If you don’t know by now, pole vaulting is a slightly expensive sport!  With the crazy supply chain bottlenecks and inflation exploding in 2022, pole vaulting poles prices are taking off and sending some pole vault poles price over $1,000 per pole (plus $150-$200 shipping)!!!!  Although it is expensive, we love to pole vault, and pole vaulting poles bring us value and joy in the end.  At such a large price point, you want to make sure that this money is well spent.  Read on to get into the nitty gritty of purchasing pole vaulting poles.

This post is about PURCHASING a pole vaulting poles, but before we continue, you may just want to bypass the hassle and risk of purchasing a series of poles and just rent from a local gym or club.  There are a lot of pole vaulting gyms and clubs that offer very cost effective pole vault pole rental services, and some of them even offer unlimited free exchanges meaning that if a rented pole doesn’t work, just bring it back and exchange it for one that will work (RISE offers this…hint hint wink wink). That is a hard deal to beat because with the vast  selection of rental poles, a vaulter who is renting poles has a very good shot at having the right pole in their hands when they need it.  I have even heard of some gyms and clubs that offer a pole check out that is included for free in their membership fees!!!  Renting poles from a business that has a vast rental inventory, offers you the most economic opportunity to have the correct pole in your hands day in and day out.  

If renting poles is such a good deal, why would I want to purchase poles?  Good question….To be honest, you probably should just rent!  

Let’s just get this first thing out of the way…If you are just looking to purchase one or two poles  to get the vaulters (and their parents) off your back, don’t do it.  They will always be back for more…and then more…and then more…they will never go away….hahaha.  Seriously though, if you are not going to be creating a purchasing plan to develop a full pole series, you should just rent.  

Renting poles is very economical.  For example, at RISE a single pole rental subscription is $65/month.  That is cheaper than you can rent a pair of skis for a day.  It also will keep vaulters (and their parents) happy, especially if the business you are renting from has free unlimited exchanges, because the vaulters should be able to always have the proper pole in their hands.  Throwing $1,000 at a couple poles will serve you in the short term (very very very short term), but like I mentioned above, the vaulters (and their parents) will be back in a couple weeks telling you that they need two more poles and the ones you just bought are now useless.  

For individuals looking for poles to vault on themselves, renting almost always makes sense in my opinion.  If you end up purchasing poles for your own pole vaulting career, you will end up with thousands of dollars worth of pole vaulting poles when you retire, and will be begging people to purchase your outdated poles for much less than what you paid for them.  On second thought, I guess you could start a rental business with them though, right???  

So when does it make sense to purchase poles?  I think that the only real time that it makes sense to purchase poles is when you are committed to building a pole series for your high school or college.  If you are coaching at an elementary school or Jr. High, chances are that the majority of your athletes are beginners and will only be “straight poling” and a wide variety of poles is not really needed.  In this case, it may make sense to purchase a few general poles for the majority of your athletes to “straight pole” with and then rent poles for the random high flier that comes through your program.  

If you are a high school or college and your are committed to building a pole series, purchasing these poles can make sense financially if you are committed to a purchasing plan for the long haul, but there are some things that you will want to consider…

First, what is your commitment to the vault program?  What is your head coach’s commitment to the vault program?  If you are a head coach, how confident are you that your vault coach is going to stick around for the next decade or two so you can complete the pole series and have the series you invested in have a positive impact on your program.  Furthermore, if your pole vault coach leaves, how confident are you in being able to secure another well qualified pole vault coach who will agree with this series and be able to instruct your athletes on them?  These are just a few questions you will want to ask yourself before making a big investment into a new pole series.  

Second, what is your initial investment going to be and what is your purchasing plan moving forward?  In order to give your athletes a real benefit from the poles you are purchasing, you are going to want to have a larger initial purchase followed by strategic purchases in the subsequent years or when the funding becomes available.  For example, purchasing a lot of ten or so poles, would be really good to get you started.  Be sure to make this initial purchase serve the athletes that you are working with now, and then start to fill in the gaps in the following years based on the athletes you are serving then.  Let’s say that you have a mix of boys and girls that have average skill.  You may want to start with something like the following…(Prices are MSRP, but you can click this LINK and inquire about purchasing high quality poles at a much more discounted rate through RISE Pole Vault)

Sample Starter Pole Series

12’ 120 ($470-$560)

12’ 130 ($470-$560)

12’ 140 ($470-$560)

12’6 130 ($485-$590)

12’6 140 ($485-$590)

12’6 150 ($485-$590)

13’ 140 ($530-$730)

13’ 150 ($530-$730)

13’ 160 ($530-$730)

13’6 150 ($552-$788)

That is a total guess on your situation, but this would be an example of a wide ranging “starter” pole series.  Depending on the company you purchase from, this series will cost you around $5,492-$6,428.  You can add in your shipping at about $200 too, but most of these companies allow you to pick up your poles if that makes sense with where you are located.

After you make this initial pole investment then you will want to start filling in the five pound gaps in your series.  So you would want to purchase a 12’ 125, 12’ 135, etc. making sure to fill the gaps around the vaulters that you are currently serving.  If possible, request medium flex poles so that the pole transitions are smooth.  The cool thing is that rental services are always there to support your vaulter’s growth while you are going through this purchasing process since it will likely take you a decade or so to completely fill out your series based on my limited knowledge of school track team budgets.  Also, if there is a pole that you absolutely need for a kid to have a break through, or have a really important meet coming up, you could also fill that gap with a rental for the time being.  

One thing that I would suggest is to not purchase “strange” poles.  Some times you will have athletes come in that need very strange poles like a 12’ 170 or a 15’ 200.  Those are poles that will very rarely be used by other people and are not very good investments when trying to build your series out for the future vaulters at your school.  My recommendation is to push the cost of those strange poles onto a rental service, by renting them for your athlete instead of coming out of your pocket and derailing your pole series purchasing plan.  Many pole rental services don’t mind purchasing a pole for you to rent, but be aware that they may not have it in their inventory and many of those odd poles will require the pole manufacturer to make them. The turn around for getting an odd pole to rent may not be very quick.  So what I’m saying is, don’t wait to request that pole until the day before the State Meet.  

All in all, your whole filled out pole series will eventually be somewhere between 40-50 poles and will cost somewhere around $25,000.  Also keep in mind that you will need to replace damaged poles, replace pole breaks, and replace poles that age out.  That is a good chunk of change, and I recommend coming to your AD with this plan, when they are in a good mood.  Visit RISE Pole Vault’s Pole Rental Page if this doesn’t seem as appealing anymore!

If you are still committed to starting to build your school’s pole arsenal, here are some tips that will save you some heartache…

Make sure that you purchase poles from a company that has a long history of making poles and their poles are consistent from pole to pole.  The best way to build a consistent pole series is to purchase the same brand and model pole so that the transitions are smooth from one pole to the next.  I’m sure that there have been many times where you or an athlete of yours has had a hodge podge of different pole brands and models to vault on and it didn’t work out so well.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am believer that poles do not make pole vaulters work well, rather pole vaulters make poles work well.  With that being said, there are differences in the various brands of poles and then there are also differences between pole models within those brands.  To make things even more confusing, there are also sometimes differences in the pole models within the pole brands that were made in different time periods. So confusing.  Any good pole vaulter can make any of these poles work, but if you want the path of least resistance, you are going to want to purchase poles that are the same brand, the same model, and if the company you choose has changed “formulas” over time, you want the poles to be from the same, let’s say, decade.  You can always call these companies and ask them how to match up your next pole purchase with the poles you already have.  

Now you know the importance of purchasing a consistent “line” or “series” of poles within the same brand, model, and time frame.  The second thing that you will want to do when choosing which pole company to purchase your pole series from, is to assess what you believe the longevity of the company will be.  Like we showed above, you are going to be dropping some serious coin into this pole series and if you purchase these poles from a quality pole manufacturer and you take good care of them, these poles should be helping your kids for many years to come.  It is very important to know that year after year you are going to be able to add matching poles to your line and replace damaged and broken ones.  You really do not want to drop an initial $10k into a pole series and then the company goes out of business and you end up having to purchase new poles from a different company resulting in a hodge podge series which is what we are trying to avoid by purchasing a clean series of poles.  

Another thing to consider is the company’s future plans for introducing new models and possibly discontinuing models.  Like we mentioned above, consistency is king in the pole vault and you want to try your best to have a smooth transition from one pole to the next, and if the company has plans to discontinue a model or change the current formula, you may run into the hodge podge issue again.

My suggestions for figuring out the above questions is to just give the company a call and ask what their plans are for the future.  For example, in 2022, RISE made a big investment into a series of Essx poles, and before we made this purchase I called Essx and just flat out asked, “Do you see me being able to purchase the same model pole in ten years? Is this company healthy enough to be around for the long haul?”  Luckily they simply said, “Yes”.  Boom, that’s all I needed haha!

So there you have it!  Hopefully you are funded and ready to purchase a brand spanking new set of cannons to shoot your vaulters to the moon.  I have purchased hundreds, if not thousands of poles, and I still stress with every single purchase.  If you are stressed about this investment, you are in good company.  Just take it one step at a time, and if you are disciplined and committed to your plan, you will have a really great series of poles that can help your current and future athletes.  If you have the dreaded “hodge podge” series, remember that at the end of the day, good pole vaulting instruction (aka coaching) can help overcome a lot of issues when it comes to the lack of a good pole selection, and pole vaulters make poles work, not the other way around.  Luckily, in 2022 we have so many great gyms and clubs that are offering incredibly useful and economical pole rental services to support pole vaulters if purchasing poles doesn’t make sense for you situation.  Good luck and always feel free to reach out to support@risepolevault.com or comment below if you have any questions that weren’t answered in this post!

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop