DAC continuously develops and introduces new types of tent poles to provide new ‘tools’ for tent makers. Introduced in 1991, DA17 had a major impact on the Japanese market.
The perfection of Featherlite poles in 1996 allowed DAC to win the business of the majority of the highest quality tent makers worldwide. Since then, DAC has had a never ending quest to make higher and higher performance poles: Pressfit poles were invented in 1996.
NSL poles came in 2004, NFL in 2013,
and just recently the PL pole was released.
Technical breakthroughs and shifting market demands
have led to, now, five distinct types of tent poles.
Featherlite NSL / Featherlite NFL / Featherlite
Featherlite NSL / Pressfit
PL / DA17
Featherlite NSL / Pressfit / PL
Increasing Performance and Capabilities
Ultralight Backpacking, 3 Season, Winter & Expedition
Available Sizes: 8.05mm / 8.5mm / 9mm / 9.6mm / 10.25mm
Combining techniques developed for Featherlite with the DAC-developed alloy, TH72M, allowed development of the world's first tent pole system where different diameters can be mixed in the same line of pole. This allows designers greater control over the shape of the tent. When flexed, normal tent poles form a shape with low angle walls and most of the headroom in just the middle of the tent. The NSL pole system allows the tent to be made much rounder and more comfortable inside – with steeper walls and broader roofs (an invention we call “Reverse-combi”).
Supporting the Ultralight Tent Revolution
Available Sizes: 8.7mm / 9.3mm
The explosion of the ultralight tent market led to demand for the lowest possible weight tent poles. Because of its unique position, having developed world-leading expertise and process control on its previous projects, DAC was able to develop the NFL poles – shaving 6% to 18% off the weight of the pole (depending on the comparison).
Reducing Weight 15%
Available Sizes: 8.55mm / 8.84mm / 9.35mm
Realizing that much of the aluminum in a tent pole was just from the connection between tubes, led to the development of the Featherlite pole. Instead of using a separate short tube to connect sections, one side of a Featherlite pole connection is slightly expanded and the other side is slightly reduced. The resulting joint - a first for such a strong aluminum alloy - saves over half the weight of a connector tube. Additional weight savings was built into the Featherlite through extensive design simulation and optimization. The net result is that Featherlite poles are up to 15% lighter than any competitors’ poles of the same strength.
Inventing a New Performance Standard
3 Season, Winter & Expedition
Available Sizes: 8.5mm / 8.7mm / 9mm / 9.5mm / 10.2mm / 11.1mm / 13.2mm
DAC’s first task when it entered the world of high quality backpacking and mountaineering tent poles, was to solve two problems that plagued its competitors: slipping connector tubes (because of glue failure) and the nasty habit of breaking without warning (sending sharp ends ripping through the tent’s rainfly). DAC's elegant solution was to master a technically demanding interference fit between the connector tube and the main poles - requiring no glue - and to use a more ductile alloy (a Japanese variation on 7001). The resulting “Pressfit” poles are still the most rugged and reliable poles made in the world today.
An Exotic New Leader
Family Camping, Winter & Expedition
Available Sizes: 10.65mm / 12.1mm / 13.55mm / 15mm / 16.8mm
PL poles are an unexpected and exciting breakthrough – the kind of discovery that only comes to those who are far out in front of their competition. Their real-world performance far exceeds any other tent poles.
A simple rule for making ever more weight efficient tubes is to make their diameters bigger and their wall thickness smaller. DAC’s world-leading expertise allows them to make poles with bigger diameters and thinner walls than any other manufacturer in the world – PL poles have walls that are an astounding 40% thinner than any other poles. But that’s not the unexpected part. PL poles are in a class by themselves because of their remarkable non-linear flexibility. At about 75% of their breaking strength they start to flex more – they literally get a little softer – so they can bend further without breaking. In a sense they’re the world’s first smart pole: withstanding wind like a mighty oak tree until it’s clear that the wind is stronger, then bending more like a blade of grass to let the wind pass it unharmed.
Revolutionizing Larger Tents
Available Sizes: 11.3mm / 12mm / 13mm / 14.5mm / 16mm / 18.55mm / 19mm / 22mm / 25mm / 28mm
The DA17 pole was the first tent pole engineered for large modern tent structures – where the poles must have the flexibility and strength to bend into arched shapes to erect the tent and then return to straight when taken back out. Before DA17, there were only expensive small diameter poles that could flex and low quality large diameter poles that couldn't flex without breaking. It's not an exaggeration to say that the development of DA17, with its high quality and moderate price, directly supported the development of the larger, high quality tents that we see today.