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Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Z > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Mons Peak IX
Tiger Paw Z Poles


Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Initial Report - May 22, 2018
Field Report - July 25, 2018
Long Term Report - September 26, 2018             

Initial Report:

May 22, 2018

Tester Information

Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 65
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 160 lb (73 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.
Product Information

Manufacturer
Mons Peak IX, LLC
Website https://www.monspeakix.com
Model Tiger Paw Z
Color
Black
Size
45.3 in - 53.1 in (115-135 cm)
Materials
Aluminum, cork and polymers
Tested Weight  19.4 oz (550 g) for longer length
Manufacturer's Weight
18.1 oz (512 g)
 Cost $129.95 US

Initial Impressions and Product Description 


The Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Z Poles arrived inside a storage bag (one side is net, the other nylon). They appear to be in perfect shape and open properly. I received the Z-135 model but there is a Z-120 model also available. The number refers to the longest centimeter the pole will adjust to. Tiger Paw PolesThere are no directions. I would describe the poles as compact and easy to stow. I love that the actual carry length is 14.75 in (37.5 cm). This is especially important during travel as a couple of my trips involve traveling by ferry and airplane. Whether I send the poles ahead of my trip or carry them on an airplane, the size will benefit either situation. The size will also be beneficial if I wish to stow the poles in my side pocket of my backpack!

Mons Peak IX is a relatively new company (2016) specializing in the engineering of tents, lighting, and poles. 
 
Pole Features


The poles featuring carbide tips, also came with a set of notched performance baskets and rubber tip covers. The bottom section of the pole has threads for screwing on the baskets and a stopper so that the baskets will not "climb" the pole. Other accessories can be purchased such as extra carbide tips, snow powder and sand baskets, walking rubber tips and more. I will probably be using the poles with the carbide tips provided for all of my backpacking trips.

When I took the poles out of the storage bag, I noticed they each had a hook and loop strip around them so that they would stay together. I removed the strips on each of them so that I could assemble the poles. There are basically four black-colored aluminum sections to each pole. The Aircraft Grade 7075 hard anodized poles are hollow and feature a cable that is strung through them. That cable is covered in a flexible plastic tube. I then assembled the pole sections (each piece can be inserted into the next piece, etc). After the lower three sections are together, they will fall apart unless I held firmly onto the third or top piece and slid the section upwards. I heard a click when it is locked as the button or single snap locks. The top piece of the pole is the only piece that is adjustable and it features a red-colored steel locking bar with a thumb screw tightener. This allows the pole to be adjusted over a 20 cm (8 in) differential. Each 5 cm (2 in) line is printed on the top section of pole with a stop notice near the top to remind me that I shouldn't lengthen the pole further and compromise its strength. The top section features a cork and polymer handle. The cork area features deep ridges cut into the cork for more grip I think. Hard plastic tops the handle which also features a wide adjustable strap. Lately I have been removing the straps on my other hiking poles as it is my preference, but I will keep them on for the time being. The strap can be adjusted by pulling on the loose end of the narrow strap hanging from the handle.

To disassemble each pole, I must depress the single click button to unlock and then I can also shorten the top section by opening the lever and sliding that section to be more compact.
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
 
Summary

The Mons Peak IX poles appear to be compact in size with many nice features. I use poles almost daily so they will cover a lot of different terrain including rock, roots, sand, and water crossings.

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Field Report:
July 25, 2018

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period I have taken five Michigan backpacking trips totaling eighteen days, one car camping trip in Minnesota totally six days, and many other outings in Michigan. The forests included boreal and deciduous settings and lakeshore. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2,000 ft (610 m).
 
 
Location of Trip #1 Grand Island National Recreation Area   Tester with the poles
Length of Trip: 2 days, 1 night (June 14-15) 
Pack Weight: 19 lb (8.6 kg)
Distance: 12 mi (19 km)  
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy 
Precipitation: Light rain
Temperature Range: 46 F to 68 F (8 F to 20 F)  

Location of Trip #2: Isle Royale National Park
Length of Trip: 8 days/8 nights (June 19-26)
Pack Weight: 32 lb (14.5 kg)  
Distance: 62 mi (100 km)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy and sunny
Precipitation: Just a trace of rain!
Temperature Range: 34 F to 78 F/1 C to 26 C 

Location of Trip #3: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park 
Length of Backpacking Trip (backpacking into and out from rustic cabin): 4 days, 3 nights (July 1-4)
Distance: 5 mi (8 km) 
Pack Weight: 30 lb (13.6 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, rainstorms, sunny, humid
Precipitation: Lots of rain
Temperature Range: 54 F to 89 F (12 C to 32 C)

Location of Trip #4: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Length of Backpacking Trip: 2 days, 1 night (July 17-18) 
Distance: 15 mi (24 km)
Pack Weight: 21 lb (9.5 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 43 F to 69 F (6 C to 21 C)

Location of Trip #5: Grand Island National Recreation Area
Length of Backpacking Trip: 2 days, 1 night (July 23-24) 
Distance: 22 mi (35 km)
Pack Weight: 21 lb (9.5 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 56 F to 69 F (13 C to 21 C)
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Trip Talk

Over the last two months, I have used the Tiger Paw Z-poles several times per week. Of course they have been on all my backpacking trips including one that lasted 8 days.

I have normally kept the poles in their full-length position in the cargo area of my Forester ready to go for any hiking adventure. On three different trips, I used a ferry/ship to get to an island(s) so the poles were folded in their Z-position. During the Isle Royale trip my backpack held my poles in the side pockets of the backpack. The backpack was loaded onto a gated cart that held other passengers' packs and then stowed away in the bottom of the ship for the 6-hr journey (as well as the return journey at end of trip). Once I got to that island, I simply unfolded the poles and headed out on the trails. For whatever reason I seem to pinch my fingers when I assemble them, but it is probably lack of experience as I have only done it a few times. I will try to evaluate what I am doing wrong next time I collapse and then assemble them.

Isle Royale National Park...last day of 8-day tripAs far as performance I must say that the poles have never collapsed (even the top part that is adjustable) during many of my treks through questionable conditions. I am talking boot-sucking mud for miles and miles. Usually it is all I can do to keep myself from being dragged under in swampy areas. The poles have held steady and my confidence in them supporting my weight (which is sometimes not all that balanced during weird maneuvers hanging onto trees or brush just to get myself through) has grown. The poles have also shined during my frequent day hikes on local very hilly, rocky and rooty trails. Although there is no real altitude or length to any of the hills, it is a continuous pattern of ascents and climbs within about a 1200 ft (366 m) range. Most of these trails are gnarly single track so I depend on the poles to keep me upright.

The thumbscrew on the adjustable top part of the pole has remained tightened. I do check it once in a while just to see if it is loose.

I mentioned in the initial report that I am not a fan of pole straps. I have mixed feelings right now about leaving them on. During testing, some of the time I just let the straps dangle and hung onto the cork handles whereas other times I have worn the straps as they were intended. The straps are easy to adjust but a bit scratchy, however that is not why I chose not to always use them (my preference is not to use the strap on any pole as I have injured my shoulder in the past when a pole got caught on something and my arm jerked back with it because my hand was in a strap). I do like the cork handles as they are more comfortable on my bare hands and even when I wear sun gloves.

I will continue to use the poles during the long-term period for many impromptu and planned treks, both backpacking and day hiking.

 

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Long Term Report:
September 26, 2018

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term testing period I have taken three backpacking trips totaling eighteen days. The trips took place in the states of Michigan and Minnesota. I also did many dayhikes in Michigan. The forests included boreal and deciduous settings and lakeshore. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2,000 ft (610 m).
 
Location of Trip #6: Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Length of Trip 12 days/12 nights (August 17-29)
Pack Weight: 28 lb (12.7 kg)
Distance: 91 mi (147 km)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, rain and some sun
Precipitation: Heavy rain twice (many hours each time) 
Temperature Range: 46 F to 82 F (8 C to 28 C)

Location of Trip #7: Grand Island National Recreation Area, Michigan
Length of Backpacking Trip: 3 days, 2 nights (Sept 10-12) 
Distance: 13 mi (21 km) 
Pack Weight: 23 lb (10.4 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 45 F to 83 F (7 C to 28 C)

Location of Trip #8: Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota
Length of Backpacking Trip: 3 days, 3 nights (Sept 18-20) 
Distance: 24 mi (39 km) 
Pack Weight: 23 lb (10.4 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, misty rain
Precipitation: Misty rain
Temperature Range: 49 F to 55 F (9 C to 13 C)  
 
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Trip Talk

Over the final two months, I have used the Tiger Paw Z-poles several times per week. They were also used during three backpacking trips totaling eighteen days.  Beaver dam area

I have continued to use the poles with good success. I still pinch my fingers sometimes when I put the sections together but I guess I am not being careful enough. I really don't take them apart that often (just for two of my backpacking trips that involved ferries again). When I am on the trail I use them continuously (so they are not stowed) and when they are in my car they are easy to keep in that format (full-length). During my August Isle Royale trip, I ventured to an area of the island that is not as well traveled. Part of it has several large beaver dams which need to be crossed. There are no boardwalks over them and two of the dams are probably as long as a football field. Each step has to be checked with a stick or pole to make sure that the footing is OK to move forward one step at a time. Otherwise I could end up in unknown places and I am not kidding. With water and mud flowing over the dams it is a slow process and I completely relied on the poles to keep me upright. I am happy to say that I trusted the poles and was successful in not getting wet.

I mostly used the straps on the poles during backpacking but sometimes I just let them hang. I do have small wrists so the pads don't end up in the right place. I find that an area of each strap that is tapered is scratchy to my hands. This area has been overcast with stitching but I think the rough edge underneath it scratches through to the surface. I do wear sun gloves on some trips so then it is not an issue. Even though the strap area was scratchy I didn't end up with anything more than mild discomfort.

I have always used the poles without baskets as that is the norm for me except in winter where baskets are desirable.

The thumbscrew on the adjustable top part of the pole has remained tightened. I do check it before I cross any uncertain areas (deep drops off rock, beaver dams and water crossings) as I wouldn't want the pole to suddenly shorten.

In summary, I have found the Tiger Paw Z-Poles to be highly dependable and durable during all my treks. The few shortcomings don't affect their performance in any way. I do plan to continue to use the poles especially for trips where dependable poles are important. 

 
Pros

  • Adjustable
  • Compact
  • Easy to set up
  • Cork handles for comfort

 Cons

  • None


Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Mons Peak IX, LLC and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Tiger Paw Z Poles. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series.

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