MONS PEAK IX TIGER PAW
CARBON TREKKING POLES
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
INITIAL REPORT - May 22, 2018
FIELD REPORT - July 16, 2018
LONG TERM REPORT - September 13, 2018
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
118 lb (53.50 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Manufacturer: Mons Peak IX|
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.monspeakix.com
MSRP: US $149.95
Listed Weight: 13.9 oz / 394 g (pair, poles)
Measured Weight: 17 oz (482 g) pair of poles plus snowbaskets and clips (15 oz/425 g pair of poles)
Listed Length: 24.5 - 53.1 in / 62 - 135 cm
Measured Length: 24.5 - 53.1 in / 62 - 135 cm
* Four season trekking poles
* Both carbide tips and rubber tips are included
* Performance baskets and snow baskets are included
* Carbon fiber composite telescoping tubes.
* Two snap-click compression locks for height adjustment
* Warranty: 3-years product lifetime warranty against defects of materials and craftsmanship from the date of purchase.
* Made in China
|Copyright Mons Peak IX|
|Grips, Clips and Tips||Wow! These Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Carbon trekking poles are LIGHT! And while they are light, Mons Peak IX didn't skimp on the quality or the nice little extras.|
Starting at the top of the poles, the hand straps are adjustable via a locking mechanism built into the knobs of the hand grips. The hand straps are ribbed but have a soft lining where the straps rest on the backs of my hands
Cork hand grips segue into black cushiony sections before the main body of the trekking poles start. The "Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Carbon" logo is printed there in silver which I think looks quite nice again the jet black background.
Two adjustable telescoping sections of each of the poles allow the poles to lengthen from 100 cm (39 in) to 135 cm (53 in). There is a "STOP" warning on the middle and lower sections of the poles just above the 135/53 mark.
Shiny red clips are hinged at the bottom of the upper and middle sections so the middle and lower sections can be locked into place when the desired length is achieved. The hinges when opened away from the body of the poles allow the sections to move up and down as needed.
Rubber tip covers are provided to protect the slightly concave carbon tips of the poles. Snowflake baskets for use in winter conditions are included with the poles as are two sets of fasteners to keep the poles tightly clasped together when not in use.
As I said, "Nice extras!"
TRYING IT OUT
In the past, I have had problems with telescoping poles at times, so the first thing I wanted to check out with the Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Carbon trekking poles was the "telescoping" mechanism.
I was pleased to find the shiny red clips smoothly opened and closed with little to no pressure. The nuts securing the bolts holding the clips in place were a little loose on one of the poles, so I tightened that up just using my finger. I will definitely be paying attention to those nuts as I go forth into the wilderness. Losing one of those nuts would make the locking mechanism useless. And if the hinge falls off the pole, the pole becomes useless as well. (I've had that happen with Brand XXX trekking poles!)
Adjusting the heights/lengths of the poles for the first time went very easily with the sections being "not too loose, not too tight, but just right" - to paraphrase Goldilocks!
I didn't need to adjust the wrist straps as they were just the way I like them but I tried it anyway and while it wasn't intuitive or easy, I found that a couple of good tugs worked for me.
I think I'm ready to go! Look out mountains, here I come!
I ALWAYS use trekking poles! I'm the gal on the flat one-mile (1.6 km) trail that kids are running barefoot on wearing hiking boots and not just carrying but actually using trekking poles. I not only have a visual impairment but am a klutz on top of that, so trekking poles are my friend! Besides, swinging poles burns off a few of the calories from those high-calorie trail snacks!
I have been looking for a pair of lighter weight poles but not super-pricey poles for a while now and I'm hoping these Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Carbon poles are them!
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I figure I easily pounded the ground with the Tiger Paw Carbon trekking poles for a good 100 + miles (160 + km) over the last two months.
Most of those miles/kilometers were in my home stomping grounds around Fremont County. All of these were on dirt roads or trails, groomed and not-so-groomed.
It's been an exceptionally hot summer here in Fremont County with absolutely no rain (until yesterday!). Daytime temperatures never went below 90 F (32 C), averaged 94 F (34 C) and at, least a half-dozen times was over 100 F (38 C).
I also used the Tiger Paws on a one-week basecamping trip to the Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah in early June.
Some day hikes there were:
In Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park where it was - again - very hot in the mid-90s F (35 C). The trails there were well-worn, wide, up and down paths through spectacular red rock formations.
|Red Canyon Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT|
Rampart Trail in Cedar Breaks National Monument. It was slightly cooler - 86 F (30 C), windy but very sunny. The trail traversed narrowly along the top of ridge overlooking the very-far-down canyon bottoms.
Other trails I trekked in Utah included the Valentine Peak Trail in Parowan, the Twisted Forest and the Cascade Falls trails in Dixie National Forest.
Weather and trail conditions were pretty much the same as the above two.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
|Disclaimer: I use trekking poles more than the average person does. I use them in situations that the average person doesn't even think to use them because they aren't necessary - to the average person.|
I have RP - Retinitis Pigmentosa - which is a genetic eye condition where my vision is (gradually, I hope) diminishing peripherally. I can see decently in the distance, but up-close, I have tunnel-vision and can't see to the left or the right, above or below whatever I'm looking at.
This is a REAL hazard on the trail where I can't see that drop-off of a thousand feet (0.3 km) one foot (1/3 m) to the left of my boot or that tree root just waiting for me to trip on it!
My trekking poles are ESSENTIAL to my hiking safety. I use them extensively to avoid minor to major disasters!
That said, the Mons Peak IX Carbon trekking poles have been exactly what I need to safely enjoy backpacking, hiking and heck, yes, even walking down my very rutted 4-mile-to-the-mailbox (6.4 km) mountainous dirt road.
I have found the poles to be very easy to use from stashing them, to adjusting the height and to closing them back up.
IF I were ever to not need the poles, I can attach them to my various backpacks using various methods. The most secure carrying position for me is by tucking them under the compression straps on my Deuter ACT Lite backpack. In the fully compressed position, the poles barely top 25 inches (63.5 cm) and so match well with the height of the backpack. No knocking me in the head with rigid handles!
However, I have yet to carry the poles in this manner except as an experiment. The Tiger Paws are always firmly in hand!
Which brings me to the first really nice feature I like about these trekking poles - the handles. I love the cork grips! They are very, very comfortable to hold, especially when it's hot and my hands get excessively sweaty clutching plastic hand grips. And, the size of the grips is perfect for me so my fingers don't get cramped from an awkward position.
While the wrist straps are not irritating, I do wish they were lined with a softer material. A nice thin microfiber would feel great against my skin and would be much appreciated in both hot and cold weather.
As I said above, adjusting/opening and closing the poles is pretty intuitive and is accomplished without any fuss. Unclipping the locks was initially tricky for me as I had to figure out just how tight to secure the locks. Too loose and the pole would collapse in use. Too tight and it was difficult to slide the sections in and out.
I did through trial and error (all mine, of course!) get the optimal tightness and since then have had zero failures on the trail.
I really do bang on these! I use the poles to "feel" where obstacles (and thin air!) exist. I use them to balance me going downhill. And at times, I've used them to sort of, pull me uphill! In all instances, the Tiger Paw Carbon trekking poles have performed wonderfully.
They've supported my weight and kept me on the straight-and-narrow. I can actually say that I've never even stumbled on some pretty nasty baseball-size-rock-strewn trails this summer, thanks mostly to these poles.
I have not had any arm fatigue from pounding the dirt with these poles.
|No Real Tip Degradation|
I have wiped the poles down a couple of times to remove mud from the tips and dust from the trails. I have not taken any special care of them otherwise. The tips are still in great condition!
When not in use, the Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Carbon trekking poles rest leaning against the wall in my hallway, patiently waiting for my next outdoor excursion!
|Waiting!||So far, I'm very pleased with the performance of the Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Trekking Poles! They pack down small enough to lash onto my backpack if need be. They easily open and close to my desired height and they are stable. Only once did the locking mechanism fail and that was definitely newbie-operator-error! After I tightened the nut properly, that never happened again. Even despite my very heavy use of the poles. I have no complaints whatsoever about these Tiger Paw Carbon trekking poles!|
Over the next two months, I will be continuing to use these poles often. They are propped against the wall by my side door for quick access every time I walk out the door! I also will be doing a "girls only" section hike on the Colorado Trail in early August with my daughter-in-law and will depend on the Tiger Paws to help me keep up with my family's own Energizer Bunny!
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
|Start of Colorado Trail at Waterton Canyon||It's been a super, super hot summer! For the past several months, daytime temperatures have rarely been under 90 F (32 C) and more often than not, they have been over 95 F (35 C). Toasty! We have had very little rain, except, of course, the three days my daughter-in-law, Julia, and I were backpacking on the Colorado Trail! Then it drizzled a bit each afternoon and downright poured each night!|
Places I used the Mons Peak IX Tiger Paws Carbon Trekking Poles include:
A three-day backpack on the Colorado Trail, Segment 1 (Kassler to South Platte Canyon), 16.8 miles (27 km), elevation 5520 ft - 7280 ft (1.7 km - 2.2 km) for an approximate 2160 ft (0.66 km) elevation gain.
Temperatures were in the low 90s (32 to 34 C) during the daytime with intermittent light showers and blazing sunshine. By night fall, we had pretty steady rainfall until dawn.
The trail starts out on a wide gravel access (to Strontia Dam) road. It narrows down about 6 miles (9.7 km) in to a well-traveled dirt trail with very little rocky terrain for the rest of the 11 miles (17.7 km) distance. For all but the last 4 miles (6.4 km) or so, it's a steady uphill climb.
I figure I've used the Tiger Paw Carbon poles over the last several months for a total of over 250 m/400 km which has been mostly in Fremont Country, Colorado. This is my home "range" and I wear trail shoes or boots and carry hiking poles, almost anytime I walk out of the house. We live on 71 acres (29 hectares) and take weekend hikes and backpack straight out our back door where we border Bureau of Land Management property for miles and miles.
The terrain is high desert with mostly dry, dusty trails from powdery dirt to ball-bearing-slippery pebbles to hard slabs of granite. While we do have some prairie-like valleys, mostly I am hiking up and down on hills and ridges.
In addition to daily walks over my very hilly, rutted dirt road to the mailbox - a 4-mile (6.4 km) round trip trek - I have been exploring some new (to me) trails in Grape Creek.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
After two more months of using the Mons Peaks IX Tiger Paw Carbon Trekking Poles, I am even more impressed with how well they are made. These things are rugged, sturdy, yet not so robust as to be heavy. I have never felt like the poles were weighing me down or that my arms were getting sore from the weight.
And I really "pound" and lean on my trekking poles. I like to tell everyone that using trekking poles vigorously burns calories (it does!) but the real reason is to keep me from taking nose-dives. While on bumpy - and not so bumpy - trail sections of the Colorado Trail recently, my trail buddy often heard me stumble over a tree root, errant rock or even my own two feet, but never was that stumble followed by a "thud!" As I hit the ground. Thank you, Tiger Paws!
Often times with (other) trekking poles, after a lot of usage, the telescoping mechanism gets sloppy or becomes hard to use. Not so with the Tiger Paws. After four months of near daily usage, I can still glide the sections of the poles into my desired height and those sections stay in place until I release the grips and squish them down. I'm also happy to say that I haven't lost the tightening screws either!
While I haven't had to use the poles as defensive weapons yet, when backpacking/hiking I do keep them close to my side even when sleeping. And when that bear was rummaging for raspberries next to our tent on the Colorado Trail, I sure was clutching the Tiger Paws hoping they would live up to their name!
I am very happy with the Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Carbon Trekking Poles! They are easy to transport, easy to expand and contract and they don't slip! I feel confident on the trails that the Tiger Paws will keep me on the straight and narrow without a lot of effort on my part. I have had great success with stability on all surfaces from dirt to mud to slick rocks. There is no undue hand or arm fatigue from long-term gripping and shockingly - to me - the cork handles have not gotten sticky, discolored or degraded in any way.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
I think I will keep them! Can't wait to see how they handle ice and snow (if we ever get cold enough for that!)
Thank you to BackpackGearTest.org and Mons Peak IX for the chance to find out.
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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