The dreaded sound of a loud ‘snap’ and that’s it – your pole is done for. Damage to your gear can really put a damper on the whole trip, especially when the damage is to your tent. After all, a tent is much more than just a shelter. It’s home, a sanctuary, a safe place that provides much-needed protection from brutal winds and heavy rain. In the following, we’re going to discuss how to repair broken poles as well as holes and rips in your tent!
Fortunately, it is fairly rare that a high-quality tent gets damaged. If you choose your tent according to the trip you’re taking, you should be fine. After all, tent’s are engineered to withstand the beating that Mother Nature throws at them. However, if you head out to Patagonia with a pop-up tent, know that you’ll most likely have your lid quite literally blown off!
Repairing damaged tent poles
When it comes to modern tents, the most common damage you’ll face is a broken pole. Even high-quality and very sturdy poles can break – be it because of strong winds or damage resulting from use or simply wear and tear. If a pole section really ends up breaking, you’ll need to repair it immediately. The quickest and easiest way to do so is to use a repair sleeve. Just slide the sleeve over the damaged bit and tape it securely. And that’s it! Keep in mind this is a temporary repair and the broken section should be replaced as soon as possible! A repair sleeve is usually included with the purchase of a tent, and tape is something you should always have in your pack on longer trips, anyway.
In sum, if your pole does get damaged, you should replace it as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you’ll be running the risk of your pole puncturing the pole sleeve and thus causing even more damage.
Repairing rips and holes
Rips and holes are much less common than damaged poles. Oftentimes, falling branches and/or carelessness are the culprits! And, of course, so too is fire. You should always take extreme care with fire in and around the tent. Even if you do your utmost to keep you and your tent safe, your gas stove could explode and subsequently destroy your humble abode in mere seconds. And this isn’t something that only happens to amateurs; even the most experienced explorers and adventurers have seen their tents go up in flames.
But, since we can’t turn back time and unburn burned-down tents, we’re going to talk about smaller burn holes and other rips and tears that you CAN repair. If there’s a small hole in your tent, you can use an adhesive like Seam Grip or Sil Net silicone seam sealer to fix it up. For larger holes and rips you notice when travelling, we recommend using gluing on a patch with the appropriate adhesive. These patches are often either included with the purchase of a tent or they’re sewn into the stuff sack so that you don’t lose them. If your stuff sack happens to be made of the same fabric as the fly, you can “sacrifice” this for the good of the tent as well. A shame, I know, but desperate time call for desperate measures! Smaller patches can be purchased separately as well.
Once you’ve returned home from your trip, it’s always a good idea to let a dealer have a look at your tent and (perhaps) have it sent to the manufacturer for repairs. There are plenty of companies that specialise in repairing outdoor gear and are fully capable of professionally repairing your tent as well.