How to Repair Broken Plastic Tent Joints

How to Repair Broken Plastic Tent JointsIt doesn't matter how careful you are, sometimes a tent pole breaks. Wear and tear from constant use and pressure caused by items stored on top of the tent are just two reasons why a plastic tent pole might break. Temporary solutions work for the short term, but to repair broken plastic tent pole joints permanently a fiberglass resin or epoxy is your best bet.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • 2 C-clamps
  • Fiberglass resin
  • Fine grade sandpaper
  • Duct tape
Step 1
Identify the size and type of break in your plastic joint. This helps determine the amount of epoxy or fiberglass resin you need and also helps you see the amount of damage. If the pole is broken into different pieces or even shattered, it's better to replace it.
Step 2
Place a C-clamp on the bottom of the plastic tent pole and another C-clamp on the top. Tighten the clamps, which prevents the pole from sliding or moving while working with it. Placing the plastic pole in a vice also works if you have access to one.
Step 3
Apply fiberglass resin or epoxy to the surface of the tent pole, carefully coating the product on the cracked or damaged part. Apply only a thin coating, which dries faster. Once it dries, check the strength and decide if you need a second coating. If the break was severe, you'll often need to add a second coat before sanding it.
Step 4
Sand the surface of the tent pole with fine grade sandpaper once the resin or epoxy dries. Sanding the resin makes the surface of the plastic tent joint smooth, which reduces the chances that you'll accidentally break or damage your tent when sliding the poles into place.
Step 5
Wrap a length of duct tape around the ends of the tent pole, especially if the pole cracked right down the middle. The duct tape adds another layer of protection on the tent poles and prevents any strain caused by the bending and moving of the pole. If you're repairing a minor fracture in the plastic, wrap the duct tape directly around the break.

Tips & Warnings

If your poles are made from PVC and not plastic, look for PVC glue. This type of glue was specifically designed for repairing products made from PVC and works better than epoxy or fiberglass resin.
Check with a sporting goods store, outdoor store or camping store for replacement parts. Many of these stores offer replacement tent poles as well as other replacement parts.

Article Written By Jennifer Eblin

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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