Using a Broken Tent Pole in the Field

Many different things can lead to a broken tent pole: gale force winds, an accidental stomp while pitching your tent, or maybe your tent is just old. Regardless of how your tent poles break, you need to know how to patch them up for use while camping. Here’s how to repair broken tent poles in the field.

Always pack a repair sleeve and some tape

It’s a good idea to bring a small gear repair kit any time you go camping. Packing the basics – a tent pole repair sleeve, duct tape, nylon repair tape, seam grip, sand paper, needle and thread, etc. – ensures that you have at least a temporary fix for any gear that fails while you’re out in the field.

Fixing a broken tent pole in the field is pretty straightforward. All you need is a tent pole repair sleeve and/or some duct tape.

Many tents are sold with an included tent pole repair sleeve or tent pole repair splint. If your tent didn’t come with a sleeve – or if you’ve lost it – you can buy one at your local outdoor gear store.

Locate the break. If possible, sand, file, or cut any sharp or jagged edges from the tent pole. Center your tent repair splint or tent repair sleeve on the break of the broken tent pole. Wrap the splint in duct tape for extra reinforcement – especially if the repair sleeve is a larger diameter than the tent poles.

You can repair a broken tent pole with just duct tape in a pinch, but this is definitely a temporary fix. Simply wrap the break in duct tape, until it can support the strain of your tent. You can attach a makeshift splint before wrapping the break in tape for extra support.

Do a proper repair when you get home

Field repairs help you make do in the moment, but they’re not a permanent fix. Always perform a  thorough repair on your outdoor gear as soon as you get home from your trip.

Find a repair splint that matches the diameter of your tent poles. Again, you can get these at your local outdoor gear store.

Make sure that you file or sand sharp or jagged edges prevent damaging the elastic shock cord inside the poles. You can also completely remove the broken ends of the tent pole with a saw.

Then reinforce the broken ends of the tent pole with several wraps of duct tape or nylon repair tape. This removes any play between the tent pole and the repair splint and promotes a more even distribution of weight over the break.

Of course, you can also often buy replacement poles for your tent if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of a repair, or if your tent poles are beyond repair. Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters in Fayetteville, Arkansas for tents, gear repair supplies, and any of your outdoor gear needs!

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