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How To: Repair a Tent Pole

Repair fiberglass or aluminum tent poles the sleazy way, or the better way.


repair a tent pole

1. You’ll need a broken pole, duct tape, and a tent pole repair sleeve (REI.com sells repair sleeves for 75 cents).

repair a tent pole

2. A broken aluminum pole will usually crimp and shatter. If necessary, break off metal shreds and squeeze the flattened ends until they fit into the repair sleeve. Fiberglass poles generally fray but stay connected. Repair procedures are the same.

repair a tent pole

3. For a quick midnight repair, slide the repair sleeve over the broken pole section keeping it centered on the break.

repair a tent pole

4. Notice how the broken pole ends have been rounded and cleaned up so they’ll fit in the tube.

repair a tent pole

5. Repair sleeve centered over break.

repair a tent pole

6. To complete a quick, one-night repair you can simply fasten the repair sleeve in position with a wrap or two of tape and get back to sleep.

repair a tent pole

7. For a stronger, multi-night repair, mark where the repair sleeve sits when centered over the break.

repair a tent pole

8. Wrap one broken end with duct tape so that it fits tightly into the sleeve and the tape goes all the way to the end of the repair tube’s length. Position the tube and mark the opposite end.

repair a tent pole

9. Wrap the other half of the broken end in similar fashion. Note how the two duct tape wraps go all the way to the repair tube ends.

repair a tent pole

10. Slide the repair tube over the duct taped pole section.

repair a tent pole

11. So it looks like this. If the tape fits tightly, you won’t need to hold it in place with additional tape wraps. You can remove and reposition the repair tube at will for more efficient packing.

repair a tent pole

12. Why it’s important. With both broken halves wrapped and fit tightly to the repair tube, the pole arc bends evenly with no pressure points that can fold again in high winds.

repair a tent pole

13. Why it’s important. With a simple repair tube and no underlying duct tape wraps, the pole bends unevenly and the black pole sections are bent over the sharp edge of the repair tube, forming a weak point.

Photos by Jennifer Howe / howephoto.us