Rating: 4 / 5
I received my pair and went on a moderate 2-hour hike today (approx. 2,000 ft. elevation gain over 2.7 miles -- then returning back down).
I find the specs to be accurate, and the poles a beauty to behold. However, both poles are "temperamental" when it comes to length adjustment and tightening. Playing around with both, I've found that much more often than not, I have had to pull the pole sections apart to adjust the internal expander/locking mechanism -- repeating a few times on some occasions -- before the pole sections will lock! Per Titanium Goat instructions, this is normal, but will only be for a short period of time, until the new expanders "break in".
I find the poles appropriately rigid and comfortable to use -- both hiking uphill and downhill. They also hold onto their locked position, and not once did I need to readjust pole lengths. This is a BIG PLUS in my book.
However, I've also found that both poles will "oscillate" (vibrate) along the entire length whenever the pole tips struck against the ground. The oscillation was more noticeable and lasted longer when striking sandy trail than solid stone slabs. While this was continuous, once I started hiking my pace, this phenomenon was somewhere between "not really noticeable" and "mildly annoying". But it was always there as soon as I pay attention to it. I have not had this experience with my REI Peak UL poles or my REI Traverse poles.
This is my first experience with strapless poles. Just two hours into it, I felt my hands were getting a bit tired -- seemingly more so than when I use poles with straps. Maybe my grip was too hard?
I have a 4 days / 3 nights trip coming up in two weeks. I plan to use my new poles. Things I will be testing further:
1. Will the pole locking mechanisms work without fuss as the expanders "break in"?
2. Will the internal pole vibration continue, and will that affect my hike in any way?
3. Using pole straps, I have hiked for days on end without problems. Will the absence of handle straps lead to tired hands and/or blisters?
I like the poles thus far, and I look forward to using them more and reporting back.
I recently came back from a 4 day / 3 night trip on a section of the PCT (Mt. Hood Timberline Lodge to Eagle Creek) -- and had a chance to use the Ti Goat poles on long ascends, fairly steep descends, and stream crossings.
I was very happy with the poles -- and will continue to use them on future trips.
I found that the rubber expanders did become less finicky with use -- just as described in the instruction sheet. They now lock to position much more readily -- although not 100% of the time.
Over the four days, I had to readjust the poles maybe 4-5 times because of "auto compaction". Given that this didn't happen the vast majority of the time, I attributed the 4-5 adjustments to my own failure to tighten the sections adequately. The instructions warned repeatedly not to overtighten... so I may have undertightened instead. As with the above, this became less and less of an issue with experience and usage.
My hands did not feel fatigued at all due to the absence of pole straps. In fact, I now prefer not having the straps.
Internal vibration (like a tuning fork) still occurred -- more so when used on sandy trail. However, in the four days of use, that was more of a minor distraction -- and did not affect actual pole usage (YMMV).
In summary, I am very happy with these poles, and will continue to use them on future trips. They are a keeper.