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Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > Titanium Goat Adjustable Goat Poles > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

Titanium Goat Adjustable Goat Poles
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
July 30, 2011

PERSONAL DETAILS AND BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 65 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.91 m)
Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Email address: montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Dallas, Texas USA

I've been backpacking for almost half a century, and regularly in the Rockies since 1986.  I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my share of forced marches too.  Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose a bit of extra weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.

THE PRODUCT

TiGoat polesThe Adjustable Goat Poles (AGPs) are super-lightweight, adjustable trekking poles made of carbon fiber by Titanium Goat (TiGoat), a small family business in Utah that specializes in ultralight hiking gear.

Manufacturer: Titanium Goat
Website: http://www.titaniumgoat.com
Weight, listed:  3.7 oz (g) per pole with basket
Weight, measured: 3.3 oz per pole [Note: TiGoat’s website indicates that the “new and improved” AGPs introduced in 2010 are slightly heavier than the originals.]
Length, listed: 30-51 in (cm)
Length, measured:  34-56 in (86-142 cm) (see note below)
Warranty: Upper shafts are warranted against breakage.
Year purchased: 2008
MSRP: Now $130 US per pair, including baskets but not wrist straps.  The MSRP was slightly higher when I purchased mine.

Note: When I purchased by AGPs, TiGoat stated on the product page on its website that for a small charge it would provide longer poles.  I chose that option, paying an extra $10 US (I think) for another five inches (12.5 cm).  That option is no longer listed but an email to TiGoat brought confirmation that it’s still available, now at no extra charge.

Everything about the AGPs suggests the word minimalist.  They have a smaller diameter than other poles I’ve used, the baskets are tiny (1.5 in/4 cm in diameter), the grips are cylindrical and cork-like rather than hard plastic molded to fit the hand, and there are two rather than the three sections I’m used to.  Most noticeably, they are remarkably lightweight, less than half the weight of my one-piece carbon fiber ski poles.

ADJUSTING THE AGPs

The AGPs work differently too.  Instead of a separate locking device on outside of poles between sections that can be loosened to adjust pole length, the lower section of an AGP ends with a thread onto which a washer has been placed and, just above, a hard rubber expander has been screwed.  After adjusting the expander (see second following paragraph), the lower section is slipped inside the upper, the poles set to the desired length, and then each section turned in opposite directions to lock the two pieces into place.  

According to TiGoat it is this design “that makes UL adjustable carbon poles possible,” a contention whose veracity I shall leave to the mechanical engineers in the audience. This nifty system does give the poles a different look – without a visible locking mechanism an AGP looks almost like a one-piece pole.   

Connecting endsAfter some practice I found this arrangement very easy to use.  Placement of the expander along the screw determines the ease and effectiveness of the pole sections’ locking together.  Many times I’ve twisted the pole sections to no effect.  When that occurs I simply tighten the expander slightly and the problem is fixed.  I figure that placing the expander farther down the thread means a tighter fit when the lower section is inserted into the upper and thus an easier means of locking the pole sections.   In any event, as long as the expander stays on the thread I’ve been able eventually to tighten the poles.

FIELD CONDITIONS

I now own a well-worn pair of poles.  The AGPs have been my poles of choice on virtually every day hike or backpack since I bought them three years ago.  Often I’ll hike with only one pole, occasionally with two.  I estimate close to two hundred days with one or both of the AGPs with me on the trail, from near sea level to 10,000 feet (3000 m), 10-105 F (-14 to 40 C), in all weathers and on all kinds of trail from paved roads to alpine bushwhacks to, recently, the rock and mud of the Milford Track in New Zealand.  My only restriction on use of these poles, a self-imposed one, is no snow travel when on skis or snowshoes.  I’m worried that regular leaning on the AGPs might cause a fracture or deformation, and my skiing skill is not so great as to eliminate that possibility.

My backpacking style furnishes a second limitation; I use my AGPs strictly for hiking.  I still camp in a fully floored tent, and haven’t yet used a trekking pole as support for my shelter.  True to its ultralight philosophy, TiGoat’s website indicates that these poles are intended for such double duty, as “you can use two lower sections with one upper section to pitch shelters up to 66" [1.7 m] tall.“

PERFORMANCE

One thing I really like about the AGPs and their special locking mechanism is that they almost never work themselves loose during hiking, something I cannot say about any other trekking poles I’ve used.  I don’t adjust them any more or less frequently or carefully, and I treat them the same as any other poles (that is, very roughly).  Without an outside locking mechanism to brush against me or things along the trail, these poles stay in place.   That’s not necessarily true when I ram a tip into very hard soil to keep it upright in order to adjust my clothing or some gear.  Occasionally (certainly more often than working loose) that will push the upper section down, breaking the expander’s seal and requiring re-tightening.  This has occurred often enough so that I’m now half-trained not to treat the AGPs like ski poles in the snow and to lean them against something instead.

The Adjustable Goat Poles have proven to be durable – remarkably durable.  Many times a pole has borne the full weight of my 200+ pounds (90+ kg) in saving me from a fall, but not once has either pole buckled or bent.  Both have many scratches and smudges from trail use, but nothing at all that’s affected functionality.  Overall the AGPs perform as well as when I first bought them.

This has required some maintenance.  Three times I have somehow lost an expander and the washer that sits under it.  I don’t know how or when this happened, as each time I made the unhappy discovery when grabbing the AGPs to start a hike, either from the closet or, most recently, from the trunk of my car.  Without an expander there’s no way to lock the sections on that pole and I’m stuck with one functional pole.  Fortunately TiGoat anticipated this problem, for it sells an inexpensive (MSRP - $7 US) maintenance kit consisting of two expanders and four washers, and it’s a simple thing to screw in a new expander.  The maintenance kit includes a short bit of cord to keep the pieces together.  The expanders, washers, and cord (or just the expanders) can be stowed inside the pole grips, which are hollow and just the right size.  A tip of the cap to the ingenuity of these ultralighters!

GripsWhen I bought my AGPs I also purchased the optional wrist straps (MSRP $12 per pair).  These also use an expander to keep them seated atop the grips.  These expanders require a bit more trial and error to get them to the point where the grip is locked, but this isn’t a tedious task.  They are not as reliable in staying put as the expanders on the poles, as I’ve accidentally pulled a grip out far more frequently than I’ve lost tension on the pole sections.  But I deem them generally reliable.  I’ve not taken calipers to either pole or grip expander but they appear to be identical in size, and on the occasion of finding a pole expander gone at the trailhead, described above, I made a temporary (and successful) patch by using the expander from a wrist strap on the disabled pole.  As I’ve used the straps since I acquired the poles I can’t tell you how the hole in the grips is capped without the wrist straps.

ACCESSORIES

Multitasking is a hallmark of ultralight hiking.  TiGoat hawks this in the AGPs by offering several accessories.  Available at this writing are a camera mount (one for the poles by themselves, one for use with the wrist straps) and a Tenkara fishing attachment called the Yagi.  I just acquired the latter. Tenkara is an ancient Japanese flyfishing technique that doesn’t use a reel.  Thanks in no small part to ultralight backpacking, Tenkara fishing is making a comeback (after all, a fly reel weighs several ounces).  To convert from trekking pole to fly rod the Yagi attachment simply replaces the lower pole section.  [Check back in a few months for an Owner Review on this 1.5 oz (43 g) fly-fishing set up.]  

CARE

After each use I divide the AGPs and then clean and dry each section with a cloth.  That’s it.  No oil or rust treatment.  Keep it simple.

SUMMARY

My Titanium Goat Adjustable Goat Poles are one piece of ultralight gear about which I have not a single complaint or reservation.  Their performance and durability exceed that of any other trekking poles I’ve ever used, at less than half the weight. Here's a photo from last week at Bangtail Divide, near Bozeman, Montana, of me and my friend's niece, each with an AGP in hand and the Crazy Mountains in the background.

Bangtail Divide
What I like


Weight.  The AGPs are so light that they draw a comment from every person I’ve handed a pole to.  

They stay in place.

Overall performance – outstanding!

What I don’t

Replacing the expanders.  A minor inconvenience for such great gear.





Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > Titanium Goat Adjustable Goat Poles > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



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