MSR Surelock UL-3

1 review
5-star:   1
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Reviews

5

Excellent, sturdy, lightweight trekking pole that…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (sample provided by MSR for testing and review)

Summary

Excellent, sturdy, lightweight trekking pole that collapses small, stores easily, does its job well, and looks darn nice, too!

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Collapses small
  • Sturdy
  • Good looking

Cons

  • No way to lock it closed
  • For some, made in China
  • For some, pole length is not infinitely adjustable

The MSR Surelock UL-3 three-section trekking pole is billed as an ultralight system designed for "multi-day treks or swift single-day ascents." I recently used them on a trip to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah and was not disappointed.


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MSR UL-3 Trekking Poles as packaged

The poles not only look good, but worked exceedingly well in all types of terrain, ranging from deep sandy trails, to crossing shallow rivers, brushy trails, on slick rock, and steep off-trail, cross-country bushwhacks.


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The UL-3 trekking poles worked well in a variety of terrain.

Weighing in at just 15.8 ounces a pair, and measuring just 23 3/4 inches long when fully closed, the UL-3 trekking pole has a minimum usable length of 43 inches and expands to not quite 55 inches, measured from the top of the handle to its metal tip.

The handle is made of an ergonomically designed foam that fit my (smallish) hands well. The adjustable strap system was easy to adjust and never slipped, even when loading it heavily while trekking up steep, sandy trails.


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The foam handles fit my hands well and never felt wet, even with sweaty hands.

The locking system, which I was a bit skeptical about at home, worked very well. A simply tug on the lower pole section extended the bottom section of the pole (there are three sections, hence the name UL-3) quickly and easily out to its locked position. You then push a small, metal button — The SureLock — near the handle to extend the pole to your desired length, which is marked in centimeters.  

One note; due to the SureLock design, the MSR UL-3 trekking poles are not infinitely adjustable. You have a choice of setting the length, as marked on the pole, to one of seven settings, ranging from 110 cm to 140 cm in 5 cm increments. Personally, I did not find this to be a problem when setting my pole length. I picked 115 cm and used that almost exclusively.


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The SureLock button held up well, even when heavily loaded.

The UL-3 poles come with two sets of baskets; the trekking baskets (installed) and the snow baskets.  I have no use for the larger snow baskets, so I did not use them. I did, though, swap them out once to see how easy they were to remove and install, which I found to be quick and easy. Just pull and twist to remove the pressured-fitted basket, and push and twist to install.


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Well designed and nice looking poles

I had no issues at all while using the poles in the variety of terrain and conditions mentioned above, but did have one small issue when digging them out of the Jeep. I had a bunch of gear pilled on top of the poles and gave them a good yank by the handle to free them. The baskets were trapped, and the poles expanded rapidly. The SureLock button did not catch in one of the holes, and, consequently, the poles came apart. It took me just a few seconds each to reassemble the poles, none the worse for wear.  

This brings up the only design flaw I could find with the poles — there is no way to lock them down to their fully collapsed size. I did not have an issue with the poles expanding when stored on the outside of my backpack, so I didn't count this as a minus when writing this review.


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Seperated pole sections were easy to reinsert.

All-in-all, I found the SureLock UL-3 trekking poles to be an excellent product; more than capable of handling everything I threw at then. They are very lightweight, sturdy, collapse down to a small size, hold up well when I really loaded them down when climbing steep terrain, and they look good, too!

Highly recommended.

Thanks to MSR for proving the SureLock UL-3 pole samples for testing and review.

Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for testing these poles and sharing this review, Jim.


2 years ago
Rick-Pittsburgh

Very nice review Jim. Well done.


2 years ago

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

The MSR SureLock UL-3 Trekking Pole remains light in weight and uses a three-section design for compact packing so there's no reason to leave it behind even if you do like to hike light.

- Backcountry.com

Defining simplicity, efficiency and compactness in a pole, MSR's UL-3 Ski Poles are designed for the ultralight backcountry pragmatist. A mere 14.4 ounces, it combines manual operation of the SureLock push-button adjustment with the versatility of 3-section compactness, shedding weight and preserving strength. Ergonomic foam grips deliver added comfort, making the UL-3 perfect for multi-day treks or swift single-day ascents.

- CampSaver.com

Free Shipping. MSR SureLock UL-3 Trekking Pole DECENT FEATURES of the MSR SureLock UL-3 Trekking Pole Ultralight weight Maximum compactness Zero-slip SureLock Reliability Foam Comfort Grip The SPECS Weight: 14.4 oz. (408 g) - per pair Size: 110 - 140 cm Shock Absorption: No Shock Lock Mechanism: Button Lock Max. Length: 55.12 in. (140 cm) Min. Length: 43.31 in. (110 cm) Other Features: Collapsed Length: 24 in. (61 cm) This product can only be shipped within the United States. Please don't hate us.

- Moosejaw

MSR Surelock UL-3

previously retailed for:
$54.98 - $119.95

The MSR Surelock UL-3 is not available from the stores we monitor. It was last seen April 25, 2014 at SunnySports.

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