LIGHTWEIGHT TELESCOPING FIBERGLASS POLES
As you can see from the photos above, telescoping poles come in many different sizes and colors (color is not typically a selectable option).
There is one other brand that I am aware of which is sold in Holland. I was unable to find any nice pictures of that pole, but I did find lots of complaint about its quality. I honestly cannot recommend that pole due to quality issues, unless you like using 1-way items (use once, throw away).
The prices of the different poles varies quite a lot but with good reason. There are significant quality differences between the different pole makes.
Perhaps the best way to define quality is:
"how long can you use it before it breaks?"
There are other factors, such as the quality of the end caps, etc., but at the end of the day, the pole is going to be erected outside, subject to all kinds of weather. The last thing you need is to be QRT in the middle of an Expedition, just because you bought a cheap pole and it broke!
THE COST OF QUALITY:
Unfortunately, quality costs more than just Dollars or EUROs. There are two other factors which affect the quality:
- WEIGHT: If you want your pole to survive strong winds, especially in the presence of icing, it needs to have thicker walls. But thicker walls mean more weight.
- PACK SIZE: Although a shorter pole is more convenient when transporting the pole, for any given length, you need more segments than with a pole with a longer collapsed size. The rugedness and stability of a pole with fewer, but longer segments is much better than that of a pole with shorter but more segments. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!
Quality is very important, but in many cases, size and weight are just as important. You won't always want to have the best quality. However some brands are known for poor quality (breaking often) and these should be avoided.
30+ YEARS EXPERIENCE OF USING
TELESCOPING FIBERGLASS POLES.
I have been an avid traveler and camper all of my life. For the first 15 years, almost all of my travels were by motorbike where there is simply no alternative to these fiberglass poles.
Later I switched to traveling by Motor Home (RV/Camper).
This of course enabled me to look at other alternatives such as aluminum masts, etc. I quickly returned to fiberglass poles.
One person can easily erect a telescoping fiberglass pole. That is not always the case with aluminum poles.
- YES, ALL fiberglass poles can and do break under certain circumstances.
- With the good quality poles, it is usually the human's fault when a pole breaks. Some people do real stupid things with their poles!
- With the cheap stuff, breakage can occur simply with a strong gust of wind.
- IF YOU BUY CHEAP, YOU BUY TWICE.
The GREAT thing about telescoping fiberglass poles is, if they do break, they usually have only one or two broken segments. As long as you can get spare parts from the vendor, this is no big deal. The spare segments are usually very cheap.
When aluminum masts break, especially when they come down in a storm, they often bend multiple segments and repairs can be very expensive.
The good vendors maintain a ready supply of spare parts. Spiderbeam for instance stocks each pole segment separately as a spare part. You can order spares online, 24 hours per day, and they typically ship "next business day".
When choosing your pole supplier, do NOT forget to check the vendor's policy on spare parts. Don't settle for just a "yes, we have spares". Check how much they cost and how fast he can deliver the spares.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS; THE CHOICE:
TO BE CONTINUED . . .
Here you see one person walking up an 18m telescoping fiberglass pole. Guy rope is being pulled by a 2nd person (not needed if the base is secured with rope and ground stakes).
walking up 18m aluminium mast.mov
QuickTime Video-Format [2.6 MB]