Please accept my application to test the Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro
Trekking poles. My test agreement was mailed July 2008. I agree to
comply with all of the test requirements, including Chapter 5, found
in the backpackGearTest.org bylaws v. 0609, which I most recently read
on January 10, 2009.
Name: Sophie Pearson
Height: 5' 8" (1.71 m)
Weight: 179 lb (81 kg)
Email address: sophiep3 at gmail dot com
Location: Tampa, Florida USA
I first started backpacking as a teenager in England. I did a
month-long trip in the Arctic, but most of my backpacking experience
has been weekend to 10-day trips, in a range of terrains and climates.
I am a volcanologist so I also do day hikes carrying loaded packs over
intense terrain. Nowadays I am generally in tropical climates. I am
heading increasingly towards ultralight packing, and unless I am
sharing I use a bivy. I try to pack under 20 lb (9 kg) for long
weekend trips but have carried over 50 lb (23 kg).
I think I can give these poles a really thorough, rigorous testing. If
selected, I would use them for at least 12 days/nights and up to 20
with large elevation changes, including an 8-day trip. I would also
take them on some day trips, time and weather permitting. I have used
Walmart's finest for the last few years (until the bottom broke on one
of them last trip) and have been amazed at the difference poles make,
even on relatively flat ground. I therefore have a comparison for
these poles, especially in the value-for-money category!
The best test for these poles will be an 8-day backpacking trip that I
am leading to Big Bend National Park in Texas in mid-March (my
university's spring break). We will be in the backcountry for 7 days
straight. This has pretty much every condition, with trails along
rivers and across deserts and mountains. We will definitely be doing
some pretty serious elevation changes and will be carrying all our
food and enough water to get between filtering points, so the poles
would really be appreciated and put through their paces! Temperatures
will be between 32 and 85 F, (0 and 30 C) so basically for this trip
we will have to be prepared for anything!
I will also use the poles on 2-night trips both before and after the
8-day one. The first would be on a trip backpacking along the Florida
Trail next to the Suwannee River at the end of February, 20 miles over
2 days with temperatures between 40 and 85 F (4 and 30 C). There is a
definite chance of rain on this trip.
I would also take them on a 3-day backpacking trip I am planning to
North Carolina in April in the Great Smoky Mountains, and a 5-day
multi-sport trip to the same area in May (3 days backpacking, then
white water rafting and rock climbing). Distances are likely to be
between 6 and 15 miles a day (depending on the group, topography etc.)
with elevation changes of up to 5000 ft (1500 m). Temperatures could
well be below freezing, but may get up to 80 F (27 C).
By this point I will have most likely used the poles in rain, cold,
possibly snow, and up and down mountains. Therefore, I will try to
finish up the test with the final condition that tests users and their
equipment... heat! Although I have not planned this trip, and will
probably only go on it if I have equipment to test, I would do a trip
in central Florida in May/June. Here the ground will be sandy,
the weather will be hot and humid (temperatures as high as 97 F, 36 C,
and humidity averaging 80%, and up to 100%) and the bugs will be
coming out. By the end of all of that if the poles have lasted and I
really like them, they have truly done well!!!
FEATURES I WILL BE LOOKING AT
Weight - how do these compare to my old poles? Are they really
ultralight? Do they still feel heavy after long days on the trail?!!
Comfort - does the shock absorption help when using these poles on
steep terrain? Are the cork grips comfortable? Do they get slippery
when my hands are damp? Do they start to degrade in the Floridian
humidity? Do I end up with blisters on the inside of my thumbs like
with my old poles? Are the wrist straps comfortable or do they pinch?
Design - are they easy to adjust to the right length and do they stay
there? Does the locking mechanism weaken over time and use? Do they go
small enough when I want to attach them to the outside of my pack? Do
I ever need to use the removable baskets? Do the carbide tips provide
as good a traction as the website claims and do I need that?!! Are the
baskets sturdy (one on my old pair broke off). Do the rubber boot tips
stay on when I want them to and is there a way to attach them to the
poles when I don't want them?
PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN REPORTS
My 5 owner reviews and 3 test reports can be found here:
None at this time, but I'm nearly there and am only testing freebies!!!
Bilt Vite Plus Stainless Steel Water Bottle (LTR due 17 February)
UCO Mightylite XL Lantern and Torch (LTR due 10 March)
Feetures Bamboo and Wool Socks (FR due 17 March)
ResTek Compression Drybag (awaiting shipment)
CURRENTLY SERVING AS MONITOR FOR
Osprey Exos 58 backpack
Thank you very much for your consideration,