How to Make Lightweight Tent Poles

Written by edwin thomas
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If you want to make your own lightweight tent poles at home, you really only have one option short of buying the equipment to smelt and cast aluminium, and that is to use bamboo. Stronger than steel, yet easy to work with, bamboo is lightweight and already comes in a pole-like shape. Anyone with a do-it-yourself spirit should be able to turn a bamboo pole into a multisection, shock-corded tent pole in less than a hour.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bamboo pole
  • Saw
  • Hand sanding block
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Power drill
  • Shock cord
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of the tent pole sleeve you are making the pole for.

  2. 2

    Choose a bamboo pole that is narrower than the sleeve and a little longer. Saw the length down to the necessary size, which should be either in your tent manual or identical to a matching, original tent pole.

  3. 3

    Sand down the top of the bamboo pole with a hand sanding block so it will fit into the plastic bridge, if necessary, as is common for two-man pup tents. The bamboo may already fit, or there may be no bridge.

  4. 4

    Saw the bamboo pole into two or three pieces, cutting along the joints in the bamboo.

  5. 5

    Drill out the inside of the bamboo pole sections so each becomes a hollow tube, reasonably free of obstruction. Bamboo is made up of self-contained, hollow cells. You will need to drill out the walls subdividing those cells to make a proper tent pole.

  6. 6

    Sand down the outside of the top inch of the bottom pole section or sections. For example, if you are making a three-section bamboo tent pole, sand the top ends of the bottom two sections. This modification enables the tent pole sections to fit into each other, just like a normal, factory-made snap-together tent pole.

  7. 7

    Set the tent poles down on the table end to end and run a line of shock cord through them. Fit the sections together. Then tie a knot in one end of the cord and yank it into the bottom bamboo section until it is wedged into place. Tie a knot into the cord at the other end, making sure the knot is as flush with that end of the tent pole as possible. Pull the tent pole sections apart and yank the second knot into the bamboo section, wedging it into place and securing the shock cord inside the multisection bamboo tent pole on both ends.

  8. 8

    Cut off the leftover shock cord with a pair of scissors.

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