Dan Houg's Tentpole Resto

Dan Houg sent me and Michael Heron these pix of poles he fabbed for his Drive-Away tent. Michael had them on his site for a while, but he's a wannawebsite right now, so here you go.

Dan said: "This is the piece that started it all. I was missing 3 of the required 4 corner pieces due to breakage from the PO. I have been posting for over a year [this was 7/96 - jc] on vanagon@lenti to try to find a set. No luck."

Dan said: "This is the corner piece that replaced the OEM pole in photo 1. Though difficult to tell from the picture, one leg cants upward to form a peak in the framework. This connector can be turned to have the canted leg oriented in the proper direction so this one style works for all 4 corners. 4 required at $3.99 each."

Dan said: "Center ridge pole connector. Each end drops down to form a peak as they meet with the canted leg from the connector in photo 2. 2 required at $4.99 each."

Dan said: "Assembled here is the center ridge pole and the left and right end poles. I keep all the connectors loose in the pole bag and assemble them when the tent is erected. The finger set-screws allow for quick and easy assembly. The 3/4 inch steel electrical conduit connecting the pieces is 77.5 inches for each of the three spans. Molly (the ball obsessed retriever) is supervising."

Dan said: "The top framework is assembled. The 4 pieces of 3/4 inch steel electrical conduit connect the left and right end poles to the ridge pole and are each 5 feet long."

Dan said: "This is the framework utilizing the 4 OEM adjustable legs. They fit loosely but securely into the corner pieces. Set screws eliminate any slop."

Dan said: "The final product. The Drive Away tent is attached to our '87 Westy and the fit is acceptable if not perfect. Spacious 3-level living grander than any Hotel."

Dan's Parts List:
4 corner connectors, $3.99 each = $11.97
2 ridge pole connectors, $4.99 each = $9.98
5 10-ft 3/4" conduit, $1.99 each = $9.95
TOTAL = $31.90

Dan continues: "The conduit is cut as follows:
4 5-ft sections
3 77.5-inch sections


"The 3/4 inch conduit and connectors seem very strong, certainly more so than the OEM poles. I store the poles in between the cushions of the top bet where they ride rattle-free and out of the way. End splice connectors are available ($1.99 ea) to make any long section 2 piece though it may add some wobble to the structure and additional complexity in setup. The conduit is easily cut with a rotary tubing cutter used for copper pipe.

"SInce the Vanagon must be driven very close to the tent to attach, I have inadvertently bent 2 of the adjustable poles on the bottom section by driving into them. 1/2 inch electrical conduit fits nearly perfectly inside the large diameter adjustable pole and has 'restored' my adjustable poles to their original sliding order.

"The connector pieces are simply gazebo awning parts and should be available widely. I bought these in a small surplus store in northern Minnesota. They are made in CHina and have a poor aluminum paint finish, however the material and welding seem acceptable. The corners are fairly well radiused and could be used for the internal framework of a different style tent."

I haven't heard from Dan in a while. The last physical addres for him was in Bemidji, Minnesota.

These tent pages are originally © Joe Clark, 1994-2000.