I'm in the very early stages of thinking about my next tent, and I'm seriously thinking about a trekking pole tent (specifically, the Tarptent Notch 1-person.) My question now isn't so much about trekking pole tent selection or use. The one down side I could see is that, since trekking poles get used all day, you could have a higher risk of breaking or bending a pole. (Yes, you can probably make do until you get out.
My question: how many of you have actually bent or broken a trekking pole? Before I obsess over "what if," I'd like to have a feel about "how likely?"
Personally, I've never broken a trekking pole. I did bend a single piece hiking staff (an old Tracks pole), slightly, when I landed on it in a fall. But, the bend was hardly noticeable, and it still worked fine for pitching my tarp the rest of the trip.
Loc: Portland, OR
When my (cheap) trekking poles have failed, it has always been the adjustment mechanism that goes first. This isn't the same as snapping or bending them but it would impair them for tent pole use. I should add that I am not a heavy user of trekking poles and do not use them all day when I'm on the trail, just occasionally on steep, rocky stretches or during water crossings.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I have never broken a trekking pole. Lots of other things, but never a trekking pole, even when I've really stressed them. Knock on wood, because since my recent surgery, I now use the poles in place of a walker. These are the same poles I bought back in 2005!
However, a trekking pole tent can be a bit of a nuisance if you want to stay in one place for a day and dayhike, or if it's a rough trip to the water source. Originally I would either leave the tent collapsed or find a stick of the right length to substitute (sometimes a lengthy task). As I got older and became more dependent on my poles for balance and getting through rough spots, I ended up getting the tent poles that Tarptent and others sell for their tents, so I had my trekking poles available for use as trekking poles while the tent is up.
Edited by OregonMouse (11/17/2007:39 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I’ve never broken a trekking pole either. I’ve had a couple of trekking pole tents: a Gatewood Cape and a Luna Solo. They only used one pole so if you break a pole you’ve got a spare. Until recently I either used a single pole for walking or went without. But, now I’m old enough that I use two poles for their help with balance.
I've only had one pair, REI brand made by Komperdell, I think. I've never broken one, but I can imagine it happening. But, the flexible tent poles most tents use can be broken as well.
With some, but probably not all, tents that use trekking poles for support, you could use sticks or trees if necessary. Several times I've done that when I wanted to use my poles for day hiking from a base camp. Seems like the best idea would be to get the manufacturer's poles and carry them or not depending on whether you might want them on a particular trip.
Of course, if you have them, you're subject to the "take them just in case" syndrome
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead
Have always used a "mated" pair of trekking poles for teepee-type shelters in lieu of the provided center pole. It's a more vulnerable system than a single pole and yet has been strong enough for the job. Like every field report, grain of salt is recommended because I've never subjected the system to a blizzard or hurricane. Just lucky, I guess.
Tarp-style shelters using a single pole on one or both ends are very dependable and I would suggest the poles are probably stronger than typical lightweight tent poles. My current hurdle is carrying fixed-length trekkers that are not compatible with certain shelters that incorporate adjustable-length trekkers as optional support.
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
If the pole breaks find a strong wooden stick to splint it and use duct tape to fasten it down.
Black Diamond carbon Alpine poles have been part of my kit for at least 15 years. The carbide tips wore down and the plastic shafts that attach them to the poles finally split. But the poles themselves even with thousands of scratches and very worn straps never broke. Finally after all that a flicklocj broke so I had to replace them. The new poles have much better flicklocks and straps. I really value these poles and credit my hiking longevity partially to them. Our terrain is mountainous full of canyons with steep walls.
We did use a Tarptent for some years that set up with two hiking poles. It was easy to remove the poles but leaves the tent in place laying on the ground, sleeping bags inside. You could not see that tent unless you walked right up on it.
The only nit I had was the tent was not so good in the wind. Looks for one that gets good reviews for windy conditions.
I have never had trek pole problems - but always carry duck tape. So, in answer to the OP - "not very likely."
I was interested to see the comments on use of the poles during the day and leaving the tent down. I have done this - and got caught in a windy downpour - more than once. The tent got battered and some gear was exposed. For the sake of (about) an extra 150gms I now have my 3 tents with their own pole system.
There are a lot of one person tents that use one pole. I like the one I use. I had the same concern when I bought it because I hadn't been a pole user before. So far, I haven't broken or bent one, but knowing I have a spare pole is reassuring.
It's nice to set up a base camp, leave most of the heavy gear there, compress my pack into a daypack and head out with one pole. Most of the time, the side trips are up above treeline, so it works out to have one hand free for scrambling.
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