View Full Version : Tipi pole options and weights

10-11-2004, 04:15 PM
I am trying to decide on a light shelter and am leaning toward a paratipi. I plan on using my trekking poles to save a little pack weight. I like the light weight, but I am also used to setting up a 14 X 20 wall tent at over a hundred pounds so I like room too. My question is; can I go to a larger tipi, 4man or 6man, and possibly fabricate a pole on campsite to save weight and reduce my going in load? Is this feasible, and if so, how much to do the poles weigh for the different tents. How much can I deduct off the published weights of the tipi if I can leave the pole behind. Anybody had any experience with this, is it worth it?

10-11-2004, 05:55 PM
There are posts around here that talk about people using timber/limbs, etc.. found in the trees. Sounds like it saves 2-3lbs - which I don't know if it's that big of a deal - depends on the person I suppose.

10-12-2004, 10:43 AM
If you consider just the material with no pole these tipi's weigh nothing. Paratipi about 1.5lbs I'd guess. Four man about 2.6 lbs. Six man about 3.8 lbs. (without stakes). For me the biggest thing was the actual footprint of the tipi and not so much the weight. It's obviously easier to find a spot to pitch a paratipi vs. an six or eight man tipi. I went to a four man tipi because I wanted only one pole to fabricate and a smaller footprint vs. six or eight man tipi's. If you can use a wood stove you can easily use a wooden pole in that same location.

10-12-2004, 11:14 AM
Whoa!...I wouldn't say "easy". I have yet to find a straight branch or one that isn't weak from rot or age. And anything less than perfectly straight will have inherent weakness that could snap under a snow load.

With plenty of time and planning this could work but for those unfortunate enough to have the nice weather change on them, and find themselves hurried to set up could be in trouble.

Also, since the branch would not be adjustable one would have to cut it to just the right length for the initial install then regulate the tipi pitch using shims below.

Consider that with the 4,6, or 8-man anyone else coming along could share the load............

10-12-2004, 12:31 PM
To each his own, but... the pole for my 12-man weighs 3# 10 oz in its stuff sack. It is adjustable, nonflammable, designed to withstand high winds and heavy snow without catastrophic failure, simple and convenient.

I have spent a fair bit of time cutting lodgepoles for tents--in the dark, in the rain, limbing and dragging them back to camp. Then to have to dick-around with it to get it the right length only to have it fail in the night with a hot stove just to save 3#, now that to me is a trip you will never forget.

10-12-2004, 01:27 PM
If you don't mind the extra weight...carry it. I myself have had no problem with a wood pole. Lodgepole is very straight and strong and once the tipi is pitched with the other 12 remaining stakes my wood pole has always been as good or better than the aluminum one. It just an option to the standard that has worked very well for me. Cut the pole longer than you think and adjust downward if necessary. A limb saw makes short work of this task. Again, if you prefer the extra weight and don't mind it...carry it. I myself would rather have an extra 3lbs of nothing or food. Never rely on your stove more than your sleeping bag to keep you warm. I'd rather carry 1 pounnd more of down than 1 pound more of stove any day. Saving 3lbs. on a 30-40lb. backpack is priceless. No shims necessary. Try it before you knock it. No doubt about it...it works.

10-12-2004, 02:02 PM
If the branch breaks in the middle of the night, I'd prefer to be elsewhere. In the paratipi, the big pole is too close to my nose to want to experiment like that.

10-12-2004, 02:08 PM
I agree that "to each his own". I am simply pointing out for anyone else who is reading that they might want to hear both sides before running out without a pole.
There have been some folks here lately that have been taking out tipi and stove for the first time miles from roads and running into problems when its too late.

10-12-2004, 02:19 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">my wood pole has always been as good or better than the aluminum one.</div></div>How is it better? You are trading labor at camp in lieu of labor to camp... a good trade-off if you travel far and seldom move your tent, certainly, but I am unclear how the wood pole might be better--is it stronger? Easier to adjust? Quicker to assemble in the dark?

I am not taking shots at you, archer, only stating why I prefer to carry the provided centerpole. Neither of us is wrong, as I have said (repeatedly) we all gets to choose what we wants to carry / What works for me won't necessarily work for you / "Your mileage may vary". If you prefer to carry an extra 3# of nothing have at 'er. As for using lodgepoles, I've been on that pony and don't think its much of a ride.

10-12-2004, 02:42 PM
It's always comes down to 'the situation'. You all do what you think is best. I like the wood pole. The ones I've made are stonger than the aluminum. People going out unprepared are always a concern irregardless of having a pole or not. For those experienced people looking to save a bit of weight I would reccomend this any day. Are my Raiders going to kick some Bronco butt or vice-versa this year?

10-12-2004, 04:21 PM
Thanks for all the info guys but maybe I need to clarify my question. Always have had trouble getting my point across. What I am looking for is the actual weight of the pole setup for paratipi, 4man, 6man. Sooooo;, is going in without a pole setup worth the weight savings, and by saving the weight, could I consider a bigger tent and still be lighter. A four man without pole is lighter than a paratipi with pole setup? Is this right? If I am carrying trekking poles can they be used in anything besides the paratipi? This site is changing my life! P.S. The Raiders haven't been worth watching since Kenny Stabler and Freddy Pine Pitch Balitnicof (spelling?)hung up their helmets.

10-12-2004, 04:57 PM

I'll try and get the pole-only weights for you over the next few days. We are out of everything--all tipis shipped, so give us a bit of time for the various sizes to show up in production. The only versions that will work with Trek Poles are the Paratarp and ParaTipi--this last only with trekkers that extend to 56".

I am VERY nervous about you guys heading out without genuine center poles (or trekkers where appropriate). If you stash a guaranteed-to-work wood pole at an area you frequent, fine. But my experience has NOT shown any reliability of wooden center pole material, and the taller the tipi the scarcer the resource.

10-12-2004, 06:20 PM
Thanks, Patrick. I am beginning to think that just one tipi is not going to fill my long term needs so I will probably go with the Paratipi in the near future and look at something bigger for the "gang" down the road. Weight savings has to be tempered with the reliability factor and sometimes even safety can come into play. I am absolutely sure you make your poles as light as possible and still be able to handle anything a guy may run into. Looks like the larger the tent, the less practical an onsite wood pole is. Any idea on a time frame for the next rendezvous. I kick myself for missing the last one and will try to make the next.

10-12-2004, 07:40 PM

Understood re tipi needs, present and future.

2005 Rendezvous should be around third week in May, which mirrors the 2004 inaugural. That was the consensus among '04 attendees.

10-18-2004, 12:42 PM

Dave has collected all the pole weights:

--2 man (ParaTipi) 15 0z.
--4 man 1lb. 7oz.
--6 man 1lb. 13oz.
--8 man 2lb. 7oz.
--12 man 3lb. 10oz.

10-18-2004, 02:54 PM
Thanks for the info Patrick. That is exactly what I was looking for. I will be seeing you soon to order my Paratipi and stove. You been out hunting yet?

10-18-2004, 03:06 PM

yes, I collected an antelope a couple weeks ago. BTW, Dave says the pole set for the ParaTarp is 10oz. I think that's the whole caboodle.

10-18-2004, 03:32 PM
One thing that I didn't see discussed in the above posts is the desire/need to have an adjustable center pole. I've noticed that after a day or two of having my 4 man pitched that the side walls start to sag inwards a bit. To bring the side walls back to there original tightness I just click the pole up a notch or two and I am set for another couple of days.

If you were using a wood pole you would either have to go around and tighten up each individual stake, or try shimming the pole up. I'm not all that handy of a guy, so shimming would be definetly out for me.

If you have never experienced one of Patrick's stoves before I can certainly see where it would be tempting in thought to leave the pole at home in order to save a couple of pounds. However, these stoves burn extremely hot, including the stove pipe! I couldn't imagine the disaster one would have if the center pole broke and the stove was fully burning! Not only would you probably do some pretty serious damage to the tipi, but I'd think there would be a good chance that you could get severly burned as well.

Just my thoughts guys. Thanks for the enlightening discussion.

10-18-2004, 03:34 PM
Anyone ever run a shrink wrapping machine. It just came to mind.

10-18-2004, 09:02 PM
Rtillery, Don't forget Phil Ott. I used to love those bad boys from Oakland. I throw in on the side of the metal pole and lose weight elsewhere, like maybe the axe or saw, but I'm one that has really struggled over the years to lighten my pack. I was solo BP hunting a dry range in Utah west desert about 15 years ago with my Mtnsmith Crestone II packed full, (Patrick will know what I'm talking about) and I had a 3 gallon water bladder riding on top of the pack. Top heavy is an understatement! I had a brand new Browning 1885 scoped that went about 10 lbs. I figure I was packing 70+ lbs 3 miles straight up. Close to the top I went head over heels in a boulder field. I survived with just some scrapes but that brand new Browning got initiated real well. That was the beginning of my quest for traveling light. One thing I will never risk however, is reliable shelter in the backcountry. I've had some close calls with exposure and it's not a pretty experience. BTW, I took a nice buck that year.

Rusty Hook
10-19-2004, 12:03 AM
R Tillery and all,

I have to join in on the take the pole school. How many times have you attempted to pick up a walking stick and been able to find a satisfactory one? Most of us are out there to hunt or fish, not practice woodcraft. If you want to practice woodcraft, and its leagle in your area, fine. But that is an aside of the reason most of us are out there.

On using trekking poles with the Para tarp and tipi, this is one of those things that sounds good in theory but doesn't work out so well in practice. If you are moving your camp every day, it would be fine. But if you want to set up a base camp to hunt out of for a number of days, it isn't so hot. Your tent and gear will dry out a lot better if your tent is left standing, and it simplifies the situation with the stove and stove pipe too. If you leave the trekking poles in the tent, you won't have them with you when you'll probably need them the most.

Reducing weight to a minimum is all well and good. But efficiency, convience and safety are well worth the slight additional weight the poles for these tents entail. Do what ever you want, and have fun doing it. You will not hurt my feelings one bit. But I would have my fun seriously compromized if a makeshift pole broke and poked a hole in my tent or caused it to melt on a hot stove and stove pipe...Rusty.

10-19-2004, 04:27 AM

I am pleased to see you all coming to your senses on toting the official poles for your tipis. You have been scaring the dickens out of me!