Include a little history in your walks. Pecsaetan - Ancient Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire - http://pecsaetan.weebly.com/
The BPL thread that twiglegs linked to gives some idea of the problems of trying to work out the shape of bent pole tents.
If you really want to make a tent with curved sides and flexible poles, then you're going to have to use some cunning maths, or find the answer empricially, as suggested, using cheap materials that behave similarly to the desired pole (e.g. small bore polythene water pipe), starting with a final pole and fitting the design around that (as cathyjc suggests), or starting with a longer pole than you will ever need, and cutting bits off it until it fits into your tent.
If you use the fixed template method uses by Stuart in twigleg's second BPL link, you will have to find some way of estimating the shape of the bent hoop, when loaded by the tensioned flysheet. If your model is wrong, you end up with a poorly-tensioned flysheet like this:
So is this suggesting a nee a pole of 3.82202 metres? (Roughly)
Sorry, try again - looked fine in the preview window - hope this comes out ok?
What I was going to go for was circular arc poles, but rather than having sleeves, use the Vaude model of tensioned elastic on hooks - would that not solve both problems?
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