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I own the REI Half Dome 2 Plus. The top section of the aluminum tent pole tore at the end (see blue area of picture), and in order to get it to fit in the plastic piece it was supposed to (the inside of the black plastic), it had to be re-bent. This eventually caused the end 1-2cm to rip off completely, leaving me with a shortened and slightly misshapen top tent pole section, which now barely fits into the black plastic piece and over the other tent pole piece inside of that.

Is there any way to repair this piece with off the shelf parts? (most repair kits are directed toward tube pieces which aren't in the middle of the tent--and thus hard to get to) Or to cheaply replace my entire frame? The tent itself is in great condition. Unfortunately, it just appears that the poles were cheaply made. I would love to upgrade to stronger poles that can fit the same tent if possible. I am aware of tentpoletechnologies, which I have contacted, but repairs and replacements through them cost more than half the price of the tent!

rei top of tent pole

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Aluminum poles will typically break in the fashion you describe when they aren't fully inserted into their fittings. There are easy patches for breaks in the middle of a pole (just slide a sleeve of longer diameter tube over the break area), but unfortunately, aluminum poles aren't easily repaired, especially on the ends, and this is due to the nature of the alloys. It's not that the alloy is cheap, it's that it was put under stress it wasn't meant to take. My 1 year old daughter broke my expensive MSR poles once by hanging off the poles while I was in the process of taking down the tent. The pole she hung on was no longer fully inserted onto the fitting, and the leverage caused it to break the same way you describe.

Related: How to straighten a bent tent pole

As I explain in the answer linked above, once hardened aluminum is damaged, it can't be undamaged without putting it through an annealing and re-hardening process, otherwise it just breaks.

Your best option for a repair is to take your tent back to REI and see it they will replace the section of pole for you. They may have some extra lengths laying around and give one to you, or they can probably hook you up with one for cheap.

If you aren't that lucky at the store, then your next best option for repair is to find some length of pole that does fit into your fitting, and cutting back your other pole so you can fit them together in the fashion I describe above using a length off larger tube. This repair will however affect the flexibility of your pole.

Your last resort will be to buy a completely new set of poles for your tent. The advantage to this is your tent will be as good as new, and you'll have ample supply or replacement parts if you ever break a pole again.

  • Another option that also affects the flexibility is to insert a smaller tube inside the damaged section. It would need thicker walls to be strong enough, and might need to be glued in place, meaning you might only get one chance – Chris H Feb 7 '18 at 17:48
  • @ChrisH At that small of a diameter you'd be better off inserting a solid rod, but it would have to be of considerable length not to damage the pole from the inside when flexed. – ShemSeger Feb 7 '18 at 20:56
  • I'm not familiar with this particular model, and no diameter is given. I've had aluminium tent poles from 10mm to 28mm outside diameter; obviously the latter weren't flexible. I've had success with a smaller tent pole as an internal splint in the past, but glued that over the whole contact area, which makes for a much stronger repair – Chris H Feb 7 '18 at 21:24
  • REI unfortunately outsources tent repair at the majority of their locations, including all of the locations in my state. They said they can't just replace a single pole section. What would I use to cut the top pole back? – spacetyper Feb 8 '18 at 15:19
  • @spacetyper A pipe cutter would be best, but if you don't have one of those you can use a fine tooth hacksaw blade. – ShemSeger Feb 8 '18 at 15:39

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