Sunday, February 12, 2012

REI's carbon fiber poles are light, very light, and even so aren't worth their weight in even copper

I have a pair of REI Carbon fiber trekking poles which were given to me because they didn't work. There is a mechanism which allows for the tubes to slide against one another in order to collapse but which needs to be strong. Strong enough to support the user but light enough to be light weight and this mechanism, in my opinion, was crap. It didn't work from day one.

The point of the pole I inserted into the broken handle end and used my bandage tape to secure it
I was able to get them apart, clean and repair the mechanism and obtain some function, but never able to collapse them for fear that when I extended them again they wouldn't stay. But I took them to New Zealand anyway knowing they were no longer collapsible.

An eye glass screwdriver epoxied into the end of the broken pole which was turned around.
And there are other problems, one of which is the shock absorber which encourages two precision tubes to slide back and forth against one another which when dirty, wears away the material. After several hundred kilometers of use, this wear became significant and the poles broke.

I however am dbBrad and have often boasted that like my dad, I can fix anything. And I did.

But they broke again. and I fixed them again.

REI carbon fiber pole broken beyond repair.  Both the locking mechanism and the carbon tube broke.
And then one pole broke again during my fall on Ruapehu and that was it for pole number one. Pole number two was not nearly so lucky. It broke right at the weak point where the locking mechanism and shock come together, exactly as I predicted. This time not only the pole broke, but also the mechanism. I've sent it home to see if REI's return policy is as good as they claim!

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