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REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
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Jeffrey Davis
(Gallamar) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/05/2009 07:20:47 MDT Print View

Does anyone have any experience with these poles (the non shock version)? They seem to be the lightest adjustable poles I can find, but read a couple reviews of the locking mechanism not working? I'd appreciate any first-hand insight. Thanks.

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
Lightest adjustable poles on 05/05/2009 07:39:48 MDT Print View

If you are looking for the lightest adjustable poles, check out Gossamer Gear. I'm hearing lots of good things about them. I've used the LightTrek 3 non-adjustable poles for a couple years now, and they have been very solid for me. Unfortunately they seem to be out of stock now, but you might want to check back with them later.

Dana S
(Naman919) - F

Locale: Richmond, Virginia
Re: REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/05/2009 07:42:29 MDT Print View

Sorry, no experience with those. An alternative is the Gossamer Gear LT4's. They're adjustable and found here

They're out of stock now but if you email the company they'll let you know when they're back in stock.

I have a pair and they are ridiculously light and strong. I've not had any issues with breaking tips, but if you do, they're Leki tips which are usually available in a local shop near you.

The adjusting mechanism is very simple and I haven't had any issues. Many people seem to like them on this forum.

Again, just an alternative to look at. I know plenty of people use the REI's too.

- Dana

***Andrew you beat me!

Edited by Naman919 on 05/05/2009 07:43:38 MDT.

Christopher Graf
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
"REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles" on 05/05/2009 07:44:31 MDT Print View

I've had two pair of the REI UL Carbon Fiber Poles - the first set the locking mechanism malfunctioned mid trip, the second set has performed well with no issues yet. My next set of poles will be the Gossamer Gear Lightrek 4; they're lighter, have a better locking mechanism, and appear stronger with the spiral carbon in the bottom section.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Komperdell on 05/05/2009 09:39:46 MDT Print View

The REI poles are made by Komperdell and are equivalent of the Komperdell C3 Trekking poles which I have used for the past 4 years. I don't have a problem with the locking mechanism slipping, but if I break them down, it is a real bear to get them to lock again. Komperdell has recently redesigned these poles and not only are they lighter, they have a much better looking exterior locking system. I haven't gotten to see these poles in person and don't know if the REI poles are getting the same upgrade, but if I were you I would check them out. (not to say that the GG poles aren't great, I would probably by a set of the non adjustable ones if I were buying today-I simply never adjust my poles)

Lance Marshall
(Lancem) - F - MLife

Locale: Oregon
REI UL Poles - Personal Experience on 05/05/2009 10:27:49 MDT Print View

I’ve used a pair REI UL Carbon poles for several years now. They do have issues with the locking mechanism.

Here’s what I think happens with my poles: Because the pole sections are tapered, the farther you retract a section, the larger the gap between the inner and outer sections. The locking mechanism loses its grip in the larger gap and can be very difficult to get restarted. Once tightened, I've not had a pole fail under load.

I’ve become accustomed to retracting the sections a few inches, pausing to twist the lock tighter to ‘fill up the gap’ and then repeating. It’s a minor pain, but it works. I don’t have the same issue when extending the poles. I haven’t followed the market, so I can’t say if the manufacturer has addressed this.

Other than that, the poles have worked great. I like the foam grips, light weight and compact retracted length.

Edited by Lancem on 05/05/2009 10:38:59 MDT.

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Re: REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/05/2009 10:57:47 MDT Print View

I used the REI UL Carbon Fiber poles for years and loved them. I never had a problem with the locking mechanism - ever. When Gossamer Gear came out with the Lighttrek 4's, I purchased a pair merely for the weight savings. Since then, I've exclusively used the Lighttrek's as they are simply ridiculously lightweight and functional. If you have the money, go for the Lighttrek's, if not, the REI UL Carbon Fibers work fine too.

Not to start a conversation of "well my experience is different than yours", but I've had conversations with a handful of people who claimed their UL Carbon Fibers had problems with the locking mechanism and what I learned is that they essentially weren't tweaking them down - or - that they had messed with the mechanism (by separating the poles and playing with the mechanism) and separated the locking mechanism on the inside which then effected how well they locked when put back together. The locking mechanism isn't really terribly different from other manufacturers either. Some use different materials and different size parts, but the mechanism itself is relatively the same.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/05/2009 10:58:43 MDT Print View

The locking mechanism is a bit fussy, but I've not had any real problems with these poles. They collapse to a very short length, which makes them easy to stow during air travel.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
REI Poles on 05/05/2009 11:44:45 MDT Print View

I bought these this year during a REI clearance for about 75% off clearance. Must be due to the re-design of the product. I have been using twist lock Leki poles for skiing for years and was therefore not afraid to buy the REI poles.

I have found that a pole on occasion will loosen up and compress. I just stop and set it up again. I have not had one fail but have just recently started using them. The one thing I do not like are the grips. I think the foam is a bit too rough and don't feel as comfortable as I would like. I am sure as I wear them down they will get better. I do wish I had a smooth grip like the Gossamer Gear poles. Other than that as long as I am careful with them they should be fine.

Tim Heckel
(ThinAir) - M

Locale: 6237' - Manitou Springs
GG poles on 05/05/2009 12:14:03 MDT Print View

I've had the REI UL poles, returned them after about a year as they consistently failed to lock. STAY AWAY is my advice.
I tried the Titanium Goat poles, but broke 2 lower sections.
I've used the fixed length Gossamer Gear poles for several years with outstanding results.
And I'm now using the Gossamer Gear adjustable poles. I can't recommend them highly enough. They too are outstanding.
The grips on the GG poles are excellent.

Edited by ThinAir on 05/05/2009 12:15:24 MDT.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: REI Poles on 05/05/2009 12:23:38 MDT Print View

overall they are great poles and I like them. They compress low enough to be compatable with the low end of my myog tarptent. I personally have never had them loosen under normal trail conditions. The one and only time is when I was snowshoeing and it was an icy crust, the basket got stuck in the snow and when I twisted the pole it loosened, but that could happen with any twistlock. Otherwise I make sure I tighten them tight and never have a loosening problems. As for the finicky locking mechanisms... they can get annoying when they act up, but since I only adjust them first thing on a hike, when setting up a shelter, or stowing them on my pack it doesn't bother me too much. when they act up I pull them out to the the red stop line, put a slight bending pressure on the pole and twist them to lock them down. I then barely crack them loose and keep the lock farely snug as I slide it to it's adjustment. Make sure you twist them farely tight and you are on your way. The thing I noticed when I picked up mine is that some sets had more problems than others while I was at rei. I recently ordered a compact pair for my girlfriend and we've had zero finickiness in the locks so far.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
GG poles on 05/05/2009 12:44:42 MDT Print View

Do the Gossamer Gear adjustable poles adjust small enough for plane travel?

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: REI Poles on 05/05/2009 13:05:26 MDT Print View

A little over a year ago, my REI hiking poles (Komperdale makes them for REI) failed in the field where I needed pliers to get them working again.

I have had the locking mechanism both fail to tighen up and also had it get locked up where I could not loosen the segments to adjust them.

When I want to REI, the sales person told me that there was a known problem with the poles and gave me a 100% refund/store credit without me even asking for anything.

I was stunned, as I had been used the poles for 1.5 to 2 years, and impressed with REI's service.

I ended up buying some Leki poles and have been happy with them, though I have had one experience when I had trouble getting them to tighen up in the field.

If they have redesigned the new mechanism, I would give them a go...if not, stay away.


Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/05/2009 13:37:40 MDT Print View

My wife and I both have them, and like them. The first time we used them, we each had a pole that didn't lock too well, and slipped a little. After tightening them some more, we had no problems. Best poles I ever used.

If something happens, they're covered by the REI guarantee.

Edited by joegeib on 05/05/2009 13:40:45 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/05/2009 19:02:23 MDT Print View

"They seem to be the lightest adjustable poles I can find, but read a couple reviews of the locking mechanism not working?"

Hi Jeffrey,
I used the REI Peak UL Compact poles for several years and had occasional problems with the locking mechanism slipping. That was not enough to make me ditch them. The final straw was when one of the locking mechanisms detached itself from its pole section while locked in place in the next section. Not only could it not be dislodged, but it could not be replaced by gluing another one in. Come to find out, the expanders were not replaceable, so if they wear out or come loose while locked up in a pole section, you're SOL. Hopefully they have changed the design in the last 2 years, but it's definitely something to check out before buying. Just ask the sales guy how to replace the expanders if they wear out and see what he says. Meanwhile, I've gone first to Titanium Goat AGP's and now to
GG LT4's. The Goat poles were a big improvement, but almost as finicky as the REI Peak UL's. The GG LT4's are far and away the best poles I have ever come across for 3 season use. But I'd go with an external locking mechanism for winter activities to avoid potential expander slippage problems at "inconvenient" times due to water working its way up the inside of pole sections. I had this happen with the Peak UL's on a couple of occasions.

Jeffrey Davis
(Gallamar) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/05/2009 21:07:26 MDT Print View

Thank you for the insight. I had not explored the GG LT4s, but those seem to be the way to go. The folks at GG were very responsive. Thanks again for all the comments.

Kevin Egelhoff
(kegelhoff) - F

Locale: Southern Cal
Re: GG poles on 05/05/2009 21:26:02 MDT Print View

GG sells the LT4's in a shorter length version. Guessing they would work on a plane ?? I think they have the dimensions listed on their web site.
I have used and own a LOT of different poles as they are one of the greatest pieces of gear that I use. Most of our hikes are 18 to 25 miles per day and I just can't imagine doing any hikes even one mile in length without them. I used to laugh at those guys on the trail with the poles until I did my first JMT hike using them and quickly realized I had been the fool all along. I have both the fixed length Gossamer Gear and GG LT 4 adjustable poles and really like and use both depending on the shelter I end up using. Of course I want the new Camo color ones that came out a few months ago ... might have to get a pair of those now.

Edited by kegelhoff on 05/05/2009 21:26:57 MDT.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
GG poles on 05/05/2009 22:15:47 MDT Print View

Yeah I saw that they offered shorter poles. However, being 6'2 I need my poles around 135 cm, the shorter versions only extend to 125 cm. The longer ones range from 90 cm (35.5 inches) to 140 cm. I need these poles to be plane worthy, seeing as that I'm planning on doing the Long Trail in Vermont and hopefully the JMT in the next year or so. Living in Florida limits my modes of travel down to flight. But I guess I could fit 35 inch poles inside a pack? Or maybe if I brought a suitcase? I don't know. I'll have to do some more research.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Ti Goat Poles Back in Stock on 05/05/2009 22:17:55 MDT Print View

For your info--late last week, I got a notice from Titanium Goat that their Adjustable Goat Poles are now back in stock. So that's another brand to consider.

In the meantime, however, I found a deal on the Leki carbon fiber poles. So far, no problems.

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/05/2009 22:20:33 MDT.

Rob Blazoff
(Genetic) - F

Locale: Out back, brewing beer in BPA.
Re: REI UL Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/06/2009 00:25:23 MDT Print View

The current locking mech is a new design.