Broken Tent Poles
A broken tent pole can be a pain. Some problems with tent poles can be fixed yourself while other problems may require buying a new pole and some problems may require buying a new tent.
It is easy to replace broken elastic in any given pole. Take your pole with you and go to a local fabric store. Find the elastic section and try buy the elastic that is most similar to the one in your pole. Once you have new elastic, remove the old and thread the new elastic through all poles using bailing wire or something similar that isn't too flexible. Once the new elastic is threaded through you will have to play with the tension. It’s trial and error at this point.
Broken Fiberglass Poles
Fiberglass tent poles can break or fracture. Making a repair to these types of poles takes a bit of work but it can be done. The first step in repairing a fiberglass tent pole is finding some fiberglass mat and some resin. Fiberglass mat can be found online or at a marine supply outfit. Once you have these materials the application is pretty straightforward.
You will need to prepare your tent pole by sanding it and getting it straight and ready to be patched. Once you have done this, you will need to cut appropriate pieces of fiberglass mat to cover the damaged area on your pole. Next ,measure and cut the fiberglass mat and mix the resin. The directions and ratios for this step can usually be found on the resin container. Once the resin is mixed, apply it to the cut fiberglass mat on the tent pole. Apply enough to make the mat wet, but not soaking. The mat should look like a wet band-aid over the broken area. Leave the pole to dry and then sand the pole to create a finished product.
Broken Aluminum Poles
Aluminum poles are more common. If you break an aluminum pole you can typically fix it using a tent pole repair sleeve. You can find these at most sporting goods, camping stores or online. You will need one sleeve for each break. Slide the sleeve onto the pole and you can secure it in place with duct tape. If you cannot find any repair sleeves that fit with your pole, you can go to a hardware store and buy some aluminum tubing with a width slightly bigger than your pole. Use metal snips to cut the tubing to an appropriate size. Slide the tubing over the broken pole and use metal clamps to keep in place. It is also a good idea to dress these sharp clamps with duct tape.
If repairing your pole is not an option, try to contact either the store you bought your tent at or the manufacturer. Most quality manufactures carry replacement poles. If both the store and manufacturer do not have a replacement pole there are specialty stores that make replacement poles. These stores can be expensive, so you have to take into consideration the overall price to replace your whole tent.
In the end, it might be worth buying a new tent through a manufacturer that supplies pole replacements for future breakages.