Why I’m DONE using CARBON FIBER trekking poles

I have used a number of Carbon Fiber trekking poled and had the same ending result with each one. Why I’m moving on from them and what I prefer to use

➜ CNOC Outdoors Discounted Aluminum Poles ($25): https://cnocoutdoors.com/collections/all/products/vertex-aluminum-trekking-poles

Aluminum Trekking poles I use & recommend :
➜ Black Diamond Alpine FLZ (Current Poles): http://amzn.to/2GK9Kti

➜ Black Diamond Trail Pro: http://amzn.to/2GK13PH

➜ Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock (My AT Poles):

➜ Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork: http://amzn.to/2HMONgp

➜ Black Diamond Trail Back: http://amzn.to/2FX7QEB

➜ Leki Micro Vario Cor-tec: http://amzn.to/2FUltUU

➜ Leki Corklite; http://amzn.to/2ppoIxq

➜ CNOC Outdoors Aluminum & Cork: http://amzn.to/2FOVsdy

➜ Black Diamond Flex Tip parts: http://amzn.to/2HPcwwB

Carbon Fiber Poles I recommend(strong reviews):
➜ Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork: http://amzn.to/2FWlckn

➜ Leki Micro Vario Carbon: http://amzn.to/2G5WPUK

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Geoff Messer says:

Aluminium Black Diamond “Approach” poles well over 20 years old. Flick lock so heaps of height adjustment and decent plain webbing wrist straps. No frills. Used them in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Peru. Already cleaned and packed alongside walking axe and crampons ready to head to Patagonia and Peru in about 2 weeks for 2 months of trekking and climbing.
Got a lot of Black Diamond gear and have never, ever had an issue with durability or customer service.

WildandLiving says:

Ive broken alunium poles carbon fiber is much stronger they just shatter when they break. Alunium bend out of shape. Black diamond carbon flz with the rubber tips last the longest dont use the flex tips just the z tips and the rubber eorks best on the most surfaces. Rocks its ok were the carbon tips are better but on dirt and mud rubber wins hands down.

David Carmichael says:

I broke my black diamond z distance carbon fibre poles the first trip I used them on.
Same deal as yourself. I slipped and put too much weight on them.
They were replaced, but I’ve now cut the hand loops off them and selective where I’d use them.
Since I also use them for my shelter, I’d much rather carry something heavier but more reliable.


ElderHiker says:

I think it is important to match the poles to the terrain and type of walker that your are. I have always used Leki and have been satisfied with their durability and customer support (I’ve have to replace parts). Recently, I took Darwin’s advice and bought a pair of CNOC Outdoors aluminum, cork handled poles and have been satisfied. I, too, liked the Z-design and compact-ability of the poles. I have never used the carbon fiber poles because I just didn’t trust them in extreme weather conditions. Your video convinces me that my intuition was spot on. Do you have a video that shows how you use your poles and the rugged pressure that you apply to the tips? I would like to observe your polling technique. Thanks a million.

Brocky Mountain says:

Great tips man! Fellow Minnesotan using your JMT tips for my own JMT hike this August.

Christian Goett says:

Another quality YouTube video from Follow Bigfoot

Jack Lakayat says:

Can you use the z-style trekking pole as a tent pole for the zpacks solplex (shorter side)? tnx. awesome videos.

Lara Swanland says:

Not totally related, but… where did you get your hat? 🙂

Now Hike This says:

Ive been using Black Diamond Distance Z for over a year and Im really happy with them. I’d love to try a pair of CNOC poles too. Im very impressed with the Vecto so Im sure their poles are great!

Steven Syrko says:

just a random question, since you have stated you have broken several brands of Carbon Fiber trekking poles.  do you think it might be how you actually use the poles? just asking since you also stated you tend to break the tips off vs just wearing them down.  Just seems like your self taught style is wrong.  as you have also stated you tend to drive the pole so hard that they tend to stick into the ground.  This should only happen in very wet/muddy conditions.   I know you tube is all opinion based, but as you know your opinion is also taken with a little more weight; then say joe bob from down the street.

Kevin L says:

No pole can withstand being lodge in rocks and having a 180lb man and gravity violently imposing their forces on them. I’m not an engineer but those are some major forces.

Atlas Titanium says:

We make titanium trekking poles. Virtually indestructible. Both solid poles and a two piece break down style. Slightly heavier but more useful. Also our snow baskets are titanium and cannot be broken like the brittle plastic snow discs found on common poles. Check em out!

gibrigg says:

Trekking poles don’t pass the bombproof test for me. Judging by all the trekking pole detritus on the trail, there are a lot of dissatisfied users out there. I’m using a pair of sycamore sticks. Bombproof. If you lose one over the edge, you get a new one at the next stand of trees. Cost 0 euros/dinars/quid:)

cnawan says:

I like sticks. Poplar was chosen for shields back in the day because of it’s combination of lightness and (relative) strength, and there’s lots of poplars around here. 🙂 I just tie some webbing around them in a prussick loop for wrist support.

B scott says:

I’ll take those Leki’s off your hands if you don’t want them…….

Justin Taylor says:

I have a pair of leki corklight poles and the design is really solid. That being said, I think the grips are made for someone with average to small sized hands. My hands are about 8 inches from the tip of my middle finger to the crease of my wrist and the circumference of the grips is just a little bit too small. My fingers wrap around the whole thing and end up inside my palm if I grip the poles more tightly which I do occasionally as I alternate between using the straps and not using the straps.

josh baker says:

I wish I could afford the LEKI Micro Vario COR-TEC Trekking Poles.
Can’t afford to replace my one bent, bent in half walmart poles.

C.S. Lee says:

I’ve used Leki’s for 30 years with no problems at all. I think that is 6 pairs of poles over that time period, upgrading each time to better features. Take Care Bigfoot

Iceager RB says:

Flick lock, height adjustment, wrist strap adjustment. IceagerRB

Freddy van der Meij says:

leki tips and Black Diamond tips are about the same. i have used BD,s on my leki,s and used Leki,s on BD,s

muddeer says:

Not all aluminum alloys are same. Black Diamond uses a softer aluminum that bends easier than, say Leki or Komperdell.

Mulys Cousin says:

QUESTION on a different subject: What kind of retirement plan do you have in your future, since you seem to be hiking all the time, and not paying into Social Security, which probably won’t be there when you reach retirement age, seriously ?
I’m already retired and I’m looking forward to hiking after I finish caring for my aging parents.

trailkrum says:

I have a PhD in composite materials engineering, and I exclusively use aluminum trekking poles — you’ve made the right call! Notably the BD FLZ!

Btw, temperature within the operating range only has minimal effect on the pole strength. The torsional load case in the vicinity of the handle and the through-thickness/radial load components especially are the real culprit. Aluminum is much tougher in this direction, whereas carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) laminates are notoriously weak out-of-plane and tend to delaminate.

jrs77 says:

I use my trekking-poles in the same way, putting alot of weight onto them. Pretty happy with my aluminum poles from Leki for that matter.

wjennin1 says:

Sheesh dude, you must be hard on poles then. Plenty of people make entire thru hikes plus with one set of carbon poles.

Daniel H says:

I use CF poles with no problem.
I have had to switch tips after about 700 miles on the ones I currently use, mostly because I have walked part of that on gravel roads and even asphalt.
Otherwise, I have never broke a CF walking pole, but I broke one for slalom skiing once.
But that was because I fell with the pole under me, so it had nothing to do with the larger stress put on ski poles under normal circumstances.

And my walking poles have cork handle and are adjustable with click locks.

If I put enough stress on them to break them once in a while, I would swap them out for aluminium, but as it is, I will continue with CF.

Russell Kintner says:

Some things you didn’t cover were…..

1.) Stream crossings

2.) Bare rock above treeline

Think New Hampshire on the AT. I live and do most of my hiking in New England. Last summer I did a 5 day solo trip through the Pemigewasset Wilderness, Garfield Ridge, and Franconia Ridge. I don’t use trekking poles as I don’t find them strong enough. As you noted in another video, they tend to break whether they are aluminum or carbon fiber. I also find that the length adjustments slip and can’t be trusted. I use a staff made from a 62 inch hickory dowel 1 1/4 inches in diameter and fitted with a brass ferrule at the bottom with a rubber foot that can be removed to expose a stainless steel spike. The top end is capped with another brass ferrule epoxied in place just to prevent the wood from splintering.

I won’t go into how I adjust for length when going uphill or downhill but suffice to say that you are right, the ability to seamlessly transition to a shorter or longer length is the key to happiness and safety.

What I like about my staff is the strength. It’s a single piece of hickory, the strongest North American hardwood. It won’t slip and it won’t break. I weigh 220 lbs. I’ve put this thing across the “V” in two trees and done pull ups on it. I can put all my weight on it with a 55 lb pack and it doesn’t even flex. Since there is no clamp to adjust length, it’s impossible for it to suddenly collapse just when you have all your weight on it.

The downside…..weight. My staff as constructed weights about 2 lbs. But the thing has saved me from so many falls, stumbles, and unwanted dunkings streams, I’d never hike without it on anything but flat terrain with no crossings of moving water. I though it would be a problem but I’m being honest when I say I’ve carried it for 8-10 hour days shifting back and forth from my left to my right hands and I was surprised that it didn’t really seem to wear down my arms. You tend to get good at using its inertia to swing it rather than your muscle to push or lift it.

Having 3 or 4 points of contact when moving up or down rugged terrain with weight on your back is really helpful. If you think about it, with just your legs, you only have a single point of contact every time you take a step. Having a staff or poles means you’ll always have at least 2 or 3 points of contact. That makes balancing much easier when you’re carrying an unnatural weight on your back across uneven terrain.

The stream crossing thing can’t be overstated here in New England. On that trip last summer, I had to cross 18 streams of various sizes and depths. The average width was probably 50 feet. Depths at the crossing point ranged from 2 – 3 feet max. I managed all 18 crossings fairly quickly mostly by rock hopping without ever taking a swim. The worst slip had me in just over the top of one boot for a few seconds near the end of one crossing. I know for a fact that if I didn’t have that 3rd point of contact on wet , algae covered rocks, I would have been doing my fabulous impression of a beached whale in a few of those streams. Or, I would have been stopping to remove my boots and use a set of camp shoes to wade across the streams.

I can’t remember how many times that extra stability has saved me from a stumble on a rock or tree root when I’m tired and not paying attention or descending a muddy rocky stream bank or just constantly going up and down rocky terrain on a ridge above treeline.

James Hart says:

I guess I am old school. I still use a wooden hiking staff. Have been for years.

FlashGeiger says:

I bought an incredibly heavy cheap pair when first trying to figure out if poles would help my joint issues. Quickly found out they would help and bought a pair of Black Diamond aluminum z-poles. Wet leaves and inattention had me rolling down a hill once and broke one when I landed on it hard. Still liked them well enough to buy another set. Recently saw a video on a cheap set of carbon fibre telescoping poles from costco and picked them up. I like the cork handles and they’re a bit lighter, but noisier. I also prefer the straps on the black diamond. I thought I might like telescoping poles better for things like tarp setups or lifting the side walls on my triplex tent. Still going back and forth with the poles.

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