Carbon fiber trekking poles

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nyker
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Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby nyker » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:27 pm

I've never used carbon poles and am hesitant to pay new retail for them, but might get a set at a good price. Their main attraction is weight savings over my Aluminum Leki's, which while very reliable are fairly heavy compared to the new crop of ultralight trekking poles.

My concern and question is related to their durability. For those who have used them on long hikes/climbs, how have they been? Have you broken one? On a typical talus fest, poles bang against rocks all day long.

How are they in the cold/snow? I understand that they would be a bit more brittle and prone to breaking.
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Theodore
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby Theodore » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:32 pm

I have the BD Alpine Carbon Cork poles and love em. I've only used aluminum for a day or two that I borrowed from a friend, but I've had no issues with mine yet. The flexibility/natural shock absorbtion is nice. They show a few scratches on em, but nothing to be concerned about. I've taken them on a few side hikes, Yale, La Plata and Hood so far and have no complaints.
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby tmathews » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:36 pm

nyker wrote:I've never used carbon poles and am hesitant to pay new retail for them, but might get a set at a good price. Their main attraction is weight savings over my Aluminum Leki's, which while very reliable are fairly heavy compared to the new crop of ultralight trekking poles.

My concern and question is related to their durability. For those who have used them on long hikes/climbs, how have they been? Have you broken one? On a typical talus fest, poles bang against rocks all day long.

How are they in the cold/snow? I understand that they would be a bit more brittle and prone to breaking.


I've used my BD Carbon Cork for three years now. One of the most important things you'll want to consider is the locking mechanism. BD's flick-lock system is by far superior to any of the twist-lock mechanisms you'll encounter (IMO, of course). They are a constant companion for me and have saved me from many a faceplant and twisted ankle. :shock: They are quite strong and durable; I've tripped and fallen on them with my full body weight without snapping them. They are essential to me any time of year, but especially in winter and spring. The snow baskets give your upper body the flotation it needs to help prevent falls. In spring, I've used them to distribute my body weight over a larger surface area when having to crawl across posthole-y areas.

The nice thing about BD poles is that if you do happen to break the lower or middle shaft, you can order just those sections on the BD website.
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Jay521
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What Terry said...

Postby Jay521 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:42 pm

Like Terry, I have used my BD Carbon Cork for about 3 years - year round - and have had absolutely NO problems with them. I HIGHLY recommend them.
I take the mountain climber's approach to housekeeping - don't look down
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby Sugar Madison » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:53 pm

I broke a pair (well one of a pair) of BD Ultra-Z poles this spring. Postholed and fell against the pole and snapped it. Probably would have broken an aluminum pole, in all fairness. I still love and use mine (REI replaced 'em)
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby mtnjim » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:28 pm

I picked up some BD Trail Ergo Cork for my first trekking poles last spring. I chose these aluminum ones over the carbon fiber version because I was concerned about breakage, especially from smacking the side of my shoes, often with crampons on, to knock off accumulated snow which I find to be a big problem in the spring.

Anyone have any experience using the carbons like this? I just can't see them holding up. And I really can't see myself not being in conditions where this would be necessary.

Also. to knock the weight down on the aluminum shafts, I picked up another pair of single lower shafts so that the poles would be 2-piece and get rid of the extra weight of the 3-piece with the additional flicklock, then estimated the longest length I thought I might need and shortened the lower shaft as much as I dared, Big difference in weight between my single lower shaft and the OE 2-piece!

These can never be as light as some of the twist-lock CFs or the BD Z poles but I'm comfortable that I have as light and reliable a set for my own uses as I can.
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby TomPierce » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:45 pm

Nyker: Like you, I was initially suspicious of carbon fiber poles. I'd used aluminum poles before; both Lekis (which frustrated me with slippage), and the old BD Expeditions which I still use in winter. But for some new (almost 3 years now) poles I decided to invest in the BD Alpine Carbon Corks. I've loaded them I'm sure beyond design limits (amazed at how far they'll bend), beaten the crap out of them (along with all of my gear), dropped them off cliffs, and yet they are still going strong. A few dings in the cork grips, well scuffed, etc. But they are far tougher than I imagined. Very trusted gear now, essential for all the bushwhacking I do lately. Pricey, but as others have noted the flicklock design on BD's is superb IF you adjust the fittings properly.

Tips: A wrap of reflective tape on each pole will make it easier to see you at night as you move the poles, and a brush of fingernail polish on your favored settings is better IMO than etching the pole. Spray the cork and straps with ScotchGard and you're ready to go!

Happy shopping!
-Tom
Last edited by TomPierce on Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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nyker
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby nyker » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:10 pm

Thanks guys, so it seems most the popular model used is the BD Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Pole vs the even lighter Z-pole (with the exception of Sugarmad), which don't have a Flicklock mechanism?
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Theodore
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby Theodore » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:27 pm

FWIW BD is selling em for $112 directly from their site. (as of earlier today when I had to search what poles I had. :-D )
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nyker
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby nyker » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Fair enough Dex, good point, if I were buying new to replace newer still-light models, you'd be right, wouldn't make much sense for shorter climbs, and frankly still may not, hence my question.

To compare apples and apples, the poles I have are about 10yrs old and weigh about 22oz - an early model of the first poles with shock absorbers. Great poles, been with me for about 3,000 miles of trails, but the finicky locking mechanism after 10yrs plus the added weight compared to the new ones are making me look closely at the newer ones.
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby ironman11 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:03 pm

I may be wrong but I don't think the BD Z Poles will accomodate a snow basket. Just a thought. I use the BD Carbon Cork as well. Great poles.
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Sugar Madison
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Re: Carbon fiber trekking poles

Postby Sugar Madison » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:22 pm

nyker wrote:Thanks guys, so it seems most the popular model used is the BD Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Pole vs the even lighter Z-pole (with the exception of Sugarmad), which don't have a Flicklock mechanism?


Indeed...I just use mine for "running"... usually only in races like Hardrock, etc... so weight meant more than adjustability. If I were using it for more "mountaineering" (sometimes that line is pretty blurry!) I'd go w/ a more robust and adjustable one (the Alpine cork ones).

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