I recently had the unpleasant experience, during a camping weekend with friends, of having to get up a couple of times in the middle of the night. ‘Why?’ you might ask. Well, I had to pick up and reset the horizontal tent poles on my Sprite Tourer which had been blown loose by a few gusts of wind.
The next morning, while sitting around the brunch skottel with my fellow campers, I found, to my surprise, that only the two Sprite Tourers in our party and a Jurgens Safari Xplorer had had problems with tent poles that night. The stories told by the other campers about how much damage a tent pole coming loose could cause were quite shocking.
After discussing all the pros and cons of changing the existing design to remedy the problem on my Sprite Tourer, I finally decided to go back to the old tried and trusted tent pole ‘male’ ball fitting on the end of the poles, with the ‘female’ cup-type fitting on the caravan side. Here’s how I carried out my DIY tent pole project.
Three 22 mm male tent pole ball fittings (R5.90 each)
Three female cup square-base socket fittings (R5.75 each)
Twelve 10 x 2 mm screws
1.5 mm steel drill bit (see photo)
After I’d obtained all I needed, the project was very simple.
I centred the tent in relation to the side of the caravan while it was still in its storage bag, and then I opened it out. This ensured that it was in the correct position. I found that actually erecting the whole tent made it much easier for me to mark the positions of the three female fittings, equidistant from the centre point of the tent. This should be the same distance as the front end of the tent on which the outside two poles are fixed. (Refer to the diagram) A1 = A2 = ±1480 mm. Now that I had established the pole centres against the top side of the caravan, I stuck all three female fittings to the caravan in the correct places, fixing them tightly underneath the aluminium channel. I used small pieces of Prestik to hold them there temporarily until I had drilled the 1.5 mm hole for each cup. Next, using a Phillips screwdriver, I inserted all 12 screws, keeping the female caps in place.
All three poles had rubber caps on the ends. I removed these by dipping the ends into a cup of hot water, which made it really easy. I then inserted the male ball ends into the ends of the poles.
Finally, using a punch I made a small indent about 5 mm from the end of the pole. This ensures that the ball end remains firmly in place. My problem is now solved! My tent poles stay firmly in place, no matter what the weather. Okay, a cyclone might be a different story! You certainly don’t have to leave every project up to a professional caravan workshop. The DIY route can be a lot of fun, and it’s rewarding.