Q. Yo Gear Guy! This weekend when I was setting up my two-man tent to air-dry, one of the fiberglass poles broke. Any places that I could go to get a replacement?
— Half-a-pole Adam, Spokane, Wash.
Dear Mr. Half. First off, good for you for airing out your tent (cue applause). Taking care of your gear is key for making it last a long time. Now, there are a couple tent pole-specific tips I’d like to offer: When you’re putting up or taking down collapsible tent poles, always work from the center out. So for instance, don’t try to collapse the pole from one end first. That’ll put too much stress on the elastic inside the pole and can cause it to break. Next, always try to keep your poles out of the dirt or sand. That stuff can get inside the pole joints and cause problems too.
Obviously your immediate issue is getting a new pole. Your best choice is to contact the original manufacturer of your tent. You should be able to find a customer-service email or toll-free number on the company’s website. If not, try going to the shop where you bought the tent. They might have info on how to reach the manufacturer. When you do get in touch, be sure to mention which exact tent model you have and which pole is broken. If that’s unsuccessful, you might also try TentPole Technologies, LLC. (www.polesforyou.com). Prices for replacement poles seem to range from $5 to $35 for fiberglass poles, depending of course on the diameter and length of the pole you need. Aluminum poles are roughly twice as expensive. While I can’t vouch for the company directly, it does seem like they’d be able to help.