The Gear Doctor – June 2015

The Gear Doctor

E-Z Tent Pole Repair

Have you ever been in your cozy sleeping bag, and heard that dreaded and sudden “snap”?   If it’s late at night in a windstorm, this can be a big problem if you’re not prepared.  Here are some tips for an easy way to fix broken poles on your tent.

Aluminum Repair Sleeve, or any camping/outdoor store carries these in the Camping Dept.  They run about $5 or so.  The sleeve looks like a 6” tube.  It can be placed over the broken part of the tent pole like a splint, and taped into place.  This is a temporary fix, but it works well in an emergency situation.  When you arrive back home, be sure to get the pole fixed properly.  One place you can send the pole to is Tent Pole Technologies in Seattle (360-260-9527), where they will fix the pole for about $15 and ship it back to you.

 Tent Stakes

The stakes you used to guy out your lines or stake the tent make excellent “splints” for the tent pole, if you do not have a pole sleeve.  Additionally, long metal tools can substitute as a splint, such as a screwdriver or small wrench.  These can be placed along the broken edge of the pole and taped sturdily.  Wrapping string around the taped splint will reinforce the strength.

When all else fails, use a strong piece of a branch and follow the same instructions.

 Shock Cord

What happens if the shock cord inside the pole has snapped?  It’s not the end of the world….here’s an easy fix!

Find the two ends of the cord and slide them through the two pole pieces and ferrule tips.  These are the small metal pieces that cap off the tent pole.  Be sure to have equal tension on each side.  Usually, there will be tiny washers inside the ferrules that are tied to the cord end.  Untie them and use them on the new cord to keep the cord from popping through the ferrule.  If there are no washers, tie a large double knot in the end on each side.

You won’t want to place undue stress on a tent that has a splinted pole.  Try not to stake out the guy lines too tightly or the splint may break.  Remember, this is a temporary fix and the splinted pole should never be used again.  Get the pole fixed as quickly as possible.   Below are 3 suggestions for repairing your pole:

1. Contact info for Tentpole Technologies:  (360) 260-9527

2. You can try calling the manufacturer of the tent to see if they have replacement poles for sale.  This is especially great if your tent is under warranty, although many times pole damage is not covered unless the tent was completely and properly set up.

3. Local Camping Store is where you can drop off broken poles and damaged equipment, and they will ship it out to a vendor for repair.

That’s it!  You’ll become your own Gear Doctor in no time!!  Until then, stay tuned for the next issue of The Gear Doctor for more tips on fix-its, camping essentials, and fun ideas.

Happy Camping!

Anita the PahaQueen

We are very pleased to have Anita Hudson Easton back on our writing staff as author of our monthly Gear Doctor.  Anita is a 30 year veteran of the Outdoor Industry and is an expert in the design, manufacturing, care and maintenance of outdoor gear!





The Gear Doctor for July 2015

How to Repair a Damaged Tent

While we offer a full warranty and repair services on our products, sometimes damage can occur while on a trip, and being prepared to make effective field repairs can save the day and prevent a good trip from turning bad.


Field repairs are often necessary and having a repair kit on-hand is always a smart idea.

A small tear in a tent can worsen quickly, but it’s easy to repair even on the trail. Carry mending materials with you to keep your tent secure.

Materials: repair tape, seam sealer/tent patch kits. We use and recommend McNett Gear Aid Field Repair Kits, found at

Time: 10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the damage.

Most rips, tears, and leaks occur because a tent has been pitched too rigidly; find ways to set up your tent so that it can flex in high wind conditions. Always use shock cords. Check your campsite for dangerous limbs, projecting roots, and sharp rocks that could cause damage; if you must pitch your tent on a hazardous site, pad sharp rocks and clear away debris before pitching it.

Rips and tears. To mend small tears, cover the damaged, on both sides, with adhesive tent patches. Apply a liberal amount of seam sealer around the edges of patches on both sides of the tear, smoothing the edges of the tape carefully to prevent snags and leaks. Patches come in different sizes and shapes. Try to use patches that are at least an inch larger than the rip on all sides. You can use more than one patch on each side if necessary.

Large tears must be sewn closed or patched with repair tape. There are Outdoor Sewing Kits available from Gear Aid. If the tear is in a part of the tent where extra pressure doesn’t matter, turn the top edge of the tear under about 1/4 inch and stitch the turned fabric over the outside of the bottom torn edge, using a sewing awl and strong waxed thread, forming a new seam. Plan your sewing to account for water runoff; turn the edges of the patch to create a shingle effect to shed water, not a shelf to hold it. Make your stitches short and close together; double seams are strongest. To ensure a watertight seal, apply a bead of seam sealer to the bottom edges of the overlap or patch, on the outside of the tent.

Patch holes or tears in tightly stretched areas of the tent with strips of repair tape cut at least 1 1/2 inches longer and wider than the damage; if necessary, overlap strips in a shingle pattern to cover the damage completely. Tape both sides of the damaged area, and seal all edges of the tape with seam sealer, inside and out. If the patch isn’t sturdy enough, replace it when you get home with a patch of tent fabric. But the best thing to do is, after your camping trip is over, get your tent to a proper repair shop where more permanent repairs can be done.

Grommets. Tears around grommets require the removal of the old grommet and replacement of the damaged material. This typically requires special tools and presses to accomplish, although there are temporary grommet kits available and it doesn’t hurt to have some on-hand.

Leaks. To stop a leak in the rain fly or upper surface of your tent, apply seam sealer when the fabric has dried out. Leaks in the floor are probably the result of tears. Locate and repair the tear; be certain that the ragged part of your seam is on the inside surface of your tent. Seal this seam. To protect the patch, cover it with repair tape. To prevent any further damage to a waterproof floor, use a Footprint under your tent.