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Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > REI Peak UL Trekking Poles > Owner Review by Andrei Girenkov

REI PEAK UL CARBON COMPACT TREKKING POLES
BY ANDREI GIRENKOV
OWNER REVIEW
October 06, 2011

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: ANDREI GIRENKOV
EMAIL: agirenkov[AT]yahoo[DOT]com
AGE: 29
LOCATION: New York, New York, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for 6 years, mostly 3-season weekend trips in the Adirondacks, and other parks in the Northeastern US. Additionally, I try to take at least one 5-7 day trip each summer to other destinations in Canada, Western United States and Central America. I use lightweight gear on a budget. My multi-day pack weight is around 20-25 lb (9-11kg). I enjoy sleeping comfortably and cooking a hot meal at night

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Komperdell for Recreational Equipment, Inc. (according to packaging).
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.rei.com
MSRP: US$129.00
Listed Weight: 11.2 oz (318 g)
Measured Weight: 12.4 oz (352 g)
Minimum length: 24 in (61 cm)
Maximum length: 49 in (125 cm)


The REI Peak UL Carbon Trekking Poles are made by Komperdell but marketed under the REI brand. They provide a very attractive feature set.

The grips are made of contoured black foam. This foam is comfortable and rugged. It has not torn in 3 years of use by me. Attached to the grips are black padded neoprene wrist straps. The wrist straps are adjustable by the use of a plastic wedge which allows adjustment when pulled out and secures them into place when pushed back in.



The shafts themselves are made of very dark greenish grey carbon fiber with a clear protective coating on top. The shafts consist of three collapsible sections. Twisting each section in one direction releases the lock, and twisting it in the opposite direction secures it in place. The locks worked very well initially, but after 3 years of use the sections have started to slowly collapse when full body weight is put on the pole.

The bottom of the pole is finished off with a narrow plastic basket and a tungsten carbide tip.



The baskets are there to prevent the pole from sinking into sand, snow, and mud. I found them adequate when traversing packed snow. The carbide tip is shaped into a star pattern on the bottom. This pattern creates friction when traversing rocks. The tips are capped with two pieces of plastic for safety. The caps are useful for safely transporting the poles on public transit.

When collapsed the entire pole is only 22 inches (55 cm) long. This is short enough to carry with airplane carryon luggage inside or outside a pack. Airport security personnel did not give me any issue over carrying these on an airplane (with the above mentioned tip caps on).



FIELD USE

These poles have seen approximately 60 days of usage on the trail. The following are some of the typical hikes on which I used them.

I took these poles on 5-6 local hikes in the Catskill and Adirondack mountains of New York over the summer. On a recent representative hike, I covered 16-mile (25-km) loop through the High Peaks area of the Adirondacks. I climbed 7 summits in 2 days. The maximum elevation was around 5,000 ft (1525 m). Trails were mostly dirt and rock. It was very muddy on one of the days. Temperature ranged from 60-70 F (16-21 C). The poles performed very well on this trip.

I then used them in a 45-mile (72-km) 4-day hike through Sequoia National Park, California to climb Mt. Kiweah. The weather was sunny. Temperatures ranged from 55-70 F (12-21 C). The trails consisted of dirt, rock, and scree. The highest elevation was 13,800 feet (4200 m). I twisted my knee right before the ascent to Kiweah summit on day 2. I spent the last two days limping, and putting all my weight on the poles without any problems at all. I was worried that the twist locks would give out, but they held very well.

I used them on an 8-day glacier hike in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska. The trip involved traversing glaciers, climbing boulders and snow, and crossing many rivulets. Temperatures ranged from 40-65 F (5-18 C). Elevation ranged from 1,500 - 8,000 ft (450-2450 m). Many places were covered in deep packed snow. Some of my companions used baskets from ski poles to prevent from sinking into the snow. I used the stock baskets and found them more than adequate. I haven't used the poles on freshly fallen loose snow.

I also carried them on a 5-day trip to the Buckskin Gulch in the Arizona desert. This is a very narrow (sometimes have to squeeze through between walls) 13-mile (20-km) long slot canyon. It rained 3 days prior to my arrival, and the gulch was still drying out from a flash flood. Ground varied between desert sand, clay, and ankle-deep water. Temperatures were around 90 F (32 C). The carbide tip on these poles has small teeth that are designed to grip the rock. On this trip wet clay built up around the tip and made the poles very slippery when planted on a rock. I had to frequently wash the tips in water puddles to prevent this. On this trip I also experienced a partial locking mechanism failure. I injured my ankle and compensated by putting more of my weight on the pole. Over time the sections slowly collapsed. I lost approximately 2 inches (5 cm) of pole length every 10 minutes and had to stop and adjust them. I am not certain whether this failure was due to mechanical design or environmental causes such as sand getting into the mechanism.

SUMMARY

These are very compact and lightweight poles. It is very convenient to carry these poles as carryon luggage in an airplane by strapping them to the outside of a pack.

They served me very well in the moderate environments of Adirondack, Catskill, and Sierra Nevada mountains. My arms were never tired from the weight or the grip. After 2 years of use I was disappointed with their performance in the Arizona desert. The locks began to lose their hold, and sections of the pole began to collapse when full body weight was put on them.

THINGS I LIKE

The poles are lightweight, collapsible to travel size, and grip stone trails very well.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

After several years of use the locks have started to slip.

SIGNATURE

Andrei Girenkov

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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