IR: Mountainsmith - Carbonlite Trekking Pole - Kurt Papke
- James: my IR can be found here:
and the unreadable text follows for your editing purposes. Hope you had a
good trip to NC!
Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro Trekking Poles
Test Series by Kurt Papke Initial Report - January 20, 2013
Report - March 2013
Long Term Report - May 2013
Tester Information Name: Kurt Papke Age: 59 Gender: Male Height: 6' 4"
(193 cm) Weight: 230 lbs (104 kg) Email address: kwpapke at gmail
dot com City,
State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA
My backpacking background locales are a combination of Minnesota where I
have lived most of my adult life, and Arizona where I moved to take a new
job about three years ago. I have always been a "comfort-weight"
backpacker, never counting grams, but still keeping my pack as light as
easily attained. I have been an ardent trekking pole user for about a
half-dozen years, and almost never hike without them. I appreciate the
strain they take off of my knees, and they have saved my from innumerable
Initial Report Product Information Manufacturer: **Mountainsmith
Year of manufacture: 2012 *MSRP:*
US $ 69.95
Manufacturer website: http://mountainsmith.com
Slate. The color was listed on the packaging label, and from the company
website appears to be the only one available. It is black with
Aluminum (carbon-wrapped), cork handle
Listed: 26 in (66 cm) retracted, 54 in (137 cm) fully extended
Measured: 27 3/8 in (69.5 cm) retracted, 57 1/4 in (145.4 cm) extended
Listed: 1 lb 2 oz (0.5 kg)
Measured: 1 lb 3.4 oz exclusive of rubber tips and baskets
[image: Carbonlite poles]The features listed by the manufacturer include:
- Shock absorption system. This is essentially a spring mechanism
between the top and middle pole sections.
- Quick-twist lock for the three telescoping sections.
- Removable low-profile baskets as seen on the left (extended) pole in
- Carbon (fiber)-wrapped 7075 aluminum construction. From Wikipedia,
7075 has "zinc as the primary alloying element. It is strong, with a
strength comparable to many steels, and has good fatigue strength and
average machinability, but has less resistance to corrosion than many other
Al alloys." I also did a little digging on carbon-wrapped aluminum, most
of which turned up its use on bicycle frames. It wasn't clear from my
reading what the benefit really was.
- Molded cork (TPU) handle. From a little web research, I learned that
TPU is a thermoplastic elastomer made from polyurethene. From what I can
tell, the manufacturer grinds up bits of cork and molds it with plastic
into the handle shape.
- Carbide tips.
- Adjustable wrist straps.
- Rubber boot tips as shown on the right (retracted) pole in the photo.
Initial Inspection [image: ring]The first thing I had to do was set the
proper pole length. The direction to turn the poles to disengage the locks
was clearly marked right on the poles. They twisted easily in my hands,
and I extended the lower section.
I've had 3-section adjustable poles before, and this is the first pair I've
used that don't have measurements on the lower section. I inferred that
meant I should use them fully extended, and the markings for that were
plainly labelled. I locked down the bottom section by twisting the bottom
two sections in opposite directions until they were snug. I am notorious
for breaking things by pulling/turning things too hard, so I made the lock
snug, but did not apply full force. The lock held well when tested.
Next I loosened the top lock and extended the top section to its full
length. These are long poles! I stood up, grasped the handles and pushed
down until my forearms were level with the ground, which is my preferred
pole length when hiking on flat terrain. I tightened down the top lock and
I was ready to go.
I slipped my hands up through the straps, positioning the strap slack in
the "V" between thumb and forefinger and grasped the handles. It seemed
like the adjustment strap and rectangular plastic ring attached to the end
of it were located in a very inconvenient spot as shown in the photo at
right. My other poles have a much longer strap with no plastic retainer,
so they don't get in my way. I'm concerned that this hunk of plastic is
going to be an irritant.
For now I am going to leave the baskets and rubber tips off of the poles.
I rarely hike in snow since I moved to Tucson, and I do not use poles when
walking on improved streets or sidewalks, which is where I'd be most likely
to use the rubber tips.
*Feel*: I liked the way the handles fit in my hand, they felt very
comfortable. The poles seemed very light, even though they are just
slightly lighter than my current pair. Perhaps they have a higher center
of gravity. This is something I'll have to play around with.
*Fit*: the straps fit nicely around my hand and the length was easy to
adjust. Pole lengths were also easy to change - just a quick twist of the
lock, pull in or push out as desired, another quick twist to lock, and I am
set to go. They seem easier to use than the flick-lock mechanisms I've
been using for a number of years.
*Finish*: I could find no material defects or imperfections.
Trying It Out
I did a little spin down to the end of the driveway and back. The poles
seemed very natural to me, I will need no adjusting to them in the field.
They swing nicely, and the carbide tips had a nice bite in the gravel I was
walking on. I pressed down pretty hard on the handles to see if the locks
would slip, but no worries, they held perfectly. When I whacked the poles
a bit on the ground I could feel the slight give from the shock absorbers.
They do not appear to have a lot of travel, but I've never been convinced
of the utility of pole shocks, so not an issue for me.
Summary I am excited to get the Carbonlite poles out into the backcountry
and put then through their paces. My only concern at the outset is the
plastic ring rubbing against my hands and causing chafing. I blister very
easy, so this is something I'll be on the lookout for.
Many thanks to Mountainsmith and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity
to test this product.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> James: my IR can be found here:http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/IR%20-%20MS%20poles%20-%20Kurt/
>Hi Kurt... Thanks for your Pole report. Sorry for the delay in getting
> or http://tinyurl.com/b97p3p3
back to you. I was out last week, and came back with a cold. And... my
backup at work, well, didn't.
Anyway... Your report looks great. I have a few small edits below, and
then you can feel free to upload to the official folder. Please delete
the test copy once you have uploaded.
Thanks again! I look forward to the next installment.
James E. Triplett
Mountainsmith - Carbonlite Trekking Pole Monitor
I appreciate the strain they take off of my knees, and they have saved my
from innumerable falls.
[EDT] "saved my" should be "saved me"
I've had 3-section adjustable poles before, and this is the first pair
I've used that don't have measurements on the lower section.
[Edit] Depending on whether "pair" is singular or plural? you may want to
change "don't" to "doesn't". (they don't, it doesn't.)
I inferred that meant I should use them fully extended, and the markings
for that were plainly labelled.
[EDIT] Spelling: labeled
The poles seemed very natural to me, I will need no adjusting to them in
[Edit] This seems awkward to me. Consider something like "The poles
seemed very natural to me and shouldn't need any adjusting to them in the
I am excited to get the Carbonlite poles out into the backcountry and put
then through their paces.
[EDIT] "then" should be "them"
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]