This tent would be a great buy, but the tent poles WILL break if not on the first useage very shortly thereafter. Eureka is aware of the design flaw, yet continues to sell this product and won't stand behind it.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I got one a few years ago when they were on sale for $40. I tried it on a two nighter and hated it. I don't recall thinking the poles were weak. Could be they got a bad batch of tubes. Either too thin or too hard, or both, and decided to sell them anyway.
That's one of the big disadvantages of having your product made in Asia using a "Just in time" ordering system. If your out of stock when your big selling season begins and your new order arrives with flaws, you're stuck.
As a company you have to decide on either screwing your customers or taking the hit in profits by delaying the shipping of your products. If they approved the products before they were shipped, they have no recourse. The best they could do would be to offer a fast replacement for folks like you, who would still have been inconvenienced with no compensation.
But telling customers "Too bad for you" is a surefire way to start a downturn in your reputation and a huge mistake for any company to make. Thanks for taking the time to tell us!
Thing is though, it's not just a bad batch of poles. I bought this tent years ago when I was doing a photography job over in Georgia and had to back country camp over at FDR. I've always been primarily a car camper and didn't have a suitable tent. I picked the Solitaire up so as not to invest a lot of money.
It held up fine on that first outing but the very next time I used it over in Tannehill SP (Alabama), the lower tent pole folded like a pair of dueces.
I haven't used the tent since but have recently renewed my interest in backpacking and thought I'd drag it out and see if I could rejuvenate it. In doing some research on getting a fix for the pole, I'm finding that even now years later, the overwhelming complaint about the Solitaire is the poles; many people even saying that they folded up when they tried the tent out at home after buying it.
Eureka's fix for the problem seems to be selling you a new set of poles.
Yes, the poles are fiberglass, and I do recall when I got the tent it was available (under a different model name) with aluminum poles. But alas that model no longer seems to be available in the U.S. If one did purchase aluminum poles they would have to be quite thin because as Franco said, the radius of bend that they need to make is quite severe.
I did manage to get a fiberglass replacement section from an outfit called Tentpole Technologies. Great people to do business with and highly recommended if you have tent pole difficulties.