DIY Tent Poles (The Complete Guide)

Last Updated On: September 6, 2021

Last week I suddenly got a call from an old friend. Right after receiving the call, he asked, “Do you know how to make tent poles?” Luckily, only recently I learned to make DIY tent poles because my old ones broke and helped him out.

Camping without a tent is impossible. Tent poles make up the core structure of tents and they are often quite fragile unless you were to opt-in for the heavy-duty tents. So the normal ones tend to wear down and break after prolonged usage.

Many tent manufactures do sell tent poles separately. However, if you know how to make your tent poles, you will save yourself some money and it will be a fun experience as well!

What Are Tent Poles?

If you don’t happen to know what tent poles are, they are the stick-like components that come along when you buy a tent. These sticks or poles as they are called retains the shape of the tent and provides structural integrity.

Again, some tents don’t come with tent poles. These tents are made with high-quality ripstop fabric. Tents without tent poles are inflatable which makes the setup procedure a bit longer but less hectic.

Inflatable tents are becoming more dominant in the market as the wear on them is lower than tents with actual poles. 

On the other hand, we have tents that need poles to take structure. These poles are made from various materials depending on their use cases. You’ll find lightweight tents to ultra-durable tents as well.

What Are Different Types Of Tent Poles?

Tent poles are made of various materials, each tailored to suit different use purposes. There’s Alumunium, Fiberglass, Carbon fiber, Steel, and poles made from composite materials. 

Tent poles made of carbon fiber are the strongest poles out there. These poles are extremely durable and sturdy but at the same the time they are lightweight. This makes carbon fiber tent poles an excellent choice for harsh conditions when packing lightweight.

Aluminum, fiberglass, and steel tent poles are not weak either. But each type of pole has its pros and cons. If you want to make DIY tent poles, then you first need to know what type of pole you want to make. 

DIY Tent Poles

So, if you’re reading this, you’re stuck with one or more broken tent poles. Now you’re wondering how to make tent poles?

Fear not, because it’s pretty easy to make tent poles yourself. Just make sure to know what type of replacement poles you’ll be needing. There are tent poles with and without inserts, even tent poles with shock cords.

If you know which one you need to make, depending on that the process gets much easier and simplified. It’s also important to know the dimensions and diameter of your previous poles.

So gather these pieces of information first. Follow along with the guide and you’ll have made brand new poles in no time! 

Replacing Tent Pole Shock Cords

Making tent poles with shock cords is the easiest way to get by. Chances are you have a tent that uses tent poles with shock cords inside them. Now one or more of the poles are broken and here’s how you can make new ones.

Tent poles with a shock cord inside have a peg on the very end of them. Depending on the type of pole you have, you can easily unscrew them or pull the peg and you’ll see that the shock cord is knotted with the peg. 

If your shock cord got worn down and is loose, then you can easily change it. Measure the entire length of the pole and take a shock cord 3/4th of that length. This ensures proper tension between each section and the poles will hold out better.

Afterward, you can remove the old shock cord and put in the new shock cord with ease. Make sure to retain tension on both ends when doing so. And after you’ve threaded the cord to both ends, knot it back with the pegs and screw them in.

Brand New Tent Poles

In order to create replacement poles that don’t use shock cord, you’ll need to go through some extra steps. You’ll need to buy stainless steel conduits as they are cheap, lightweight, and easily available in most places.

Measure the length of your old pole to know how long of a conduit you’ll need. It’s advisable to take a conduit slightly larger than the old pole size for precaution. Unless you might need to restart the whole process. 

Take another steel conduit that has a slightly bigger diameter than the previous conduit. This bigger conduit will be used as a sleeve. Slide it over the smaller conduit and center it.

To bolt the conduits in place and hold them, mark a 3-inch length from both ends and drill through both pipes. The drill hole should be about the diameter of the bolts or screws that you’ll be using. 

This drilling is only necessary if your previous tent poles had them for pins, guy lines, etc. If they did not have holes then you can skip the drilling. 

Use two clamps on both sides to keep the pole and sleeve in place without letting them nudge and move. After all the drilling and cutting is done, you’ll have only one pair of holes that sit on top of each other.

Use a bolt, nut, and washer to stick prevent it from moving around. Make sure to firmly tighten the bolt. You can trim the bolts to prevent the excess tips from hanging out. 

If you followed along then you have successfully made tent poles. You can repeat the steps as many times as you want to create more tent poles. It’s easy, cheap, and cost-efficient. 

Conclusion

The knowledge of making DIY tent poles can come in handy at any time. Whether it’s for yourself or for a friend or family, it’s important camping knowledge to have. You can never guess when you might need it.

Now that you’ve read through this complete guide to DIY tent poles, you won’t have to throw away that old tent of yours anymore. Head to the nearest hardware store, get some conduits and shock cord, to get started.

Don’t let a single broken tent pole stop you from going camping. Creating replacement tent poles is extremely easy and you can do it yourself. So, what’s stopping you?

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