The ribs of the studs are key elements in the tent, as they support it and keep it in shape. In theory what we all want are rods that are light (and thus lower the total weight of the tent), resistant to breakage, flexible against strong winds (that is, they bend without breaking and maintaining the shape of the tent) and cheap … well, the bad news is that there is not something that meets all these requirements at once.
The closest thing to the ideal written above are the Duralumin rods. These rods are all of the above except for the fact that these rods are more expensive than fiberglass rods and that is why in general we only see them in high-end tent models, usually in high mountain tents, made with materials of excellent quality where the cost does not matter but the benefits against inclement weather. In addition, in extremely cold environments, aluminum rods are the only option because fiberglass rods become brittle and can easily break.
Other advantages are that they are easier to repair in the field while camping (it would be necessary to have a repair kit) and also, the useful life of these rods is much longer than those of fiberglass.
In short, if money is no problem and you already have a tent with fiberglass rods, you can buy an aluminum set and replace them.
They are the most common in our market, the 3-station igloo models (which are the most used) use these rods, that is, they are the ones that most campers use and therefore it is necessary to know their characteristics …
Advantages: they are light for transport, they are flexible and they have the necessary resistance for normal conditions of weather, winds and rain. They are cheap, which allows us to buy extra rods and take them as a replacement in case we break one at the campsite.
Disadvantages: they have a much shorter useful life than aluminum, they are difficult to repair (many times it breaks in such a way that it is no longer possible), extreme cold or wind conditions can easily break it.
To minimize the chances of breakage, these precautions can be taken:
a) Proper rod diameter: do not use rods with a diameter less than 8 mm (because they will not withstand the wind well). If the tent is less than 150 cm high, use rods with a diameter between 8.3 mm and 9.5 mm. If the tent is between 150 cm and 200 cm high, use 9.5 mm and 11 mm rods. If the tent is more than 2 meters high, use larger diameters. (These values are averages, it must be taken into account that not all fiberglass rods have the same quality and this affects their strength and flexibility, but the quality of the manufacture and materials of the rod is not something that can be seen with the naked eye. Again, the key here is to trust serious carp brands and not to trust too much cheap carp)
b) Another key point is the crossing of stands on the roof of the tent. In the models where there are two studs that cross perpendicularly (that is to say at 90 °), the studs can be tied in two ways: with tie straps that are tied and by means of a cross where the two studs are embedded. The latter is ideal if we can implement it, because in strong winds the force is distributed over the two studs, distributing more evenly, which reduces the possibility of the rod breaking (while the tent better maintains its shape without disturbing to the people who are inside)
c) When assembling the tent, it must be ensured that the rods are well hooked with each other and the studs are securely fastened with the hooks or fasteners that the tent has.
In summary, fibreglass rods are a good option for camping holidays in 3-season tents, but it is highly recommended to buy spare rods (especially if we are going to an area with strong winds).