Troubleshooting your shade

You bought shade – now what?

You can protect your gear for years to come by not overtightening set screws, or the screws on the five ways or on the foot pads. One of the biggest causes of poles needing to be replaced is when they are damaged or compromised by being over tightened. In most cases, finger tight is just fine for the screws on the five ways and foot pads. Never use power tools to tighten.

If you purchased shade in 2022 or 2023, you may want to review our setup guidelines.

Or maybe you are looking for a printout that came in your box and blew away?
2023 base kit instruction | add kit instructions
2022 instructions

Or maybe you are looking for an at home or on playa fix!

Problem: the set screw is stuck in the pole! What should I do?
Answer: (Set screws were installed on shade kits distributed prior to 2022, so if you bought shade recently this is not your issue). First of all, never use power tools to tighten the set screws! Here are some things to try: drill out the center and use a stud remover. Use a blow torch (carefully) – the heat will help loosen it up. If all else fails, you can put this pole on a corner and then ratchet down to a lag bolt that is off to the side or buy one of our leg foot pad and lag bolting it down to the playa.

Problem: I understand I should be tying down my shade kit. What do you advise?
Answer: When you are in an exposed location (alone on the playa, out for Early Man, build week, etc) you may want to consider using a tie down kit or ratchet straps to secure your structure. If you are surrounded by other camps, or your shade is protected by RVs this is less of an issue.

If you are tying down your shade, imagine a line that bisects the corners of your shade and runs to the opposite corner. This will create a different angle depending on the size of your shade (refer to the photos below, which help to illustrate). From the four corners of your shade, carry this line out 3-4 feet away from your shade. Drive a lag bolt into the ground and anchor the shade to that.

Problem: I bought 2023 kit with KD (knock down) poles and…
…the top / bottom of my leg pole does not have a button to snap into the five-way / leg foot.
Answer: The button on the top and bottom of the leg poles is redundant. Use the screw on the five-way / leg foot and carry on.
…the button on the male half of the pole doesn’t properly align with the hole on the female half of the pole.
Answer: You can take one of three approaches to address this.

You can take the MacGyver approach and duct tape the two halves together. If the impacted pole is a leg pole, rachet down that leg for extra security. and ratchet down your shade.

You can take the Tim Taylor approach and attempt to fix the problem yourself following the steps outlined below. First remove the button from the female pole. You can do this by pressing the button down and then pulling the clip from the pole. Put the button somewhere you can find it later! Next, put the poles together. If the hole that had the button in from the male pole it is partially visible, you can drill out the hole in the female pole to adjust (using an 11/32 drill bit). If not, flip the pole male pole around and drill a new hole. Reinsert the button into the new hole. This adjusted pole will be slightly longer but that’s okay. Be sure to mark these two pole halves, because they will need to go together in the future.

If this is too much, please come find us on the playa and we will help you out.

…the poles do not seem to be fitting together.
Answer: In some cases there are some small ridges on the male pole, below the button, that is keeping the poles from fitting together. You can come find us on the playa OR undertake your own fix!

Follow the steps pictured below. Note where the ridges are. Use a file to file down the ridges (something like this although note that we are not Amazon affiliated so please buy from your local supplier). Finish with 100 grit sandpaper (or if you do not have a file, go ahead and just use the sandpaper). When the ridges should be gone, you can fit your poles together.

Black Rock Hardware Personnel can be found on the playa at Empire of Dirt / 2:45 and F. We hope to arrive on playa and get our own camp set up on Friday. If we have not set up camp, we are not in an ideal position to help you so finding us on Friday evening or later is ideal. If we are not in camp, we will try to leave some clear directions so you can help yourself.