Gear Rx: How you can Restore Tent Poles

Creator’s Observe: Gear Rx is a brand new column on F& designed to show you sensible tips about gear restore, upkeep, and care— so you will get much more life out of the stuff you already personal.

Even the sturdiest tents want repairs typically, and probably the most widespread tent repairs is the poles. If you wish to delay the lifetime of your tent, correct tent upkeep can assist, however realizing easy methods to repair or change damaged items will assist too. 

We’ll cowl easy methods to repair damaged tent poles if you find yourself on the path and if you find yourself at house. Whereas restore work tends to be simpler at house with entry to instruments and different supplies, packing a restore package and realizing easy methods to use it’ll maintain your shelter intact for the rest of your journey.

How you can Restore Tent Poles

Even poles from the best camping tents can break from consumer error, basic put on and tear, accidents, and even producer defects. The largest tent pole repair I’ve ever had was after I crashed whereas bikepacking. My poles had been rolled up in my sleeping pad hooked up to my bike, and the crash broke just a few of the poles together with the shock wire. 

Discuss a crash course in tent pole restore! I needed to change the shock wire on the fly and repair just a few poles. 

Fortunately, I used to be near camp, and I had a restore package so I may repair them that night time. Having a restore package with you whereas tenting, backpacking, or looking can be sure that you keep heat, dry, and guarded for the rest of the journey. 

The 2 principal tent pole repairs you might run into are:

  1. Changing a shock wire
  2. Splinting a damaged pole

The kind of tent pole you’ve gotten considerably influences the sturdiness, the way you carry out repairs, and what must be fastened most frequently. 

Tent poles could be made out of: 

  • Metal: Not as versatile as different supplies, however very sturdy. They’re heavy and powerful, typical for sq. or framed tents. Though a break in a metal pole is rare, you’ll have bends. Metal can also be liable to rusting if the supplies aren’t appropriately coated. 
  • Glass-Strengthened Plastic (GRP): These are made out of strands of glass held collectively in a resin; GRP poles are also referred to as fiberglass poles. Though they aren’t all glass, the supplies can splinter and break. In case you have fiberglass poles, breaks and changing shock cords will probably be a typical restore. 
  • Aluminum Alloy: Aluminum may be very versatile and comparable in flexibility to GRP poles. The principle distinction between these is aluminum poles are a lot lighter. Aluminum tent poles are generally utilized in backpacking tents as a result of they’re light-weight and comparatively cheap. The first restore you’ll see with these poles is bent poles and changing shock cords. 
  • Carbon Fiber: doubtlessly the strongest and most sturdy tent pole materials, carbon fiber is light-weight, versatile, and powerful. It’s wonderful for backpacking, however the main draw back is the excessive worth. Widespread repairs for carbon fiber embody changing shock cords and the occasional bent pole.
Gear Rx: How to Repair Tent Poles
Instance of some tent pole restore provides

What to incorporate in a tent pole repair kit:

  • Further shock wire 
  • Tent sleeve
  • Duct tape 
  • Optionally available: guidewire, washers

Different objects like a lighter, multi-tool, and even tremendous glue can turn out to be useful for tent pole repairs, however these are probably objects you have already got packed for different functions. 

We suggest having an entire nylon tent repair kit for those who’re packing a restore package. These embody objects for tent pole restore and mesh display screen and cloth patches. Shopping for a premade restore package can work, however double verify it has the right dimension tent sleeves, ferrules, and lengthy sufficient wire. 

Change a Shock Wire

It’s best to restore a tent shock wire at house when you’ve gotten entry to extra instruments, nevertheless it may also be carried out in camp. In case you are at house, listed here are the objects it’s good to change your tent pole’s shock wire: 

  • Sharpie or different marker
  • Scissors or knife
  • Lighter 
  • Shock cord
  • Optionally available: locking pliers, metallic wire, washers, and tape 

Whether or not the elastic wire has simply worn out with time or broke, changing it’s comparatively simple. Most tent poles could have the identical diameter shock wire, however they require completely different lengths. Upon getting a alternative card, begin by following these steps:

  1. Lay the tent poles out and label every part with a marker or tape. Do your finest to maintain the poles in the identical order throughout this course of. 
  1. You will have two selections, pending the state of affairs– you’ll be able to both take away the outdated shock wire or tie the brand new one to the tip of the outdated wire. 
    • To take away the shock wire, take off the tip cap and lower the knot on the finish of the wire and pull it out on the other facet. 
    • If the total wire remains to be intact, we suggest protecting the wire contained in the poles, eradicating one pole tip from the poles and the wire, and looping the brand new wire by way of the outdated one to attach them. This received’t work for all tent pole designs. If this does work to your poles, skip to step 4. 
  1. Measure the brand new shock wire towards the outdated wire or the tent poles. Join the poles and measure a couple of foot longer than the poles. When you’re utilizing the outdated wire with no elasticity left, the brand new wire could be lower about 8 inches shorter than the outdated one. Mark the measurement on the wire, however wait to chop it till you understand what the subsequent step needs to be. 
Gear Rx: How to Repair Tent Poles
I prefer to mark close to the tip of the poles first after which mark once more shorter or longer relying on the state of affairs.
  1. The next steps for feeding the wire by way of the poles will depend upon the kind of tent poles you’ve gotten. 
    • When you had been in a position to connect the shock wire ends collectively, then with the poles hooked up, take away the opposite pole tip. Pull the wire by way of the tent poles till you’ve reached the knotted finish. Connect the pole tip to the brand new wire, however the outdated wire off, and put the pole tip again onto the tip. Skip to step 6 if this labored for you. 
    • When you needed to take away the shock wire and have fiberglass tent poles, use a metallic wire the size of the poles to tug it by way of. Shove the wire into the tip of the shock wire about ¼ inch and tape them collectively to string them by way of the poles. Tie off one finish of the wire with a pole restore washer to forestall it from pulling by way of if you stress the opposite finish. 
    • If neither is an possibility, lower the shock wire to the measured size and tie a knot in a single finish to forestall it from being pulled by way of. Restring the shock wire by way of the poles within the applicable order separately till you get to all however the final pole. 
  1. After you’ve threaded the shock wire by way of all however one of many poles, create stress within the shock wire to maintain the entire poles linked. Use a pair of locking pliers to carry that stress in place. 
    • With fiberglass poles, you’ll be able to thread the wire by way of all tent poles, add stress, after which have the pliers maintain the wire in place. It would be best to use a restore washer for this finish, so slide the washer onto the tip of the shock wire, tie a knot within the wire, and get the washer as near the pliers as you’ll be able to.
    • Alternatively, with the wire stretched to the prolonged size and locking pliers in place, feed the remainder of the shock wire by way of the final pole part. Tie the tip of the wire to the pole tip, after which unclamp the pliers. 
  1. Safe the opposite finish of the wire nevertheless it really works finest together with your tent poles. If the wire is just too unfastened, create barely extra stress, tie a brand new loop, and fix the pole tip. Watch out to not over stress the wire. You need them to have the ability to fold up to slot in the tent bag nonetheless. 
  1. Take away some extra wire however depart just a little in case it’s good to retie the knots at any level. Warmth the trimmed ends with a lighter to forestall fraying. 

How you can Change a Shock Wire in Camp

The method you comply with to exchange a shock wire when climbing or tenting is basically the identical as at house. We suggest having most of what it’s good to change the wire with you in a restore package, however you might have to improvise just a little. 

For example, when you have a multi-tool, you need to use a knife to chop the wire as a substitute of scissors. You might also be capable of use the pliers in your software to clamp the wire in place. 

If all else fails and you don’t even have an additional shock wire, you need to use a string or nothing in any respect. I’ve gotten by with no shock wire in my tent poles for an evening or two in a pinch. It makes for some additional problem when establishing the tent, nevertheless it ought to keep in place by way of the night time as soon as it’s arrange. 

How you can Splint a Damaged Tent Pole

Whereas it could appear extra dramatic to have a tent pole break versus the shock wire, it’s a neater in-field repair. A tent pole break has just a few momentary fixes meant to maintain you till you’ve gotten an opportunity to exchange that part of the tent pole. 

All it’s good to should restore a damaged or bent tent pole is:

  • Tent sleeve/splint or tent stake 
  • Duct tape or different sturdy, sticky tape

Splinting tent poles works finest when the pole breaks away from connecting factors. You may splint the ends of two poles collectively, making it more durable to hold. 

How you can Use a Tent Sleeve/Splint:

  1. The sleeve needs to be massive sufficient in diameter to suit over the pole and never transfer round an excessive amount of. Most tent firms present a minimum of one tent sleeve with the acquisition of a brand new tent, however you can even buy a tent sleeve individually. 
  1. Discover the damaged or bent part of the pole. If the pole is damaged, line up the damaged space to be as flush as doable. Whether it is bent, bend it again to be straight. 
  1. Slide the tent sleeve over the damaged or bent space. 
  1. Whereas holding the sleeve in place, wrap duct tape round every finish of the sleeve till it’s safe. Different heavy responsibility tape will work for this as properly. 
Gear Rx: How to Repair Tent Poles
Makeshift splint utilizing a tent stake

How you can Use a Tent Stake as a Splint:

  1. When you don’t have a tent sleeve, you need to use one thing else to splint the damaged pole: a tent stake. Metallic tent stakes work the very best, however all you want is a stiff straight object (even a powerful stick works) to offer structural integrity to the damaged space. 
  1. Upon getting your supplies, line up the damaged sections of the pole or bend the pole to be straight as soon as once more. 
  1. Line the tent stake up heart with the damaged part.
  1. Beginning on one finish of the stake, connect the stake to the pole utilizing duct tape or different heavy responsibility tape. Chances are you’ll have to wrap it just a few instances to make sure it’s tight and won’t transfer or slide. 

Whether or not you’ve gotten a shock restore because of an accident like I did, or your tent poles simply want just a little additional like to last more, tent pole repairs could be made simple with a little bit of follow and the right restore gear. If there’s one piece of recommendation we can provide of us, it’s to be ready. Packing a restore package with you is one of the best ways to ease the stress of broken gear on the path. Hopefully, you received’t have to make use of it, however you’ll be prepared for those who do.


Q: What sort of tent pole is essentially the most sturdy?

Carbon fiber tent poles are among the many finest supplies for tent poles due to their sturdiness and ultralight development. {Many professional} guides and out of doors athletes use them, however they’ve a excessive worth level. 

Aluminum alloy tent poles are way more inexpensive whereas nonetheless being sturdy, light-weight, and versatile. They maintain up properly in most situations, however they are going to corrode shortly for those who camp or journey close to saltwater. When you look strictly for sturdiness, metal tent poles would be the strongest. They’re very heavy and don’t work properly for those who carry your gear.

Q: Can you purchase alternative tent poles?

Sure, you should purchase alternative tent poles. Most tent producers promote alternative poles for those who can not repair a damaged tent pole successfully or need to change the one you’ve splinted. There are additionally common poles bought, however make sure that they’re the identical supplies and size. You should purchase an entire set or particular person sections.

Q: Are there gear restore outlets that repair tent poles?

Sure, native gear outlets or massive retail outlets might restore tent poles or have alternative elements in inventory. Contact a neighborhood out of doors gear retailer to study extra about their providers. Many backpacking tents have some type of restore or alternative tent pole program. In case you have an MSR model tent, tent pole repairs fall underneath a restricted lifetime guarantee and could be changed. Different tent manufacturers might have restore insurance policies and warranties, and we suggest contacting the tent firm on to see if they will restore or change the tent pole.

Q: What’s a tent pole restore sleeve?

A tent pole sleeve is commonly offered together with your tent and is the quickest option to restore a damaged or bent tent pole. It’s meant to be a fast repair on the path till you will get again to a spot for a everlasting repair or alternative of the pole. It may also be referred to as a splint and appears like a brief tube that matches over the damaged space of the pole to make it usable once more.

Q: How lengthy ought to a tent pole shock wire be?

Use your tent poles or the outdated shock wire to measure the suitable size. All the time measure barely longer than the tent poles and shorten it later. In case you are utilizing the outdated shock wire as a information, watch out to not lower it too lengthy or brief. If the elasticity of the outdated wire is gone, it received’t be simple to get a correct measurement, and utilizing the poles may be simpler.

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