Flagpoles: useful or nuisance?

Flagpoles: useful or nuisance?

By Greg Illes

Anybody who has been to an Off-Highway-Vehicle (OHV) camp, or to Quartzsite or other big gathering, has seen the tall flagpoles reaching high above some of the RVs.

People use flagpoles for a couple of reasons. First, a characteristic pennant, banner or some such object is an easy way to spot your campsite in a vast sea of resident RVs. Second, it can be cool to advertise or display your personal art, be it the U.S. flag, fancy LED lighting or one of the many varieties of streamers.

If you decide to be a flag-flyer, you have a few choices on how to mount the critter. Each has its pros and cons.

Ladder mounts are easy and strong, and they keep the flag away from the body of the RV. You need to pad them so they don’t click and clack as the pole moves with the wind. If you have chairs or bicycles hung on your ladder, there might be a conflict.

Awning mounts can work, but the angle of the pole will change with whether the awning is deployed or not. These are best for short flagpoles.

Bumper and hitch mounts are simple and strong, but they might allow the flagpole to hit the RV body. For the hitch, you’ll have to undo any other use of the hitch, or you could install a piggyback hitch sleeve.

Under-tire mounts are steel plates with brackets, and you drive onto the plate to anchor it. Again, caution must be used to make sure the pole doesn’t flex over and bang the RV.

A small caveat: If you decide to fly a U.S. flag, note that “official” flag etiquette says that if you fly it at night, it must be illuminated.

There is, of course, a dark side to flag flying. In even the slightest of winds, the fluttering fabric and wobbling flagpole make plenty of noise — not so much for the neighbors, but definitely for the occupants of the RV. Many folks (author included) find that sleep is impossible with a random-noise generator ten feet above the roof. Also, it’s far too easy to drive away from your campsite with a 20-foot pole waving gaily to your neighbors as you pass by. Whether it’s a checklist or something you hang on your steering wheel as a reminder, be sure you don’t take your high-reaching flagpole for a cruise — it won’t survive the experience.

photo: Greg Illes

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