Aluminum Vs Fiberglass Tent Poles

When choosing a tent, it is important to pick a quality tent material that will withstand the weather and provide ventilation but how about tent poles?

Tent poles

Considering that the tent poles play an important role, make sure that they are made of quality materials.

Aluminum and fiberglass are two of the most common materials to make tent poles. In this article, I will compare the aluminum vs fiberglass tent poles to help you make a good decision when buying the tent.

Which is the best tent pole material?

Tent poles are made of different materials. They are made of aluminum, wood, steel, fiberglass, and plastic. Plastic and wood poles are unreliable while steel is quite heavy.

Aluminum and fiberglass are the only reliable options when it comes to tent construction. Aluminum poles are ideal for large and pricey tents while fiberglass poles are commonly used to make small and low-cost tents.

Let’s now take a look at aluminum and fiberglass poles separately as I highlight their features, advantages, and disadvantages.

camping tent poles 101

Aluminum Poles

These are the advantages and disadvantages of aluminum poles.

The advantages

  • Lightweight
  • Very strong
  • Flexible
  • Easy to set up

The disadvantages

  • Corrosiveness
  • Conducts electricity

Aluminum tent poles are usually light in weight. The tents that are made of such poles are, therefore, very light.

Despite their lightweight nature, aluminum poles are very strong. They are able to hold your tent properly and keep you protected from harsh weather elements.

Such tents will not crumble under heavy snow loads or collapse in strong wind. This way, your safety is guaranteed. These tent poles offer greater flexibility under harsh weather conditions as they will only bend when they are overburdened.

They won’t break or snap under pressure, unlike fiberglass tent poles that are known to break easily.

Aluminum, however, corrodes fast and reduces its lifespan. Most aluminum poles usually have a coating that protects the structure but the protective coating wears off with time and the aluminum begins to corrode.

Aluminum conducts electricity so there is a risk in case of a thunderstorm.

Fiberglass Poles

Here you have all about fiberglass poles and their advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages

  • Cheaper than aluminum hence it is very affordable
  • Easy to replace pole sections
  • Doesn’t corrode
  • Low maintenance
  • Doesn’t conduct electricity

The disadvantages

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Weak and breaks easily
  • Shatters when it breaks to expose splinters
  • Not suitable for the cold weather

Fiberglass is another popular option with tent manufacturers. It is relatively cheaper than aluminum and the cost of the tents made with fiberglass poles is, therefore, low.

Replacement poles are cheap and this keeps the cost of owning and maintaining the tent low.

Fiberglass doesn’t wear off so maintenance is very easy in the long run. The only wear and tear that such poles experience is as a result of poor handling and tent overload. When you avoid it, you will be able to use your tent for a very long time.

Fiberglass doesn’t conduct electricity and this makes them a safe option when you are out there. Lightning strikes will not harm you when you camp with fiberglass tent poles.

This is another reason why these tents are popular with avid campers who are enjoying nature irrespective of the weather. Here is how you can pitch a family tent with fiberglass poles.

Fiberglass poles have some issues and the fact that such poles are not strong is one of them. The tents that are made with these poles may, therefore, struggle when they are overburdened by heavy snow loads and strong winds.

To improve their strength, fiberglass poles are made thicker and this makes them heavy. As a backpack camper, you will be weighed down by a heavy tent and this will make it difficult to enjoy your outdoor trip.

They also snap under pressure and the exposed part can tear your tent and even harm you. Fiberglass poles shutter as they are not flexible like aluminum poles.

They are also not ideal for cold weather camping as the cold makes the poles develop splinters so it is difficult to handle them.

Which poles are best for you?

Aluminum and fiberglass are two of the common materials used to make tent poles. They, however, have their own advantages and disadvantages.

This article on aluminum vs fiberglass tent poles has highlighted them clearly. Ask yourself which ones will make your camping trip secure and safe and pick a tent with the right tent poles for your occasion.

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