How to Repair or Replace Fiberglass Tent Poles

How to Repair or Replace Fiberglass Tent Poles
Fiberglass poles are still common in many tents because, while fiberglass may be heavier, it is generally cheaper than aluminum or other materials. When over-stressed, fiberglass cracks or shatters rather than bends, but patching fiberglass is usually enough to adequately repair damaged tent poles. If it is not, replacement tent pole kits are available from a wide variety of manufacturers.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fiberglass tent pole replacement kit (optional)
  • Finger saw
  • Pocket knife
  • Drill with sanding cylinder
  • Acrylic-based glue
  • Fiberglass patching kit
  • Hand power sander with medium-grit sandpaper
  • Goggles
  • Mask
Step 1
Inspect the broken tent pole and decide if it can be repaired and is worth the trouble. If it is not worth repairing, order a fiberglass tent pole replacement kit, such as those available from Cedar Creek, Eureka, Coleman, Texsport and other manufacturers.
Step 2
Throw away any small bits of fiberglass left over from the break. Keep only the large sections of the broken pole for repair.
Step 3
Cut away the ragged edges around the break in the tent pole, if there are any, using a saw or pocket knife.
Step 4
Sand the perimeter of the break in the tent poles with a drill and sanding cylinder. Grind the perimeter to a concave angle while you smooth it down.
Step 5
Fasten the broken sections of the pole together with an acrylic-based glue. This is only a temporary measure to hold the pole together while you patch the break in the fiberglass, and is not meant to be permanent. Permit the glue to dry as instructed by the directions on the label before proceeding.
Step 6
Cut four fiberglass patches for each hole or break from patching cloth, each one slightly larger than the hole it is meant to patch. Then cut a cloth for each hole large enough to lay over the hole-to-be-patched and wrap around the entire pole. For cracks, you need only the final wrap-around cloth.
Step 7
Make the resin as directed by the instructions in your fiberglass patching kit. Coat each patching cloth with the resin and lay it on the hole, one on top of the other, plugging the hole. Then coat the final wrap-around cloth and wrap it over the hole and around the outside of the pole. For cracks in the tent pole, skip to wrapping the entire pole around the cracked point.
Step 8
Grind down excess fiberglass from your patching job with a power sander. However, as repairing tent poles is fine work, do not worry about making the patch perfectly flush with the pole. If the pole will fit in your tent, that is good enough.

Tips & Warnings

 
Wear goggles and a mask to protect yourself while working with fiberglass, particularly while sanding.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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