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  1. #1
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    Spreader Bar/Trekking Pole construction question

    Has anyone tried making their own trekking poles, using flip locks from another set of poles?

    I’ve been tinkering with making spreader bars out of trekking poles for a bridge hammock. So far, my Black Diamond poles do not seem up to the challenge, even with dowels inserted. (They have not been officially tested, but I’m able to flex them quite easily by hand. No, I’m not freakishly strong. I only weight about 160 but I do not want to injure myself with a spreader bar collapse incident.)

    I’m taking a slightly different route—instead of searching for trekking poles that might work as spreaders and testing them one by one, I’m messing around with taking poles, such as Easton aluminum, that have proven to be good spreader bars and see if I can fashion them into trekking poles.

    One idea I had was to start with a 36” segment of Easton poles (two 18” poles connected with the “tube” piece). For the remaining segment, which would be the handle piece ( about 13” long), I’d like to attach that to the 36” segment with a flip lock from a set of cheapie poles.

    In other words, the flip lock would act as a connector between the handle of the trekking pole and the remaining 36” body, which would become the spreader bars when I remove the handle. The handle and the body segments would be flush with one another; I do not intend for the pieces to “telescope” and adjust—that’s not really what I’m after here. But if teh flip locks can only be used with poles of different diameters, I'd be OK with that, too. (As a bonus, the handle segments could act as toggles for my Marlin Spike Hitch.)

    Has anyone tried recycling flip locks like this? How did it work out? Are they only designed to grab onto two poles of different diameters that collapse into each other?

    P.S. I’ve asked various HF members for assistance with spreader bar questions. Everyone, especially Grizz, has been very helpful. Just wanted to say how great this site is.

    -Michael (SoCal Mike)

  2. #2
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    Pretty sure the flip-locks cannot be used for a butt splice, only over a smaller diameter tube. If you could match the outside diameter of the smaller tube it could be feasible to cut the handle tube down to an appropriate size for your concept to work.

  3. #3
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    I'll try it out

    Quote Originally Posted by OneEye View Post
    Pretty sure the flip-locks cannot be used for a butt splice, only over a smaller diameter tube. If you could match the outside diameter of the smaller tube it could be feasible to cut the handle tube down to an appropriate size for your concept to work.
    Thanks, OneEye. I have a funny feeling you are correct. I will try out a flip lock on poles of the same diameter to see if it works. I have some of the materials I need so it shouldn't take too much effort to test it out. I have a call in to Easton to see about how poles of different diameters but they might not make poles close enough in diameter for this to work.

    I'll report back once I am successful...or if I fail. Either way, this information may prove helpful to others who are exploring the trekking pole/spreader bar solution.

    Does anyone have a solution for holding two poles together like I've described in the original post? The Easton poles have a connector piece between the two poles, but I would need something to keep them together instead of sliding apart when I'm hiking with them.

    Michael

  4. #4
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    Tom Yost uses snap buttons on his folding kayak builds. They keep the poles together for the way you are talking about. A smaller diameter interior tube links the two matching diameter ones, with a snap button to hold them together.

    http://www.yostwerks.com/Spring.html

    He is using 3/4 and 5/8 tubes, so it might be hard to find smaller snap buttons.
    Last edited by OneEye; 09-29-2012 at 13:57. Reason: link & explanation update

  5. #5
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    Thanks & Flip Locks did not work in my experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by OneEye View Post
    Tom Yost uses snap buttons on his folding kayak builds. They keep the poles together for the way you are talking about. A smaller diameter interior tube links the two matching diameter ones, with a snap button to hold them together.

    http://www.yostwerks.com/Spring.html

    He is using 3/4 and 5/8 tubes, so it might be hard to find smaller snap buttons.
    Thanks for that tip. I was also looking at some of the items that rockwestcomposites.com offers, which offers the snap buttons.

    BER used some of rockwestcomposites carbon fiber poles for one of his bridge set ups. This company offers the snap lock accessory as well as a clamp that tightens down on two telescoping poles. The drawbacks are that their poles are pricey and they don't seem to have end pieces that would work well for connecting the suspension to or to serve as pole tips on the ground. Easton's accessories seem more appropriate for these purposes. BER also tried to adapt the Easton ends with the rockwestcomposites poles--I think he had relative success but he had to use tape to make the ends fit. I didn't feel comfortable with that approach. (That's not a knock at BER or rockwestcomposites.com; I admire BER's work and must say I'm very impressed with his bridge creations and ingenuity.)

    I experimented with the flip locks. It didn't work. Two problems: The Easton poles are larger than average trekking poles so by the time I added longer screws to the flip lock to compensate for the extra diameter, it didn't really clamp together very well. Plus, the design of the flip lock is intended to accommodate poles of different diameters and doesn't sit well on two poles of equal diameter.

    But, it was worth a shot.

    I have a call in to Easton to see if I can brainstorm with them on a solution.

    The only other thing I can think of is some sort of wide hose clamp holding the two poles together, but I don't think it will work satisfactorily. But half the fun is finding out.

    SoCal Mike

  6. #6
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    Update on project

    I heard back from Easton. Unfortunately, it was a dead end and they didn't have any helpful information.

    Don't think a hoseclamp on the poles will work well.

    So, I'm back to the drawing board or seeking a hiking pole that I can use as spreaders. I'm looking at the Cascade Moutain Tech carbon fiber poles. Inexpensive, light and should be pretty strong.

    On that Note...Can anyone provide a make AND model for a hiking pole that they use for spreader bars with a bridge?

    Some guys have said "Leki" and "Komperdell" but I wasn't sure what particualar model.

    Sincerely,

    Michael (SoCal Mike)

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