How to Repair Tent Poles

Tent poles, often through no fault of the owner, can easily become damaged or broken. This will usually result in the owner having to purchase replacement tent poles, or even a replacement tent. It is however, with a few basic tools and enough space, sometimes possible to repair them.

Straightening a bent tent pole

If you think that one or more of your tent poles have become bent or misshapen, you can test them for straightness by laying them out on a flat surface and rolling them backwards and forwards. The pole should roll fluidly across the surface with no bumps or wobbles. If it does not roll smoothly, then it is safe to assume that the pole has become misshapen.

Providing that it has not been bent too much, you should be able to bend it back by gently applying pressure to it whilst you have it placed across your knee. We would firstly advise that you tightly pack the pole with fine grain sand and bung each end, this will so to stop the tube from crushing or becoming crimped. You may also wish to gently heat the pole before bending, as this will make it more pliable; the heat from a simple hair dryer should be sufficient.

After you have bent your tent pole back into its original shape, you will need to keep a careful eye on it and the repeated bending of the pole will have caused it to weaken.

Fixing a broken or cracked tent pole

Small breaks or cracks can usually be repaired using duct/gaffa tape. Once you have found the problem area, you will need to wrap several layers of tape around the pole. Using this method to fix tent poles is really only advisable in an emergency, as it will certainly not offer the same level of durability and strength of an undamaged pole. A replacement pole should be purchased as soon as you possibly can.

Another option is to purchase a tent pole repair kit, although these sound fit for purpose, in reality they will do no better job than the previous gaffa tape method.

If its a carbon fibre pole you can get some carbon spray from most larger fishing tackle shops, should hold fairly well but nothing will be as good long term as replacing the pole.

Rethread a snapped shock cord

Modern tent poles are usually kept connected by a strong cord of elastic that runs through the middle of them, this is usually referred to as a shock cord or bungee. If this cord becomes un-tied or breaks it will need to be re-threaded back through the poles.

The easiest way to rethread a shock cord through one or more tent poles is to use a darning (a large eyed) needle combined with some strong thread or fishing line. The fishing line will need to be around a foot longer than all of the poles combined. Thread one end of the fishing line though the needle and then attach the other to one end of the shock cord. When you have done this, drop the needle through the combined poles. When it emerges at the other end you be able to gently pull and re-thread the shock cord back through the poles, fastening it off at the other end.

Removing sharp splinters

Sharp splinters or edges on the tips of a pole are an accident waiting to happen, as soon as you can you will need to either bend them into a blunt shape, or attempt to remove them completely. Otherwise, they are likely to tear the or rip the tent shelter.

How measure to tent pole diameter

The diameter of a circle is basically the length of the straight line which travels through the center point of a circle, from one side to another. The circumference is the distance around the outside of the circle.

To work out the diameter of a tent pole you can either use a precision measuring tool such as a vernier caliper, or you can do it the old fashioned way. The old fashioned way means that you will need to firstly work out the circumference of the pole and then calculate the diameter from it.

You can measure the circumference of a tent pole by either using a tape measure, or by wrapping a small piece of string or paper around the pole until it meets, you would then need to measure that against a ruler, which gives you the circumference. You then need to divide the circumference by 3.14, which will give you the diameter of the circle, or tent pole in our case.