The best tarp poles won't slip, bend or break under pressure. They will keep your tarp nice and taut. And when broken down, they will probably be fairly short so they are portable and easy to stow away.
Our top choice is the telescoping tarp poles from Green Elephant because they're fantastic value. But if they aren't perfect for you, there will certainly be a tarp pole on this list that is..
Here’s 3 of the best tarp poles we found:
Extends from 6’ 8” to 8’3”. Collapsed height is 2’ 5”. Weighs 1lb 8oz per pole. Top section is adjustable. Great build quality!
Extends from 2’ 10” to 8’ 3”. Collapsed height is 2’ 10”. Weighs 1lb 2oz per pole. Each section is telescopic. Great budget buy!
Extends from 2’ 10” (3 sects) to 6” (5 sects). Collapsed height 2’ 10”. Weighs between 14oz (3 sects) to 1lb 12oz (5 sects).
This Kelty Noah adjustable aluminum pole comes as a one-piece. It weighs 1 pound 8 ounces, has a collapsed size of 2 feet 4.75 inches and extends from 6 feet 8 inches to a maximum of 8 feet 3 inches. It has three sections, of which one segment is telescopic, and features a non-slip rubber foot and two-inch grommet spigot. ($$)
These poles are strong enough to withstand adverse conditions with a large tarp, like the 16 x 16 feet Kelty Noah tarp, especially if you anchor them properly. This pole will extend high enough if you’re setting up a shade shelter or using it to stabilize your tarp as a windbreak.
If you’re car camping, the adjustable pole would be perfect to set up a shade shelter with your tarp.
For the best tarp pole for taut tarps, we had to choose the Kelty Noah Adjustable Aluminum pole. If you’re going to go car camping or need to set up a shade net or even add additional shelter to your tent, then it’s definitely for you.
If you’re looking for a pole to go backpacking with, this may be a bit heavy if you’re traveling for a distance, and they would stick out of a 60-liter backpack.
Each telescoping pole weighs 1 pound 1 ounce, and these will come as a set of two. Individually, they have a collapsible, minimum size of 2 feet 10.4 inches and extend to a maximum of 8 feet 3.36 inches. They have four sections and can support up to 35 pounds per pole. They’re made from lightweight anodized aluminum, have non-slip rubber feet and a removable spigot. ($$$)
Having two tarp poles that extend can make a difference to your campsite, especially when it’s raining and you need to cook. By creating a shelter with two tarp poles and adjusting the apex, you can create a better runoff. The front can also be positioned so that it lets the smoke out.
They have a collapse-proof locking mechanism removing the risk of your tarp buckling on top of you during bad weather, and they come with a one-year guarantee.
If you’re camping in a remote spot, and your gear bag happens to get damaged, these two tent poles would be sturdy enough to make a travois as they can support up to 35 pounds, helping you to get your stuff safely back to your car.
These are our best value tarp poles as they will come in handy around any campsite to create shelters or keep windbreaks taut in windier conditions. The non-slip rubber feet will hold firmly in sand, gravel, or even wooded areas covered in pine needles.
These are perfect for setting-up awnings on cars or RV’s and creating a shelter if you need to take cover. It’s like you’re getting to two poles for the price of one!
Paria Outdoors Tarp Poles - Great 6' Alternative
The Paria comes as a set of two; each pole weighs 14 ounces, and the maximum weight would be 1 pound 12 ounces. If using them as separate poles, the minimum length is 2 feet 8 inches, with a maximum length of 6 feet. If you combine all the sections, it will have a maximum length of 12 feet.
Each pole has five sections with a non-slip rubber foot and a carry bag. ($$)
If you need your tarp to be low to the ground, you can adjust the height by removing segments of these poles. You can combine all sections together so that you’re able to create one long pole; this could come in handy if you need to set up a diamond shelter, and you find yourself in an area without trees.
They’re made from a high-quality 7000-series aluminum alloy and have a lifetime warranty.
These tarp poles are versatile and can be used to pitch a tent, and an awning if you’re car camping.
The Paria Tarp Poles are our runner up as these would be the best tarp poles for a backpacker as combined they’re only 1 pound 12 ounces. No matter the situation, these poles can adjust to the height that’s required at that moment.
Odoland Adjustable Tarp Poles
Odoland is a set of two poles weighing 1 pound 14 ounces combined, with a collapsed size of 2 feet 2.78 inches and extending from 6 feet 7.2 inches minimum to a maximum of 8 feet 2.4inches. They have three sections, of which one part is telescopic. They have non-slip plastic feet and come with a storage bag. ($)
Weather is unpredictable, and if you’re caught in heavy rain, then these would be the best tarp poles to use to create a pitched shelter. If you extend them to their full length of 8 feet 2.4 inches, this will help in shedding the heavy rain.
With a set of two lightweight, aluminum poles, you can use them to set up a tarp or a shade shelter if you plan on going to the beach for the day. With the additional height they offer, you can create a refuge with plenty of headroom and be able to withstand the elements.
These poles would be a great addition if you’re going to a music festival or the beach, and you need to create a shelter for small groups of four or six people. They may be heavy for a pack if you’re planning on camping solo.
Weanas Adjustable Tarp Poles
The Weanas come as a set of two poles, each pole weighing 1 pound 1 ounce, with a minimum size of 2 feet 11.42 inches and extending to a maximum of 7 feet 6.48 inches. They have three sections each, of which two segments are telescopic. They come with a storage bag, a rubber cap for the spigot, and have non-slip rubber feet. ($)
These poles would fit most tent and tarp grommets. They’re easily adjustable, and you could also use them to extend shelter from the back of your SUV. You could use these aluminum poles with a canopy to create a haven.
You could also use them to set up an awning on a camper to have a protective shelter to sit beneath. You could use the poles to pitch a tent, as the removable, anti-slip, silicone tip would prevent any tears or damage to the canvas.
These poles are versatile and can be used with campers, awnings, tents, or car campers. They would be an excellent addition for attaching to a fly, to use if you need to set-up a sun shelter, or if you want to set-up a small tarp.
Garden V Pro Telescoping Tarp Poles
The Garden V Pro comes as a single pole that weighs 1 pound, with a minimum size of 3 feet 2.88 inches and a maximum of 8 feet 2.4 inches. It has three sections, two sections being telescopic. The spigot has a rubber cap and is 1.25 inches in diameter, and has a non-slip rubber foot and comes with a carry bag. ($)
This single aluminum steel pole is light enough to squeeze into a backpack and will fit most tent types and all grommets. You could use this to create a diamond shelter or use it to support a secondary pole.
If you do find yourself caught in an unexpected shower, you can quickly pitch a tent, and it won’t damage the tent’s canvas as it has a protective cap on the spigot.
Wherever your journey takes you, this tarp pole will add value as it fits into a backpack and would also be ideal if you’re going on a road trip or if you need to set up a tarp. You can also use it at the beach to set-up a sun shelter.
Redcamp Aluminum Tarp Poles
Redcamp Tarp Poles come as a set of two, each pole weighs 1 pound 1 ounce, with a minimum length of 2 feet 11.43 inches to and a maximum of 7 feet 6.55 inches. They each have three sections, of which two are telescopic, and use a twist-lock mechanism. They have removable plastic spigots and non-slip plastic feet. ($$)
On hot summer nights, you may want to sleep in a hammock, and if you’re worried about a light rain or dew, setting up a tarp would be simple with these adjustable tarp poles. They also have a non-rubber foot that would be sturdy if you’re setting up on a sandy or leafy floor.
They’re made from strong and durable 6061 aluminum alloy and come with a limited manufacturer’s warranty.
These poles can also be adjusted to 7 feet 6.55 inches when extended fully and can be used to set up an awning on a camper or RV. The minimum size would also allow you to set up a tarp shelter to sleep under and keep your camping gear dry.
These poles will add value if you’re looking for poles that can withstand the elements and are versatile. They can be used to set-up a windbreaker, an awning, or to pitch a shelter. They’ll fit in most rivet holes of a tarp.
Choosing the Best Tarp Poles for Taut Tarps
When we set out on our research, these are the factors we took into account:
- Material strength.
- Single telescopic pole or multiple poles.
The strength of the best tarp pole comes down to the material that it’s made from. A tarp pole has to withstand strong wind and rain. The material that the tarp pole is made from will also determine the price and weight.
Titanium and carbon fiber would be the most expensive, while aluminum and steel would be more inexpensive. If budget is a consideration, then you would have to bear in mind that steel and aluminum would be heavier; this would not be advisable if you’re planning on backpacking as it would add weight.
Depending on the type of camping you’re doing, the weight will be an essential factor to evaluate. If you’re used to backpacking and using an ultralight tarp, then a tarp pole that weighs over 1 pound would be considered heavy.
When you’re looking for the best tarp pole, you may want to consider if getting a set of two or a single tarp pole will better fit your requirements. It’s important to note that if you’re using an ultralight tarp and get a set of two poles, it will still be lighter than the majority of the tents you could buy.
For most backpacking tents, the peak height is roughly 3 feet 7 inches, and the minimum size of some tarp poles is 2 feet 6 inches. As you’re able to adjust the heights, the tarp poles offer significantly more headspace than most tents.
With adjustable lengths, you can decide if you want to use a hammock or if the trip would be better with a bivy and a tarp as shelter. The best tarp poles are versatile, as with the adjustable length, you’re able to create different types of designs for any weather condition.
Do You Get Two or One Tarp Poles
The type of shelter and the kind of camping you’re going to be doing will determine how many of the best tarp poles you will need. Two tarp poles would allow you to create shelters that are shorter and have ridge tents, pitched roofs, or set up awnings.
With one tarp pole, you’re able to create angled lean-tos or pitch tents. There are a number of ways to set up a shelter, and some of them require some serious skill, like the Adirondack shelter or a Bivybag corner. Ultimately the choice for one or two tarp poles will come down to your preference and the shelter you’re going to create.
Many Ways to Pitch Your Tarp
If you’re an avid camper and prefer using a tarp and tarp poles, you may want to develop your skillset by creating different tarp shelters. While most people may say you should leave it to the survivalists, you never know when you may need to be a bit more creative.
You may revisit a particular campsite only to find that it has changed. Maybe the space has been cleared of trees by a fire. Knowing tarp variations such as these could come in handy:
- Simplest: A-frame.
- Outdoor Bathroom/Shower: Shower curtain.
- Hot Weather: C-fly wedge.
- Protective: Bivybag hunchback.
Benefits of a Tarp Over a Tent
Both the tarp and the tent have their advantages. While you can get four-season tarps, tents offer more protection in areas with more substantial snowfall. You can also get tarps that have snow flaps.
It would come down to the type of camping you’re doing and where you’re going to be camping. Tarps do have the following advantages:
- Customizable shelter.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Very easy to carry.
- Incredibly versatile.
- Can set up anywhere.
- Customizable shelter requires a considerable amount of skill and knowledge.
- For a fast set-up, you need to be experienced.
The Kelty Noah Adjustable Aluminum Pole was our best overall tarp pole. It’s versatile and can be used to create a shelter with a significant amount of head room reaching heights of 8 feet 3 inches. It can also be used to support an awning, build a shelter for shade, or many other tarp configurations. Whatever your camping needs, this pole will certainly stand up to it.
The Green Elephant’s are our best value tarp poles, and are durable and strong. These poles can support up to 35 pounds each, can be used as windbreakers, and are perfect for awnings.
The Paria Tarp Poles are our runners up and come as a set of two poles; they’re perfect for setting up a tarp shelter while you’re backpacking.