Ever Had to Fix a Broken Tent Pole? It’s Hard but This How-To Makes it Easier


Every tent you get comes with a little repair sleeve, but I’ve yet to see a tent that comes with instructions for how to use the repair sleeve. I guess it’s supposed to be intuitive? Well, it’s not! At least, not for this humanities major. Fortunately, over my decades of camping, I’ve not had the need to repair a busted tent pole. 

Until last summer. 

This first part is embarrassing. I drove over the tent pole and that’s how it broke. I was camping at Tioga Lake, just outside the eastern boundary of Yosemite National Park, at Tioga Pass. It gets really windy there and while setting up camp, I decided to move my truck a little bit to block the wind to make erecting my tent easier. Seemed really smart. Until I while backing up I heard a metal scraping sound and looked out the window to see the tent poles I’d just assembled bending awkwardly beneath my rear tires. Oops.

One of the segments of the ridge pole was crushed but looked like it would still work. Yet once I put it under tension trying to finish getting the tent up, the pole snapped. No biggie I thought, knowing I had the repair sleeve. Not sure what I expected to happen when I looked at the little tube though. How am I supposed to get this thing over the broken section of pole? The hubs that connect the ridge poles to the down poles are fixed, right? 

My solution was to ignore the sleeve and make a splint with duct tape and two extra tent stakes I always keep in the truck. It worked, kinda, but for the next two nights I had to refashion the splint before going to sleep. 

Really wish I’d seen this video first! I’ve since taken apart the ridge pole hub on multiple tents just like you see in the video from MSR below, and it works for every brand of tent I’ve tried it with so far. 

Happy summer, happy camping, and let’s hope you never need to use this how-to. Because busting your tent is a great way to ruin a trip. 

Words by Justin Housman



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