A broken tent pole can be a major inconvenience, but with the right tools and techniques, you can make a quick and effective repair to get back to enjoying your camping trip. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to fix a broken tent pole.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Tent pole repair sleeve (also known as a splint or ferrule)
  • Duct tape or gaffer tape
  • Replacement tent pole sections (if available)
  • Pliers or multitool
  • Hacksaw (for trimming replacement pole sections)
  • Elastic shock cord (if the cord inside the pole is damaged)

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Assess the Damage

  • Inspect the Pole: Determine the extent of the damage. Identify if the pole is snapped cleanly, cracked, or just bent.

  • Remove Damaged Section: If possible, remove the damaged section of the pole to prevent further damage to the tent fabric or other parts of the pole.

2. Quick Fix Temporary Pole Repair

A pole repair sleeve, or splint, is the quickest way to fix a broken pole in the field.

  • Slide the Sleeve Over the Break: Position the sleeve so that it covers the break or crack entirely.
  • Secure the Sleeve: Wrap duct tape or gaffer tape around both ends of the sleeve to keep it securely in place.

This method is suitable for most temporary fixes and can last for the remainder of your camping trip.

If your do not have access to a splint then you can use a tent peg as a reinforcer, lashing it to the broken pole with duct tape. This only work though on parts of the pole that will not be flexed much. For deeper curves, it is probably best just to wrap the broken part of the pole in duct tape to aide flexibility - please be aware that too much duct tape could prevent the pole from being fed through the tent. 

Coghlans Nylon tent repair kit contains assorted diameters of pole repair sleeves

3. Permanent Repair with Replacement Sections

For a more permanent solution, you'll need to replace the broken section of the pole.

  • Remove the Damaged Section: Use pliers or a multitool to remove the broken piece. Be careful to keep the elastic shock cord intact if possible.
  • Prepare the Replacement Section: Cut a new section of pole to match the length of the damaged piece using a hacksaw. Make sure the new section matches the diameter and type of the original pole.
  • Thread the Shock Cord: If the elastic shock cord inside the pole is damaged, replace it by tying one end of a new shock cord to the end of the pole and threading it through the new section. Use pliers to pull the cord tight and tie it securely.
  • Reassemble the Pole: Connect the new section to the rest of the pole, ensuring all segments fit together snugly.

4. Fixing Bent Poles

If the pole is bent but not broken, carefully straighten it.

  • Apply Gentle Pressure: Slowly and gently bend the pole back into shape. Be cautious not to apply too much force, as this could snap the pole.
  • Use a Repair Sleeve: If the pole has weakened at the bend, reinforce it with a repair sleeve as described above to prevent future breaks.

5. Tips for Preventing Tent Pole Damage

  • Proper Handling: Always handle your tent poles with care, especially during assembly and disassembly.
  • Avoid Excessive Force: Do not force poles into place if they seem stuck. Check for any obstructions and clear them before proceeding.
  • Store Correctly: Store poles in their designated bag, ensuring they are dry and free from dirt before packing away.


Repairing a broken tent pole is a straightforward process that can save you from having to replace your entire tent. Whether you're using a repair sleeve for a quick fix or replacing a section for a long-term solution, these methods will help you keep your tent in good condition. For the best results, always carry a basic repair kit on your camping trips and inspect your tent poles regularly for signs of wear and damage. Happy camping!