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LTR: Mountainsmith - Carbonlite Trekking Pole - Kurt Papke

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  • Kurt Papke
    My LTR for the poles is here: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/MS%20poles%20-%20Kurt/#Long_Term_Report or: http://tinyurl.com/ly6ayr6 pasted
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 30, 2013
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      My LTR for the poles is here:

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/MS%20poles%20-%20Kurt/#Long_Term_Report

      or: http://tinyurl.com/ly6ayr6

      pasted text below:

      Long Term Report

      Field Conditions

      Date
      Location
      Trail
      Distance

      Terrain/ trail type
      Weather
      Altitude range
      June 14-16, 2013 Huachuca Mtns near Sierra Vista, Arizona Carr Canyon
      12 mi
      (19 km) Steep canyon
      Sunny, 50-80 F
      (10-27 C)
      7200-9462 ft
      (2200-2884 m)
      June 21-22, 2013 Huachuca Mtns near Sierra Vista, Arizona AZT
      19 mi
      (31 km) Sky island canyon and ridgelines Sunny, 55-85 F
      (13-29 C) 5600-8500 ft
      (1710-2590 m)
      July 5-7, 2013
      Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness north of Mammoth, Arizona
      Aravaipa
      28 mi
      (45 km)

      Creek running through canyon + slot canyon
      Sunny, 70-100 F
      (21-38 C)

      2550-4000 ft
      (780-1220 m)
      July 26-28, 2013
      Huachuca Mtns near Sierra Vista, Arizona Crest Trail
      11.5 mi
      (18.5 km)
      Sky island canyons and ridgelines Sunny/rain mix, 55-80 F
      (13-27 C)
      6600-9000 ft
      (2010-2740 m)

      Carr Canyon

      I have had good intentions of backpacking the Huachuca Mountains for
      some time, and finally made it there for a 3-day/2 night trip. The
      first night was car-camping at a National Forest campground just a few
      steps from the trailhead, night two camp was on top of a ridgeline.
      This was a solo trip, so the only photos I have of the poles in action
      are the same old "holding up the front porch of my tarp" shots.

      I did start to notice some wear and tear on the cork handles. I began
      to feel bits of cork come off on some of the sharper edged areas:

      This seems to be mostly a cosmetic issue at this time, but I'll be
      keeping my eye on this to see if things get worse.

      Arizona National Scenic Trail - Huachuca Mountains Passage

      Same mountains as the prior weekend, but starting from the Arizona
      Trail (AZT) trailhead on the west side of the range. I car camped
      near the trailhead on Friday night, and hiked up into the Huachucas on
      Saturday. When I was approaching the summit, one of my pole straps
      had slipped a bit and I wanted to tighten it up. I yanked on the
      strap to loosen it, and the whole retention mechanism came flying out.
      I heard something land in the woods, but I didn't know what it was,
      and there was no way to find that needle in a haystack. I completed
      the hike without using the strap on that pole.

      When I returned home I inspected the retention system, comparing the
      intact survivor with the casualty:

      Not good - the pin is obviously missing from the pole on the left.
      This test completes at the end of July, and I am doing my last
      hardcore backpacking trip the weekend of July 4, and it really wasn't
      so bad using the poles without the strap, so I elected to not contact
      customer support to replace the lost parts.

      Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness

      It's been four years since I had been to Aravaipa Canyon, and I wanted
      to explore more than I did last time so I got a permit for a 3-day
      trip. The poles got a fair amount of punishment sloshing through the
      water:

      The Carbonlite poles and I are in the lower right corner of the
      picture, and the incredible geology of the canyon is front and center!
      The poles worked fine in spite of having just one strap. I
      alternated hands with the strapless pole to reduce fatigue. The good
      news is I was not plagued by any thumb blisters like I experienced on
      prior trips - apparently they are caused by the straps.

      The other issue I had is the bottom section of the both poles refused
      to collapse at the end of the hike. They had spent a lot of time in
      and out of the water, as I was constantly trudging through the creek
      for three days. When I tried extending/collapsing the sections a few
      days later it seemed like the twist-lock mechanism was sticking, and
      there was still clearly water in the shaft. Apparently they get a
      little reluctant when wet.

      Crest Trail

      I returned the the Huachuca Mountains looking for a respite from the
      hot and humid Tucson monsoon season, only to run into rainstorms. I
      didn't get in a lot of mileage in, but I did get a break from the
      heat. This was the only time I used the poles in muddy conditions -
      the trails were soaked from rain turning the red dust into a gooey
      mess in places. The poles did great biting into the slippery
      surfaces, including saving me from one nasty fall.

      I had no problems extending the poles at the beginning of the hike nor
      retracting them at the end. The problems I ran into at the end of the
      Aravaipa trip must have been due to water buildup and maybe some sand.

      Summary

      I haven't experienced anything since my Field Report to change any of
      my summary points there. I will add that I was disappointed in the
      deterioration of the cork handles, the breakage of the strap
      adjustment mechanism, and the stickiness of the shaft locks when wet.
      I am unusually adept at breaking things, so it may just have been my
      rough handling of the gear, but it seems like durability is not a key
      strength of the design.

      My bottom line after using these poles for 4 months is they are a
      reasonably-priced pole that will hold up to moderate use, ideal for
      the casual hiker. They do have a lot of features for the cost: I
      would not expect cork handles and shock absorbers at this price point,
      so if I were a beginner buying buying my first set of poles they would
      be ideal to try out these features without spending a huge amount of
      money.

      ________________________________
      Many thanks to Mountainsmith and BackpackGearTest.org for the
      opportunity to test this product.
    • Coy Boy
      Hi Kurt, sounds like you tested the poles to the max! I have no edits but I think it would be valuable information if you contacted customer service about the
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 31, 2013
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        Hi Kurt, sounds like you tested the poles to the max! I have no edits but I think it would be valuable information if you contacted customer service about the missing pin that holds the strap and added how they respond. But I also understand that you may be like me and fell reluctant to "bother" them when you feel you were just rough on the poles and probably rougher than most folks would be. Anyways, something to think about if you decide to do an addendum to the report.

        Coy Boy

        --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, Kurt Papke <kwpapke@...> wrote:
        >
        > My LTR for the poles is here:
        >
        > http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/MS%20poles%20-%20Kurt/#Long_Term_Report
        >
        > or: http://tinyurl.com/ly6ayr6
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