Tent poles

1:33 p.m. on September 22, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm looking for opinions on the superiority of either DAC or Easton tent poles. What features in either should I evaluate to determine the best type. I'm a three season camper, mostly in the Sierra Nevada, and have been caught in a few strong downpours. I'd like to try some solo treks, so I'm looking for a 1- person lightweight tent that will stand up to an occasional harsh condition. Thanks.

7:37 p.m. on September 22, 2009 (EDT)
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Easton has long made the best poles (weight, strength, durability). However, DAC has come out with some excellent quality poles in the past year and is giving Easton a bit of competition. I would tend to stick with Easton personally, if only because they have a long track record of supporting their product and DAC is a bit newer to the game of high quality aluminum poles. That said, you should do well with either.

8:17 p.m. on September 22, 2009 (EDT)
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Both pole sets are comparable That said, DAC pole sets are much easier to service if(when) you need to replace the shock cord, but much more difficult to obtain replacements for should you need to fix a broken segment. I'd stick with Easton Poles for their quality and availability while also supporting an American company.

2:59 p.m. on September 25, 2009 (EDT)
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You can find pole parts here:


Lightweight shelters:
six moon designs
Mountain laurel design
Gossamer Gear
Sierra Designs
Check reviews at this website.

3:24 p.m. on September 25, 2009 (EDT)
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I may be incorrect but from what i have seen personely and from reading reviews the carbon poles have a few negatives over aluminium poles.They can splinter and break.Also they do not create as ridged a structure,need in snow loads and the like.Dont get me wrong carbon fiber is great stuff but iam not sold on it for certain apps in certain enviromental situations.A friend of mine has tried the carbon fiber trekking poles with very poor results,he is very good to his gear.Iam curious on some more input from others on this material.ymmv

3:26 p.m. on September 25, 2009 (EDT)
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I forgot to add that there are a couple of companys out there that build replacement poles out of aluminium for anything but those web sites are bookmarked on my home pc,will try to post them here soon.

5:25 p.m. on September 27, 2009 (EDT)
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Ok folks here it is polesforyou.com.Have not used them myself but have heard only good about them.

11:03 a.m. on September 28, 2009 (EDT)
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I have had good luck with the single piece carbon fiber pole from Gossamer Gear. They are quite strong and flex unlike an aluminum pole. I use it to hold up a tarp, too.

I did have the shaft of an adjustable pole shatter, but I am sure the same force would have bent an aluminum pole as well. Stupidly I was using the pole to push myself up from a seated position with my pack on. I was tired, lost my balance sideways and fell over onto the pole which was lodged between rocks. The lower end of the pole is thinner than the upper half. Luckily I was using a shelter that only needed one pole to set up. I have since replaced the part.

I have also bent a couple of Leki Poles , so it happens to aluminum as well. Leki poles have a lifetime guarantee, so they replaced the part (again the lower section) promptly and for free. Once bent it is very difficult to bend it back without breaking it.

Anyway, I think carbon fiber is quite strong and are equivalent to titanium golf club shafts which do not break when whipped into the ground on iron shots or banging golf balls at 100 mph on drives! They are used in downhill ski poles as well. Mainly, however, I switched to them becasuse of the weight savings. One Leki Ultralight pole weighs 8 oz., a 120 cm carbon fiber pole weighs 3 oz. Once I started using them, the aluminum feels very heavy.

As with most gear there are pros and cons, but I like the carbon fiber.

Most outfitters (REI, EMS, Dick's) carry spare aluminum poles and have shock cord kits to hold them together. One of my homemade tarps sets bets at 55" in the front. Golite sells a 16" aluminum extension. I put the pointed end of my carbon fiber pole into it. I sure does not look sable, but it gives me a 5' tarp or pole that works great!

Well, Golite not seem to have them anymore, but if you look closely at the bottom section in the photo, it looks adjustable.


(They used to sell the one I have to extend the length of the pole in the Hex 3)

1:42 p.m. on October 1, 2009 (EDT)
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2:35 p.m. on October 1, 2009 (EDT)
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Over the years, I have used tent and hiking poles of a variety of materials - steel, aluminum, fiberglass, wood, carbon fiber, bamboo. Wood for hiking poles and staves is great, since you can carve it into various personalized and fanciful shapes and you can put those "I've been there" medallions on them, plus wood works well for making "camp furniture" (tripods for holding the wash basin and shaving mirror, seats, holding pots and whole birds above the fire for cooking, etc). In some parts of the world, wood is available for tentpoles, saving the weight of carrying them (OTOH, the tents you would use them for are pretty heavy themselves).

But as fun (and retro) as wood is, other materials are better for the "modern" hiker (WHAT?!?! the Old GreyBearded One "modern"? GASP! CHOKE! COUGH!)

Steel is too heavy for tent poles except for car camping, so forget that.

Fiberglass looks good at first glance. However, having broken fiberglass tent and ski poles and experienced at first hand the extreme difficulty of making a reasonable field repair, I strongly recommend avoiding fiberglass for either application. The resins used for fiberglass also age poorly with exposure to UV, meaning they deteriorate fairly rapidly at high altitude.

Bamboo ski poles are strong and light. But when they do break (and they do weaken with age), they have the same repair problem as fiberglass - not a clean break, but a fibrous one that seems to keep growing beyond the clever splints you put on them.

Aluminum, especially the modern alloys, has proven excellent for tent poles in my experience, and for ski and hiking poles, especially adjustable ones. Although I have bent tent and ski poles, I have never actually broken one of the high quality ones (I did break a pole I got for $2/pair from an end-of-season ski rental place's sale - while using it as a pole for towing a gear sled, which I admit was rather abusive). Bending a section of an adjustable ski pole even slightly means the adjustment goes away. If you are very careful (and experienced at bending conduit and other aluminum and steel tubing and pipes), you can straighten aluminum poles. As I noted above, I have had excellent experience with Easton aluminum tubing in tent poles and ski poles.

I have not used carbon fiber tent poles except in loaner tents. But I have used it extensively in hiking and ski poles and camera tripods, as well as bicycle frames (I used to race bikes at a National level). Over the past 20 years, carbon fiber in such applications has come a long way. The older versions suffered from some of the same problems as fiberglass - UV deterioration of the resins, fibrous breaks that were difficult at best to splint, especially in the field, and so on. OTOH, I have never broken a CF pole or bike frame, despite extensive use, including some that was pretty abusive (ever do gelandesprungs when running down trails?). The only CF bike frames I have seen broken were in severe falls during races. Similarly with broken CF ski poles.

All that said, I prefer to stick with aluminum tent poles (Easton) and carbon fiber bike frames and hiking/ski poles (adjustable).

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