How-To: Streamline Your Tent Pole Storage for Bikepacking

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Assembling our Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 is a breeze. The tent uses a unified group of individual pole sections, so it’s just one bundle of sticks. We have used this simple method for storing tent poles for a long time and it works. Easy on, easy off.

The downtube of the bike is home to many cables, straps, bolts, accessories and happens to be close to some important moving parts. The key for good storage here is to securely locate the goods out of the way of moving cranks, chains, and keep in mind that a suspension fork allows the tire to travel closer to the bottom of the bike throughout its travel.

For securing our tent poles we use 5mm black elastic cord. It’s available many places, can be tied and untied, and has a nice poly kind of casing to keep it tough. We use 3 loops at intervals which are held in place by neighboring etcetera. Once the loops are stretched around the poles they wont really move, so placing them next to a strap or item that will keep the loop generally located for quick packing is the goal here. The loops are sized so that when tied they are “just” loose around the downtube. This makes it easy to get a finger between frame and loop but keeps things tidy enough when you’re traveling without the tent poles. We use a simple square knot to secure the loop to the downtube. If your bike has wires or hoses which need to be free from the influence of poles or pressure, hang an untied trial loop around and/or under different points, with and without poles and you’ll find a way around interference.

To load the poles, arrange them into a bundle, inline to eliminate poking and snagging hazards. Hold the bundled poles tightly in one hand as you stretch the middle of the three cord loops open, away from the frame, and insert the end of the bundle, releasing the loop as you slide the poles toward the second elastic loop. The final loop can then be stretched or slipped around the free end of the pole bundle. Spin the cranks slowly by hand to check for interference and rearrange anything that looks “iffy”.

Step One: Tie three loops around your bike’s downtube where they are useful, safe, and not impeding other functions.

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Step Two: Gather poles into a unified bundle.

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Step Three: Insert end of bundle through middle, then bottom loop. 

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Step Four: Secure the third elastic loop, check for protrusions and interferences. 

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Step Five: Ride on with your streamlined bikepacking tent pole setup! 

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