GearCamping
Q:

How can I repair tent poles?

After four weeks camping in the Florida Keys, my tent poles have suffered from some serious weathering of its ends (the ends that are on the ground). Is there a way to prevent this? Are some tent poles more resistant to weathering than others?
Dean
East Grand Forks, MN

A:

So…what you're saying is that you have some corrosion on the pole tips, some sort of discoloration or oxidation?

To be honest, my reaction is: Well, yeah. Humidity? Salt? Four weeks? The thing is, whatever is happening to the poles also is happening to the fabric, albeit invisibly. Tents just don't last forever, and you've probably aged yours by a factor of four years or so.

What to do? Not much, really. Almost all poles are made from an aluminum alloy that is anodized to reduce corrosion. So there's not much to be gained by shopping for different poles. You could paint the pole ends with a spar varnish of some sort (Varathane Exterior Polyurethane, for instance). My belief is that it will peel off in time, but it will give you decent protection until it does.

That said, I worry more about the fabric, which is going to fail long before the poles. Try to keep the tent out of the sun as much as you can—UV radiation just KILLS fabric. Whenever you can, give the tent a rinse in fresh water—poles too. Then let it all air dry.

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Filed To: CampingTents
More Gear