Hiking Poles & Accessories

Hiking Poles; I used to hate them. I would see someone lumbering down the trail, flailing two giant sticks around, and I would chuckle to myself. Then, I got an ultralight shelter that required one pole: a hiking stick. I taught myself to use them and I’ve never looked back. Now, even on trips when I don’t need them to set up a shelter, I bring a pair of poles.

Hiking poles assist with ascents, descents, water fords, clearing branches, and knocking down spiderwebs. They turn the user into a quadruped, increasing  connection to the earth and helping them move more quickly and efficiently. They also help your arms fatigue less quickly, keeping them more level and discouraging blood pooling/swelling in your hands.

The following are the stats and my humble opinions of hiking poles I’ve used on the trail:

 

Locus Gear CP3 Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles – $62.65 each  (depending on strength of Yen)

cp3-1

Weight: 153.57 g / 5.41 oz (each)
Type: Flip-lock
Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber
Handle Material: EVA Foam

The Locus Gear CP3’s are the lightest weight collapsible flip-lock hiking poles I have found. There are lighter weight poles out there, but I haven’t found any adjustable poles that weigh this little.

At just over 5 ounces each, you would think that strength and durability would be compromised, but these carbon fiber poles have supported nearly my entire body weight up and down gnarly elevation, through waist deep swamps, and as the single support pole in my shelter set up in extreme weather.

My only complaint is that after prolonged use, the bottom flip-lock joints of the poles became loose, allowing the bottom segment to slip off and completely fall out of the locking mechanism. This only happened after going through very sticky mud that worked hard to suck my poles right out of my hands. That force and the moisture of the swamp I was in combined to compromise the holding power of the flip-lock joint. I don’t think you would need to worry about this failure in “normal” conditions. The fix for this problem was easy, though not ideal; tightening the screw adjusters on the flip-locks did nothing because entire segments, locks included, were disengaging from the top segment of pole and falling off. However, a little super glue to secure the bottom flip-lock mechanism to the top pole segment worked perfectly to alleviate the situation and I haven’t had a problem since.

 


 

 

Black Diamond Carbon Cork Alpine Trekking Poles – $169.95

Weight: 252 g / 8.88 oz (each)
Type: Flick-lock
Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber
Handle Material: Cork

These are the first trekking poles I ever purchased. They made it through my entire 2012 Mountains to Sea Trail thru hike through mountains, sand, and as my shelter pole, but at over one pound for the pair I knew I could find a lighter weight option.

Though these and the Locus Gear CP3’s are both carbon fiber poles, I would argue that the Black Diamond Carbon Cork Alpine Trekking poles are stronger and more durable, just because of the weight and bulk.

I have never had any problems with locking mechanisms or segments coming loose on these poles. Also, I prefer the cork handles Black Diamond uses here, compared to the foam handles of the CP3’s.


 

 

Replacement Rubber Tip Protector – $7.99 (12 ct)

Weight: 11.4 g / 0.4 oz
Material: Rubber

These are just some generic hiking pole tips that can replace the ones that come with almost any poles. If you have ever lost a tip and then had to use your poles on a hard surface like rocky trail or road walking, you know how jarring the feeling and sound of hard metal tips banging against solid  ground can be; not a deal breaker but extremely unpleasant. I usually bring two extra tips with me on a thru hike, just in case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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