Tarp/Tent Poles - Mountain Buzz

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Old 12-12-2016   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 148
Tarp/Tent Poles

I'm looking for opinions/reviews on various poles for tarps. I would want to use the poles either as secondary for river trips (with oars as the primary) or primary for non-river trips. I'm thinking adjustable height would be best for this versatility, but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure I really need the secondary poles on river trips, but I definitely want them as primariy for other situations.
It looks like I can get either two Kelty poles or a set of NRS poles for about the same price. The differences I'm seeing are that the Keltys are strung together and then have a collapsible element, while the NRS are stack-on-top. The Kelty poles weigh about half, but the NRS will go taller. I'm wondering if folks can offer opinions on durability, how tall I really need them, etc. I'm also seeing options from MSR, REI, and others. My dad used to have some decent military surplus stack-on top poles. They were metal, I think maybe aluminum, but I haven't really been able to find them anywhere. Plus even though those seemed fine, I'm hoping this technology may have advanced over the last few decades.
Right now I'm using a cheapo hardware store tarp, and I plan on doing that for a while longer and using the poles to upgrade the experience. I plan on getting something much nicer eventually, but I'm not sure how much I'll want to spend so I'd like to see how far these poles can take me first, and I'll just add them to the mix once I get something better.
I almost bought the Kelty Noah for a good price, but I just couldn't figure out how it was more than a pretty regular square tarp rigged in a kite shape. I'm kind of wanting to see if I can more or less accomplish that on my own. I'd rather use this as a stopgap and really go all out on a dragonfly in a couple years maybe.
That being said, at this point I would value convenience/ease of use over price as far as the poles themselves are concerned.
Your thoughts on this topic would be much appreciated!

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Old 12-13-2016   #2
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,847
I am going to watch this thread and hope to learn from it.

Back in the day I purchased two genuine Moss Tarps, the regular on and the big outfitter one. I have taken good care of the tarps and both despite a ton of trips and storms are still doing the job better than anything else I have found. Poles tho are another thing. I finally got stakes that work but both tarps have outlasted several pole sets including the original ones. Every replacement pole I have purchased including most of the major break down ones out there have bent during major storms. The only bomber tarp poles I have seen were home made by a boating bud of mine out of what looks like 2 inch plus across aluminum pipes maybe seven feet tall. He cut each pole in half and made a joint out of some scrap pipe that he hammered into one section's end and with a lot of labor sanded the outside down to slide into the other section. That may be what I have to do just would like to buy something instead.

Bottom line, looking for feedback from boaters if there is a bomber commercial tarp pole out there.
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Old 12-13-2016   #3
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 268
I got a set of these for my noah's tarp. They work very well as "secondary" poles for the sides when I am using oars for the main poles, or am tying to trees for the main axis. The sections have a metal cable shock cording them together. They are much heavier duty (and heavier) than the kelty poles.

Cabela's Adjustable-Height Tent Poles : Cabela's
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Old 12-13-2016   #4
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,203

This is what I use for my single pole tipi and my tarp when not on the river... You will find nothing stronger and is essentially what okieboaters friend made. For my tipi (needs a 9.5' pole - coincidetally the length of my spare oars), I took three, measured the effective length of each and with a little math figured out how much to cut off each one so that I have 3 equal poles just over 3 feet long. To adjust I just stack rocks or dig a hole. Not ideal and maybe I'll come up with something better down the road but for now I'm happy. They are not light and would be a pain on the boat (bulky and heavy). I doubt I'll ever take them for that purpose. Having 4 oars on my boat alone I can set the tipi and tarp easily. With more oars I could set the tarp higher or in a more complacated fasion if needed. With that said my tarp came with cheap aluminum poles with swaged ends and are bungy corded. I do take them as auxilary poles for the tarp, but wouldn't trust them too much in the wind.

My tipi came with an adjustable pole much like, but slightly heavier duty, the cheap ones discussed above. It broke during 30+ mph winds in my yard and tore a 3 inch gash in my tipi... I'd cauting using cheap poles on expensive tents/tarps as they will fail and when they do it might leave you cursing.

I've thought about the Kelty poles, but really think that on the river oars work best and off the army surplus are hard to beat.
"If you dont do it this year, you will be one year older when you do"
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Old 12-13-2016   #5
90Duck's Avatar
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 429
Noah's Tarp with Kelty Poles and Oars

I spent $50 on a clearance sale Noah's 16' several years ago and have used it a lot with the shock-corded poles (on car camping trips) or poles and and oars on raft trips in various configurations. There are better tarps out there, but for the money the Noah's tarps are kind of hard to beat, in my opinion. Get one on sale to use until you can afford your dream tarp, whatever that may be.

Here's a pic of it in use for sun shade duty on a really hot August trip on the Rogue last summer. Not the darkest shade, but better than full sunlight.
Show me your OOOOOO face
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Old 12-13-2016   #6
RASIL's Avatar
Everett, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 32
I use these.https://www.campmor.com/c/eureka-8-f...ght-pole-26604

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Old 12-13-2016   #7
Atomicrider's Avatar
Arco, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 95
This is what I use.
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They are 9 1/2' long poles that are1 1/4" diameter aluminum 4 section poles that collapse to 30" long and weigh 6 lbs. I've been super happy with them. Super stout.

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Old 12-13-2016   #8
readNrun's Avatar
Niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 960
Atomic rider - where are those poles from?
We steer the boat, we dont alter the river.
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Old 12-14-2016   #9
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Arco, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 95
From Dragon Fly

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Old 12-14-2016   #10
Central Point, Oregon
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 447
CONTACT US — TentPole Technologies

Check out these guys as well. I had them make poles for my personal "Pop up extension"and they work great and it was a fast and easy transaction.
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