Tent Poles - The lowdown on the latest materials
Tent poles are the back bone of your tent and if they break it can turn your basic camping or mountaineering experience into a nightmare. So it pays to know a little bit about what makes some better than others.
To cut through all the techno jargon, there are two main types those that bend and those that are straight depending on the tent shape. These days many tent manufacturers use the latest materials which are exceptionally light and scientifically tested for their effectiveness in the elements.
Easton Aluminum: These poles are used extensively on technical mountain tents and they are considered to be the lightest and strongest poles available at the moment. They are flexible but strong and have a high resistance to corrosion.
Aluminium Alloy: These tent poles are lighter and stronger than fiberglass and they are usually made from aircraft quality aluminum. They are often used in tunnel and dome tents and they can be shock corded together to enable a quick setup.
Fiberglass: These poles are used a lot in summer tents and they are the most economical variety for holding a curve or arc. However, they can shatter if bent too much. If you do break a fiberglass pole make sure it doesn’t rip through the pole sleeve and damage the tent fabric.
Rigid Steel: These are usually only used in large frame tents eg. Cabin tents. They are heavy and durable and sometimes have joints at each end.
Dongah Aluminum Corporation (DAC) Featherlite: These tent poles are up to 15% lighter than aluminum poles of equivalent strength. They offer a high strength-to weight ratio and the ability to slide without a hitch through tight poles sleeves used in expedition tent construction.
Sometimes it can be a good idea to purchase your tent from a specialist outdoors retailer as many of the big general department stores don’t stock replacement poles or supplies if anything breaks or rips.
If you do encounter a broken pole be very careful when removing it from your tent to avoid ripping the tent fabric. A broken pole can be temporarily repaired by placing a pole repair sleeve over the break and holding it in place with duct tape.