheaper to pay extra for hold luggage than buy pegs and poles.
 

Albert_Hadacek

Young Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues - 2015
Norte - 2016, 2020
Frances - 2018
Thanks for the replies, the situation is sort solved as the UK does not want passengers to have hand luggage, so I would have to have my backpack as checked luggage anyway... We will see if that's gonna change. Prague Airport, for instance, says that tents are OK, but no pegs.

@Kanga My tent is very tiny, around 1.5kg and 30x15x10cm, I recently got a new sleeping bag and a mat which are under 500g each. So I can fit that quite easily into my 34l backpack.

As we are not planning to have fire or anything, just sleeping outside in case we can't find an opened Albergue or we just won't be comfortable with all the restriction rules within the accommodation. I assume it is illegal in Portugal/Spain, yet I have seen and talked to many pilgrims along the route who used tents regularly with no problems. It is always about the human approach... We are not some loud tourists or anything, we are just pilgrims...
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
Albert,
Given you will need to "check" your baggage on your return flight, I wonder if it would be less expensive to buy a cheap tent in Portugal you could leave behind/donate?

Edit: On the other hand if you are required to check in all baggage after all, it's cheaper to take your tent anyway😂
 
Last edited:

ricrog

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (07), Ingles(09), VDLP (09/10/11), Portuguese (12/20), Del Sur (18), Algarve Way(14/17)
OK, just so that henrythedog can stop counting backwards, I've been carrying my tent, sleeping bag and air mattress in my backpack as cabin baggage between Tasmania, UK, Spain and Portugal (over 10 trips) over the past 10 years with no problems. The packed tent weighs 1.5Kg and measures 46cms long X 12cms diameter, it's a free-standing tent and only needs 4 very small pegs but can stand up without them. Only use it when local beds not available and came in very useful when I was caught in the lockdown on the Portuguese Camino in late March this year and the albergues closed down.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
OK, just so that henrythedog can stop counting backwards, I've been carrying my tent, sleeping bag and air mattress in my backpack as cabin baggage between Tasmania, UK, Spain and Portugal (over 10 trips) over the past 10 years with no problems. The packed tent weighs 1.5Kg and measures 46cms long X 12cms diameter, it's a free-standing tent and only needs 4 very small pegs but can stand up without them. Only use it when local beds not available and came in very useful when I was caught in the lockdown on the Portuguese Camino in late March this year and the albergues closed down.
Mate, am I pleased to see you! I knew someone wouldn’t let me down eventually - now I can get some sleep.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
I carried a tent in 2016. My tent pegs were fine till I got to Stanstead where they were confiscated. I used a single walking pole as the only support for the tent. That posed issues but not insurmountable.

My tent was a single but could have been enough for 2, in a pinch. In Summer, a tarp and ropes may be less cumbersome.

Just a thought.
 

Henm2

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino de frances
Something like the Lanshan 1 or 2 tent will be fine. It uses trekking poles. Poles, pocket knife, pegs posted ahead using the post restante system (Lista de Correos in Spain) for collection at a post office near the start of your walk.
 

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