Mountainsmith Rhyolite 6061
Current Retail: $27.97-$29.96
Historic Range: $19.43-$49.95
Reviewers Paid: $25.00-$39.99
I received these poles for free with my Mountainsmith Maverick pack. For the price (free), you can't beat them. At the time of purchase, I never used trekking poles. But, I wasn't prepared to turn down a free set. Now that I've started using trekking poles, I find them indispensable. Most of my hiking is uphill into the mountains for the night and back downhill the next day. The stability added by trekking poles makes the purchase of a set worthwhile.
That said, I've used these poles for about 2 years. Until recently, most of my complaints have been mostly annoyances. The hiking baskets on the tip tend to come loose and fall off at the worst times. My friend who had the same set lost both of his almost immediately after purchase.
I was able to keep both of mine until last weekend when I lost one while snowshoeing atop 30 feet of snow in the Hakkoda Mountains. The pole was rendered useless in snow without a basket.
The strength is also not great. My friend bent one of his while backpacking in Italy and I bent one of mine in the snow last weekend. Luckily, I was able to straighten mine for the remainder of the trip. My friend's pole was rendered useless.
I'm also not fond of the locking mechanisms. With mine, I usually had problems getting them to unlock after a trip. I usually had to get my pliers on them in order to get them loose. In the snow, however, it was a different story. When cold, I couldn't keep the locking mechanisms tight enough to prevent collapse. Coming down the slope, I finally gave up on them after continuous collapsing. As a result, I spent a lot of time picking myself back up from the snow.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend the purchase of these poles by themselves. A little extra money would be well spent on better poles. However, I would recommend the purchase of the Maverick pack/trekking pole combo. The pack is a good buy for the money and these trekking poles are a decent enough introduction to trekking poles.
Price Paid: Free w/ Maverick Backpack
Sturdy, easy to adjust, fairly light, value-priced trekking poles.
- Non-padded straps
For the trekker who is looking for a little extra help, some good balance and something to test the ground, these are great poles. They don't offer real shock absorbency, but they are sturdy and comfortable.
The one drawback is that the straps are not padded. I either tape my hand in the web between my thumb and index finger to avoid chaffing or I wear gloves.
Other than that, I'm very pleased.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25 for the pair
Lightweight and fragile.
- Light weight
- Easy adjustment
- Bend easily
These poles work fine for light walking and hiking. Definitely not built to withstand any abuse. One of my poles bent on my second trip with these; I was descending a steep ridge and put a little pressure (not really all that much) on the pole and it bent on the lower section.
However, as long as you don't use them for skiing or rough, off-trail use you should be ok.
Source: bought it new
I bought these because I forgot to pack my regular poles. Learned my lesson. I used them once, for about 2 hours, and the spring lockout failed on one of them. I can no longer lock the shock absorber out. Also, the insides rattle when you apply pressure on them or tap them on the ground. Very annoying.
Truth is, as hiking poles, they perform as they are supposed to. Then again, so would a pair of sticks that I could have found along the trail. I should have just done that instead of paying for these.
Price Paid: $19.95 ea. (Too much)
Good, run-of-the-mill poles... These are almost identical to the $8 SwissGear poles from Walmart. The carbide tips on the Rhyolite 6061's last a little longer than the SwissGear, though. I got about 150 miles out of the Rhyolites and only 70 miles on the SwissGears. The springs are good and the sections hold in place, fine. For the money though, they are a bit of a stretch. You are probably better off to spring an extra $20-$40 a pair and buy Lekis. There is a huge quality difference.
Price Paid: $39.99