REI Peak UL
Price Paid: $109 15% off sale
I have enjoyed these poles for the past two weeks. They are so light I hardly know they are there. I am 6' tall and 210 lbs. and the poles do a pretty good job of handling my body weight. I use the hand straps in the recommended manner and I am putting quite a bit of weight onto those straps when moving up steep terrain. So far I have had no issues with strap comfort.
I love the hand grips, for me they are a perfect fit. But I dislike the top of the hand grips. The top of the grips are flat, uncomfortable, and poorly supported. (Sometimes when I am tired, I like to shorten the poles to near mimimum and "straight arm" my way down a steep hill with my body weight resting on the tops of the poles through the palms of my hands). You can't use these poles in that fashion. Outside of that one minor issue they are stable and sure footed and have always stayed locked.
I especially like the star design on the carbide tips, they grip granite extremely well. Better than the Leki and BlackDiamond designs, (at least when they are brand new, that could change as they age) I don't know how long that star design will last before it gets worn down. So far this week I have traveled six miles over granite fields and the tips still look brand new. The poles have a max length of 55" and fully extended they are not to terrible strong. At my body weight I am capable of snapping a pole set at 55" if I really leaned way out on it. (This is a harsh test and I am capable of breaking a lot of premium poles this way) With the poles set to 49 to 50 inches which is my primarry trekking height then they are quite strong and I have no fear of breakage.
All in all highly recommended. At the moment I also own the new Black Diamond Alpine CF and it's a toss up as to which one I will keep. The Alpine is the stongest and stiffest pole I have ever used and it's also a very heavy 18 oz. a pair. This pole does not even flex under my body weight. It's like a baseball bat. Sigh... On the other hand the REI pole is so lite that at times I have fogotten it was on my hand. There is something magical about picking up a pole that weighs no more than a bag of potato chips. The REI pole is a very light weight, attractive, seductive piece of equipment. It is so light that everyone who has handled it goes "owwwww...ahhhhh! Good luck in making up your mind.
Price Paid: $130
I have owned these poles for a little over a year and have used them on multiple trips and over various terrain. The star tip design has held up very well and has exceptional grip on all types of rock and even ice. They are very lightweight and the hand grips fit perfect. The reason I rated them a 4 star is that occasionally the sections loosen and I have to re-tighten them (common problem with most 3 section poles). I highly recommend this product.
Price Paid: $150
Even though I'm on my second set, I believe they'll prove worthy of 4 stars.
My history with trekking poles began about 16 years ago. Back then, we just used what was called telescoping ski poles. I still have my original, durable set of aluminum Elderids I got at Marmot's home store in Bellevue, WA.
A year ago, I received some Leki Super Makalus for a birthday gift. They were fine, however the etched calibrations wore off. I figured for the price that was unacceptable. I returned them to REI, and as REI always has, cheerfully gave me a refund, or exchange option.
I was going to get another set of Super Makalus but a fellow consumer nearby said "check out these." They were the REI brand UL with air shocks.
They are so light, they almost fly. I discovered years ago when I purchased an expensive graphite kayak paddle, that over a day's use (lots of cycles back and forth) a little weight savings makes a big difference in the fatigue factor. Same with these.
However, on my first serious outing up nearby Mt. Defiance, the bushing on the upper telescoping section spun, and wouldn't lock properly. Oh Krap, not the place to lose a firm pole! It appeared the bonding cement between the graphite and plastic bushing failed. I made it down fine.
Just got another pair today, and I'll keep returning failed ones cause I love the light weight.
Where to Buy
The REI Unisex Peak UL is not available from the stores we monitor.
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Here's what other sites are saying:
The REI Peak UL poles are some of the lightest, strongest trekking poles out there! They're made for minimalist backpackers and adventure racers. Upper and middle sections are small-diameter carbon fiber, creating ultralight poles that damp vibration and retain strength over a wide temperature range. Titanal aluminum lower section adds durability; Titanal aluminum is one of the strongest aluminum alloys around and offers mechanical properties comparable to steel. With the new Stop Lock system, poles won't come apart; system makes the pole sections into one unit for safety and stability. DuoLock(TM) extra-strong internal locking mechanisms apply a wide area of pressure against pole walls to lock in length adjustment. Reliable DuoLocks enhance stability and make length adjustments easy. 3-section telescoping poles extend to a maximum length of 55 in. and compact to 25 in. for easy storage and transport. Ergonomic and contoured ultralight EVA foam grips and adjustable, padded neoprene wrist straps provide miles of comfort. Fitted with trekking discs and extra-durable tungsten carbide tips; included tip protectors are strictly for travel/packing protection, not intended for hiking.