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2007 Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW

These three section carbon fiber trekking poles are sturdy and stiff and are light in your hands AND on your budget.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

At $80.00 these are exceptional trekking poles. They combine high durability with very light carbon fiber construction. The grips are comfortable and the poles absorb a great amount of shock. If you are looking at carbon fiber poles but blanche a bit at some of the higher priced models, you won't go wrong with these even though they weigh an ounce more than the lightest 3-segment poles (Komperdell C3 Duolock Women's).

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by Ken Knight |

2007 Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW

Introduction

Carbon fiber trekking poles are becoming quite common. We have reviewed an astonishing variety in the past year from large and small companies. Fixed length, 2-segment, and 3-segment poles with all manner of grips, straps, and locking systems have been examined. One thing many of the poles have in common though is their fairly high price. A notable exception can be found with the Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Pole Review written by Doug Johnson last fall. Alpkit has since refined the pole, making several changes which I believe have made a value-leading trekking pole better yet.

What’s Good

  • Very stiff, deflecting 1.75 inches in our stiffness tests, among the least in their class.
  • For their stiffness and overall length they're quite light at 6.9 ounces per pole.
  • Secure locking system that remains easy to adjust.
  • Comfortable straps that do not cause undue sweat on the wrists.

What’s Not So Good

  • Somewhat less durable than aluminum poles where side impacts are concerned.

Specifications

  Year/Model

2007 Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles

  Style

Three-section collapsible

  Shaft Material

Carbon fiber

  Tips

Tungsten/Carbide Flex Tip

  Grips

EVA foam with straps; cork grips with straps also available

  Grip Size

medium

  Weight
Per Pole (without baskets)

6.7 oz (190 g) measured weight for poles with EVA foam grip; 6.9 oz (196 g) measured weight for poles with cork foam grip; manufacturer’s specification (not clear if it's with baskets) per their website 216g (7.6 oz) (EVA handle)), 220g ( 7.8 oz) (cork handle)

  Pole Length

26.6-53.9 in (65.5-137 cm)

  Baskets Included? - Yes

2.2 inch baskets weighing 0.35 oz (10 g)

  Basket Type

Press Fit

  MSRP

£40 (approx. $80)

Performance

A solid locking system is vital for any trekking pole. I used these poles on a variety of terrain including steep root and rock infested ground, and steep hard pack with plenty of loose rock and soil. Having a pole collapse under these conditions would be irritating to say the least, but the poles performed quite well and only gave way once. I fell down while pushing hard on the pole - the pole tip lost purchase and slipped under the relentless heavy pressure. They have remained solid even after I accidentally broke a plastic prong on a locking segment off. I cannot be completely certain when this actually happened, though I believe it was on a hard fall where a pole landed underneath me and on top of a rough rock step (not the same fall described above). However, it is possible that it happened due to one too many rough airline luggage handling sessions. Even if the damage occurred during the most recent mishap, the pole still has seen nearly 100 miles of use in assorted terrain without any incidents.

Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW - 1
The ridges make twisting this lock easy whether the pole is wet or dry and you are gloved or un-gloved.

Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW - 2
The way the locking prongs should appear (top). While I cannot say exactly when these tines were broken off (bottom) I can say that it does not seem to have impaired the pole's ability to remain locked.

The Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles weigh 7.0 ounces per pole (EVA foam handle). With the balance point in the top segment this gives the poles a very comfortable swing weight. I also found the poles easy to carry completely collapsed. At 26.5 inches long when collapsed these aren't the shortest poles to carry, but I never found it an issue except when trying to stuff them into my suitcase for overseas travel. At full extension the poles are 54 inches long which ought to be adequate for even very tall hikers.

Compatibility with trekking pole sheltersUsable with this shelter?
Gossamer Gear/Tarptent Squall Classic (42 in/107 cm)Yes
Tarptent Virga 2 / Squall 2 and Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo / Europa (45 in/114 cm)Yes
Golite Trig 2 (48 in/123 cm)Yes
MSR Missing Link (54 in/137 cm) Maybe

The poles are stiff and do a wonderful job of absorbing vibrations when you cross rock or slam a pole down onto hard ground. I never really noticed any vibration of the shafts during walking. Even when I would place my entire weight on the pole I felt very little deflection. This was confirmed when I performed the stiffness test described in this article. When I put a 25 pound load on the center section of a 115 centimeter pole it deflected 1.75 inches. This is far from the smallest deflection measured, but for this class of pole it is quite good.

Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW - 3
A Gossamer Gear Mariposa is loaded with 25 pounds of water and positioned at the center of a 115cm long pole. Deflection was then measured and found to be 1.75 inches.

Going hand-in-hand with pole stiffness as far as comfort is concerned is the grip and it's strap. I tested the Carbonlite poles with EVA foam and cork grips. I was expecting I'd notice some differences in overall feel of the grips especially when my hands grew sweaty which they had ample opportunity to do when hiking in the summer heat in Maryland. To my surprise I found each type of grip just as comfortable. They both have performed quite well and remain easy on the hands even when you are drenched in sweat. Furthermore, I found the straps to be comfortable even under the hottest conditions. Sometimes straps can cause uncomfortable sweat and warmth underneath. I did not have any issues of this sort with these straps.

Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW - 4
I found the EVA foam and cork equally comfortable. While the cork grip poles are slightly heavier I would have no qualms about using them. I still suspect, though I have no proof, that the cork grips will feel better over the very long-term when hiking in hot and humid weather.

The Carbonlite poles come with 2.2 inch press-fit baskets that are certainly more than adequate for non-snow use. The tungsten tip grips the ground just as you would expect it to do. You can attach other types of baskets to the poles such as those from Life-Link and Black Diamond.

Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW - 6
Equipped with 2.2-inch baskets and tungsten tips these poles have no trouble gaining good purchase against the ground.

With the exception of the broken lock prong I mentioned above the Carbonlite poles have proven to be quite durable. I've not taken any special care with the poles. In fact when I took the hard fall on the hard rock steps and landed on top of the pole I felt sure it would deform somewhat. Nothing happened.

What’s Unique

These are not the lightest carbon fiber trekking poles we have tested. They are, however, among the least expensive trekking poles we have used. Combined with the poles apparent durability and Alpkit's clear attention to detail (incorporating many improvements into this generation of poles) and you have a set of trekking poles that fill a valuable market niche.

Recommendations for Improvement

I believe these trekking poles are quite well designed. Alpkit has incorporated many improvements into this second-generation of their Carbonlite poles. I have managed to break a bit off the lock that, but that is hardly a design failing. If anything it is a testament to how stout the locking mechanism is since that still works. I do wish the minimum length of the poles was a bit shorter since this would make transporting them in smaller luggage a bit easier, but this is a minor complaint since they do fit if you are persistent and careful.


Citation

"2007 Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW," by Ken Knight. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/2007_alpkit_carbonite_trekking_poles_review.html, 2007-10-10 01:30:00-06.

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2007 Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW
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Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
James Pitts :Re: 2007 Alpkit Carbonlite Trekking Poles REVIEW on 10/15/2007 11:04:17 MDT Print View

James:
Let me get this straight. You removed the Alkit tips themselves and replaced them with Komperdells? Could you be specific about your proceedure. I understood that the third section of the pole was an integrated whole and had to be replaced. If, in fact, one can remove the actual tip and replace it with a better tip such as a Leki, I would really like to know how to do so. I would not wait for a break, I would replace it now since I feel that the tips are not up to the quality or technical specs of Leki or Komperdell.
I wait with baited breath on your answer.
Thanks
Mitchell

ed hyatt
(edhyatt) - MLife

Locale: The North; UK
Alpkit tip replacement on 10/15/2007 11:50:15 MDT Print View

I would change mine too (even though I have just bought replacements); if you can do this it opens up possibilities - we sent my girlfriends (well my) Alpkits back to the UK when the tips died two-weeks into the GR5 (Alps) this summer and she bought some Leki's. Being able to swap out the tips rather than mail-order others would have been great.

ed hyatt
(edhyatt) - MLife

Locale: The North; UK
And here is how from Alpkit on 10/16/2007 10:11:16 MDT Print View

Coincidentally Alpkit have recently posted this http://www.alpkit.com/support/stickies/note/can-i-change-my-trekking-pole-tip/ on their support pages; essentially the text is:

Can I change my trekking pole tip?

Yes, but the method is a little involved. If you want to replace the whole of the plastic lower tip section this is done either buy using a a hot air blower (paint stripper type thing) or placing the whole tip into boiling water then just twist carefully with a set of pliers and the plastic section come of fairly easily. The new section is glued in place using Araldite.

If it just the metal section then pull with a set of pliers and again glue in (after cleaning) the new tip with Araldite. If you prefer not to mess around you can purchase the complete lower section.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: And here is how from Alpkit on 10/16/2007 12:12:57 MDT Print View

Thanks Ed for the tip. I'm off to REI to get Leki replacement tips. Bondo would probably work well for this repair as it did when I made my own poles. That or any other two part adhesive.

dave hollin
(backpackbrewer) - F

Locale: Deepest darkest Wales, boyo
Alpkit poles on 10/30/2007 16:25:57 MDT Print View

I own a set of lightweight Black Diamonds and they are great but recently have moved away from 2 trekking poles to one hiking staff made from wood. After a bit of playing around I found that a 4 foot whittled branch birch, Ash or hazel is really comfortable for walking with and doubles as a snooker cue for the odd moment when you find a table to play on ;-)

ok so wood isnt mega light but it isnt mega heavy either and if you are worried about length/ just put a brass screw insert in it to create two halves

by the way I'm Welsh so i like a good singsong, have fun with sheep and eat coal for breakfast boyo!

Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Top poles on 12/09/2007 17:17:35 MST Print View

I used a pair of these on the TGO Challenge 07 and they performed brilliant. Good points are low weight and good design along with excellent grip and strap design. Only fault was the grip worked away from the pole and needed to be glued back on. Alpkit are a great little company to buy from.

Edited by rye1966 on 12/09/2007 17:19:24 MST.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Deleted on 09/05/2008 09:17:16 MDT Print View

Oops, sorry. Wrong thread.

Edited by 4quietwoods on 09/05/2008 09:20:29 MDT.