Field Test – Montem Ultra-Light 3K Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
There are generally two types of hikers, those who believe poles are useful and those who don’t. If you are one of the non-believers, I do encourage you to grab a pair off a friend to at least lest them out as you will be amazed that the benefits they offer. Before I dive into the review, a few points on why you would bother using hiking/trekking poles. Poles provide the skilled hiker with at least six significant benefits:
- avoid injuries
- reduce wear/damage to lower joints
- prevent back pain/injury
- increase exercise
- improve posture
- enhance the enjoyment of hiking
Early January 2018 I was given the opportunity to field test a pair of Montem Ultra Strong Cork Trekking Poles. These are a well-priced, sturdy, value for money pole, that I was (and still am) happy to use and recommend for serious adventures. Recently I was sent a new addition to the Montem Life trekking family, a lighter (by 78g) brother/sister to these poles, the Montem Ultra-Light 3K Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles.
When writing a review, generally I would focus on all the features of the gear I have tested. More specific to trekking poles, I would focus on weight, price, strength, durability, comfort, adjustability and pack-down size. When I received the 3K Carbon Fiber poles the first thing I noticed was the design of the poles is fundamentally the same as the previous pair I have tested so it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to write a similar review as most of the information would be the same. So, if you are keen to learn more about the comfort, adjustability and pack-down size please check out my earlier review.
I should mention that the fact the overall design replicates that of the Ultra Strong Trekking Poles is a good thing as the design has all the qualities and features you would expect from a robust and reliable trekking pole. The differences offer unique improvements:
The cork grips of these poles are more porous in texture. How I found this translates on the trail is that the wicking ability of the grips is improved as the textured surface allow moisture to slightly penetrate the cork, drawing it away from the grip and my hands. They are soft, durable, slightly absorbent, and they provide enough friction to help prevent blisters. The grips are nice and wide and felt nicely proportioned to hold. I believe this is a n ice enhancement.
Like the Montem Ultra Strong Cork Trekking Poles, these poles have a three-section shaft that creates a flexible pole design. By simply unclipping the flick-lock system the lower two sections of the pole can be adjusted to suit the terrain (and the hiker of course). Each section is clearly labelled with measurements so that you can quickly return the poles to their desired length. The improvement here is that the locking lever, has been manufactured from lightweight aluminium, adding both strength and durability without increasing the overall weight of the component. I love the fact these poles have measurements on the shafts that actually make sense. A lot of poles of this style have measurements but they do not relate to each other. On these poles, I can set the shaft length to 115cm (my ideal height) on both sections of the shaft. I then know that the poles are 115cm long. Other poles I have used have measurements that simply indicate how far you have extended the shaft so one may be 25mm and the other 15mm. It makes no sense.
Strength and Durability
I know not all hikers will agree wit me here as we all have our personal preferences, but I simply love Carbon Fiber poles. I have found they tend to respond naturally to pressure, allowing the poles to withstand even more force on the trail. The shaft of these poles has been manufactured from woven 100% 3K Carbon Fiber. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Let me explain what the properties of 3K carbon fiber are.
A carbon fiber yarn, or tow, comprises several thousand fibers. For example, a 12K tow is a made of 12,000 fibers. Carbon fibers are supplied in spools of 1K, 3K, 6K, 12K, 24K or 48K tows. Carbon fiber fabrics are woven from carbon tows. They are finally used with a matrix (epoxy or polyester resin, ceramics) to obtain a composite part with the following benefits.
- high tensile and compressive strengths
- high modulus
- low density
- high chemical resistance
- high temperature tolerance
- electrically conductive (ok, maybe not a benefit when hiking)
Simply unlock the flick-lock system and slide the poles right in. They pack down to 610mm for stowing and come with an impressive storage bag to protect your poles when not in use. If you plan on stowing your poles inside your pack, just ensure that you measure your pack first as they may not fit inside all packs. I always try to carry my poles on the outside of my pack so that they are quickly and easily accessible by myself or a fellow hiker.
The Montem Ultra Light 3K Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are a reasonably well-priced (USD$119.99), sturdy carbon fiber pole that I am happy to recommend for serious overnight hikes or multi-day treks. In my opinion, these will be great for hikers who are looking for a heavy-duty, full-featured, comfortable and robust hiking pole, with the added benefit and beauty of carbon fiber. Yeah, I did say beauty, you have to admit carbon fiber just looks cool too.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, they also come equipped with a pair of Snow Baskets, Rubber Tip Protectors, and Mud Baskets so there is absolutely no excuse not to head out in any terrain with them.
Buy direct from Montem Life for USD$119.99
- Shaft Construction: 100% 3K Carbon Fiber
- Grip Material: Cork
- Maximum Length: 1350mm
- Minimum Length: 610mm
- Weight Per Pair: 442g
- Gender: Unisex
Field Tested by
Darren Edwards > www.trailhiking.com.au