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poles for camping, tents and tarps

see also:

  • I don't sell any of these nor do I receive any remuneration if you buy them, and I have not personally reviewed all of them, they are listed here to give you perspective


  • tent poles are a critical component of your camping



  • if well cared for, they can last a long time as they do not corrode
  • after lots of use surface may develop splinters which is not so great when you have to pass them through tent’s sleeves
  • tendency to splinter with repeated use or excessive bending forces
  • at low temperatures they tend to shatter
  • cheaper but heavier than aluminium alloys
  • used in budget tents

aluminium alloys

  • aluminium alone corrodes especially when exposed to salt water.
  • aluminum alloys, in which aluminum is the principal metal, come in grades, from 1000 series through 9000 series.
  • most tent poles made from 6000 or 7000 series aluminum alloys
  • aluminum is anodized to make it more resistant to corrosion and this process used to require nitric and phosphoric acid in the polishing stage but now DAC have invented Green Anodizing process to avid toxic chemical usage.
  • they are also given a temper grade:
    • T6 temper grade is used in tent poles because it produces a less brittle, high yield strength pole
  • 6000 series alloys are a blend of aluminum, magnesium, silicon and other trace elements
    • the alloy 6061 is widely utilized in yacht, aircraft and bicycle manufacturing, but it is also commonly used for tent poles
    • this alloy is strong and resistant to corrosion, even if scratched
  • 7000 series aluminum alloys are a blend of aluminum, zinc and other trace elements
    • this combination gives the highest strength of any aluminum alloy
    • 7001 has the highest yield strength (the point at which a pole becomes permanently bent) and is frequently used in tent poles, and it has the added benefit of having good corrosion resistance.
      • Dongah Aluminum Corporation (DAC) of Korea are the most popular brand of flexible tent poles
        • “regular” DAC poles
          • cheaper option but heavier than Featherlite
        • Featherlite™ pole
          • Their first Featherlite™ pole was created in 1997, using extruded aluminum alloy 7001 with T6 temper. Until then it was practically impossible to reduce pole weight, yet maintain its strength and flexibility.
          • Featherlite™ poles eliminate the ferrule, the weakest part in conventional poles, and reduce the joint weight
          • They use Seamless Extrusion, an expensive and slow process that ensures the microstructure of the aluminum is uniform
          • With no welding and less internal stress, these poles are highly resistant to Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC), a common problem in high-strength aluminum.
          • By removing weight from the joint, which usually accounts for 20% of the total weight of the pole, DAC were able to reduce the overall pole set weight by approximately 15%
        • Pressfit™ technology
          • expands the end of the insert tube so that it remains tightly gripped by the main tube, creating a durable, heavy-duty joint instead of the previous need for inserts which were fixed by gluing or crimping them in place
          • there are three types of poles:
            • there's a pole that expands on both ends (female & female) - only used once and connects with one of the end sections
            • there's a pole that tapers on one end (male) and neither expands nor tapers on the other end - used on the ends of a pole assembly
              • because of the tapers, you only want to cut the end poles to attain the proper length for the pole assembly.
            • there is a pole has a ferrule that tapers down (male) and the other end expands (female) - used for everything else
        • Featherlite NSL™
          • NSL = New Sleeve
          • combining Featherlite™ and Pressfit™ technology, DAC have produced a thin walled, yet extremely strong tent pole.
        • DAC DA17™ aluminum poles
          • made from a new alloy, researched and developed specially to enable them to produce larger diameter poles of reasonable quality, yet lower costs than Featherlite™ or Featherlite NSL™.
          • often used in family tents
        • DAC TH72M™
          • aluminum tubing tempered to T8 that is stronger and lighter than ever before
        • Featherlite NFL™
          • the lightest pole DAC make, uses TH72M™, Green Anodizing and swaging both ends of the pole section
        • Terra Nova® Reflex Poles
          • 7001 T6 extruded aluminium poles specified by and made exclusively for Terra Nova


  • inexpensive, strong, rigid but heavy and will corrode
  • usually have a galvanised coating or a cadmium electroplating (which is very protective against salt corrosion) to reduce corrosion
    • cadmium is generally being phased out as it is a toxin, especially in the manufacture processes where workers may be exposed to metal fumes
  • usually used for rigid poles such as for tarps and awnings


  • Easton Syclone poles 
    • 80% more resistant to bending and breaking than aluminium
    • made from aerospace-grade composite materials, they flex under the wind pressure but do not break, and they return to their original shape
    • they are able to withstand even the strongest of winds
    • used in Easton Torrent tent series

flexible dome tent poles

  • dome tents typically have 2 main poles which cross over to create the dome structure, many have a 3rd shorter transverse pole to widen the vestibule area.
  • some tents have a single longitudinal ceiling pole which forks into dual end poles via a hub at each end
  • strong winds can force these poles to bend substantially and if they bend too much they can either remain bent (alloy poles) or snap (fibreglass poles) and then tear a hole in the fly or tent and let the rain in
  • choice of pole is dependent upon price, weight, flexibility and strength
  • materials used:
    • fibreglass poles
      • these are found in the budget range of tents
      • they are heavier than alloy poles and break more readily and tend to snag more readily when inserting or removing from tunnel design supports
    • DAC aluminium poles
      • these are the more popular aluminium alloy poles and are made by Dongah Aluminum Co. (DAC)
      • NSL Featherlite poles are optimized for ultra-light applications due to their sophisticated construction
      • medium quality or ultralight hiking tents often have 8.5mm poles
      • high quality 4 season hiking tents often have 9.6mm DAC NSL Featherlite poles

rigid poles for tarps

  • tarp poles generally have a 6mm diameter stainless steel tips to fit into tarp grommets / eyelets
    • some have rounded silicon tips which can be pushed over the metal tips to hold the tarp on or to use under the fabric of the tarp
    • some have guy rope attachment parts but these can be subject to breakage in strong winds
    • some have non-skid rubber bottom tips (with drainage hole as most can fill with water) for stability on the ground
  • there are also spreader bars to provide additional horizontal support

segmented awning poles

  • these can generally be packed shorter than telescopic poles

shock-corded poles

push button spring snap clip poles

telescoping awning poles

T-nut steel

  • these are the most common and most affordable ones and usually are in 2 sections
  • usually have a protective coating - either zinc or cadmium (no longer made due to manufacture safety issues)
  • adjustable height setting thanks to a T-nut and a top part to attach guy lines or pass through eyelets

rotating twist locking collar poles (similar to camera tripod legs)

  • are shorter to pack and generally lighter than T-nut steel poles
carbon fibre
australia/camping_poles.txt · Last modified: 2023/07/03 19:45 by gary1

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