• kevinadams428

How to Replace Tent Pole Shock Cord

Tent poles may last a long time, but the shock cord doesn't. Eventually it becomes permanently stretched out and no longer holds the poles sections together. I have a Kelty Quartz 2 tent that I've been using since about 2004. The shock cord has become worn out and no longer has any stretch. The tent has been useable, but I had to shove the tent cord into the poles to get the poles to fit together. I decided it was finally time to replace that old cord and figured I might as well share this with you guys!

First off - here's what you need:

  • Tent poles

  • New shock cord

  • Scissors

  • Locking Pliers

  • Lighter

The shock cord is available at most outdoor gear stores, I got some 1/8" elastic cord from REI. They will cut the cord to custom lengths. Measure the length of the tent poles and get (unstretched) cord lengths equal to the length of your poles. For example, my tent uses 2 16ft poles, so I got 2 16ft cords.

Step 1:

Lay the poles out flat in such a way that you can keep the individual pole sections in order when the old cord gets removed. Some tents use pre-bent pole sections, so it is important to keep the sections in order.

Step 2:

Lay out the new shock cord along the poles. Pull the pole tips out to expose the cord.

Step 3:

Cut the existing cord and remove, again being sure that the pole sections stay in order.

Step 4:

Insert the new cord into the poles

Step 5:

Tie the cord onto one of the pole tips (I chose the plastic tip), then use the lighter to seal the end of the cord and seat the tip back into the poles. Extend the poles so that all pole sections are connected (as if you were assembling the tent).

Step 6:

Pull on the cord to stretch it out and then use the locking pliers to keep it stretched. This allows you to adjust the amount of stretch in the cord. Once the pliers are in place, test the poles by disassembling them and reassembling them. You can increase or decrease the stretch until it feels just right. I stretched my cord about 2 feet.

Step 7:

With the locking pliers still in place, tie the remaining pole tip onto the cord.

Step 8:

Use the scissors to cut the remaining cord and the lighter to seal the cut end. Reseat the pole tip into the pole.

Congrats, Your tent poles are like new! Happy camping!


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Hi, I'm Kevin.  I'm a triathlete and mountaineer, among other things.   This is where I get to share my adventures with you.  


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