Tarp poles - Aluminium vs Galvanised.

Submitted: Friday, Jan 08, 2021 at 23:05
ThreadID: 140958 Views:8471 Replies:12 FollowUps:1
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Hi All,

I've read and read - seeking some wisdom.

Putting together a tarp setup from scratch, starting the camping phase with the kids - in the past I have been anti aluminium only because those twist lock mechanisms seem not to be robust and fail - historically.

So my default is to go with galvanised poles - e.g. Supa peg - good value, strong, durable but heavy.... heavy may well also be good from a stability point of view... I'm thinking a 15 year horizon.

I'm thinking up to a 6x6 or 6x4 rough size and scale down.

However, supa peg also have a twist lock and a lever lock aluminium poles - way more pricey but a lot lighter. The weight reduction would be much easier over the long term - and short term for that matter. are they good enough?

My use case is not 100km winds - but it needs to be sturdy and able to handle most adverse weather....

Thoughts appreciated.... (Supa peg is an example - I'm not fixed on any make...)

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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 08:18

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 08:18
Hi BN N,

My experience with gazebos (not a tarp and poles I know) for what it is worth, is that aluminium will bend too easily even in light winds. Steel, although heavier will stand up to the rigours of continuous use, and stiff breezes much better than aluminium. We have had both steel and aluminium framed gazebos, and the steel framed has outlasted the aluminium framed by 5 to 1. 3 years out of an aluminium frame versus 16 years out of a steel framed one.


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Reply By: gke - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 08:53

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 08:53
For what it is worth I am still using 40 yr. old galv. poles. Look after them by washing them if salty.
I have had camlocks seize up and required stilsons to unlock.
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Reply By: Banjo (WA) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 09:26

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 09:26
I've had a great run with aluminium twist lock poles. Sometimes they get a bit tight but disassembling and cleaning them solves that.

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Reply By: Kenell - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 10:49

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 10:49
I have used gal poles extensively not so much in a tarp set up as an awning on a camper trailer. Weight was no issue on that set up and the poles worked well. They did corrode a bit but a light wipe over with penetrene, wd40 or the like once in a while minimised this. Now I have a hybrid which came with aluminium twist poles. Like you, I was dubious about their strength and capability of standing up to the rigours of weather. They have been great. No issues in the 4 years we have used them. Weight is now an issue as the pole storage is forward of the axle and as you probably know hybrids can be a bit beefy. I don't know the brand I am sorry.
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Reply By: Gustle - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 15:47

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 15:47
Hi BN N,
I have been using Supa Peg for years, both aluminium and steel with no problems. My preference are the steel units as I sleep better at night knowing they are a bit stronger in windy conditions.
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Reply By: Rangiephil - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 16:05

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 16:05
I am wrestling with this at the moment.
I currently use aluminium twist poles as they are light for my camper trailer awning , but I sometimes experience them working slightly downwards in strong winds which loosens the ropes, even though I have springs on them.
I am thinking that I will replace them with steel from my stock of steel poles as if the bolt is tight they will usually stay in position.
I love lightness but I also hate getting up at 1AM to tighten a flapping awning.
Regards PhilipA
AnswerID: 634707

Reply By: Deejay - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 17:45

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 17:45
I use both - have done for 40 years but predominately use the steel ones where strength is needed. Each metal has its appropriate application. For the extra little bit that steel weighs, I'd use the gal' poles for your situation. Save the ally poles for external shower frames etc where strength isn't so important.
AnswerID: 634709

Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 18:21

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 18:21
I used aluminium poles for my awning and never had a strength problem. However, the twist-friction locks were inadequate against wind forces. So I modified them.... As they were always erected to the same height I drilled 4mm holes through each lower pole section and inserted pins in the form of 'split pins' for the upper section to rest on. The pins were attached with short cords to the pole so they were 'ready-for-use' when extended. No way they could collapse.
If variable heights are required, several holes 25mm apart could be employed.


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Follow Up By: BN N - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 21:23

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 21:23
I was thinking it through today and came up with the same backup idea. Glad to see it is feasible.

I have decided, at twice the cost, the premium for aluminium can be better spent elsewhere - at least initially !
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Reply By: Jarse - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 20:36

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 20:36
I've been using Supapeg aluminium poles with twistlocks for ages. Never have they given me any indication that they might fail, even in extreme wind.

I leave the heavy steel ones at home now.
AnswerID: 634712

Reply By: zanderslot - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 20:45

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 20:45
I have used a Gordigear trailer tent for the last 6 years. All aluminum poles with the lever lock.
Light to set up, especially the annex. No failures with any of the poles.
Stood up to a dry storm thru Lightning ridge one year that destroyed a couple of other campers.
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Reply By: Rod W6 - Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 21:46

Saturday, Jan 09, 2021 at 21:46
For consideration - the adjustable poles used for paint rollers. They have a firm fixed locking pin. The only minor issue is screw pin end may have to be modified slightly to fit the tarp eyelet.
AnswerID: 634715

Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Sunday, Jan 10, 2021 at 08:40

Sunday, Jan 10, 2021 at 08:40
I wouldn’t use anything other than the Supapeg aluminium poles. Steel are way too heavy. Have used cheaper aluminium poles & found the twist locks wanting, & getting black hands off the non anodised poles is a pain. Have used the Supapeg aluminium poles (anodised) extensively over the past few years & reckon they are worth paying extra for. Have never had any concern about their strength.
See 'My Profile' (below) for link to our Aussie travel blog, now in it's 6th year.

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