Introduction: How to Repair Tent Pole Elastic Cord (Re-thread) - the Easy Way
All tent poles are bound to fail at some time due to wearing of the elastic bungee cord around the end of the tent pole aperture.
So before you even think of throwing the tent away look at this process which allows you to fix them with ease.
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Step 1: Identify and Purchase a New Cord
Identify the cord diameter for replacement.
On cheap tents this will usually be around 2mm in diameter which is not very strong or durable.
If you measure the opening diameter of the pole you may find you can use a thicker diameter.
On my tent poles I went for a 3mm diameter cord over the existing 2mm.
You can purchase the cord on ebay. I am in the UK and got 10 meters for around £3.
Note, The new cord (3mm) is black in the photos and the worn old cord is white with blue and red.
You will need a minimum of 10 meters for a two man dome style tent which has two tent poles. Any tent bigger than two man dome you will need to measure the pole lengths assembled and purchase length accordingly.
Update: I recently measured the original cord and found it to be 50% of the length of the poles when assembled.
So depending on the amount of elastic stretch in your cord, you could purchase a new cord that was 75% of the length of the assembled poles as a rough guess.
Step 2: Find Your Threader
You now need to find yourself a threader to feed the cord through.
I have found an excellent metal threader inside an old windscreen wiper. So when you come to replace your windscreen wipers save them Or salvage some from your local garage.
You will find two strips of metal which run the length of the wiper blade you need to remove these from the wiper blade assembly.
The best wiper blades are those from a saloon car or a van for the best length.
Ideally you need wiper blades of length around 50cm - 52 cm so they are just longer than a single pole of the tent pole assembly.
Note, my photo shows a windscreen wiper but its too short also NOT ALL WINDSCREEN WIPERS have metal inserts.
The cheaper wiper blades are unlikely to have metal inserts.
Step 3: Join Threader to New Cord
You now need to join the threader to the new cord.
This is done by a butt joint of the threader and cord together and then securing with a very small amount of sticky tape. I used one revolution of sticky tape here in the photo.
Do not use a lot of tape as this will add drag to the threader and make it stick to inside wall of the tent pole.
Step 4: Remove Old Elastic Cord and Re-thread New Cord
With your poles clear of old cord, push the the threader through the pole aperture. It should glide easily and once the threader is poking out the other end pull the threader through gently. Remember if this is difficult then you probably got too much sticky tape. Once through pull the threader through and continue to thread all the other poles.
Being frugal I use up the old elastic cord. The old cord can be used for lanyards and neck cords. I hung all my USB storage sticks up of the old cord.
Step 5: Tension Cord and Tie Off the Ends
Getting the right tension is trial and error so after threading all the pole do experiment with you cord tension.
The tension must be easier enough to pull poles apart BUT stiff enough to hold them together when threading through the tent.
To tie off the ends i use a figure of eight knot as this is larger knot and it is easy to adjust this knot.
A larger knot on the end will wear better.
Once you have the tension correct then cut the cord.
Step 6: Finished - Store Threader for Next Repair
You should now have repaired tent poles.
Remember to hang on to your threader for your next tent repair!
I hope you all find this useful.
Thanks for watching!