How I Connect Trekking Poles Together to Create a Tarp Pole

In chapter 7 of my book, I talk about the simple privacy “tent” that I take showers inside of. It’s made from a tarp, some paracord, and a pole. It looks like this when set up:

The privacy tent set up next to my SUV.
The privacy tent set up next to my SUV.

This kind of thing can be set up with any kind of pole made for use with tarps (like this, for example; you could probably even use a piece of PVC pipe if you wanted to be super frugal), but I use trekking poles. These kind of look like ski poles but are adjustable/collapsible and made for hiking. I use these to set up my privacy tent because I’ve already got them, and they keep me from having to have a separate pole for just this one purpose.

To create a tarp pole out of two trekking poles, you need a certain kind of trekking pole. The ones that I use are by Black Diamond, and they incorporate what Black Diamond calls the Flicklock system. Each pole has two of these Flicklock parts, one between each of the three sections of aluminum tubing that make up the pole. To adjust the pole, you flip the Fliplock lever up and can then slide the section below it to make the pole shorter or longer. When you’ve got the pole or section of pole to the desired length, you flip the lever down to lock everything in place.

The series of photos below shows how to combine the two poles to make one longer one:

Two trekking poles. The top one is collapsed, and the bottom one is extended.
Two trekking poles. The top one is collapsed, and the bottom one is extended.
The first step in joining the poles together is to flip the bottom Flicklong lever on one of the poles up and then entirely remove the bottom section of pole.
The first step in joining the poles together is to flip the bottom Flicklock lever on one of the poles up and then entirely remove the bottom section of the pole. Set the bottom section aside; you don’t need it to make the tarp pole.
Insert the tip of the other pole into the still-open locking mechanism of the second pole.
Insert the tip of the other pole into the still-open locking mechanism of the second pole.
Fold the lever down to lock it into place over the tip of the other pole.
Fold the lever down to lock it into place over the tip of the other pole. You’re done!
With the two trekking poles together, the now one pole can be longer than a door is tall.
The two trekking poles together can be longer than a door is tall, but of course the height is adjustable.

I haven’t tried to do this with any other kind of trekking pole other than the Black Diamond ones I have, so this technique or some variation thereof may work with other poles. If nothing else, you could always lash two trekking poles together using a technique like this or this.

2 thoughts on “How I Connect Trekking Poles Together to Create a Tarp Pole”

  1. I’m binge-ing on your blog now. I have been wondering about how to do a privacy tent like this for a while. This is *perfect* especially since I’ve already copied your idea about the PVC awning pole.

    Have just ordered your book, btw.

    Beautiful travelogues and brilliant ideas. Thanks!

    1. It works really well. I think you’ll be happy happy with it. Thanks for ordering the book (let me know if you have any questions about anything in there), and thanks for reading and watching the videos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *