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  1. #1
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    Default Poles/ Aluminum Alloy vs. Carbon Fiber

    Most of us use trekking poles. Iíve had more than I can count over the years, having settled on my Aluminum Alloy Pacer Poles for the last two pair. Now itís time to get new ones, and Iím wondering about going carbon fiber. I fully understand that cf are more fragile, likely to break, not bend. Knowing the terrain of the AT, I feel Iíd need to consciously make the effort to be more careful. I would also point out that some of my tents require the use of my poles. All that said, I am intrigued by the weight savings, etc. Can anyone with first hand experience of moving from aluminum to cf help me on this. I guess Iím thinking of moving this direction without any demonstrable reason not to do so. If there are any Pacer Pole users out there to comment, even better. Thanks.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  2. #2

    Default

    I have had 1 pair of alum (My first) and since then have gone thru about 3 pairs of komperdell CF poles while completing the AT. They did not break but became worn out. I used the poles for a lot of other hiking then just the AT completion. My suggestion to help is if moving across slippery rocks or crossings, take your hands out of the pole loops so that if you fall you will not fall on them and break them.
    AT Shuttle List
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  3. #3
    Registered User 10SEns's Avatar
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    02-11-2014
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    Default

    GolfHiker - I have used cf pacerpoles for the past four years with zero problems. One of my hiking partners has the aluminum version so I have compared them both. The CF is indeed lighter, but not appreciably so. Still, when I bought a pair for my wife last year, I did buy CF for her too. The nice thing about the pacerpoles is that we are not bound to the straps as with traditional poles. Whenever I get one in a bind, I simply let go and the pole is undamaged. Again, unlike traditional poles where your momentum while strapped in can result in a snapped pole. Good luck!

  4. #4

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    I'm a CF convert. I always feared they'd snap/shatter in weird ways, but took a pair the whole length of the PCT and I survived. Important note - the terrain on the PCT is nowhere as gnarly as New England, so YMMV.
    I used the cheap $40 Cascade Mtn Tech poles off Amazon. Cork handles, twist lock (no cams!), replaced the lower sections due to tip wear (free exchange from CMT). Loved them.

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    07-15-2018
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    Pilot, Virginia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    My suggestion to help is if moving across slippery rocks or crossings, take your hands out of the pole loops so that if you fall you will not fall on them and break them.
    Great advice. I took a bad fall in Vermont into a mud hole (there is LOTS of mud there) and my hand was pinned under my body by virtue of my trekking pole strap. Makes it hard to get up to say the least. The pole did not break fortunately. After that I have never used the straps again and never will.

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    03-06-2016
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    stuart, florida
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    Default

    I currently own a pair of cf pacer poles with the new snap locks. They are nothing short of fantastic. Although I am always careful with my equipment, I find the pacer cf poles to be very rugged and do not consider them to be weak in any. My first poles were a set of alum black diamond. They were a high quality poles, but nothing compares to the pacer poles, imo.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by GolfHiker View Post
    Most of us use trekking poles. I’ve had more than I can count over the years, having settled on my Aluminum Alloy Pacer Poles for the last two pair. Now it’s time to get new ones, and I’m wondering about going carbon fiber. I fully understand that cf are more fragile, likely to break, not bend. Knowing the terrain of the AT, I feel I’d need to consciously make the effort to be more careful. I would also point out that some of my tents require the use of my poles. All that said, I am intrigued by the weight savings, etc. Can anyone with first hand experience of moving from aluminum to cf help me on this. I guess I’m thinking of moving this direction without any demonstrable reason not to do so. If there are any Pacer Pole users out there to comment, even better. Thanks.
    I have used Gossamer Gear carbon fiber poles for more than 10 years. I have both the fixed length ones and the adjustable length ones. I really like the ultralight weight of these. I once broke the very tip of one of the fixed length poles off in a hole between two rocks just under winter snow, but was able to repair the pole with a new tip; its about 1 cm shorter than the other one. No other breakage. More than 2000 miles over the years.
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  8. #8
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    02-25-2016
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    Default

    I started hiking the AT with aluminum poles in 2016. They were inexpensive twist-locks, and I had problems with the twist-locks. The poles never collapsed, but the locks did freeze. Other than that they worked great on the trail. When I told the manufacturer about the twist-locks, they sent me carbon fiber flip-locks. I broke the first tip off a week into a hike in PA. About a week later, I broke the other tip. I still used the CF poles without the tips.

    Last year, I was hiking in New York with new aluminum poles. I hit some mud, one pole dug deep unexpectedly and I went down. A week into the hike I had put a significant bend in my new pole about 18" up where it got stuck in the mud. I continued to use the pole. I eventually bent the other one in New Hampshire, but continued to use it.

    The moral of the story is, if I had CF poles in NY and north, I'm sure I would have broken them.

    By the way, I never use the straps on trekking poles.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
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  9. #9

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    My black diamond aluminum trail trek poles have about 2500 miles without issue, and I weigh 210 and hike on a lot of rock, so I've been very pleased.
    But my wife's CF cascade poles from costco have also held up well and are much cheaper and a bit lighter, so I don't think you can go wrong with something like that. Similar to above, I only keep my hands in the straps on easier terrain. Never on steep downhills or other tricky terrain

  10. #10
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks all. I’m sufficiently satisfied that I’ll be just fine with a new pair of Pacer Pole CF poles. I’m keeping the old Aluminum Alloy sets for spare parts and possible future use.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

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