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Tips On Fixing A Broken Tent Pole

by Kyle Marshall

It's your worst nightmare; you've headed off on a weekend camping trip with your mates only to find that your tent pole is bent or broken when you come to pitch for the night. Here's a handy guide on how to fix bent or broken tent poles 'in the field' until you can get to a specialist repair shop.

Composite or fibreglass tent poles

Emergency repairs

Some tents have flexible tent poles, which are usually made from composite plastic or fibreglass. If your tent has these, you're in luck because these are the easiest to repair and replace.

The typical type of damage that affects composite plastic or fibreglass tent poles is splitting, which leaves the inner elastic material exposed. An effective 'in the field' repair for damage such as this is simply to wrap a piece of strong duct tape or gaffa tape around the damaged area. Make sure that you always take a roll of suitable tape with you every time you head off for a camping trip, just in case.

Replacement of damaged sections

Once you get back to civilisation, you can replace the damaged section or the whole pole.

To replace a section of split pole, measure the diameter and width of the section and pick up a suitable replacement from your local camping spares supplier.

Dismantle the sections of pole in front of the broken piece so that you can remove it. Take the new section of pole and thread the elastic innards through it, pulling the elastic right through and out of the other end of the pole. Now reassemble the remaining poles to complete the whole thing.

Steel tent poles

If the tent section of a steel tent pole is a straight one, you can often straighten it out yourself simply by placing the pole over something solid and bending it back into shape.

If possible, heat the pole slightly over your camp fire or with a blow torch to make the metal more pliable and easier to bend. Always allow the metal to cool completely before attempting to fix it back into the tent.

Shaped sections of poles that are bent are trickier to fix, and it can be best to take them to a specialist repair shop or a metal worker. Take a comparable piece of pole with you so that the exact shape can be replicated such that it fits properly.