Tent Pole Basics
Posted by Christine Muggleton on 25th Jan 2022
Tent poles are a critical component of your setup. Poles provide a tent with its basic structure and come in a variety of materials from aluminum and fiber glass, to steel and air-filled beams. While there really is no one “best pole,” there is a pole best-suited to your particular style of camping.
Set your essential criteria and narrow the field. Is it pack-size and weight? Or durability and flexibility, maybe ease of use? For Redverz flexibility and strength were key factors in designing poles for our line of adventure gear. We went with the highest grade, anodized aluminum. It’s lightweight, strong and flexible. Most importantly it allows our poles to bend rather than break under stress. Out in the field this is a distinct advantage.
Our 3-season Atacama hoop design and aluminum poles work together to flex and bow in strong winds and wild weather. There are, however, limits to what any piece of gear can do. To help stack the deck in your favor here are some tips for proper pole usage to help keep them in top condition and even prevent a break altogether.
Atacama Tent Pole Usage
Redverz tent poles are made of shock-corded aluminum and come with an intentional pre-bend. The bend is by design and accommodates the strong arc and steep walls and actually improves performance. If you get a slight bend, not by design, this won’t affect the overall performance of the tent so resist the urge to bend it back into shape. Bending poles back stresses the metal further and causes damage.
Always push and never pull a tent pole into or out of your tent sleeve. A fully connected pole is at its strongest. The joint is solid, there are no gaps and vulnerability is low. In order to keep poles connected remember to push, not pull, when inserting or removing poles from the sleeve. Pushing ensures that the connector insert remains fully inside the pole and the result is peak performance. This is a tent pole best practice.
Just as flexibility is important to pole material, leaving a bit of flex is very important when staking out guy lines. It may seem counterintuitive but leave some give when staking them out in a storm rather than tightening them down. This will allow for the bend and flex motion that our hoop design and poles are intended for. A guy line with zero give creates too much tension and inhibits the flow.
Why Does A Pole Break?
When an aluminum, shock corded tent pole does in fact break it is likely due to the pole separating at the connector insertion point. A separated pole is extremely vulnerable to damage and may split when pressure is applied. Pulling poles into or out of the sleeve physically separates the connecting insert from the pole, weakens the joint and leaves it extremely vulnerable to damage. This is not a defect, it is misuse. When pressure is applied to a pole in this separated state it will likely crack or split.
View a video now of the type of split we are referring to. In a rush, the break is at about one minute, thirty seconds.
Your Pole Broke, What Now? Repair and Replacement Options
If a dreaded microburst or even misuse cause a tent pole failure each Redverz tent comes equipped with a pole repair sleeve. It is a several inch section of wider diameter pole that slides over the break and can be taped into place. Duct tape is not included, so keep a roll handy. This field repair will keep you up and running until you can pick up a spare section. If you own an older model tent that did not include a repair sleeve we sell them online.
Find Redverz replacement parts here: https://redverz.com/replacement-parts/
With the current shortage of aluminum poles the easiest and most cost effective way to repair is by replacing a single, damaged section of pole. We sell individual sections of all Redverz poles and can walk you through the process. Complete poles and sets are very hard to come by so hang on to whatever gear you have and work from there to find a solution.
If you have an issue with one of our poles and just aren’t sure simply email us a photo of the damage to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help assess and recommend a fix.