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Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/02/2009 10:30:33 MST Print View

I've used Fibraplex carbon tent poles -- in a 5-pole / 2-hub design for my BA Seedhouse 2 SL tent. The result was quite poor actually, as I experienced 3 separate incidents of pole breakage.

I'm wondering if the poles are just downright lousy -- or perhaps they are just not suited for the Seedhouse configuration?

For those of you who own a simple dome tent (meaning just 2 poles criss-crossed at the top like an "X") and use Fibraplex carbon poles -- what are your experiences with these poles -- esp. in fairly heavy winds?

Scott Smith
(mrmuddy) - M

Locale: No Cal
Fibra Flex on 02/02/2009 10:46:04 MST Print View

I had a BD Lighthouse

Used these poles..

Went to move the tent .

The small cross pole broke..

Fortunately, one of my buddies had a pole repair sleeve with him.. That saved me..

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/02/2009 12:27:53 MST Print View

The poles are not adequate to support mzny of the dome/arched tent designs IMHO. Had two breakages with the Nallo2 when there wasn't even any wind...and they are very dangerous when they break!

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Carbon tent poles on 02/02/2009 15:07:42 MST Print View

I have used carbon tent poles since the mid 90's without any serious problem. Initially, I made them out of carbon arrow shafts ordered from Cabella's, and also ordered better and very light weight shafts from Barry Venderhorst's ad in Backpacker magazine (no longer in business, as far as I know). One mistake I made initially was going too light with the arrow shafts, but I recall only one break, which was clean and was quickly replaced by the extra shaft I carried. I never had a break with Barry's shafts, still use them on my Wilderness Equipment bug dome with fly, and regret that he wound up his business. More recently, I have experimented with pultruded and wrapped tubes sold by several kite makers' materials sites. I did order a set of shafts from Fibraplex, but found them, as well as the ferrules (connecting inserts), more brittle than other shafts I had with minimal testing, so have not used them. There are also the new FX pole shafts available from Easton, but while bomb proof, they are on the heavy side, more in the weight class as DAC's alloy, and require an expensive minimum order for more than one needs for just one tent. I am currently looking at Carbon Express Maxima woven and Easton Axis Nano arrow shafts for my next project.
I have thought about testing a number of these shafts with a torque wrench until they break, and reporting the results on this site. Please advise with a post if there is any interest.
While the above might otherwise belong in the DIY column, wanted you to know why I feel that carbon does have potential to improve substantially over alloy shafts. It is a matter of quality of manufacture, and using the ever improving technologies.
Hope you find this information helpful. Thank you.
Sam Farrington, Chocorua NH

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Carbon tent poles on 02/02/2009 15:36:51 MST Print View

I would find the testing interesting for sure. However I feel pretty strongly that Roger Caffin's method of using arrows to form an arch without putting them under any torque is a much more robust use of CF arrows. I just wish someone made them commercially like that as I don't have the engineering skills and equipment to make the joiners/ferrules.

Edited by retropump on 02/02/2009 16:48:32 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re Carbon Fibre tent poles on 02/02/2009 16:33:08 MST Print View

As many of you will know, I use CF poles on my summer and winter tents. They have endured some extreme hammering. But, it is possible to break CF poles, and I suspect that simply putting them into unmodified domes may be taking a bit of a risk. Why?

The reason is that the radius of curvature at the top of a dome is actually quite small - often under 1 metre (yard). With Al poles the vendor puts a pre-bend into the middle sections of the pole so that the strain on the poles in the field is not too high. I am sure you have seen the slight curve in such poles. (I have done that too.)

But you cannot put a prebend into a CF pole. So a CF pole is already very close to its limit when the tent is just sitting there. Pick the tent up and bounce it, and you can go over the limit and bang! This may be why Fibraplex poles have snapped for some people: they were overloaded.

If you look at my tents you will see that all the poles have corners or bends in them. That's where most of the curvature is found. The straight CF poles never get anywhere near their bending limit - and so they survive very robustly.

Tent showing corners
CF poles with corners for curvature

Cheers
PS: it is not 'torque', it is simply 'bend'. Torque does not happen with tent poles with ferrules.

Edited by rcaffin on 02/02/2009 16:34:42 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: re Carbon Fibre tent poles on 02/02/2009 16:51:01 MST Print View

>But you cannot put a prebend into a CF pole

Is it (theoretically) possible to make CF poles with the bend already in them (ie manufactured with a curve rather than straight)?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/02/2009 16:59:56 MST Print View

Thanks for your feedback and insights. I think I will skip the Fibraplex CF poles for my dome tent...

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/02/2009 17:46:09 MST Print View

"I think I will skip the Fibraplex CF poles for my dome tent..."

Which is a.......;)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: re Carbon Fibre tent poles on 02/02/2009 17:53:02 MST Print View

Hi Allison

> Is it (theoretically) possible to make CF poles with the bend already in them
Yes, of course.
But no-one in the world has worked out how to do this on a production basis, and especially how to get the metal former out from inside the tube.

To explain: most CF tubes are made on a round former or mandrel. A typical example would be some 1/4" metal rod finished off in a centreless grinder. The CF material is wrapped around the rod tightly and cured. Then they have to get the metal former out from inside ... not so easy, but possible by temperature differential.

Now, two questions: how do you make a curved former exactly right, and how do you get it out later? Ouch!

Third question: how do you do this at a price the market would bear? We (customers) do not have the Pentagon's wallet. :-)

Cheers

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/02/2009 19:44:59 MST Print View

If tent manufactures could get Easton/DAC and friends to make poles specifically designed for a particular tent design, (IE pre-bent to a particular angle that of course would differ from model to model) for a "reasonable price" (and small qty) then we would have some interesting choices.
Rather then pre-bent poles, I have "post-bent" poles , after some use some pole sections retain part of the curvature. At this point if I had CF pole sections there they would be ex-poles.
Franco

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/02/2009 20:05:40 MST Print View

Here are reviews on our site:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/fibraplex_fibrapole_292_poles_review.html

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/gossamer_gear_tarptent_squall_classic_tent_review.html

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/big_sky_products_revolution_2p_ul_tent_review.html

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/black_diamond_firstlight_tent_review.html

Edited by djohnson on 02/02/2009 20:22:05 MST.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/02/2009 20:20:51 MST Print View

I have a very different perspective about Fibraplex poles.

If you see the reviews above, I tested them to failure (see the extremely tight arch I created before they snapped) and have now used them extensively in 3 seperate tents (BD Lighthouse, Gossamer Gear/Tarptent Squall Classic, and Terra Nova Laser Competition). After years of using them in extreme conditions (high winds on an exposed ridge above Camp Sherman on Rainer, for example), I can only report one failure in the field.

That failure was when I lent the tent out and failed to explain to my friend the deal with these poles. Here it is:

They are wicked strong IF you get the fully seated. You must fully seat them to achieve full strength. If you don't pay attention and get them to fully seat (not hard, but you do have to check) then you put force on the weaker ferrules. When fully seated, they are very strong, although not as STIFF as Easton FX poles or heavy aluminum poles (but on par with the stiffness of DAC poles).

But if you know how to handle these poles (and again, I have many, many nights with these poles and no breakages under my care), you will be very happy with their performance. I would buy them for nearly any tent and have on several occasions.

That said, I HAVE snapped an Easton FX poles in the field (fell on the tent- idiotic move) as well as an aluminum section (high winds). I've bent aluminum poles on several occasions. Based on this record, I would say that the Fibraplex poles are quite strong when used properly. But like any carbon fiber product, these will break rather than bend when pushed to failure.

Best, Doug

Edited by djohnson on 02/02/2009 20:24:20 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/02/2009 21:41:25 MST Print View

Doug -- thanks for your insight and links.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/03/2009 00:45:08 MST Print View

> They are wicked strong IF you get the fully seated. You must fully seat them to achieve
> full strength. If you don't pay attention and get them to fully seat (not hard, but you
> do have to check) then you put force on the weaker ferrules.

Yeah - like this:
CF pole with break at ferrule
That was from a tent I sold - but the owner cheerfully admitted they did the wrong thing.

Cheers

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/03/2009 00:55:09 MST Print View

Roger:

As stated above, I managed to accumulate 3 CF pole breakages! Believe me, after the first one, I always took extra care to ensure that each section was mated completely with the next. Didn't stop the next two breakages from happening though. I was thinking perhaps the Seedhouse's 5-pole / 2-hub design was just not suitable -- but reading the above, I think the CF poles -- at least the straight ones -- are both too weak (causing tents to flex too much) and too brittle.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/03/2009 02:42:52 MST Print View

Hi Ben

The photo was referring to a discussion about seating the ferrule completely.

I will have to disagree with you about the Fibraplex poles being weak. Instead I will repeat my comment about the radius of curvature of the poles at the top of the Seedhouse. It is just too tight. I have done many bend tests on CF tubing, and it has a real limit to what sort of curvature it can tolerate. Failure can be very abrupt!

On the other hand, if Fibraplex sold you those poles *for* the Seedhouse, I think they made a mistake in doing so. I don't think that tent design is compatible with straight CF tubing. A pity, but you have the proof.

Cheers

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/03/2009 07:52:08 MST Print View

Hi Ben,

I have to agree- those are tight angles on the Seedhouse. But I saw serious gusts slam my Fibraplex BD Lighthouse and that's when I became a believer. I've found them to be very strong.

That said, a break is a break. That's what's great about the forums- you get to hear from many different experiences.

Best,
Doug

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles on 02/03/2009 11:42:56 MST Print View

My poles broke mid-section rather than at the ferrules. This is what made the damage extra dangerous, as a broken fiberglass shaft is very very sharp and spring loaded when bent. Maybe I just got a bad batch, but it's not worth the risk for me to try again.

OTOH, I've never had an aluminium pole fail me. In fact I've experienced the Double Rainbow complete collapse and rebound without even leaving a kink in the pole.

Chad Mason
(porch13) - M

Locale: Arizona
Fibraplex Carbon Tent Poles w/ SL1 on 02/03/2009 11:49:23 MST Print View

I use Fibraplex carbon poles with my Seedhouse SL1 and have never had a problem. I think the "hub" where the three poles meet is designed to minimize the amount of "bend" for the front two poles....they do flex, but not an unreasonable amount in my humble opinion. Although I have never had a problem, I do hold my breath when I'm setting up the tent and make quite sure that the poles are fully seated before I start flexing them.

Edited by porch13 on 02/03/2009 11:49:56 MST.