Cascade Mountain Tech Cork Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles Review

Cascade Mountain Tech's Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are ultralight three section flick-lock poles priced under $50.
Cascade Mountain Tech’s Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are ultralight three section flick-lock poles priced under $50.

Cascade Mountain Tech’s Cork Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are three-section, carbon fiber trekking poles that weigh just 15.4 ounces per pair. Priced at less than half of what Black Diamond or Leki carbon fiber poles cost, they’re an exceptional value if you’re looking for a lever-lock (also called quick-lock or flick-lock) style trekking pole for hiking and backpacking. These are fully featured, durable, and adjustable trekking poles with adjustable length retainer straps, cork handles, extended grips, and titanium carbide tips. Handle-to-tip length ranges from 54.5″ / 138 cm when fully extended and collapses down to 26″/ 66 cm. Leki-compatible snow baskets, rubber feet, and curved pavement feet are included.

Let’s take a closer look at these trekking poles:

Cork handles are less slippery and more comfortable
Cork handles are less slippery and more comfortable.

Cork Grips

The poles have cork grips which are less sweaty than rubber or foam covered ones and weight less. Extended foam grips below the cork mean you can choke up on the poles when hiking up slopes without having the adjust the length. The adjustable length straps are threaded through the pole handles and have extra padding at the bend for greater comfort. They do slip if you apply heavy pressure to them (reported by a friend), but I haven’t had any issues with them slipping myself.

Lever-lock Adjustment

These adjustable poles lock in place using a lever lock, quick-lock system that is adjustable without tools. Lever locking systems are much more reliable than twist lock adjusters and are virtually maintenance free. Simply resize the poles to the length you require (the length is marked in both inches and centimeters on the pole shafts) and lock them in place by closing the levers. If the locks loosen with use, you can tighten them manually by twisting the tension screw on the back of the lock.

Reliable lever locks keep the poles set at the proper length without slipping
Reliable lever locks keep the poles set at the proper length without slipping.

Carbon Fiber Shafts

Trekking poles with carbon fiber shafts are lighter weight than aluminum poles, reducing fatigue on long hikes. They’re also stiffer and bend less so you lose less energy when you push-off them climbing up hill and they provide better stability when descending. While you can buy super- ultralight carbon fiber poles that weigh half of what these Cascade Mountain Tech poles weigh, they cost 4 times as much and are more prone to breakage because they’re so thin. Though heavier, the Cascade Mountain Tech poles have thick diameter shafts, making them far less likely to break.

Cascade Mountain Tech's Carbon Fiber Poles are also good for cross-country and backcountry skiing
Cascade Mountain Tech’s Cork Carbon Fiber Poles are also good for cross-country and backcountry skiing (shown above).

Carbide tips and accessories

The Cascade Mountain Tech poles have carbide tips for extra durability and provide a high friction “bite” when they contact the ground. The poles tips are Leki-compatible, meaning that you can mix and match components like the included snow baskets and rubber tips with poles from other manufacturers, as long as they too are Leki-compatible. This is a nice feature if you have bits and bobs from multiple pairs of poles and keep them around as spares so you don’t have to throw them out when you replace poles. It’s the kind of thing I appreciate because I occasionally lose a snow basket or wear down a tip and like the fact that I can replace the components without having to discard the poles and buy a new set.

Recommendation

Cascade Mountain Tech’s Cork Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are a fantastic value if you’re looking for a high quality and durable pair of trekking poles with a lever lock adjustment system. There’s nothing second rate about these poles. So if you’ve been wanting to switch to carbon fiber poles but have been put off by the cost, or you’re looking for a first set of poles to try, these are great poles at a great price.

Disclosure: The author purchased this product with his own funds.

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11 comments

  1. What are the trade offs on this pole vs top brand poles at double to triple the price?

    • I think the black diamond poles are more durable and better made. But is it worth 2 or 3 times the price? That’s debatable. If you fall on both poles, they’ll break.

    • The best way I can describe it is If someone handed you these and Black Diamonds and asked “which do you think is more expensive” you would 100% pick the Black Diamonds. Both are solid, but the locks are a little smoother, the straps adjust a little easier, and the cork is a little nicer, but the differences are subtle. Kind of like the difference between a Camry and a Lexus.

      If you didn’t know the prices and they then told you one was $45 and the other $130, You would be surprised the difference wasn’t $10-20, or you’d be trying to figure out what you missed about the Cascades.

      I’ve had the Cascade Carbon poles for 3 years and they are perfectly fine poles. Cascade also makes an aluminum version that’s only $19. I bought those for my 10 year old son, and I think I like them even better than the carbon ones.

  2. I believe these are available at Costco for $30!

    • Just bought 2 pair at Costco for 19.98 each. amazing find. And all i originally went there for was razors lol.

  3. I just bought these poles at a local Costco for 20 dollars. I couldn’t believe the price, weight, and accessories that came with this purchase. I was looking at a pair for 200 for my trek around Rainier. I’d recommend these poles to anyone. Durable, lightweight, inexpensive, lots of extras.

  4. Can someone tell me their length when fully shortened? I’m trying to figure out if they would fit my carry on bag. I’m in Wisconsin visiting my father and hiked the East Bluff Trail at Devil’s Lake yesterday and I missed my hiking poles. My Pacerpoles wouldn’t fit in my luggage. I want something for those trips that I don’t check a bag.

  5. anyone know of a costco in NJ with these in stock? Thank you

  6. Has anyone used them to set up a tent? I am using it with a Mier lanshan 2 person tent and wonder why it doesn’t seem stable – perhaps the top isn’t long/deep enough into the ground. Thanks for any tips!

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