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Reviews > Shelters > Shelter Accessories > Fibraplex Carbon Fiber tent pole set > Owner Review by Jerry Goller

Fibraplex Corporation
Carbon Fiber Replacement Tent Pole Set
For MSR Hubba Tent
Owner Review
May, 26, 2006

MSR Hubba tent with Fibraplex poles

Reviewer Information

Name: Jerry Goller
Age: 59
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ' (1.8 m)
Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
Email address: jerrygoller@backpackgeartest.org
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Backpacking Background

I started camping with my father at age 6 or so. I’ve backpacked, off and on, all of my life. Even in the Marine Corps, I was in the Infantry. I consider myself a light weight backpacker with an average dry pack weight of 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 7 kg), depending on the season and terrain. I backpack year round.

Most of my trips are 2 to 5 days long and in Utah. I also, from time to time, take much longer trips lasting one to two months or more. These trips are usually on the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.


 Basic Product Information

Manufacturer: Fibraplex Corporation
Year of Manufacturer: 2005
Website: http://www.fibraplex.com/
Product: Carbon fiber replacement tent pole set
MSRP: $115.00 US
Listed weight: 7.55 oz (214 g)
Weight as Delivered: 7.55 oz (215 g) 

 

Product Description 

This is a prototype replacement pole set for the MSR Hubba tent. The pole set is designed to replace the stock aluminum poles provided by the manufacturer to dramatically reduce the weight of the poles. The stock pole set for the Hubba provided by MSR weighs 13.7 oz (388 g) so the Fibraplex set is over 6 oz (170 g) lighter. That is a weight savings of 45% percent.
 With the exception of the aluminum locking pole tips, the entire pole set, hubs included, is made from .242" (6.15 mm) carbon fiber hollow rods. The picture below marked "Hub Detail" shows a detail of the carbon fiber hubs. The picture below marked "Crossover Detail" shows how elastic cord was used to control the crossover pole. Very light and very simple. The last picture below, marked "Ferrule Detail" shows the ferrules (reinforcing piece used to strengthen the pole joint) formed by inserting a smaller diameter carbon fiber section, 4" (102 mm) long, in the pole section and bonding it with 2" (51 mm) exposed to be inserted into the next pole. There is no metal in the Fibraplex ferrules.
The pole sections are joined by 3/32" (23 mm) elastic cord.




Carbon Fiber hub detailCrossover DetailFerrule Detail  

 

Field Information 

I have been using the Fibraplex pole set for almost a year. I've used it for over 20 nights. I've used it from temperatures below freezing to 90+F (32+C) I have even used it in a light snowfall.  I have used this pole set in mountain, desert, and desert slick rock environments. I have not had the opportunity to test the pole set's performance in strong wind or heavy rain. 

The pole set was used in the mountains South of Reno, Nevada, the Sierra Nevada Mountains west of Reno, Nevada, the Uinta and Wasatch mountains in northern Utah and numerous areas of southern Utah. 

 

Field Test Results 

I want to say at the start that I broke the first set of poles I received. I also want to clarify that I broke that pole set through my own carelessness. I picked up the tent, about half way between the crossover pole and the hub, by the single middle pole. To make it worse, my sleeping bag and pad was still in the tent. The pole broke at the ferrule nearest the crossover pole. I would have expected even an aluminum pole to have bent, to the point of creasing, under a load such as that. I was simply not thinking when I picked the tent up that way. I had forgotten that my bag and pad were still in the tent. Even if my bag and pad hadn’t been in the tent, it would have been a poor way to pick a Hubba up.
I have had no problem picking the tent ends up, one end at a time, by the hub to remove the pole end from the tent body grommet.

While I don’t think these poles are especially delicate, they do require a bit more care than the aluminum poles provided by the manufacturer. 

That said, I also was caught in an unexpected light snow in the mountains south of Reno, Nevada last fall.  I had between 1” and 2” (25 mm and 50 mm) of fairly wet snow on the tent.  I woke up when the top of the tent pressed on my face due to snow load. I shook the tent vigorously to knock the snow off. Neither the snow load nor my shaking broke the pole set but the center pole did pop out of the hub when I was shaking the tent.

While I certainly don’t recommend using these poles, on the Hubba, anyway, for camping during expected snow, it does illustrate how hardy the poles actually are. 

I also want to clarify that the Hubba itself isn’t designed for snow. I have no personal experience with how well Fibraplex poles would do in a snow situation in a tent designed for that purpose. 

My experiences with the Fibraplex pole set have been very positive. The poles join together smoothly with no binding. The set holds the Hubba as taut as the stock pole set did. I have had the tent up in moderate winds and the tent stayed solid and didn’t dip or sway. I have used the pole set in the fine sand of southern Utah with no apparent ill effects to the pole set or its operation. 

There is no evidence of splitting or cracking of the carbon fiber pole ends, even though these poles have no metal reinforcing. 

I have been using the Fibraplex pole set for almost a year now. I have well over 20 nights of use. 

The Fibraplex pole set has actually inspired quite a bit of confidence in me. I no longer think of them as the carbon fiber pole set for my Hubba. They are just the pole set, period.

Conclusion

Although expensive, I feel the Fibraplex replacement tent pole set is worth the money. It has performed flawlessly over the last year and reduced the gross tent weight by over a third of a pound (tenth of a kilogram). For me, the bill will soon be forgotten. But the lighter weight of the tent will always be there.



Read more reviews of Fibraplex gear
Read more gear reviews by Jerry Goller

Reviews > Shelters > Shelter Accessories > Fibraplex Carbon Fiber tent pole set > Owner Review by Jerry Goller



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