Make Your Own Gear: Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Make Your Own Gear: Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/08/2007 19:49:05 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Make Your Own Gear: Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Been there, done that... on 05/08/2007 22:09:32 MDT Print View

This is a fun project. Over a year ago I made a set using the pultruded rods.

http://dragonplate.com <- Good source for pultruded tubes (corrected on edit).

I didn't use Gorilla Glue. I used 15 minute epoxy that I mixed with "microballoons" to lighten the epoxy. This worked very well. "Microballoons" are small plastic beads (look like a powder they are so small) that you blend with epoxy to make it lighter and easier to sand. I didn't have to sand anything but lighter seemed like a good thing. I doubt it made a HUGE difference.

I lost one set of poles. That is another story. I made a second pair and shattered one of them on a nasty fall in Red River Gorge.

I'll look up the final weight and post it but the "swing weight" was very light.

I used a standard trekking pole handle. I don't see that trekking poles without the top strap are worth their weight to carry. I use the strap for supporting my weight, not preventing the pole from falling. I recognize this is subjective but I felt it worth mentioning. I have struggled to think of a way to retain a functional top strap and enjoy the weight savings.

Edited by jjpitts on 05/09/2007 07:01:40 MDT.

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Been there, done that... on 05/09/2007 00:34:26 MDT Print View

James, I wanted to make sure you used carbon fiber rods (solid core) vs carbon fiber tubes (hollow core).

The largest Dragon Plate Carbon Rod has a diameter of .25". With their tubes you can get closer to the 10mm mark with a .375"OD tube.

Edited by pappekak on 05/09/2007 00:44:43 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Make Your Own Gear: Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/09/2007 02:30:35 MDT Print View

Neat.
I do worry a bit about that electrical tape though. It uses a very flexible adhesive which can slide under load. Me, I would slather the tip of the tube in epoxy and let it fill the gap with the Leki tip. Ah - you would need to align the CF tube in the tip somehow of course while the epoxy sets - the tape does that automatically. Good stuff, epoxy ...

A trick i have tried on the Helix axe and the Ti Goat pole we are taking to France is to sleeve the botton few inches of the CF tube with some heat shrink tubing. This does not ADD strength to the CF tube, but it will absorb an almost infinite number of whacks etc without any abrasion.

I also added a narrow ring of heat shrink just below the handle on the Ti Goat pole, to act as a stopper for a clove hitched hand loop. Also good stuff, heat shrink tubing!

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
making poles on 05/09/2007 06:51:33 MDT Print View

Wow. Nice project. Another idea for grips would be to use ski pole grips. Ski poles come with all kinds of grips, and most have wrist straps. The handles sometimes have top screws, but some require just a hard pull with maybe the use of a vice. Poles can be found for $14 new, or less at yard sales. Maybe, too for scouring the cut, a pipe cutter could be used. Aren't golf shafts titanium, too? BTW I have a pair of Gossamer poles. I took their lightweight for granted until I went back to using my Leki pair. What a difference in the weight, and I have not missed the straps. For air travelthey need to be packaged in tubes, but doubling up on those available at post offices will work.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Re: Been there, done that... on 05/09/2007 07:01:08 MDT Print View

I used tubes, not rods. The rods were too heavy. They might have been stronger but they were a lot heavier.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: making poles on 05/09/2007 07:12:13 MDT Print View

My set of trekking poles are made by Komperdell, they weigh only 7 oz and are made of titanal. I guess a combination of titanium and aluminium. I bought them from the left-overs sale at the supplier at 50% discount. :D

I think I'd rather carry 1,5 oz extra weight in my trekking poles and be reassured that my poles will bare my weight and also trust a material called titanal than to make my own.

I also like the adjustability of my poles cause I regularly have to take trains and planes to get to a nice place to hike.

But a nice project non the less.

Eins

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Re: making poles on 05/09/2007 07:47:33 MDT Print View

Einstein, what model of the Komperdell titanal poles did you buy. There seems to be several models:

Contour Titanal
Vibra Stop Titanal
Contour Titanal Antishock Light

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
kite builders have wrapped spars on 05/09/2007 08:20:29 MDT Print View

fyi - I suspect they're a little less expensive than the golf shafts (unless you can, as one person did, find some golf shafts on the cheap)

David Couch
(Davidc) - F

Locale: England
Re: Re: Re: making poles on 05/09/2007 08:41:02 MDT Print View

Golfers are a funny lot. Many of them have the weird idea that if they spend money to replace perfectly sound equipment they already have, it will improve their enjoyment of the sport. Not like us sensible hikers.

Anyway that makes them bring a club with a sound shaft to their local golf club workshop to have it replaced with a stiffer, or more flexible or whatever shaft. The old shaft then joins the pile at the back of the workshop until clearout time. The club maker does not usually get any money for them. Support your local club maker - reduce the clutter in his workshop.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Re: Re: making poles on 05/09/2007 09:35:06 MDT Print View

>Einstein, what model of the Komperdell titanal poles did you buy.<

Uhm? El-if-I-know. I guess I have the Contour Titanal cause I don't have any shoch absorbers and other stuff, but i bought them about 3 years ago so theuy don't look like the pics on Komperdells site. I'll check at home tonight.

Eins

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Make Your Own Gear: Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/09/2007 11:06:23 MDT Print View

Fascinating article! I would add one more source for the shafts: Carbon fiber ski poles. Not only are they designed with the specific stresses in mind that a treking pole experiences but they are size specific. Also one can purchase 100% carbon fiber ski poles on ebay or online for much less than one would spend for kite shaft material or golf shafts. In addition, most ski poles come already equiped with grips either ergonomically designed or standard specific to the pole. (The attached baskets can be used or not depending on your needs.) I built 3 pair for my family for a total cost of $44.00 for each pair. The weight is comparable to the ones on offer from Alpkit at about 5 oz each pole. I have been using them for the past 3 years and have found that they are flexible while being also stiff enough handle stream crossings and my full weight. they have been wedged several times and have never broken. I have stepped on them and acidentally kicked them across campsites in the sierras. All in all I have found that my home mades while not being as light as Gossomer gear ones are every bit as good and half the price. By the way it only took 2o minutes to make mine. Cut off the tip and then epoxy the Leki tips on. Done!

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: Re: Make Your Own Gear: Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles on 05/09/2007 15:00:44 MDT Print View

Roger,

Another useful tape for wrapping shafts is self-vulcanizing silicone tape (sometimes referred to generically as mox tape, but I believe that is also Arlon's brand name for their tape). The 3M product is Scotch 70. It can be wrapped thicker than heat shrink and can be used to make grip surfaces. I've seen it for sale at gun shows as a general 'miracle' repair tape. It's not a cheap item though. It's commonly used as an arc proof sheath wrapping for electrical cable bundles where they meet with connectors and may be available at electronic supply houses.

I wonder if pultruded tubing could be beefed up cheaply with a wrap of carbon or even fibreglas fabric wet bonded to the surface with a thin epoxy? It might be ugly, but those pultruded tubes by themselves look too fragile to me.

I'm an adjustable pole sort of guy, but I thought I'd chime in in case these ideas are useful for someone else.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Re: Re: Re: making poles on 05/09/2007 15:10:36 MDT Print View

Steve,

It says titanal compact on my poles, so I guess that's the name of the model. Hope it helps.

Eins

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: making poles on 05/09/2007 15:32:34 MDT Print View

Eins, I found the Compact model but they list as 16oz for the pair.
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/0,97060_Komperdell-Titanal-Trekking-Poles-Compact-For-Women.html

Is the 7 oz you quoted per pole or for the pair? If it is for the pair that's awesome for adjustable poles.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Titanal on 05/09/2007 15:41:27 MDT Print View

> titanal. I guess a combination of titanium and aluminium.
More marketing spin. It's an aluminium alloy with a wee bit of titanium in it. An insignificant amount.
Spin.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: making poles on 05/10/2007 02:07:46 MDT Print View

>Is the 7 oz you quoted per pole or for the pair? If it is for the pair that's awesome for adjustable poles.<

The pair weigh in at 198 grams on my scale, that's 6,98 oz! And indeed when I see the weights of gossamers trekking poles or these make your own poles I'm pretty happy with my adjustable poles under 7 oz.

Eins

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: making poles on 05/10/2007 06:37:22 MDT Print View

Eins, totally sweet. I want a pair!

Edited by pappekak on 05/10/2007 06:37:54 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Komperdell Contour poles on 05/10/2007 07:11:10 MDT Print View

Something's not adding up with the weight here Eins. You state 6.98 oz per pair but that would be a radical difference from all of the aluminum Komperdell poles I've seen (and I've weighed their whole line at an Outdoor Retailer show). They even state on their own web site that their Carbon Duolock Women is their lightest trekking pole at 165 g...per pole. That's 330 g for the pair.

We reviewed the EMS Women's Ridge Lite a while back (that's a Komperdell Titanal in disguise, as are the REI poles)- 7.9 oz per pole. Your claimed weight would be 3.5 oz per pole which is rare for even carbon fiber fixed length poles. And your poles are adjustable.

Something's not right here. If you said 7 oz PER POLE I would be very suprised actually. Might want to weigh again...

FYI all- here is our review, altough it's a couple years old now: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/ems_womens_ridge_lite_trekking_poles_review.html

Doug

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Compact titanal on 05/10/2007 07:33:46 MDT Print View

One website puts the compact titanal poles at 16 oz/pair. The Komperdell website states 7.3 oz, but that is probably for one pole.

Edited by jshann on 05/10/2007 07:46:10 MDT.