When buying trekking poles you have a few different material options, but one of the most popular is carbon trekking poles. The advantage of carbon over the other popular trekking pole material, aluminum, is that it's quite a bit lighter. Pumping those trekking poles all day can be a little tiring, so having a pair of lightweight trekking poles can make a real difference. The main disadvantage of carbon trekking poles is that they will break, rather than bend.
Carbon Trekking PolesWhat to look for when reviewing carbon trekking poles.
- Adjustable - Most trekking poles are adjustable, so it's not something that you have to worry about too much, but adjustable is preferable to fixed length, unless you are really looking to save weight. With adjustable length trekking poles you can customize their length to your height, and you will also have a much easier time storing the poles in your backpack.
- Anti-Shock - Another feature to look for on your trekking poles is anti-shock. The anti-shock on trekking poles will dampen feedback that you get through the poles in your hand, which can become increasingly annoying over the course of a day, especially if you are using them on a lot of rocky or uneven ground.
Best Carbon Trekking PolesThe very best of the carbon trekking pole market.
- Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-Poles - These are by the lightest trekking poles of the three listed here, at 9.5 ounces, or 270 grams. They are also fixed length, however, so you will have to determine the optimal length before you end up ordering. They do fold down, however, so they are easy to travel with and will store well in a backpack. They also won the 2011 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, so if you want lightweight, you will be hard pressed to find anything better than the Ultra Distance Z-Poles.
- Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Pole - These trekking poles from Black Diamond are adjustable, unlike the Ultra Distances, but they also weigh quite a bit more, at 17 ounces, or 492 grams. But for that extra weight you do get a couple other nice features, like plush cork handles for a good grip, and foam below the handles for choking up when you are going downhill, for instance. Their usable range is 65 cm to 130 cm.
- Leki Carbonlite Aergon XL Antishock Trekking Poles - The Aergon XL trekking poles are a fairly basic trekking pole without too many extra features. The one notable exception to that is anti-shock, which is a great feature that helps to alleviate some of the feedback coming through the poles and in to your hands. They weigh 14.2 ounces, or 402 grams, and have a usable range of 65 cm to 135 cm.