Carbon Fiber versus Aluminum tent pole

Whip

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I'm in the market for a SO or Kifaru 8 man Tipi and debating whether to go with a carbon fiber pole instead of the standard aluminum.
My biggest criteria is strength. Is the carbon significantly stronger than aluminum? The other concern is heat from a stove pipe. Has anyone ever had problems with a stove that has damaged a carbon fiber pole?
I won't be backpacking this setup so weight savings is low on my priority list.
 
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Whip

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I broke 2 carbon SO poles in my 8 man. As usual, customer service was fantastic both times. Now use aluminum.
Is the aluminum actually stronger than carbon? That would make my decision easy.
 

mtbn

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SO claims carbon is stronger but I never had a problem with aluminum in my 12 man. I don't believe they even offer carbon in the 12 and up tipis. My carbon broke at one of the adjustment holes with 2-3" of fairly wet snow on the tipi. The replacement broke in the same area before I even had half the stakes in as I was setting up the tipi. I returned the entire pole and they sent me a new pole and I ordered a alum. one at the same time. Could have just been a bad pole. Never read about anyone else having problems. If weight is not an issue, I would definitely get the alum. one.
 

sneaky

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Carbon is either perfect, or broke. Aluminum can bend and give you a visual clue it's fatiguing. Carbon goes "snap" and then you're cutting a tree to use as a pole to replace it. Easier to bend aluminum back and splint it . Weight is the #1 reason to buy a carbon pole.

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Whip

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Thanks. Since I would be using this tent on either at our truck camps or fly in drops in AK the extra 11 oz. for aluminum sure aren't going to hurt me. Sounds like there isn't any reason to spend the extra $$ on carbon.
 

Voyageur

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I broke 2 carbon SO poles in my 8 man. As usual, customer service was fantastic both times. Now use aluminum.
Where did you purchase your replacement aluminum poles?
Thanks.
 

Kevin_t

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Which pole is stronger or weaker depends on the tent. The 12 person pole is super sturdy, because we dont focus so much on people carrying the 12. That being said, in the 8 person, the Carbon is stronger / stiffer, but as alluded , Carbon is either perfect or not. Heavy / wet snow accumulation is the weak spot on carbon at the adjust holes . That being said, carbon breakage is fairly rare. If there were better / lighter poles readily available, we would buy them rather than design our own. Now I know, you folks will say maybe carbon with twist adjusters .. seems like a great option , except sand / dirt can get in those, and when it gets cold and wet tightening it can be very difficult. Far more often than NOT , the tents are fine through events that bring down trees , and with some maintaining snow is not much of an issue.

Some tips as well can help ..
1. I often put a pole on a rock for extra surface area so it does not sink .. however in heavy snow, not sure if this is wise as a little ground give may be good .. however the little ground give , will loosen the canopy and allow more snow ..the best is to KNOCK SNOW OFF

2. If expecting snow, use what I call the snow pitch , which helps snow run off (shrink the diameter and inch or two , pitch it an inch or two taller and use the side guy outs to take out slack and steepen side walls .. BTW Heavy WET snow sucks because it sticks a lot more .. and you would be surprised the weight it can be ...(Ive tested to failure in so many snow events ...so I have dug out a lot of tents in various snow conditions).

3. I know of more than a few times, that we have been the only tent left standing in some severe winds or snow ... but as ewith everything there are limits. If you are flying in .. an extra pole can provide a little extra security

4. For wind, likely using a rock under the pole is the best to keep the pitch super tight .. in snow likely a little give and no rock .. but knick the snow off ..especially if it is wet

5. While any failure is pretty rare , there are a couple things that can be done. If a segment of pole breaks .. often a log or similar can be put under it to still have a functioning pole , a stick can work if you have trees around. Duct tape often can be used around carbon that has splintered a bit (and I am NOT entirely convinced that duct tape could not help prevent a breakage .. but to scientifically test it would be difficult). With carbon, often only the failed section needs replacement, with aluminum it is usually the complete pole as it developed a permanent bend before breaking . If it were me, for instance , and I was on a remote fly in hunt .. and the weather was super severe .. and I did NOT have a back up pole .. here is what I would do
A. Look to shorten the pole with rocks or a cut log .. but keep the same tent height .. technically the shorter pole will be stronger
B. If I could .. even if I had moderate sized sticks or trekking poles .. I would Duct tape them to the center of the pole crossing a couple sections to add more strength ... and maybe do the same at the adjuster. Where they break is either the center or adjuster ...

Hope this helps
Kevin
 

Kevin Dill

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3 arrow shafts or arrows can be secured to the center of a tipi pole to add serious strength. I used para-cord to wrap them to the pole. Picture all 3 arrows placed at the same level on the pole, evenly spaced around the pole. I did this in the middle of an extremely severe windstorm in treeless country. My pole had been flexing dangerously in heavy gusts and I was certain it would eventually break. Using the arrows reduced bending/deflection of the pole by at least 50% and the tent survived.
 

Kevin_t

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3 arrow shafts or arrows can be secured to the center of a tipi pole to add serious strength. I used para-cord to wrap them to the pole. Picture all 3 arrows placed at the same level on the pole, evenly spaced around the pole. I did this in the middle of an extremely severe windstorm in treeless country. My pole had been flexing dangerously in heavy gusts and I was certain it would eventually break. Using the arrows reduced bending/deflection of the pole by at least 50% and the tent survived.
Good plan .. and yes , same concept sometime ... cordage, duct tape all will work
 

Kevin Dill

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Good plan .. and yes , same concept sometime ... cordage, duct tape all will work
As a bowhunter I've always got extra arrows with me. It might make sense to add several strong zip ties for securing them to the center pole if needed. That would be the fast and clean way to do the job.
 

mtnrunner260

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OP is not concerned with weight so carbon vs aluminum is mute.
I'd suggest a one peice polished brass pole, dependable strength and additional uses.
 

live2huntelk

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@Kevin_t

If the carbon pole failure is typically at the bottom height adjustment section, could a person use a bottom aluminum section and the rest carbon sections? Not sure if the diameters of the bottom aluminum and carbon poles are the same?
 

Wrench

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Aluminum is also a certifiable product and entire lots can be certified....deviation from the standard is not typically by much.
 

Kevin_t

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@Kevin_t

If the carbon pole failure is typically at the bottom height adjustment section, could a person use a bottom aluminum section and the rest carbon sections? Not sure if the diameters of the bottom aluminum and carbon poles are the same?
If the dimensions match up . Also , the holes where there are pin locks can be a failure point... though to be clear failure is rare. I have never had a field failure, and only had failures when I am trying to induce them / test them to failure .
 

live2huntelk

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If the dimensions match up . Also , the holes where there are pin locks can be a failure point... though to be clear failure is rare. I have never had a field failure, and only had failures when I am trying to induce them / test them to failure .
Thanks for putting the failures into perspective. If there were alot of Seek Outside tipi's having carbon pole failures, you would be hearing about it.
 
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