Sunday, 28 August 2016

Pole Extenders

Some shelters need a pole longer than the full extension of a trekking pole.  I have not seen a trekking pole that can extend out past 145cm.

Fizan Compacts (158g each, 7001 alloy, 17/16/14mm telescopic) range from 58cm to 132cm.  They might be found on sale for $50 each or less. Helinox GL145 poles (204g each) at 145cm may be just long enough for a small 2 person pyramid.


You can opt to carry an adjustable sectioned tent pole (142-165cm) for a weight and pack space penalty.  These are OK for car camping and there is a role for pyramid shelters on car camps especially if rained-out.
This strong 4-section adjustable pole for a pyramid tent weighs 325g


You can cut you own extension tube if you need only a little extra length. Avoid any wiggle in the fit as this might result in damage to the pole tip when under pressure.  Make the extender long enough to take 2 tips at once so then it can also be used to join 2 poles tip to tip.  An end cap or base plate would also be useful.  Block the end with a plastic cap or rubber chair stopper.


Another approach is to use two pieces of cord and either a toggle or taut line hitch. The baskets can get in the way with this arrangement.
Cord connected to the pole tips and length set.  You can pass the cord through the basket holes.
You need to bind the two poles together as well.  The asymmetry in the system may result in damage in high wind.  I used some double-sided velcro from Clark Rubber to bind the poles together but pieces of cord will work.


Trekking pole extenders in close-up


backpackinglight.co.uk has 2 types of walking pole extender tubes. Blue 16mm female and magenta 14mm male.  You'll need to purchase online.  Delivery was quick. The postage from the UK was a bit steep but I was able to get a reduction via a discount code.
The 2 pole expander types.  16mm blue and 14mm magenta

The price of both types of extender is the same. Landed at about A$25 each.
14mm internal Aluminium tube fits snugly on to the pole tips.  16g

The most useful is the 32g magenta 14mm extender which has black expanders.

The magenta 14mm extender will replace the tip section of many poles (i.e. having expanders for an internal diameter 14mm middle section).  You then join another pole's middle section to the other end of the extender.

This can make a single tent pole up to a whopping 2m long, but it can be shorter by compacting the poles. The objective is often to get a single pole of around 150cm for a pyramid tent.

Try to overlap the joiner inside the poles as much as possible and also compact the smaller diameter sections back in.

With 2 sets of poles and 2 14mm extenders you could set up a pyramid tent for 2 with no central pole. Join the 2 long poles at the top handle to make an inverted V.  The individual poles may need to be about 190cm long for a 145cm high pyramid.


The 46g 16mm extender is designed to replace the handle section of very thin poles. It is just a tube.  Make sure the middle section expander is completely undone before trying to insert in to the extender tube. There is no reason you can't make your own extender tube as long as you can source the right internal diameter.

The extender needs to be big enough to replace the role of the handle section.  On my poles the 16mm extender can replace only the middle section, meaning the resultant conjunction of tip sections is only about 120cm long.  But this might work for really thin walking poles.  I need a larger diameter extender to fit the middle section of my Fizan poles.  Commonly found Aluminium tubing does not have internal sizes between 16mm and 20mm.

UK Pacer Poles may be able to supply a handle section to use as a joiner. Worth getting one if ordering those popular poles.


A piece of handle section from a broken pole would probably do the job as an extender.  You can sometimes find these in bushwalk gear clearance shop bargain bins.  Keep that in mind next time you come across a broken pole.
2 trekking poles make 1 long and 1 short pole using 1 of each type of extender


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