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3/2/2016 7:57 PM
 

My current aluminum hiking poles are nearing the end of their useful time of service. As I look at replacements poles I'm intrigued by some of the carbon poles. I have zero experience with them and am wondering what some of you can share with me regarding your experiences with carbon poles? Is the extra cost worth it? Are they durable? Specific recommendations in regards to brands, locking mechanisms, etc? Other observations?

Thanks.

 
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3/2/2016 10:44 PM
 
I eyeballed them at REI and looked at the weights online and I decided to get aluminum Flicklocs.
 
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3/3/2016 12:32 PM
 
TaK,
Why did you end up going with aluminum?
My reasons for leaning towards going with aliuminum again are 1) the weight difference isn't that much, and 2) It seems to me that aluminum would be more durable. I base this off my experience with aluminum vs carbon arrows. Yes, aluminum takes a bend whereas carbon doesn't, but once carbon's integrity is compromised ie cracked, it is done.
Your thoughts?
Also, how do you like the Flicklocs?
Thanks.
 
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3/3/2016 2:25 PM
 

Kev, yeah, I just figured the Al poles would be more durable.  I still have a pair of Al Komperdells that are still sound but the twistlocs are starting to fail on an occasional downhill.  Haven't had the flic locs on the trail yet but I think I'll like 'em fine.

 I've had the same experience as you with arrows.  The only reason to go carbon with arrows is they won't bend. 

 
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3/3/2016 4:49 PM
 
flick lock (or comparable) is by far the best choice for poles. I have a categorical distrust of CF for outdoor applications myself. I'm OK with the carbon center poles on Seekoutside tipis because that is a very specific and constrained application. You put them in a single location, they're not subjected to any deflection loading, they're not subjected to abrasion or rock strikes, etc. Trekking poles are just the opposite.

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3/3/2016 5:57 PM
 
TaK and Evan,
Always nice to hear others opinions as it helps to either validate your own, or to show you that you are off base in your thinking. In this case i'm going to be sticking with aluminum poles.

Tak,
You and I use carbon arrows for the same reason.

 
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3/3/2016 6:54 PM
 

FWIW, I have a pair of Leki CF trekking poles that have been holding up pretty well so far...and I have not been easy on them.  They do have Leki's version of the Flik-loc...which is definitely the best for keeping the poles at the desired length.

However, I do still seem to prefer my aluminum ones over the CF.  In winter and on skis, my go-to's remain my BD Tour-probes.  They are really a ski pole, but do just fine for trekking applications with a trekking basket or no basket.  Pretty old school, but they are stout and even convert into an avalanche probe.  I bought my CF ones for weight & space savings when traveling overseas.  They were recommended by my friend Mike Hull (Tracker)...I do think they are earning their keep thus far.


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3/4/2016 4:52 AM
 
Thanks for sharing, alpendrms. Is the reason you "still seem to prefer" your aluminum poles because you feel they are inherently more durable over the long haul?
 
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3/4/2016 7:07 AM
 
kevhans wrote:
Thanks for sharing, alpendrms. Is the reason you "still seem to prefer" your aluminum poles because you feel they are inherently more durable over the long haul?

Essentially, yes.  Although the CF ones are "technically" strong, the AL ones just feel stronger and more durable.  That's not to say they won't break...I've seen many a busted pole, but overall the AL ones just seem to put up with more.  However, like I stated before...the CF Leki poles are doing pretty well....and at a significant weight savings.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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3/4/2016 12:07 PM
 

I only have one carbon pole (REI garage sale) and not a lot of time with it, but it seems like you can go one of two ways with carbon:

1) within an ounce or two of a similar al pole with a little more rigidity (the case of my komperdell)

2) Much lighter very delicate pole

I plan to experiment more with carbon poles as I like the feel so far (partially the way they seem to transfer impact differently to the hand) but I am a very light user and seldom rely on them for anything more then a convenience item. Last time I tried to do an exhaustive survey of carbon pole options it seemed you had to at least double the price over basic aluminum poles to save more then 2 oz. I used Black diamond "trail backs" as my base line for al poles.

 
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3/12/2016 7:56 AM
 
To continue this thread just a bit...

I've followed up on the various recommendations given and have narrowed my search to 4 different poles; 3 Black Diamonds and 1 Leki. The Black Diamond models are Trail Back, Trail, and Trail Ergo Cork. The Leki model is the Corklite model. All are aluminum and have external lever locks. Prices range from $99 to $139 and I listed the poles from least expensive to most expensive. Weight-wise they range from 17 ounces to 20 ounces. My biggest questions are on the different handle materials. I've always had poles with the solid rubber grip and never had a problem. I worry that cork or foam grips would not be as bomb proof. Thoughts?

Another question I have is that 3 of the poles are listed as just "aluminum" while the Leki (most expensive) is listed as 6.5 HTS aluminum. Anyone know the difference?
Anyone have in-the-field experiences with the trekking poles I've listed? Recommendations?
Thanks.
 
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3/14/2016 9:57 AM
 
I fall into the same boat as Evan and take-a-knee, there is no denying that carbon fiber is an amazing material in a lot of areas and on particular equipment, but when it comes to something that is made to be used completely outdoors and that I have to put my weight on constantly....I just don't trust it as much as some other materials (ie: aluminum)

I personally use LEKI Makalu poles, with the twist to tighten model (I personally don't mind this type of locking system, I just crank them down HARD (and I'm a big guy, so I've never had them loosen up on me). I absolutely love these poles. I have fell and caught myself completely with one of the poles more times than I can count, and when i first got them I was around the 280lb range! If they didn't snap/bend/or loose their integrity (and they haven't because I've fell and caught myself many times with them) I just don't see a reason to change them for something else. I have had an ultralight hiker (base weight of 8 lbs while thru hiking the AT...!) Admit that my trekking poles were not noticeably heavier than his, which undoubtedly cost 3x as much.

Just my .02cents

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3/17/2016 6:44 PM
 
kevhans wrote:

Anyone have in-the-field experiences with the trekking poles I've listed? Recommendations?

Thanks.

 

I have one trail back (REI garage sale again) and am pretty impressed for the money. I'd love the cork gripped ones personally but I can't bring myself to pay the upgrade cost. If I lost all my poles today and had to go buy new I'd probably end up with trail backs. I think there are plenty better poles out there but the trail backs seem like the best deal to me.

 
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3/17/2016 7:06 PM
 
Thanks, Fowler. I agree that the Trail Backs seem like a good "value" purchase. I'm leaning towards a cork grip pole though.
 
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4/5/2016 2:35 PM
 
Fowler wrote:

I have one trail back (REI garage sale again) and am pretty impressed for the money. I'd love the cork gripped ones personally but I can't bring myself to pay the upgrade cost. If I lost all my poles today and had to go buy new I'd probably end up with trail backs. I think there are plenty better poles out there but the trail backs seem like the best deal to me.

 

Fowler - did you go any further with your Bikini Frame design?
 
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