The Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are one of the highest value pieces of gear I’ve ever reviewed. The poles come in at 15.2oz with carbon fiber shafts, cork handles, quick lock adjusters, and tungsten carbine tips. Best of all, they only cost $45! For a ‘name brand’ comparison, the Black Diamond Carbon Cork poles retail for $170. The Black Diamond poles use higher quality components from top to bottom, but is that noticeable in everyday use for the average hiker? I’ve been using the the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Poles for a year now and will answer that question and detail my experience in this review.
Build and Specs:
The Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Poles come in at 7.8oz per pole. The poles have an adjustable height range of 23″-53″. The adjustable poles are a must for me, as I use them on some of my backpacking shelters (ie. Tarptent Double Rainbow). I also like to adjust my trekking poles based on the grade of the terrain, something I wouldn’t be able to do on a fixed length pole.
There are three carbon fiber shafts that are adjusted using two flick locks on each pole. The adjustable flick locks are the cheapest part of the pole construction, and almost prompted me to send them back when I first held them in hand. The lever and screw head of each flick lock are made of plastic, but have so far held up incredibly well. I’ve been using these poles for a year, and I see no signs of chipping or cracking on the locks.
Cascade Mountain Tech offers these carbon fiber poles with a cork or EVA grip. I much prefer cork, as it feels much better in my hand while hiking in hot and cold weather. The cork felt a little plasticky at first, but has aged and molded to my hands very nicely over the past few months.
Below the cork handles you’ll find an EVA extension. I like having these extension grips on poles when I want to quickly use a shorter pole length without having to make a full adjustment. I use these a lot on ridge routes or really steep hikes like Falling Rock Canyon.
The CMT carbon poles also come with adjustable wrist straps. The straps don’t offer the nice neoprene pads found on more expensive trekking poles, but this isn’t something I’ve noticed in use. The important thing is that the straps stay in place and keep the poles attached to my wrists. I used to remove the straps on my trekking poles to save weight, but now that I always have my camera with me, I like to be able to dangle my poles while taking photos.
The tips on these Cascade Mountain Tech trekking poles are made of tungsten carbide and have thus far held up incredible well. They also come with the small cone mud baskets, larger cone snow baskets, and rubber ‘boot’ tips. I used the snow baskets once, but prefer to keep the poles as light as possible for most hikes.
I’ve used the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Poles as one of my primary hiking poles over the past year. They’ve seen fast packing, trail running, backpacking, and hikes with a heavy kid carrier on my back.
I first picked up these carbon poles for the days when I mix a little running in with my hikes. I like to use my trekking poles while hiking uphill, then store them away on runable sections of the trail. These poles are nice and light, and store away easily on my pack.
These Cascade Mountain Tech poles have also worked well with a heavy pack. They provide great stability, and the cork grips have yet to slip from my hands. Early on, I had a few shaft collapses when I placed my full weight down on the pole, but I was able to adjust the flick locks to prevent this from happening in all but the most extreme cases. I weigh 185lbs, and can put a lot of force down on a pole when heading downhill.
For $45, the CMT Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are a “must buy” for anyone looking to add a budget friendly pair of high performance trekking poles to their kit. These poles are lightweight, adjustable, have great grips, and have proven to be very durable. If you’re looking for a pole with better locks and slightly more rigid carbon fiber shafts, you might want to look at the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Corks. If you need a lightweight pole that packs up smaller and are okay with a fixed length, the Black Diamond Distance Z Poles are worth a look. If you’re not in either camp, the CMT Carbon Fiber poles will be more than enough for all of your adventures.
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