The skeleton of your outdoor shelter is the tent poles, which provide support to hold the camp erect. Your camp may flap, wobble, or collapse if a tube cracks.
It is a good idea to know how to repair a broken pole. However, it may not be an easy task to do it yourself. So, can a welder fix the tent pole?
The answer is yes. But, you should buy a new replacement since the effort and fee for fixing it with a welder may cost you more than investing in a new one.
Let’s dive into the details!
What Is A Tent Pole?
While you may not think of tent poles as a significant consideration when purchasing a canopy, the substances used and how they function may impact factors like weight, strength, and shelter height. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the crucial elements.
Poles are often delivered in portions linked by elasticated rope, while they are made of heavier materials attached by springs or steel wire.
You can use a spring-loaded hook or a profile to lock more complex materials securely. You can connect poles’ ends to the tent in one of two ways:
- Ring and pin: A pin is placed into the pole’s bottom via a ring sewed into the base of the tapes.
- Pin and grommet: A pin on each pole’s end is placed into a grommet. It is on a tape at the bottom of the shelter.
To make pitching more straightforward, most manufacturers color code sleeves and poles.
Tent Pole Materials
There are four basic tent pole materials to choose from, and each influences the cost and performance of a tent.
Glass Fiber Tent Poles
Glass fiber is a common alternative for less costly tents because of its low cost. In addition, thanks to its flexibility, a camp may bend with the wind instead of standing hard against it, allowing it to shed hard winds.
When you first see this, it might be a little unnerving. However, compared to tents with steel poles, flexibility rather than strength allows for less weight.
However, when the pressure of the elastic fabric deforms the poles as you try to lift them to the upright – especially in windy circumstances – this trait can make pitching a giant shelter hard.
The glass fiber may break, and when it does, it splinters into needle-like fragments, revealing its teeth. More costly glass fiber, such as Durawrap, is installed to reduce this threat, which may or may not include a plastic sheaf.
Poles are usually conventional diameters. However, you may find extra poles readily, which you may cut to length.
Steel Tent Poles
Instead of deforming to shed gusts, steel poles produce a solid framework that withstands heavy winds. However, larger canopies may be difficult to pull into place and transfer between car, house, and pitch due to their strength.
If you try to push them together, you risk breaking the shape, making pitching more difficult. Instead, a forceful tap on the connection with a hammer or another pole part can easily separate them.
Aluminium Tent Poles
There are several alloy types, and the price reflects this, while branded poles will also dramatically raise the price in advanced models. Steel requires the same level of maintenance.
Excellent pole substance, but the high cost limits its application to lightweight technological tents and high-end family tents, where the superior look contributes to a stylish design.
Related: Aluminum Vs Carbon Fiber Tent Poles
Most campers are drawn to inflatable tents because they offer a hassle-free camping experience. Moreover, they can rest confident that the technique has been tried and proven for over 50 years – albeit the materials used in the poles are now significantly superior.
Air tubes are low-maintenance and incredibly durable, and they’re frequently encased in multiple sleeves for added protection. As a result, the damage is exceedingly infrequent and usually simple to repair.
Campers must be aware of the operational pressures they must maintain, and the air pressure varies with outdoor temperature. Therefore, as the day passes, the tube tension set earlier than usual can dramatically increase.
Similarly, a shelter set up at noon might droop significantly at night as the internal pressure reduces due to the cold.
Unlike other canopies where campers may transport poles individually, inflatable tents are rather hefty because they arrive as a whole unit.
Can A Welder Fix The Tent Pole?
This situation would be difficult. The tube’s thin walls are the first issue. The second is that it is most likely constructed of an aluminum alloy, light yet soft.
A steel covering could conceal the break, but you should contact the producer and get a replacement piece of tubing. However, some fittings may be bonded to the replacement, making new components challenging to obtain and install.
If anything, they might sell a replacement sub-assembly. There is another great idea: if you could get inside the tube from the end, a steel core could be inserted and put in place.
Which Situation Can’t You Fix The Tent Pole With A Welder?
You cannot fix aluminum poles with a welder. This material is sensitive, soft, and protected by a robust oxidized coating. Aluminum is vulnerable to impurities while heated, resulting in porous, weak welds.
It has a higher heat conductivity and a lower melting point than other alloys, and it also has a narrower workable window and is more prone to burn through.
Aluminum may be a challenging material to deal with because of this, as well as the fact that it is more challenging to show weld development and performance.
Should You Buy A New One Or Just Fix It?
While welding aluminum presents several challenges, it is not impossible to learn. Fortunately, there are equipment and procedures available to assist with the particular qualities of aluminum.
You will be well on your way to mastering aluminum welding skills if you understand how aluminum responds and successfully utilize this equipment and procedures.
However, if you are not an expert in this field, you may pay much more than buying a new one. So, why not get a replacement from the manufacturer instead of fixing it, which requires much effort and skills?
How To Fix A Tent Pole Using A Welder?
Choosing the correct welding procedure for welding aluminum poles is crucial. While many tools and processes are intended for welding steel, welding aluminum necessitates specialized equipment and techniques.
The welder must carefully clean the metal before commencing the welding process. One of the issues with aluminum, as previously indicated, is that it is more susceptible to impurities.
As a result, proper material preparation is critical. Here are the actions to take:
- Use acetone or a moderate alkaline solution like a strong soap to remove any grease, oil, or water vapor from the tent’s surface.
- Reduce surface oxides with a steel wire brush (made specifically for aluminum). You may also use strong acid or alkaline for this. Before welding, make sure the item is well rinsed and dried.
- If you will not be welding the junction right away, put it together and cover it. This step will protect the joint from becoming contaminated by grit and dirt.
- Keep your metal poles dry and at room temp at all times. They should be welded after a few days, and if they aren’t, clean the junction once again.
Another important aspect of welding aluminum, or any metal for that matter, is safety.
Wear safety glasses, goggles, a specific helmet with the correct lens shade number to shield your eyes, gloves, and leather boots to protect your hands and feet from metal splatters and sparks.
Suitable fume ventilation prevents welding fumes away from your breathing zone. The welding process includes the following steps:
- Arrange the broken pole components in a straight line.
- Straighten out the curve if the pole is deformed but not completely broken.
- You may need to bend or crimp splayed sections with a rock or pliers to allow the end of each broken pole to match each other.
- With a welder, weld each end of the pole a couple of times.
You can rely on this video to better understand another practical way to fix broken tent poles
Hopefully, the topic “Can a welder fix the tent pole?” is beneficial to you. Although fixing tent tubes with a welder may be a challenging task; however, nothing is impossible.
Thank you for reading!