/ Terra nova hyperspace tent poles

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jansmc 01 Jul 2019

In the last two outings a tent pole has fractured for no apparent reason....once after being in situ for 3 days and the other whilst putting the tent up. This is my second hyperspace tent and the old one lasted 20 years without incident. Terra nova suggest I am not putting the tent up correctly.....as I have had this type of tent now for 28 yrs I find this hard to believe. Anyone else had a similar issue?

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earlsdonwhu 01 Jul 2019
In reply to jansmc:

I am afraid there seems to have been long standing issues and complaints about Terra Nova poles with the firm being less than helpful.

Hope you get a satisfactory resolution.

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ScraggyGoat 01 Jul 2019

I had that experience with another brand, on a new tent, they immediately apologized admitted they had a fault batch of poles, that they had failed to recall all the units and provided a full replacement set of poles.

From web forums its clear Terra Nova have a problem (or should that be their pole supplier), and you have bugger all chance of product support.  My above mentioned tent is now at the end of its life, but it won't get replaced by Terra Nova if I have the choice......given their ongoing bad PR / attitude.

You can buy individual pole sections online from third party vendors, or get them to mend. e.g. Scottish Mountain Gear.  Other vendors are available.

What I wished I had done with my current dome with aging poles (which after well over a decade of use are regularly snapping), is buy narrow bore poly tubing like you get on platypus from a DIY store and placed over all the pole joints like splints, that way if a pole snaps it will hopefully be retained in the splint and not tear the fly.

But you really shouldn't have to do that for a new tent!

Thanks for posting, reconfirms my boycott of Terra Nova is still valid.

Post edited at 17:33
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Clint86 01 Jul 2019
In reply to jansmc:

Yes, they used to replace the poles but now put the blame on you for not erecting them properly.  Its really annoying for an otherwise great range of tents.

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Will o'the South 03 Jul 2019

Here are my thoughts on why aluminium tent poles break, just in case it helps some readers now or in the future.  The original poster and contributors above probably already know most of this.  Also, please note I'm speaking generally here, not about any particular brand of tent or pole.

If a pole breaks on a fairly new tent, with no obvious reason why, then it might be a bad pole section, bad batch of poles, or maybe a poor tent design.  In this case I'd contact the brand responsible for repair / replacement poles / new tent / refund.  However, I don't think this is common.

If a pole breaks for an obvious reason (e.g. you stepped on the pole / fell on the tent / huge gust of wind with no guy ropes in place), then its probably just the sections that have broken (or bent badly) that need replacing. Anything that looks undamaged is probably undamaged.  Get it repaired or replace the broken section yourself if possible.  

If one or more pole sections break on an old tent without obvious cause, it is probably fatigue cracks that have built up over time.  This issue will affect many of the highly stressed sections in the pole.  In this case replacing one or two sections probably won't help much, as there are other sections that will also break soon.  Replacing the entire pole set is the best solution.  Of course, this only makes sense if the fly fabric, zips and floor are still OK - if they are wearing out too, I'd suggest a new tent.  Poles tend to make up 30% to 40% of the cost of a tent.

Fatigue cracks occur where there is a fluctuating tensile stress - and usually start at some point of damage which makes the stress higher at that point.  Once a crack starts, it tends to grow a microscopic amount every time the stress changes, until the structure is so weakened by the crack it fails suddenly and catastrophically.  There are two main implications for tents:

If the poles are damaged, they can start to crack sooner.  The main point of damage is the open end of a pole section, where the ferrule of the next section slots in.  If you flick the poles like a whiplash to assemble them, you tend to create small dents and chips on the end of the section - and this where the cracking often begins, as the open end of the tubing is very highly stressed in use.  Sometimes you can see the cracks on old poles.  So: assemble the poles gently and try not to flick them about.

If the poles move around a lot in the wind, any cracks present will be growing faster.  When the poles aren't moving around (i.e. slightly bending and unbending), the cracks are not growing longer.  So: use guy cords and other means to keep the tent poles as still as possible.  If the tent is flailing about in the wind, the life span of the poles is gradually being used up, even if they don't break on that trip.

I'm interested to hear if anybody has any other opinions or experiences.

Finally; nothing lasts for ever: tents are made to be used and enjoyed.  In some ways, wearing out a tent is a sign you've done a lot of trips and had a lot of fun - something to be proud of.

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kevin stephens 08 Jul 2019
Iain Thow 12 Jul 2019
In reply to Clint86:

I've used a Quasar for over 25 years, now on 4th inner and 6th flysheet. I break about a pole a year (I spend around 100/120 nights a year in it, so view that as fair wear and tear) and, as you say, Terra Nova used to replace them but no longer do. Sharon their long term customer service person retired when they moved to Clay Cross and things have definitely gone downhill since. The last time a pole broke it tore a 4 foot rip in the fly (windy night but not excessively so), and I really don't expect that in a mountain tent. Luckily I was camping at a road end on that occasion rather than the middle of the Cairngorms or Fisherfield so could bail out to a bnb. Terra Nova refused to acknowledge a fault and as I needed a tent the next week I had to buy a new fly (of the same type, the tougher expedition ones had a 6 month waiting time). A week ago a pole broke in two places (only 10mph wind, all the segments properly located). The new flysheets are patently much weaker than the old ones, and I suspect so are the poles. Cost cutting? Or trying to get weight down? Either way I won't be buying another Terra Nova tent, despite nearly 3000 nights in a Quasar I just don't trust them any more. The next time something breaks I will just have to bite the bullet and shell for a whole tent.

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john spence 12 Jul 2019
In reply to jansmc:

I had a hyperspace in the mid 90's, sadly it rotted away in the attic and was beyond repair. I still have the bag of poles, minus one that I used for a DIY project. They are yours if you want them. The shock cord has perished so they will need re threading. Your profile doesn't say where you are but let me know if you want them and we can arrange something. Freebies.  I might add that I always found it a bastard to put up, only used for about 30 nights.

Post edited at 20:28
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