By Will Rietveld
Pyramid (Mid) shelters require a center support pole that is taller than most trekking poles. So, how do you come up with a tall pole without carrying extra weight? Common solutions are: 1) purchase a “pole jack” to extend the length of a trekking pole, 2) purchase a dedicated pole for that purpose, 3) lash two trekking poles together, or 4) use a ski or onsite tree branch. Most of these options require extra materials and time, and they are difficult to adjust to the exact height needed.
There’s an easier way, if you have a pair of Gossamer Gear LT-4 adjustable trekking poles. You can pull the tip section from one pole and connect it to the other pole, creating a long and adjustable tent pole.
Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that this idea originated from Dan Durston, a Backpacking Light subscriber, who posted it on the BPL Gear forum. There have been frequent discussions on this topic, and I believe Dan’s idea is the best solution because you do not have to take any extra parts with you (well almost none), it’s fast, and it’s easily adjustable. Herein I report my experience with the method, including a few small embellishments.
The following sequence shows how it’s done.
|Remove the circular plug from the top of one of the trekking poles. A thin/narrow screwdriver or knife blade works well. Also cut through the thin tape below the plug, to access the carbon fiber tube below.|
|A plastic tip guard fits snugly over the pole section's sharp carbide tip; this end goes into the cone at the top of the Mid, so the tip guard is needed to protect the shelter.|
Some comments and suggestions:
- Be sure to save the cork plug and replace it after you re-assemble your trekking poles. This keeps debris and water out of the pole, which could impair the adjusting mechanism.
- Be sure there is good overlap in the pole sections for maximum strength.
- If you will be day hiking from camp, it's easy to collapse your shelter and use your trekking poles. It's quick and easy to assemble/disassemble the extended pole.
- I don't know if this technique works on other brands of adjustable trekking poles; if you find it works with other poles, post your experience in the comments section.