By Don Jurries
Korean company DAC has been at the forefront of tent pole, tent frame, and tent design for a number of years. DAC is the key supplier to most high-end tent brands, including The North Face, Sierra Designs, Marmot, Hilleberg, and Nemo. I had the privilege of sitting next to DAC’s Founder and President, Jake Lah, on a flight from Salt Lake City to Seattle after the recent Outdoor Retailer trade show.
An exceptionally knowledgeable man, Mr. Lah gave me a two hour history lesson on tents over the last 20 years and his thoughts on potential tent designs for the future. He also showed me examples of how a line of pole ends, connectors, joints, hubs, stoppers, and clips, called DAC Toys, are helping tent makers create innovative new tent shapes.
The company's newest tent pole, the Featherlite NSL is larger in diameter, thinner walled, yet a stronger pole that has one of the best strength to weight ratios on the market. The new tent pole is designed to connect different diameter poles without creating weaker joints or the need for additional parts.
DAC developed a proprietary aluminum alloy to ensure strength and quality, with much of the manufacturing machinery designed and built by DAC itself. Mr Lah is also proud of the DAC Green initiatives, particularly the ability to eliminate toxic chemicals such as nitric acid and phosphoric acid from the anodizing process.
While DAC may not be a household name like many of the brands it supports, DAC tent poles are worth looking out for when purchasing a tent. DAC has also launched a house-brand called Helinox that includes walking poles as well as camp furniture using many of the same pole/DAC Toys concepts.