Alpkit Carbonlite Poles Tested

They're super light, they're super pimpy and they only cost 35 quid a pair - what on earth is going on? Poles that do what poles are supposed to do really :-)

Posted: 6 September 2005
by Jon

Alpkit Carbonlite Poles Tested

Price: £35.00 per pair (!)

Weight: 384 grammes (per pair) cork handled version approx. 460 grammes

Features: Carbon fibre trekking poles with twist action, EVA or cork handles, wrist loops, baskets and rubber tip cover.

Light and cheap.
Will break rather than bend if you really want to kill them badly...

The Concept It's those fellas from Alpkit again with their web-only deals on decent products at crazy cheap prices. These are lightweight carbon fibre trekking poles at only 35 quid a pair.

They're intended to be light and help you walk along without falling over and, if you believe it, take some of the load off your knees.

Features They really are simple, standard issue trekking poles in three sections with a twist to lock action and standard dimensions. The only difference is that they're made from carbon fibre which, the Alpkit chaps say, is up to 30 per-cent lighter than the equivalent sections in aluminium. Overall though, the pole will be around 10-20 per-cent lighter because most of the weight is in the handle section of the pole.

No springs, no gimmicks, just a choice of handle materials, baskets and some rubber things to stop the metal tips tip tappying away on hard surfaces. A propos of which, the tips aren't replaceable, but the individual pole sections are, so even if you break one, it's not the end of the world.

In Action We're not dedicated trekking pole users, but in our book, light is better than heavy. The real plus here though, is in weight distribution. Because most fo the weight is in the handle, the pole has a feathery light heft when swung from your wrists, which is nice, very nice in fact and arguably less tiring over the course of a day on the hill.

Otherwise they feel like, well, trekking poles. They screw and unscrew like poles, have wrist loops and handles and stop you falling over. As Alpkit admit on their site in a very upfront way, carbon fibre tends to break rather than bend and we dare say, if we tried we could bust these eventually. Iin normal walking use though, it didn't happen and we like them too much to do it for fun.

Like we said, if they do fail, you can simply buy a replacement section, though you won't be able to bend them back into shape, because they'll be broken...


Killer deal for a pair of very light rather pimpy-looking trekking poles that do pretty much everything you want poles to do while weighing a lot less and costing significantly less than a lot of other trekking out there. We happen to know that a well known outdoors magazine editor actually bought a pair of these for his wife, with money, which really, is all you need to know. If you want springs, you're out of luck, but we've never found they make any difference anyway...



Alpkit web site

Pushed for time: Very light and very well priced. That's it, brilliant bargain poles that do what poles do.

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Bought a pair for £60. First test was a straightforward Snowdon trip and disappointing performance - lower section came away from expansion joint on both poles. Returned them to Alpkit and returned within 48hours. Nest test was Cadair Idris which has a steep descent and no problem.

Took them to Himalayas and they failed on the Renjo La descent at 17,000 feet with the same problem. Patched them up with Gaffer tape but then tip snapped coming down the Cho La! I couldn't recommend buying these poles. Lightweight and good grips but simply not up to the job.

Posted: 07/11/2009 at 02:53

I have used a whole range of poles, Leki being the longest lasting. Some time back I bought some Alpkit carbon poles and found them irritating. The nature of the carbon creates a strange bounce with each placement on the rock. It may be just subjective but I also felt that they were vulnerable to break during steep descents. I binned them and replaced them with Exped Quads which are very solid and compact enough to store inside your rucksack for flights etc.

Posted: 07/11/2009 at 10:37

I bought a pair when they first came out and used them a lot since. The only bother I've had is the locking mechanism on one section seizing solid. My fault as I'd put them away without breaking them down first.

Easily sorted as I had the foresight to buy spare sections while they were available.

I've got total confidence in them. They've never slipped and not once did I think that they might break when I've (inadvertantly) put my full weight on them.

My only minor quibble is that the grips are a bit on the small side but that's a personal thing. Other than that, I can't fault them.

Posted: 07/11/2009 at 11:34

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