Here is my Initial Report for the Mountainsmith Trekking Poles. I am really looking forward to getting on the trail to test these out! Thanks in advance for your edits. Below is the text version of my report and the HTML version can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/b2bvy3g
MountainSmith Carbonlite Pro Trekking Poles
Test Series by Erin Foudy
Initial Report January 25th, 2013
Name: Erin Foudy
Height: 5'11'' (1.8 m)
Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
Email address: erinfoudyATyahooDOTcom
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona, USA
I started backpacking while working for the National Park Service ten years ago. I have been a backcountry ranger/law enforcement ranger and served on search and rescue crews. I typically take two or more camping trips a month, year round. I appreciate light weight, but am not obsessed by it. I often carry a 30 lb (14 kg) pack and stay out from three to nine days at a time. I also enjoy day trips with only water on my back. I take trips to Colorado and Montana in the summertime and enjoy the outdoors there as well.
Product Information and Specifications:
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Listed Weight: 1 lb 2 oz (.54 kg)
Measured Weight: 1 lb 3 oz (.60 kg)
Materials: 7075 Aluminum
Smallest Measurement: 27.5 in (70 cm)
Largest Measurement: 57 in (145 cm)
Product Description/Initial Impressions:
The Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro Trekking Poles are the top of the line of trekking poles from Mountainsmith. The aluminum poles open in three telescoping sections locking and unlocking with a Quick-twist locking mechanism. The bottom section has only one measurement marking that says STOP. The middle section has measurement markings from 47 in to 57 in (119 cm to 145 cm). I did not find information on the website or in the literature accompanying the poles that told me if the lower section is supposed all the way to be extended to the word STOP or not, so I just went ahead and set the section a little below the indicator. I set the middle section at about 50 in (127 cm) and leaned on one pole. I noticed the springy feeling of the Anti-Shock absorption system right away. I bounced a little on the pole with two hands to see how much give there was. The pole moved up and down a lot more than I expected and felt like it could really take the brunt of my weight.
I loosened the adjustable wrist strap and slid my hand in. The strap adjusts to a larger loop by simply pulling my hand away from the pole while in the strap. Tightening is also easy, I just pull on the plastic tab with my opposite hand. The strap has a thick section that sits on the back of my hand comfortably holding it in place.
The poles feature a molded cork handle that feels firm to the touch. The molding separates my index and middle finger and arches nicely into the palm of my hand. The cork doesn't feel as grippy as rubber which makes me wonder how well I will be holding on in the rain. I'm hoping that the design of the molding along with the support of the wrist strap can work to keep my hand well connected.
The poles are constructed of a carbon-wrapped 7075 aluminum. The Mountainsmith logo as well as the words Carbonlite Pro are printed on the upper section of the poles in the middle of some grey and white decals. The rest of the aluminum is painted black with the exception of the the markings on the middle section and the word STOP on the lower section which are in a silver or a white color, I can't tell for sure.
There are rubber boot tips at the bottom of the poles that seem to supply a lot of grip to the ground. They are connected to the poles by a hard plastic piece that connects to the aluminum. The poles come with narrow profile baskets that Mountainsmith says are easily removable. It took me a little bit, but I finally realized that with a slight twist and a little pull I could take off the boot tips and slide on the profile baskets with ease. There are two little plastic teeth that fit into the corresponding spot in the middle of the profile baskets.
It wasn't until I looked at a video on the Mountainsmith website that I learned I could take the top section of the poles apart and adjust the spring of the Anti-shock system. A small nut can be tightened, which pushes down the spring and changes how much weight the poles will absorb. The middle and bottom section can also be completely separated by disconnecting the joint between them. The bottom section does not seem to have a spring, but there is still a nut that can be adjusted. The video also tells me that I should set the lower part of the poles right at the STOP marking. It also mentions that to measure the proper height of the poles, my elbow should be positioned at 90 degrees. I still feel more comfortable setting the low section of the poles just below the STOP marking, but I think the 90 degree elbow idea is good advice for a novice pole user as myself.
I am excited to get these poles out on the trail! This is the first pair of trekking poles I have ever used even though I have been interested in them for years. The poles feel sturdy and strong and I hope they help ease the load on my back and knees when I am backpacking.
1. Sturdy feeling
2. Shock absorption feels like it may be great!
3. Comfortable wrist strap and molded handle
1. None at this time!