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Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Z > Test Report by Morgan Lypka
Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Z Poles
TEST SERIES BY MORGAN LYPKA
Initial Report - June 5, 2018
Field Report - August 12, 2018
Long Term Report - September 22, 2018
NAME: Morgan Lypka
HEIGHT: 5’4” (1.6 m)
WEIGHT: 110 lb (50 kg)
EMAIL: m DOT lypka AT yahoo.com
City, Province, Country: Fernie, British Columbia (B.C.), Canada
Backpacking Background: I started backpacking 2 years ago, when I moved to the Rocky Mountains. Most of my backpacking ventures are 1 to 3 days long, typically around Western Canada. I get cold quickly, and handle heat well. My backcountry trips involve hiking, trail running, ski touring and cross-country skiing. I am getting into kayaking, rock climbing and fly fishing. I camp with a lightweight 3-person, 3-season tent and am starting to hammock and winter camp. Decreasing my packed weight in the backcountry is a developing focus of mine (fitting everything was the first).
PRODUCT INFORMATION AND SPECS
Manufacturer: Mons Peak IX, LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer’s Website: https://www.monspeakix.com
MSRP: $129.95 USD
Listed Weight: 16.9 oz (480 g) for pair
Measured Weight: 16 oz (454 g) for pair (with rubber tips, no baskets)
Colour: black with red locks
Size Testing: 41.3 - 47.2 in (105-120 cm)
Other Size Available: 45.3 - 53.1 in (115-135 cm)
Compact Carrying Length: 14.75 in (37.5 cm)
Included: carbide tips, rubber tips, notched performance baskets, carry bag
Material: anodized aluminum pole, and cork and polymer hand grips
The Mons Peak IX Tiger Paw Z Trekking Poles are built for four season use. They are intended for hikers looking for compact poles able to carry loads. The poles arrived in a plastic bag in a box. I thought that the plastic bag was unnecessary. They also arrived in a small lightweight mesh bag, with no instructions.
When taking them out of the box for the first time I was actually with a friend who had used similar poles before. Now looking at them, the set up seems very straightforward, but initially I relied on my friend to walk me through it. Instinctively, I would've thought to pull on the poles to tighten them together. However, on the poles themselves, there is indication (in a few different languages) to push at each junction. Once the sections have been pushed together, the pole can then be telescoped out and set to the proper height.
The wrist straps are adjustable, and there is a single clip on each pole for setting the proper telescoped height. The clips can be tightened via a transparent tightening nut. The cork hand grips are notched along the palm side, and have a jut out on the finger grip side. The wire cable in between the pole casing is protected in a plastic casing, and the poles fold three times each (a Z). The wrist straps are very lightly padded. A hook and loop strap also came around each pole to hold it together. Pictured from left to right: 1) folded poles, 2) pole straps, 3) poles along with performance baskets.
It is nice to see that the wrist straps are adjustable, as I have quite small wrists, but I don't know that they tighten quite enough for my wrists. I'll test this further in the field. Initially, I thought the nuts for tightening the clips were hard to tighten, but then I realized that is only when the clips are closed! Open up the clips, tighten the nuts, and bingo, super easy just as mentioned on the manufacturer's website. The cork grips seem to be comfortable so far, although not "soft." The jut out on the finger grip side so far has proved very good grip just in holding the poles. While trying out the poles, they were telescoping down a bit on me, so I just tightened the nuts to avoid this. The sections of poles fit well together, and I haven't seen any issues of them wanting to pull apart. I was not expecting the poles to have the telescoping feature in addition to the folding feature. I suppose it's important to set a proper height for the poles, but it does make for more time and adjustments when setting up the poles.
These poles feel lightweight. The poles must be both folded and telescoped in order to be compact. The easy-to-use finger tightening nut is straightforward, but tightens way easier when the clip is open. The poles don't seem to have any unnecessary features.
Location - Silver Spring Overlook Trail, Elko, B.C.
Activity - Day Hike
Length and Elevation Gain - 4.3 km (2.7 mi) long with 300 m (1000 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - 24 C (75 F) and sunny
Trail Consistency - dirt, gravel, mud
Location - Brightsand Lake Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Activity - Day Hike
Length and Elevation Gain - 4 km (2.5 mi) long with 50 m (165 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - 25 C (77 F) and overcast
Trail Consistency - dirt, gravel, rooty
Location - Jaffray, B.C. (Rocky Mountain peak)
Activity - Hike during overnight backcountry trip
Length and Elevation Gain - 2.5 km (1.2 mi) long with 1100 m (3600 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - 28 C (82 F) and rain, thunderstorms
Trail Consistency - shale, gravel, grass, dirt
Silver Spring Overlook Trail, going up
The first hike I used the poles on was a day hike on a dry mountain trail with a few muddy patches. I used the rubber pole tips that came on the poles, which showed very good grip going up and down, including on the steep and loose sections.
Using the poles for the first time without my friend who originally helped me set them up, I missed the step of pulling them apart enough so that the outermost (or top) telescoping part of the pole allows a silver button to pop out, and rests on it. This prevents the poles from telescoping. I actually had to pull quite hard to get the pole sections separated enough for the silver button to pop out, and if I didn't know this was what was supposed to be done I would've been nervous that I was potentially damaging the poles. I had to do some online investigating to figure this out as the instructions were not clear to me and I couldn't remember how my friend had set them up initially. There were some instructions on the website, but to me this silver button function could have been clearer; either on the poles, in a set of instructions coming with the poles, or more clearly indicated on the website.
Silver button that needs to pop out in order to secure the pole height
Now that I have figured out the ins and outs of the poles, they are straightforward to set up. However, they aren't as hands-free as I envisioned for trail running. When compacted, the strap that comes with them to tighten them is essential in my opinion, because not all ends of the 'z' are the same length. When I tucked the poles into straps on the side of my backpack, a section of the 'z' came loose. This is a bit awkward, and I wouldn't want to play with a slightly finicky strap (strap pictured in Initial Report above) while trail running (I say finicky because the strap has to go through a little opening in itself, to then latch onto itself.) When I did have the straps on the poles, I had once of the 'z' sections come loose from that as well.
My last trip mentioned above finished in rain and thunder on the down. Since it was on wet shale, there was a lot of slipping. I was the only one out of my friend group with poles, and the poles provided me with much needed support and stability. I did not find the poles with the rubber tips slipping at all on the rocks. Although the grips were also wet, I did not find my hands slipping at all. I myself slipped once, losing the poles from my grip momentarily, but the poles didn't travel too far down the shale before coming to a stop.
After hiking in the rain during the summit hike near Jaffray, I stored the poles in my vehicle and retrieved them once things had dried off the next morning. When retrieving them, I noticed that both of the rubber tips had come off. I did not notice losing them on the hike at all, and I think I would have noticed the metal tip on the rock rather than the rubber, but I was moving very fast to get out of the adverse conditions so it's possible one of the rubber tips came off on the trail. One of the rubber tips I found in the bed of my truck fortunately, but I have not yet found the second one. I had not checked the tightness of the rubber tips prior to the hike, but hadn't had trouble with them coming 'unscrewed' prior to this. I hadn't used the poles in the rain prior to this, so I'm wondering if that could have caused the loosening effect. I will watch for this as I use the other types of pole tips. Fortunately, rubber pole tips are easy enough to come by, so this is something I can readily replace.
I have noticed with the poles that the wrist straps can dig a little into my wrists when hiking steep stuff. I wouldn't call them comfortable at this point, they are just ok. I have not yet noticed any wear and tear on the poles. For their main purpose of providing support and stability while hiking, the poles definitely do the trick.
+ great grip, for my hands and rubber tips on trails (wet, loose and dry)
+ adjustable to many heights
- lack of instructions for set up
- wrist straps not extremely comfortable
- z fold is a bit awkward to pack away
- straps for z fold are also a bit awkward to do up
Location - Elk Lakes Provincial Park, East Kootenays, B.C.
Activity - Day hiking and trail running, 2 days, 1 night
Length and Elevation Gain - 10 km (6.2 mi) with 200 m (700 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - 18 C (65 F) and overcast
Trail Consistency - dirt, roots, mud
Location - Height of the Rockies Provincial Park Wilderness Area, B.C.
Activity - Backpacking and day hiking; 2 nights, 3 days
Weight of Pack - 40 lbs (18 kg) while backpacking, 10 lbs (5 kg) while day hiking
Length and Elevation Gain - 22 km (14 mi) long with 1350 m (4400 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - 6-18 C (43-64 F), overcast and rainy [below 0 C (32 F) during the night]
Trail Consistency - wet dirt, roots, loose gravel and rocks, some scrambling
The poles were very useful crossing streams on my hikes; the carbide tips held well on rocks and dirt, and even on the wet rocks. The poles definitely gave me security as I hiked. Telescoping up and down with the poles was easy, and I did this when I wanted them shorter (more out of the way) for a steep scrambling section on one of my hikes. When trail running on steeper sections, it was useful to be able to move with the poles telescoped as well. Folding and unfolding them from the z structure wasn't as quick or convenient, especially when stowing them away, so I see myself going forward just telescoping them for trail running.
Since my wrists are small, I have the wrist straps tightened to their full extent. Because of this, I find that my full wrist is not rested on the padded wrist strap, but rather part of my wrist rests on the extra length of strap. I have found that I can only tighten from one end, so I haven't found it possible to centre the wrist strap. This caused a bit of discomfort while hiking, especially when I was putting lots of weight into the poles. My hands didn't slip while on the pole grips, even when the poles, my hands, and my gloves were wet. When the temperatures were lower, I didn't have problems telescoping or adjusting the poles.
During one of my ventures, I also used the hiking poles as tent poles, as seen in the second photo below. The poles stuck very well in the dirt, and held their position both nights that I did this.
Using the hiking poles as tent poles
Suggestion - I have seen other hiking poles where the wrist straps are reflective - this is something I appreciate on a hiking pole. I used the hiking poles to hold up a non-free standing tent, and it would've been nice if they had reflection for that scenario.
Suggestion - As mentioned above, it would be nice if the wrist straps could centre, or someway adapt, to smaller wrists.
Suggestion - I would appreciate if the poles had something on them to clip together when in their z formation, so that the Velcro straps didn't have to be toted around.
For my backcountry uses, the poles were durable, adjustable, and firm. I was impressed with the abilities of carbide and rubber tips in different weather and terrain conditions.
Thank you BackpackGearTest.org and Mons Peak IX, LLC. for allowing me the chance to put to use these poles over the past few months.
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