How to fix a Tent Pole: Simple Steps You Should Implement Now

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Ever since I fell in love with the great outdoors, I’ve enjoyed camping in the woods. However, things haven’t always been rosy.

I’ve had tent poles snap or bend, for some reason. This explains why I learned how to fix a tent pole during my early camping days.

Today, as an expert, I’d love to share some tips with you, so you can get your tent back up on the campsite if you suffer from this issue.

Fixing a Broken Pole

Aluminum tent-pole repair doesn’t have to take its toll on you,  providing that you’ve got the right tools with you. So, along with your tent-pole fittings, you should load your backpack with repair sleeves, heavy-duty tape, tent stakes, and pliers.

When your tent pole breaks, don’t brace yourself for a long, cold night in the fields. Learn how to fix it using these two methods.

More: Tent for Backpacking

Method 1: Using a Tent-Pole Repair Sleeve

Repair sleeves, aka splints, are usually included when you purchase a tent. If not, you can buy them separately.

These short tubes are an easy and quick method for fixing your poles. Just ensure the diameter is a litter larger than that of the poles – you don’t want the sleeves to move around too much.

What You Need

Step by Step Guide

  1. Arrange the damaged pole sections in a line.
  2. Sometimes, the pole might just be bent rather than broken. In this case, flatten the bend.
  3. Pull the sleeve over the end of the pole. Make sure it rests over the split or bend. You may need to use pliers to fold the separated sections – or use a rock to bend them – so that the splint will glide over them easily.
  4. Use duct tape or gaffer tape to wrap both ends of the splint or pole. Do this a couple of times.
  5. Some poles snap where a section’s end inserts into the next one. In this case, wrap the sections together. However, the poles  won’t fold up neatly when you take down your tent.

More: Tent for 4 people

Method 2: Using a Tent Stake as a Splint

If you forget to take your pole repair sleeve with you, you can improvise using a tent stake. This procedure is more or less the same as the one mentioned above.

What You Need

Step by Step Guide

  1. Align the damaged segments of the pole.
  2. If the pole is bent, straighten it. As mentioned above, some poles may just be bent rather than totally broken.
  3. Rest the stake next to the split.
  4. Bind the stake’s/pole’s ends with duct tape or gaffer tape. Do this several times.

More: Cheap Tent for Backpacking

Replacing a Tent-Pole Shock Cord

Over time, the shock cord (elasticized rubber cord inside your pole) can lose its elasticity, or it can snap due to abrasion. While you can still use the pole by pulling together the separate sections, you might want to swap it when your camping trip is over.

This is likely to keep the pole segments intact, and it makes for an easy assembly process.

What You Need

Step by Step Guide

  1. Position the pole straight. Label the sections so you don’t mix them up afterwards by using the permanent marker. If you’d rather keep the pole clean, use the masking tape for this purpose.
  2. With your pole sections in line, cut the old cord using the scissors. Pull out the elastic at the end of the pole.
  3. Take care not to lose the tiny metal parts which sit at the end of some poles. If you aren’t sure how to detach these metal parts, watch an online tutorial on how to remove tent-pole end caps.  
  4. Loosen the ends. With the new cord positioned next to the old cord, cut a new section of shock cord.
  5. While you want to ensure it corresponds to the original length of the cord, if the old shock cord is no longer elastic in its stretched-out form, you should cut the new part 8 inches shorter than the old one.
  6. Feed one end of the shock cord through all of the pole’s segments, apart from the final one. Make a knot in the other end.
  7. Extend the cord’s length by stretching it. Lock it in place using a pair of pliers, so it doesn’t slide back to the second-last section of the pole. Alternatively, fasten a temporary knot to serve the same purpose.
  8. Feed the cord’s remaining part through the final pole segment. Fasten the end.
  9. Loosen or unlock (if you’ve tightened or locked) the cord between the final two sections of the pole. Confirm that all sections sit firmly in the fully assembled pole.
  10. Check that the shock cord is tight enough. If it’s not, loosen one end, and trim it up to 6 inches. Repeat this process until the parts are held firmly in place when assembled – just don’t shorten the cord too much.
  11. Collapse the pole by disassembling the sections. Start with the middle part of the pole.

More: Beginner Guide to Camping

Don’t Spend Another Night in the Cold!

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this tutorial. Learning how to fix a tent pole doesn’t need to be complicated. The above steps have helped me fix my poles, and get my tent back up, when I didn’t have any replacement tent poles with me at the campsite.

This might come in handy for you, too. It doesn’t matter if a section of your pole is broken or the shock cord is no longer elastic, you can now fix it easily. You only need the correct tools in your backpack, as well as tent-pole connectors and other accessories.

So, go and spread the word and help a fellow camper who’s dying to know how to fix a tent pole. Feel free to leave your questions, recommendations, or suggestions in the comments section below.

Happy camping, everyone!

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Tim Fox

Tim Fox

Since the age of 10, Tim, a writer at Outdoor With J, has enjoyed camping in the great outdoors. Although he loves the peace and quiet of the outdoors, he also likes his creature comforts. Tim’s mission is to make camping a fun and comfortable experience for all. You can find more about him here

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