How to repair tent shock cord poles

Written by sally brooks
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How to repair tent shock cord poles
Replace a damaged shock cord with just a few supplies. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Shock cord is the elastic rope that runs through most tent poles, allowing the pole sections to stay together when folded and then snap back into place to assemble the pole. When the shock cord becomes stretched, frayed or broken, there is no need to replace the entire pole. With a few supplies and a little time, you can replace the damaged shock cord yourself.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pliers
  • Scissors or knife
  • Replacement shock cord or sturdy elastic
  • Large sewing needle
  • Dental floss
  • Glue

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  1. 1

    Remove the end caps from your tent pole with pliers. Using a knife or scissors, cut and remove the damaged shock cord, being careful to keep the tent pole sections in order.

  2. 2

    Cut a length of new shock cord to roughly the same length as the assembled tent pole. Buy replacement shock cord, which is an elasticated rope, from your tent's manufacturer or at most camping supply stores.

  3. 3

    Tie a double knot at one end of the shock cord.

  4. 4

    Thread a large sewing needle with a length of dental floss at least as long as the longest tent pole section. Tie the loose end of the shock cord to the free end of the dental floss.

  5. 5

    Drop the needle through the first tent pole section and use the needle to pull the cord through the pole. Repeat this step for each section of the tent pole, fitting each section together until the tent pole is completely assembled.

  6. 6

    Pull the shock cord so that the elastic is stretched tightly. Tie a double knot large enough to prevent the cord from slipping back through the tent pole.

  7. 7

    Take the pole apart to test that the cord is the correct length. The sections will snap back into place when the cord is stretched tight enough. Once you have the cord to the desired length, cut any excess and replace the end caps using glue. The end caps will fit over the knotted cord.

Tips and warnings

  • Most tent manufacturers sell shock cord replacement, but you can also use a length of heavy elastic found at a fabric store.

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