I recently acquired a used Base Camp 4, in good shape except the poles are bent. My problem is, having never seen the tent set up or in new condition, I don't know if the poles are supposed to be bent. Also, assuming that some of the bends are not supposed to be there, does anyone have any experience or tips on straightening aluminum poles? I don't want to break them.
@baraboomiller Thanks for reaching out!
The poles on the Base Camp 4 are not supposed to be bent. When laid out next to each other all the poles should be straight and parallel. Without knowing how significant the bends in your poles are it's hard to make a determination about next steps. If you could provide some photos that might be helpful. Are the bends in the poles significant enough to affect the performance of the tent or the ability to pitch it correctly? The trick to straightening them is the ability to hold the pole firmly so it doesn't twist when you are trying to apply light(!) pressure to straighten it out.
I have had success straightening out poles using a vice, however, you must be very careful not to over-tighten the vise as you will crush the aluminum poles. They make adapters/inserts for vices to help with this (fairly normal to have those in a bike shop for getting grip on aluminum parts).
Hopefully this helps and you can keep your tent in service!
Depending on the age of your Base Camp 4, some of the poles ARE supposed to be pre-bent. REI-JohnJ is only correct regarding newer models. My Base Camp 4 (maybe purchased in 2010?) has some pre-bent poles that are meant to help shape the tent. I just thought you should know, in case you're trying to bend back poles that shouldn't be straight to begin with. Try looking up your 6-digit model number in the search box on rei.com and see if yours has straight or pre-bent poles. Mine has 5 sets of poles (1 silver crossing set for tent set up, one green set for tent support, and one grey set for the rain fly vestibule) and the only ones that are strait are the silver set up poles. This is my model: https://www.rei.com/product/693148